August 2021 Selection

August 2021 Selection

This selection features Auckland minister Glynn Cardy’s A Book of Blessings, and a new book, leader’s study guide and DVD by Amy-Jill Levine on The Difficult Words of Jesus. 

Topics of other books include:

  • hospitality and faithful discipleship
  • serving others in your community
  • deep looks at the theology of worship and finding God’s presence in our lives
  • using righteous anger to motivate us to work for peace, and
  • the renaissance of knowledge and traditions around open-ocean voyaging that are inspiring communities across the Pacific.

Our mid-August newsletter will include 2022 Year C resources for preaching, worship and daily devotional reading.

For the 2021-22 church year, we can now offer the option of ordering your Seasons of the Spirit Fusion and Encore materials on a USB STICK. This will give you the benefit of digital access to the materials on computers and laptops which don’t have a CD/DVD drive.

We are now taking orders for
Seasons of the Spirit PRINT, CD ROM & USB STICK packs
for Year C 2021-2022.

You can order these popular worship and children’s ministry resources
on our website here:

for more information about ordering and payment options, and our current postage charges.

For deliveries to Rural Delivery addresses an additional fee applies.
Please click the button below to add this cost to your shopping cart  

[Prices, stock levels and estimated delivery time for titles on this page were last updated on 30 July 2021]

A Book of Blessings.
Glynn Cardy.
Pbk 88pp. ISBN 9781922589019.
Coventry Press (2021).
[Allow 4-5 weeks].

Auckland minister Glynn Cardy takes the Jesus tradition in new directions. He well understands that the blessings of God are found in the ordinary, the familiar, the day-to- day. He affirms that blessings may be experienced and celebrated in unexpected situations and people.

This is a collection that inspires, delights and encourages. It is in itself a blessing to the community called the church – and well beyond the church – for all who share a love and appreciation of everyday people and the richness and the ordinary of their lives.

“Enjoy these words, use them wisely. They will illuminate and disturb and bless you as they have me.” Archbishop Philip Richardson, Archbishop of New Zealand

“Glynn Cardy’s blessings are created from a place of profound attentiveness to the presence of the sacred in the midst of the ordinary. Margaret Mayman Minister at St Michael’s Uniting Church, Melbourne.


Theological Foundations of Worship: Biblical, Systematic, and Practical Perspectives.
Khalia J Williams; Mark Lamport; Melanie Ross eds.
Pbk 320pp. ISBN 9781540962515.

Baker Academic (2021).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

This book brings together an ecumenical team of scholars to present key theological concepts related to worship to help readers articulate their own theology of worship.

Contributors explore the history of theology’s impact on worship practices across the Christian tradition, highlighting themes such as creation, pneumatology, sanctification, and mission.

The book includes introductions by N. T. Wright and Nicholas Wolterstorff. A forthcoming volume will address the historical foundations of worship.

“An essential guide for those seeking to gain a deeper understanding of the multifaceted connections between what we believe and what we do in corporate worship.” María Eugenia Cornou, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

“Place this book beside your prayer book, your devotional guide, your hymn book, your favorite sacred video clips, or your spiritual playlist of songs, and let them talk with each other. You will feel more deeply and worship more fully.” C. Michael Hawn, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University (emeritus)

The Deepest Belonging:
A Story about Discovering Where God Meets Us.
Kara K. Root.
Pbk 150pp. ISBN 9781506470931.

Fortress Press (2021).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Kara Root draws wisdom from three compelling stories, all about finding freedom on the other side of fear. In one thread, Marty, a member of the small congregation Root serves, learns that he is dying. In the second, Root finds that her once-invincible faith of assurance and answers collapses.

These stories come together in a third, when the congregation does a unique and counterintuitive thing: it commissions Marty to a “ministry of dying.” By embracing instead of fleeing death, Marty, this community, and Root herself are infused with life through shared experiences of God. They learn to be vulnerable and brave. They discover–again and profoundly–an unguarded faith of wondering and watching for God’s presence.

This is a book for all pastors and church leaders, as well as for those disillusioned with Christianity and the church and longing for something more real and honest. It explores questions such as: How does God meet us? What is church for? What is a pastor? What does it mean to be truly human?

Finding Abundance in Scarcity:
Steps Towards Church Transformation A HeartEdge Handbook.
Samuel Wells.
Pbk 160pp. ISBN 9781786223692.

Canterbury Press (2021).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

All churches have had to learn to do things differently during closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. None has been more imaginative or inventive than London’s St Martin in the Fields. Through its HeartEdge programmes, it has continued many aspects of its ministry, and developed significant new initiatives and is now a virtual college with an impressively varied programme for practitioners.

Here the St Martin’s team reflects theologically and share its newly found pastoral and practical wisdom in many areas:

  • Finding God in Lockdown
  • Meeting God and One Another Online
  • Rediscovering Contemplative Prayer
  • Facing Grief amidst Separation
  • Preaching at Such a Time as This
  • Singing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Time
  • Hearing Scripture Together in Difficult Times
  • Praying through Crisis
  • Creating a Community of Practitioners
  • Finding Faith at Home
  • Conclusion: A Strategy for Transformation

Traditional navigators of Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa.
Jeff Evans.
Pbk 256pp. ISBN 9780995131804.

Massey University Press (2021). $39.99.
[Allow 10 days].

Ten master navigators share the challenges and triumphs of traditional wayfinding based on the deep knowledge of legendary navigator Mau Piailug.

They also discuss the significance of receiving the title of Pwo (master navigator) from Piailug, and the responsibilities that come with that position. Their stories are intertwined with the renaissance of knowledge and traditions around open-ocean voyaging that are inspiring communities across the Pacific.

To look inside, click here:



Soul Therapy:
The Art and Craft of Caring Conversations.
Thomas Moore.
Hbk 304pp. ISBN 9780063071438.

HarperOne (2021).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Moore addresses the needs of those providing soul care to others – therapists, psychiatrists, ministers, spiritual directors, teachers, and even friends – sharing his insights for incorporating a spiritual or soulful dimension into their work and practices.

Infused with a lifetime’s worth of wisdom, Soul Therapy is divided into five sections:

  • What therapy or “soul care” is and how it works
  • What soul work is required of the helper to be able to address the needs of others
  • How to access and move forward the spiritual dimension
  • How to apply this work to specific areas, such as work, marriage, parenting, or teaching
  • How to deal with other issues that arise, such as developing a therapeutic style, dealing with one’s shadow, and the need for self-care.

“A profound book by a spiritual master, designed to help us care for others. Whether you’re a professional therapist or simply a friend wanting to help, Soul Therapy will give you practical and proven advice on how to provide soul care. I’ve always hoped to find a book like this.” James Martin, SJ, author of Learning to Pray.

The Difficult Words of Jesus:
A Beginner’s Guide to His Most Perplexing Teachings.
Amy-Jill Levine.
Pbk 144pp. ISBN 9781791007577.

Abingdon (2021).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Jesus provided his disciples teachings for how to follow Torah, God’s word; he told them parables to help them discern questions of ethics and of human nature; he offered them beatitudes for comfort and encouragement.

But sometimes Jesus spoke words that followers then and now have found difficult.

He instructs disciples to hate members of their own families (Luke 14:26), to act as if they were slaves (Matthew 20:27), and to sell their belongings and give to the poor (Luke 18:22). He restricts his mission (Matthew 10:6); he speaks of damnation (Matthew 8:12); he calls Jews the devil’s children (John 8:44).

Amy-Jill Levine shows how these difficult teachings would have sounded to the people who first heard them, how have they been understood over time, and how we might interpret them in the context of the Gospel of love and reconciliation.

See below for leader’s guide and DVD for a 6 session study based on this book.


The Difficult Words of Jesus:
Leader’s Guide
Amy-Jill Levine.
Pbk 64pp. ISBN 9781791007591.
Abingdon (2021).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

 A six-week study guide.

Click here for a short introduction video:


The Difficult Words of Jesus DVD
Amy-Jill Levine.
DVD. 6 sessions.
ISBN 9781791007614.
Abingdon (2021).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

This six-session DVD features Dr. Amy-Jill Levine guiding participants through the study.

The video sessions are approximately 10-12 minutes in length and, when combined with the six book chapters, make an ideal six-week group study.

All videos sessions are closed captioned.

Good Works:
Hospitality and Faithful Discipleship
Keith Wasserman; Christine D. Pohl.
Pbk 188pp. ISBN 9780802877017.

Eerdmans (2021).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

For 40 years, the community of Good Works, Inc. has shared life with its neighbours in rural south-eastern Ohio, a region with high poverty rates and remarkably resilient people.

Keith Wasserman, the founder and executive director of Good Works, and Christine Pohl, a scholar of hospitality who has written extensively on church and mission, explore challenging insights from the story of Good Works and how it has grown over the years into a unique expression of discipleship in the body of Christ.

At the heart of this community’s story are connection and mutuality. Good Works functions not as a charity or social service agency but as a place where everyone has the opportunity to both serve and be served. And although worship is a central paradigm for life at Good Works, Keith and the leaders of the community regularly partner with non-Christians from all walks of life who desire to help.

Christians who hunger for lifegiving involvement in their local communities will find inspiration and guidance in this quiet but powerful Appalachian ministry.

Short prayers and questions for reflection at the end of each chapter make this a book to be studied and shared among those who know that love of God and neighbour is the starting point, but who aren’t sure where to go from there.

The Spring of Hope:
Sermons for the Seasons of Faith
Douglas Dales.
Pbk 212pp. ISBN 9781789591736.

Sacristy Press (2021).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

A collection of sermons and reflections for a variety of occasions throughout the Christian year. Many of these were originally preached as part of online worship during the time of national lockdown in 2020.

Douglas Dales invites readers to embark on their Christian journey in the company of saints and church fathers, and to find there new hope and courage for their lives as disciples of Christ in the 21st century.

Faithful in Small Things:
How to Serve the Needy When You’re One of Them
Kevin Wiebe.
Pbk 224pp. ISBN 9781513807744.

Herald Press (2021).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Wiebe pastors a “low-resource” church of mostly immigrants – a congregation that transcends definitions of the helper and the helped and that doesn’t fit neatly into any stereotype of poverty. He shows readers that making big financial donations isn’t the only, or even the best, way to alleviate poverty. Along the way, he shines a spotlight on the value of small acts of love as a means of changing the world, and as vitally important to following Jesus.

Investigating scriptural definitions of poverty and God’s heart for the poor throughout the Bible, Wiebe calls readers not only to “help the needy” but to acknowledge their own need and to work with God to serve others. By delving into concepts like brokenness, mutuality, dignity, and systemic injustice, Wiebe exposes gaps in the mainstream Christian understandings of economic inequality and explores holistic ways of reducing poverty. In doing so, he provides a better way forward for Christians committed to working for the flourishing of all.

How to Have an Enemy:
Righteous Anger and the Work of Peace.
Melissa Florer-Bixler.
Pbk 250pp. ISBN 9781513808130.

Herald Press (VA) (2021).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Jesus called us to love our enemies. But to befriend an enemy, we first have to acknowledge their existence, understand who they are, and recognize the ways they are acting in opposition to God’s good news.

Florer-Bixler looks closely at what the Bible says about enemies – who they are, what they do, and how Jesus and his followers responded to them. The result is a theology that allows us to name our enemies as a form of truth-telling about ourselves, our communities, and the histories in which our lives are embedded.

Only then can we grapple with the power of the acts of destruction carried out by our enemies, and invite them to lay down their enmity, opening a path for healing, reconciliation, and unity.

Tear Down These Walls:
Following Jesus into Deeper Unity.
John H. Armstrong.
Pbk 224pp. ISBN 9781725298071.

Cascade Books (2021). 
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

John Armstrong has devoted three decades to the work of Christian unity. His story and ministry have encouraged many around the world and now they are reflected in this memoir of a life devoted to unity.

What if Jesus really intended for the world to “believe” the gospel on the basis of looking at Christians who live deep unity in a shared relationship with him?

What if there is way of understanding what Jesus desired so that we can begin anew to tear down the many walls of division that keep the world from seeing God’s love in us?

Is our oneness much bigger and deeper than we could imagine?

Each month we choose a selection of titles that we think you will find stimulating and satisfying to read. So come back to the Monthly Selections section of our website regularly.


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