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Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Leadersmithing and Leadership

When I was rude the other week about the title of Eve Poole's book, Leadersmithing, she had a right to be a bit grumpy with me. I could understand that. She'd probably spent hours, late into the night, titlesmithing.

But she was actually very gracious. She sent me a copy of the book. And here's the thing. It's excellent. I'd recommend it to people. In fact I hereby am doing just that.
It's full of brilliant angles, new viewpoints, little tricks for giving yourself insights. Full of illustrations of the way things are or could be. It exudes respect for those that are lead, or coached, or influenced.

Now, as one who mostly uses blackmail and threats, it's not much use in my daily life of Archdruiding. But I'd say it's a great book for other church leaders - maybe more so even than for business leaders. Because in these straitened, Brexity times, the motivational power of "I pay your wages" is still good currency in business. Whereas in church leadership falling back on "this is God's will" just isn't working like it was. If people don't like your version of God's will, others are available.

And don't think, fluffy-bunny-baby-boomer vicar, that you get out of good leadership by playing the "I'm a facilitator/ more of a shoulder to cry on / just a supporter" card. You are chosen, and likely paid, to be a leader - even if what you're actually trying to say is that you have no vision or charisma.

Because leadership is about people, and people are - in their dreams, their motivations, their ambitions - spiritual - this book is also shot through with a thread of spirituality. The word "love" comes up, and is used, I think, in a way that is deeply aligned to the Christian concept of love.

All of which brings me onto Eamonn Duffy's "The Voices of Morebath": the story of a tiny Somerset village, from the Catholic days of Henry VIII to Elizabeth's time. So through Henry's reformation, the thoroughgoing Protestantism of Edward VI's reign, the short-lived reaction under Mary and the pendulum swing back to what only a Calvinist could think a via media.

The history is told through the chronicles of the priest, Sir Christopher Trychay. And through him we hear the arguments, responsibility and sheer faithfulness of that community. We see the colour of the pre-Reformation worship. And we see the rather denuded, much more secular nature of the community after the Reformation. Duffy is not a neutral observer.  But even making allowances for that, it's hard not to feel regret at the civic religion that is left by the end, when Sir Christopher is buried in the chancel - between where the old high altar was and where the communion table, by order of Her Majesty, was placed.

Through it all, even when paying the fees for an expedition in rebellion, Sir Christopher was faithful to God, his people and his calling. By turns encouraging, inspiring and nagging, there doesn't seem to be any tool in the box that he wouldn't use. A true leader. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.


  1. Good to see you eating Humble Pie.

  2. Great post, Archdruid. Like you I am moved by the Voices of Morebath, though I think that Edward VIII might be startled to hear of his reign as being one of thoroughgoing Protestantism. Perhaps you meant Edward VI.


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