Parish: An Anglican Theology of Place
Parish: An Anglican Theology of Place  -     By: Andrew Rumsey
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SCM Press / 2017 / Paperback

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Parish: An Anglican Theology of Place

SCM Press / 2017 / Paperback

In Stock
Stock No: WW054840

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Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: SCM Press
Publication Date: 2017
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.38 (inches)
ISBN: 0334054842
ISBN-13: 9780334054849

Publisher's Description

The Anglican parish is uniquely embedded in English culture and society, by virtue both of its antiquity and close allegiance with secular governance. Yet it remains an elusive and surprisingly overlooked theme, whose 'place', theologically, is far from certain. Whilst ecclesiastical history has long formed a pillar of academic training for ordained ministry, ecclesiastical geography has not contributing to the often uninformed assumptions about locality in contemporary church debate and mission strategy. At a time when its relevance and sustainability are being weighed in the balance and with plans progressing for the Church in Wales' abandonment of parochial organisation, there is an urgent need for a clear analysis of the parish's historical, geographical and sociological - as well as theological significance.

"Parish" examines the distinctive form of social and communal life created by the Anglican parish: applying and advancing, the emerging discipline of place theology by filling a conspicuous gap in contemporary scholarship. Andrew Rumsey will help in forming a vision for the future of the English parish system, contribute towards the Church's strategy for parochial ministry and also inform the broader national conversation about 'localism' and cultural identity.

Table of Contents:

Part One - Christ in Our Place: The Anglican Parish in Theoretical Perspective

1. Steadying Jacob's Ladder: A Place- Formation Cycle
2. The Lord is Here: Towards a Christology of Place
3. Sheer Geography: Spatial Theory and Parochial Practice

Part Two - Common Ground: The Anglican Parish in History and Practice

4. Another Country: Parish and the National Myth
5. Good Fences: Parish as Neighbourhood
6. A Handful of Earth: Parish, Landscape and Nostalgia

Conclusion: A Kind of Belonging

Author Bio

Reverend Dr Andrew Rumsey is Rector of the Oxted Team Ministry in Southwark Diocese. His previous books include the 2010 Mowbray Lent Book Strangely Warmed (Continuum), which was reprinted three times in its first year of publication and commended by, among others, Tom Wright and Ian Hislop - the latter endorsing it as 'witty, erudite, eloquent and thoughtful'.

Editorial Reviews

This wonderful study of the parish is unrivalled as a scholarly study of the parish, charting brilliantly the determinative role that that it has played in English history. As well as being an invaluable work of social and ecclesiological history, it demonstrates masterfully and imaginatively how crucial place is to any adequate understanding of Christian theology. It deserves to be very widely read not only by all who are committed about the Church of England and the gospel it seeks to proclaim, but also by all who care about the future of England.
Place is back on the agenda today: in books and on television, place and places fascinate scholars and the general public alike. This magnificent book weaves a wide range of perspectives together lyrically with ease. Here, theology finds itself at home with geography, philosophy and the study of history on the widest scale, and at the most local. At a time when church strategy is often ill at ease with the apparent lack of novelty in abiding with a community, where it is, for the long run, Rumsey's book offers what we need, and yet it is low on polemic, and big on pastoral insight.
Andrew Rumsey sees with the eyes of a poet, writes with the hand of a scholar, and loves with the heart of a priest. His call to re-examine the myths, meaning, purpose and promise of the parish is as persuasive as it is timely. He is a faithful storeholder who has found in the history and soil of this evocative theme something old and something new. This is a study to be cherished, enjoyed - and lived.
This book is like discovering a legacy left by a long-lost relative. Parishes are a precious inheritance left to the present generation by its forebears. Cultivated both physically and spiritually for centuries, parishes are not just areas of land, they are repositories of densely-woven human relationship based on principles of reciprocity, generosity and care. In their particularity, they are seed banks of future forms of human community as our global monocultures come under strain. Above all, they proclaim the Christian belief that God's self-disclosure in a living, walking human being was a local affair, and still is. Rumsey's is a profound summons not to take for granted what has been bequeathed to us.
This book is a must read for all Anglicans thinking about mission, the significance of place, and the "parish system". Andrew Rumsey has done something truly astonishing. Each page is packed with worthwhile insights, and more elegant writing than this review could readily quote. He has written the book one wishes one could write, and discussions of the parish and its future must use this wonderful work as their starting place.

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