What Do Ordinands Read? (When They Have The Time!)

books in black wooden book shelf
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GUEST POST:// Charmaine Muir is a final year ordinand at Wycliffe Hall where she is Director of Religious Technology (i.e. she’s the one who knows how to operate the AV system!) Before training, she was on staff at All Souls, Langham Place and led the workplace ministry.


When I started at theological college a year and a half ago, I thought I would have even more time to read. Turns out not so much. I read a lot for essays but frustrating never have time to read the whole book, only the chapter(s) relevant to what I’m researching. I still read more fiction then any-thing else because it helps me unwind And so my bookshelves continue to contain books waiting to be read. However, in the last year I have read many good books (and lots of okay books) and so here are my top ten of 2019 (in not particular order).

Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren

Tish writes of the ordinary everyday practices that remind her of how God is at work and of the weekly rituals of church life that we so easily take for granted but yet continue to teach us about God and how he is at work in and through us in His world. She reminds us that we “cannot seek God’s peace and mission in the world without beginning right where I am, in my home, in my neighbourhood, in my church, with the real people right around me.”

Why I am no longer talking to white people about race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

This book is hard to sum up in a few sentences but has made me realise there are no easy solutions and that it’s important to listen to the experiences of those around me.

Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

A historical mystery solved from a hospital bed. Did Richard III really kill his nephews? Amongst all the many crime novels I read this year, this one stands out for being a bit different from the usual whodunit.

The Calling of Emily Evans by Janette Oke

I’ve not read much Janette Oke since the first time round of university but I’d never read this one. As an ordinand this one resonated as Emily Evans follows her call to ministry but hopefully my curacy won’t be as extreme as her first posting!

The Ecclesiastical History of England by Bede

Re-reading Bede’s history of the conversion of England was definitely one of the best books I read for essays this year, partly because I love a good history read and because of Bede’s indomitable accounts of the early church in England.

The Preaching Life by Barbara Brown Taylor

The first half of the book Taylor talks about what it means to those who are called to ordained ministry and speaks of ministry as understanding “her ministry might involve being just who she already is and doing just what she already does, with one difference; namely, that she understand herself to be God’s person in and for the world”. The second half are some of her sermons, short and thought provoking.

Awaiting the King by James K A Smith

The third in Smith’s cultural liturgy series. A challenge to see how the church models what it looks like to be citizens in our world.

Dying Well by John Wyatt

The art of ares moriendi for the 21st century. Practical and thought-provoking in a culture that avoids the topic of death.

Phoebe by Paula Gooder

A fascinating novel exploring the character of Phoebe and the 1st century church.

Twelve Great Spiritual Writers by Liz Hoare

This one has only just come out (2020) but I had the privilege of getting to read an advanced copy of it. Liz introduces the reader to 12 female spiritual writers, with extracts to give you a taste of their writing. A great way to find new authors to read (very bad for the budget!!)

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