The days are long, the breeze is cool, we’ve got a good book and we’re lounging by the pool. Sounds like a perfect summer day to me! Here’s a short list of great books from the past 12 months that are worth stashing into your suitcase this season, as reviewed by our team and invited guest writers. 

The Gender Revolution – Dr Patricia Weerakoon, the Rev Dr Rob Smith and the Rev Kamal Weerakoon

“The authors speak with an authority based on research and experience. The issues they are dealing with, unimaginable even a decade ago, are of high present significance and we need to be assured by an approach based on both Scripture and science.” (Rev Dr Peter Jensen) 


Walk His Way – Andrew Shead

This book was a place for me – tired and overly busy, probably like you, too – to find peace amid structure and patterns and judgement and tenderness and welcome. I truly learnt to feel again the joy – the outrageous claim! – of being a person within the group God calls “my people”. (Sally Swan)


The Class of Chappo – edited by David Mansfield

How helpful it was for me to be reminded in these pages that not all “gospel” opportunities are equal in their helpfulness! To speak into chaos, bad planning and poor inviting is difficult. And yet, as one contributor says, quoting Paul in 2 Timothy 4:2, even if it doesn’t feel like a good time, still do it. (the Rev Canon Simon Manchester)


Christian Essentials – Ken D Noakes

I want to say that this book is not something written from the confines of my study. What I liked about this process was that it was road-tested over and over again by people willing to engage with the content, which has ultimately shaped it into a more useful book under God. (the Rev Ken Noakes, author) 


The Life of Faith – Peter Jensen

There is plenty here for a believer at any stage of maturity to revisit, ponder and find nourishment. (the Rev Dr Bill Salier)


Bringing Forth Life – Jodie McIver

The book offers a practical guide to pregnancy, birth and postpartum, with spiritual reflections at every stage. Each chapter is filled with useful knowledge, personal stories and biblical truths, and finishes with a prayer, written by a fellow mother, that reflects on the content of each section and encourages the reader to humbly lean on the Lord in every moment. 

The message of the book is clear: bringing forth life is a spiritually significant act, one which lifts our eyes to the Lord. (Tara Sing) 


Pastoral Care: The Core of Christian Ministry – David Pettett

The tone of this short book is that of a wise, older pastor giving advice to younger clergy, saying, “Here are ways I want to see you function”. But as we all listen in on this advice, it is possible to see the role of the whole congregation in supporting pastoral care. In fact, David says the role of the pastor is to help create a vibrant Christian community because its creation is the role of all the saints. (the Rev Archie Poulos)


A Godparent’s Handbook – Alice Warren

Being a godparent begins with a good relationship. There’s no checklist for that – only you know you and your godchild. Part of good relating… is setting expectations with the parents, as well as working out practicalities. I was delighted to then read the pages spent on prayer ideas, presents, even presence! These were all good, sensible, joyful ideas and I closed the book feeling energised and equipped. (Sally Swan)


10 Dead Gals You Should Know – Rachel Ciano and Ian J. Maddock

The central thing about each of these women, of course, is that their lives were lived for the glory of God through their trust in Jesus. Having said that, Ciano and Maddock have not sought to present the “gals” as plaster saints. Each of them made mistakes – for example, Catherine of Siena’s extreme asceticism meant she basically starved herself to death – and  they also get into plenty of heated theological arguments. Yet in all things they seek to honour Christ within their spheres of influence. (Judy Adamson)


His Workmanship – Reflections on Living in Christ – Professor John Clark

Professor Clark acknowledges that he is no theologian but his understanding as a product of God’s workmanship and refining for more than 50 years shines through each page. The style is engaging and the layout of chapters is helpful. Headings like Grace, Faith, Trust and Assurance ensure that each topic is focused and… can be dipped in and out of with great profit. (Russell Powell)