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'Keeping Faith' is a highly practical guide for concerned parents of kids on the edge of church.
Interwoven with the real life experiences of real kids and their parents, co-authors Jo Swinney and Katherine Hill highlight the common factors in modern life for Christian families. Standing on a firm foundation of scripture, they counsel the reader, offering help, encouragement and useful advice to put into practice.
This book is a joint venture between Scripture Union and Care for the Family and is a much needed message in today's church culture. With more and more families struggling to cope, this book offers support with a strong Biblical foundation to help continued reflection, even when everything doesn't go to plan.
When your children don’t choose Christ, when they walk away from church, don’t go it alone. Find help from friends, family, church leaders, and great books like this one.
Keeping Faith... by Jo Swinney; Katharine Hill was published by Scripture Union in September 2012 and is our 18561st best seller. The ISBN for Keeping Faith... is 9781844277377.
1 Wish you were here
2 Parents in pain
3 As for me … no thanks
4 Mapping the borders
6 Trees by the river
7 Leaders’ kids: a special case?
8 Lifestyle choices
9 Staying connected
10 The long view
Using Keeping Faith as a group resource
"As well as helping parents whose children have rejected their beliefs to know that they are not alone, Katherine and Jo's honest writing and practical advice will help all parents not to give up hope in passing on their faith through continuing to build a close relationship with their children." - Nicky and Sila Lee, co-authors of The Marriage Book and The Parenting Book.
"Filled with honesty, humour and wisdom in equal measure. This book will become a treasure for any parent navigating the journey of faith with their children. Buy this book! You’ll be glad you did." - Mark and Lindsay Melluish, Directors of New Wine and Pastors of St Paul’s Ealing.
"Compassion and hope are the hallmarks of this remarkable book. It is full of insight and inspiration for any family who has experienced the sadness of someone dearly loved who takes a different path in life and faith – which means this book is for everyone! Katharine and Jo help us to see there is always more to learn as well as infinite possibilities for God’s grace to surprise and abound." - Rt Revd Paul Williams, Bishop of Kensington.
"Given that the subject matter of this book is of such significance for so many, it is extraordinary it has not been written before. Tackling this sensitive and emotive issue with great compassion, deep wisdom and disarming honesty, Keeping Faith will soon be regarded as essential reading for those at any stage of Christian parenting." - Rev Paul Langham, author and Vicar of Christ Church Clifton.
"This book acknowledges the deep pain and disappointment felt by parents whose children decide that the Christian faith is not for them. The book unveils the difficulties children face, challenges some wrong thinking and brings a wonderful message of comfort, grace and hope." - Mark Molden, Chief Executive, Care for the Family.
"Welcome this brave book that confronts a heart-searing issue for so many parents. I pray many will have the courage to avail themselves of its wisdom and experience – a book the church really needs." - Rico Tice, All Souls Church & Christianity Explored.
"It is vital that we collectively maintain the momentum in supporting parents and churches in the nurture of their children. This thoughtful and sensitive book does just that, building on the explosive GYKTC initiative that has been so powerful in its impact. I pray that together we will continue to make children and young people our urgent priority." - Tim Hastie-Smith, National Director, Scripture Union.
Psychiatrist John White said, ‘There is no pain like parental pain.’ I would add this: ‘There is no guilt like parental guilt.’ I have spoken with thousands of parents about their prodigal children. More often than not they will say to me, ‘I don’t know where we went wrong.’ I ask, ‘What makes you think you went wrong anywhere?’ And time and time again they quote from the book of Proverbs, ‘Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it’ (22:6). What happens next rarely varies. I say, ‘That verse is not a guarantee – it’s a general principle. Much of the Bible is about God, the perfect father, saying to his children, “Why have you rebelled against me?”’ I then say, ‘I know you haven’t been perfect parents – none of us has – but what is almost certainly not true is that the total responsibility for your child’s lifestyle rests on your shoulders. As our children grow older they will make their own choices – and sometimes those are bad choices.’ At that point they often say something like this: ‘Nobody ever told us that. The other parents in our church seem to have kids who are wonderful Christians; we often feel total failures. You have no idea what a release it is to realise that even God has trouble with his children.’
Katharine Hill and Jo Swinney have written this wonderful book for parents who feel just like that. I am thrilled because I believe it will be a valuable addition to the resources available through Care for the Family’s initiative ‘Getting Your Kids Through Church Without Them Ending Up Hating God’. This initiative has now been under way for two years and looks at how the church and we, as parents, can seek to avoid many of the things that can harm our children’s faith. I know that many of you have prayed long and hard for your children for years and, right now, they may seem further away than ever. Other parents will be only just coming to the realisation that their children have chosen not to share their faith. But whatever your circumstances are, this book will be a blessing. Richly honest and open, it addresses difficult, often painful, issues with warmth, practicality, understanding and, above all, hope. I urge you to read it – it’s too important to miss. - Rob Parsons OBE, Chairman and Founder of ‘Care for the Family’
Here’s how Jo humourously describes herself on her website:
• Novice gardener
• Avid reader
• Blackberry picker
• Food lover on a long-term diet
• Asker of probing questions
• Strict observer of bedtime
Born in West Sussex, she grew up in Algarve, Portugal, in a Christian community-based project. After boarding school and a year out in Zimbabwe, Jo studied English Literature and Africa Studies at Birmingham. She went on to earn a Masters in Christian Studies from Regent College, Vancouver, where she met her American husband. She is married to Shawn, the church youth worker and Anglican curate, and is mum to three young kids.
She has written four books:
• ‘Through the Dark Woods’ – a personal account living with depression
• ‘Cheerful Madness’ – dealing with love and marriage and everything in between
• ‘God Hunting’ – a down to earth look at spiritual disciplines
• ‘Keeping Faith: being family when belief is in question’ – practical help on how to keep faith central in family life
She also writes for several Christian publications such as Christianity Magazine, Youthwork Magazine and Daily Bread.
Katherine Hill is married to Richard. They have four teenage children: George, Charlotte, Ed and Henry.
She joined Care for the Family in 2004 to head up the charity’s marriage work, and pioneered the marriage preparation initiative, The National Couple Support Network. Katharine and her husband have written a book called 'Rules of Engagement', which helps couples plan their wedding and build a healthy a marriage that lasts a lifetime.
As Head of Care for the Family’s Family Life Team, Katharine’s role has now broadened to manage the charity’s marriage and parenting initiatives, as well as its support for those widowed early in life, bereaved parents, and families with children with additional needs.
‘Keeping Faith’ was joint venture between Scripture Union and Care For The Family. With her unrivalled experience with the diverse aspects of modern family life, Katherine was the obvious and best choice to co-author the book.
Parents want the best for their children and children, generally speaking, want to honour their parents by not hurting or disappointing. Naturally the thing Christian parents most want to pass on to their children is their faith. But unlike the other benefits a child can inherit from one generation to the next, faith can’t be passed on – it has to be known and experienced anew by every succeeding generation.
In her book ‘keeping faith’ author and speaker Jo Swinney explores the sense of pain and failure experienced by parents when their children reject the family faith and turn their backs on church. Jo’s book is born from jolt to her own faith received through talking to people who have rejected Christianity while, at the same time, witnessing a trusted family friend leave his faith behind.
In a recent interview for Christian.co.uk Jo talked about the process of gearing up for the book launch of Keeping Faith. Here she described the book as an attempt to build bridges between Christian parents and their growing or grown-up children who made up their minds to turn away from faith – or at least from church. Jo described that she’d learned how parents often felt desperately responsible and carried that responsibility as a burden of failure. Their sense of failure, she observed, tended to carry over their on-going relationship with their children.
The children too had a burden of their own to carry which might not be obvious to the parents. From the children’s point of view, feeling responsible for your own parents sense of failure could have a damaging impact on the children’s self image and self esteem. No one wants to feel they’ve brought down their own parents just by trying to be true to themselves.
In interview, Jo was asked about for a model for doing the right thing when children seem to abandon the faith of their parents and family. Answering the question, Jo observed that parents who had made a deliberate decision to love their children unconditionally, who maintained an interest and a pride in their children’s lives, who continued to pray for them, didn’t give up hope in their eventual coming to know God but didn’t feel it was their responsibility, these parents enjoyed a freer kind of relationship.
‘Keeping Faith’ isn’t a one sided view from the parents angle alone. From the children’s point of view Jo explains that a lot of children felt like they weren’t able to ask questions of their parents. When they did ask questions, children found their parents defensive and fearful and would often just shut down any questioning by giving unsatisfactory ‘pat answers’.
Rounding off her interview, Jo returns to the challenge that researching the book brought to her own faith, “I think that what I have felt God saying to me, through that, is it’s OK to ask the questions,” she says. Reflecting on the promise of God in the phrase from Deuteronomy: ‘Never will I leave you never will I forsake you,’ she draws on the reassurance that, “However I might wander around, he’s sticking with me.” Perhaps this is the model for parents whose children turn away from the church. – Les Ellison
|Author / Artist||Jo Swinney; Katharine Hill|
|Publisher||Scripture Union (September 2012)|
|Number of Pages||160|
|Page last updated||12th July 2018|