UK Christian Bookshops Directory: Christian Book Reviews: Small Boat, Big Sea
Small Boat, Big Sea Small Boat, Big Sea
One year's journey as a parish priest

Peter Owen Jones
ISBN 9780745950532 (0745950531)
Lion Hudson, 2001

Category: Church Leadership & Resources

I picked this book up in the LBC (LST as it now is) Bookshop one day out of curiosity. I was in my second curacy in a church not far from the college and wondered how this person's experience of Anglican ministry compared to my own. Well within a few pages I was hooked and just had to buy a copy in order to be able to finish it.

This book is well-written, easy to read and amusing. The author manages to retain his sense of humour throughout the year — not an easy feat, I can assure you. He is honest about the frustrations and struggles, the endless meetings, the battle for time with family and friends, the unrealistic expectations of parishioners, the fourteen hour plus working days, the struggle to survive on a stipend — in other words, daily parochial life.

He also expresses the tremendous privilege of regularly celebrating the sacraments, being part of the local community, and all in the awesome beauty of the surrounding fens. He describes the discrepancy between the spirituality of the keen churchgoers and the majority of the population, to all of whom he is The Rector. In doing so, he never loses his love of God and sense of vocation.

Here are a couple of sentences from the preface to whet your appetite and give you food for thought:

The theory that love is umbilically linked to sacrifice, demonstrated on the cross of Jesus Christ makes lovely poetry, spills tears — but to be tied to it, however reluctantly, tests and tears.

The lessons of theological college were all very sweet but putting them into practice demands more than most of us can give. To that extent we are always in debt to a God who does nothing other than give.

If you are considering full time ministry, especially in a rural setting then this is compulsory reading. If you are aiming towards ministry in an urban environment then you will still gain valuable insight as to the true nitty gritty of ministry.

Sue Groom, May 2001

The Revd Sue Groom is the Director of Deanery Licensed Ministry for the Kensington Episcopal Area of London. Before this she was Vicar of St Matthew's, Yiewsley and also served as the Reader Training Officer for the Willesden Episcopal Area. She is the author of Linguistic Analysis of Biblical Hebrew (Paternoster Press, 2003).

Previously published by London School of Theology. Reused here by kind permission.

Lion Hudson

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