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 societys 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 priests 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.
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
Four Poems by David Scott
Note on the Littlemore Conference
Praying For England by Sam Wells; Sarah Coakley was published by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc in April 2008 and is our 20815th best seller. The ISBN for Praying For England is 9780567032300.