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"Living Reconciliation can transform our world" - Abp Welby in new book

Posted on: September 29, 2014 1:45 PM
Not a churchy report, rather a lively and inspiring work on a crucial subject
Photo Credit: ACNS
Related Categories: Abp Welby, Reconciliation

From the Anglican Communion Office

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has said he believes the subject of a new book called Living Reconciliation can help "transform our world".

The book, written by two Anglican Communion Office staff, is designed to inspire ordinary people to live in a way that transforms their churches and their society. It is intended as a platform to enable people to engage with and live out the Archbishop of Canterbury's thinking on 'living reconciliation'; a subject he hopes will be the hallmark of Anglicanism.

Emerging from the life of the Anglican Communion and featuring stories from around the world, the book ustilises the theology and experience of Continuing Indaba - a project of the Anglican Consultative Council in response to the 2009 Primates' Meeting.

It is not a report, rather a lively and inspiring work that challenges the reader to reflect deeply on Scripture and to apply it in their own context.

It is described by the Dean of Coventry John Witcombe as "a book [that] sets out vital principles, tells compelling stories, and inspires and challenges readers to live and make new stories of their own...An invitation not just to a way of thinking, but to a way of life." 

The Bible is central

Co-author the Revd Canon Dr Phil Groves said, "The Archbishop of Canterbury begins his foreword with the words 'Reconciliation is God’s mission to the world in Christ; therefore it is our mission.'

"The book reflects the breadth of the Anglican Communion and is inspired by Anglicans working in their parishes and dioceses across the world. Underpinning every chapter is a belief that Christ came into the world to reconcile us to God and to one another.

"The Bible is central to the book, but the reader is often confronted with new ways of reading familiar texts. For example, they read the story of Sarah and Hagar through the eyes of a Kenyan woman theologian familiar with the conflicts inherent in polygamy."

A book for all Anglicans

Archbishop Desmond Tutu says the book is a tool and encouragement for all to live a life of reconciliation. Many others with experience of working for reconciliation between Christian-Muslim communities and Roman Catholic-Protestant communities in Northern Ireland have echoed his commendation.

However, Canon Groves stressed this is not a book for "some rare breed of conflict negotiators".

"It has been written in dialogue with a group of ordinary Christians with no formal theological training," he said. "Some of the greatest enthusiasm for this book has come from those involved in assisting parishes in conflict."

Coventry Cathedrals Canon for Reconciliation Sarah Hills describes it as "the resource they have been looking for" and Sandra Cobbin Sandra Cobbin who runs courses addressing church conflict says it is "an essential read".

Canon Groves added, "The Archbishop of Canterbury has called us to be reconciled with one another to be reconcilers in the world. The book is not inward-looking; it challenges the reader to bring reconciliation to our world.

"This is emphasised in videos on the associated website that feature the Bishop Moses of Mbeere in Kenya and Canon Jesus of El Camino Real in California who speak of how reconciliation in the church has gone hand-in-hand with peacebuilding between warring clans, and with challenging gang culture where they live.

"Living Reconciliation is both realistic about the challenges and positive about the hope we have in Christ. Those churches that live reconciliation are faithful in prayer and growing in disciples. This is a book aimed at transforming both church and world."

Living Reconciliation is written by Phil Groves and Angharad Parry Jones, and is published by SPCK in the UK and Forward Movement in North America. The Living Reconciliation website can be found at http://living-reconciliation.org/