The Light Shines in the Darkness – Merry Christmas!


Tonight we had a beautiful 9 lessons and carols service. One of our readers, Ros, read this poem by Lisa Debney and it was so beautiful I wanted to share it with you along with my good wishes for Christmas and 2017.

Remember that we carry the light of Christ with us into this dark world – the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it!

Find this poem in this book.

Mary by Lisa Debney

Your eyes are open now.

Those eyes which will open the eyes of others.

You study my face and, just for the moment,

though you came for the world,

you are mine and mine alone.

I made you and you made me

and we gaze at each other in equal wonderment.


Your eyes are open now,

so dark-bright –

sent from a night full of light and stars –

that I could watch you for ever,

watch your chest rise and fall

as you breathe the cattle-soaked air.

I would like this moment to last for ever,

you are so wonderful to me,

so truly wonderful as you are.


But not my will, Lord, but yours be done.

I must hand you over for the world cries out for you,

though I cry out to let you go.

Just for tonight let the future leave us in peace.

Close your eyes, baby.

Close your bright eyes on the dusty darkness of the world.

There is majesty in you but for now let it hide,

let it hide like a gem while you sleep.




I get by with a little help from my friends – response to “which books should I read before theological college?”

Me with the one book on the list I already have!

Me with the one book on the list I already have!Yesterday I shared my pre-college reading list here asking advice of friends on Twitter and Facebook as well. Thanks to everyone who responded.

I thought it would be good to try and summarise the advice I got here – I’m sure I’ll end up adding to this over the months to come but I hope it serves as a resource for others and also a tribute to how fabulous all my friends on Twitter and Facebook are!

General advice

Further recommended reading

So far, from the list I had been given I have had Steven Croft & Roger Walton’s Learning for Ministry recommended but actually ended up having some other books recommended which I have put on an Amazon wish list here.

Here are the recommendations, an ‘alternative’ reading list, if you will:

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Wild: An Elemental Journey by Jay Griffiths (Author)

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Honourably Wounded by Marjory F. Foyle (Author)

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The Bible Makes Sense by Walter Bruggemann (Author)

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TRANSFORMING MISSION (American Society of Missiology) by BOSCH (Author)

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Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim’s Tale by Ian Morgan Cron (Author)

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A Little Exercise for Young Theologians by Helmut Thielicke (Author), Charles L. Taylor (Translator)

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A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology by Kelly M. Kapic (Author)

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Can These Dry Bones Live? by Frances Young (Author)

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Reading the Bible with the Damned (Interpretation Bible Studies) by B Ekblad (Author)

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What They Don’t Teach You at Theological College: A Practical Guide to Life in the Ministry by Malcolm Grundy (Author)

Thanks to everyone who’s contributed so far. I’ll keep this post updated so feel free to keep adding your thoughts and suggestions.

Just in:

Which books should I read before going to Theological College?


Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry aka Durham Cathedral CloistersSo, I’ve been recommended for training for ordination in the Anglican Church and I’m going to be studying a BA in Theology and Ministry at Cranmer Hall, Durham from this Autumn. All exciting stuff! I’ve been sent a pre-course reading list to work my way through this summer.

This is where you might be able to help me:

  • Which of the books on the list below do you think are essential reading?
  • Which one book would you recommend I read before starting my course? (it doesn’t have to be on the list!)
  • Do you have any of the books on the list that you’d be willing to lend or give to me?
  • Do you have any other tips on what to do before I go or even what to take with me? (I’ll be a weekly boarder)

Feel free to leave a comment below this post or email me. Thanks so much for your help. Now, which looks the easiest to read on that list…

The List

View on Amazon here (I made a wish list in case a random stranger wanted to buy any of them for me!):

Steve Croft & Roger Walton, Learning for Ministry (Church House Publishing, 2005)

Steven Croft, Ministry in Three Dimensions. Ordination and Leadership in the Local Church (DLT, 1999) – READ THIS ALREADY! YAY!

Ellen F. Davis, Getting Involved with God : Rediscovering the Old Testament (Cowley , 2001)

Richard S. Briggs, Reading the Bible Wisely: An Introduction to Taking Scripture Seriously (Revised edition; Wipf and Stock, 2011)

Michael Lloyd Café Theology (Alpha, 2005)

Rowan Williams, Why Study the Past? (DLT, 2003)

Jean Comby, How to Read Church History (2 vols, SCM, 1985, 1989)

Eugene Peterson, Working the Angles: the Shape of Pastoral Integrity (Eerdmans, 1993)

John Pritchard, The Life and Work of a Priest (SPCK, 2007)  – READ THIS ALREADY! YAY!

John Barton & Julia Bowden, The Original Story: God, Israel and the World (DLT, 2004)

Richard A. Burridge, Four Gospels, One Jesus? (2nd ed, SPCK, 2005)

N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus (SPCK, 2000) – I’VE ALREADY GOT THIS ONE, HAVEN’T READ IT YET THOUGH

T. Grass, Modern Church History, (London: SCM Press 2008)

Mark Mckintosh, Divine Teaching (Blackwell, 2008)

Bob Jackson, Hope for the Church: Contemporary Strategies for Growth (Church House, 2002)

Stephen Spencer, SCM Studyguide to Christian Mission (SCM Press, 2007)

David Day, Embodying the Word: A Preacher’s Guide (SPCK, 2005)

Paul Goodliff, Care in a Confused Climate (DLT, 1998)

Judy Hirst, Struggling to be Holy (DLT, 2006)

David Runcorn, Spirituality Workbook. A Guide for Explorers, Pilgrims and Seekers (SPCK, 2006)