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Praying for England: Priestly Presence in Contemporary Culture

Praying for England: Priestly Presence in Contemporary Culture

by Sam Wells, Sarah Coakley


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Praying for England reflects on the role of Christian priesthood in contemporary culture, and comes up with some surprising and timely insights about its efficacy and importance. There are ritual and representative functions of the priest, it argues, which remain spiritually and socially vital, even – perhaps especially - in a society which ostensibly ignores the Church, or appears so pluralistic as to lack any religious cohesion. The priestly role as mediator before God of society’s deepest pains, losses, joys and irresolvable anxieties is here reimagined, and brought freshly to life though moving narratives of pastoral encounter. Above all, the priest is seen as one who goes on ‘praying for England’ in decisive but often uncelebrated ways, prayer being the chief measure and test of the priest’s representative role. This is a deceptively simple volume - theologically accessible but often deeply moving and profound. In it a new vision is sketched of how Christian priesthood can go forward today with humility, understated dignity, and spiritual power. It will be of special interest to English churchpeople in an ‘established’ setting, but is written no less with an ecumenical and international readership in mind.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780567032300
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 10/08/2008
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Sarah Coakley is Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, UK and was previously Mallinckrodt Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, USA. She was an assistant curate at Littlemore, Oxford, for 7 years after her ordination in 2000 and is currently an Honorary Canon of Ely Cathedral.

Table of Contents

There are three notable characteristics of the chapters: 1. The authors have spent substantial periods of time in parish ministry- in many cases in places of serious social deprivation. 2. The mood of the book is faithfulness and hope. The authors believe that the practice and communities they describe constitute the heart of Anglicanis&mgrave;s gift and witness to the nation. 3. The style of writing is direct and unapologetic. It is beautiful in prose and simple in argument. Several of the authors have distinguished international reputations who bring profound insight from pastoral and academic experience. But it also arises from a paradoxical situation- while Anglican theology world wide is undergoing a notable revival worldwide,the numerical strength of Anglicanism in England is in serious decline. Introduction: Prayer, Place and the Poor by Sarah Coakley One: Representation by Stephen Cherry Two: Glory by Peter Wilcox Three: Imagination by Samuel Wells Four: Presence by Edmund Newey Five: Attention by Jessica Martin Six: Honesty by Andrew Shanks Seven: Debate by Grace Davie Epilogue: Priesthood by Rowan Williams Two Poems by David Scott Note on the Littlemore Conference Contributor List Index

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