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New books from the Lindsey Press

A complete list of Lindsey press books can be seen by clicking here.

Gathering in Prayer

Gathering In Prayer Newly published from The Lindsey Press is Gathering in Prayer by a Northern Ireland Unitarian, Roger Courtney.

Songwriter Roger Courtney is probably most widely known for 'The Pollen of Peace' , the song he composed for the Corrymeela Centre and which is included in the BBC Hymn Book. It has been translated into six languages and is sung regularly in many countries.

Dr Courtney, who lives in Bangor, is also the author of The Northern Ireland Fundraising Handbook and Fundraising Through Trusts.

After sixteen years as the Chief Officer of the Simon Community in Belfast, focusing on work with the homeless, Dr Courtney now works as an organisational development adviser for a wide range of voluntary organisations in Northern Ireland. He also lectures part-time on two masters' programmes at Queen's University, Belfast.

This April has seen a new venture for Roger in the publication of Gathering in Prayer: words for inclusive worship, a collection of responsive readings prompted by his Unitarian faith and his regular association with All Souls non-subscribing Presbyterian Church in Belfast.

Pervading the book are the themes of peace, love, wholeness, and reconciliation. Prayers invite a celebration of the oneness of all creation and the shared humanity of all people.

Responses may be brief, like the simple 'We give thanks and praise', or lyrical, like 'Let justice flow like water and integrity like an ever-flowing stream'.

Dr Courtney explains that it was his quest for material for a book about progressive Irish dissenters that led him to Unitarianism: 'As part of my research I stumbled across All Souls' Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church and first heard the word Unitarian and soon realised that I had found my spiritual home and have been actively involved ever since,' he says. He continues to write both secular and sacred songs and two years ago produced a CD of original songs in aid of Corrymeela entitled Go in Peace.

Gathering in Prayer is available from the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, at £8 plus postage. Contact details are the bottom of the page.

Sacred Earth

Sacred Earth Sacred Earth, a collection of prayers and meditations by the Reverend Cliff Reed, minister of Unitarian Meeting House, Ipswich, newly published by The Lindsey Press, draws inspiration from what he describes as 'the sacred landscape here in holy Suffolk where ancient monuments to faith rise from the tranquil valleys, bustling towns and rolling fields towards the eternal sky'.

Mr Reed is one of the most popular authors of worship material amongst Unitarian ministers and lay preachers. The new book, which is being published by the Lindsey Press at £9, is his fifth collection of devotional material.

One of the prayers was inspired by St Botolph's Church, Iken, where Mr Reed invokes the 'God of lonely places'. Another, in which he writes of them as 'Life's everlasting miracle', celebrates the migrant birds whom Mr Reed regards as 'winged messengers'. John Goto's 'Loss of face exhibition', reflecting the Puritan desecration of the medieval figures on rood screens in East Anglia's churches, provides inspiration for another prayer.

There are prayers marking the traditional occasions of the church year such as Holy Week, Easter, Harvest, Remembrance Day, and Christmas, although these are given the freshness of a Unitarian perspective. Good Friday, for example, is a time to think of all martyrs through the ages, women as well as men: 'He is crucified, she is shot; he is gassed, she is burned; he is poisoned, she is hanged; she is raped and beaten, he is tortured and broken.' Mr Reed invites the reflection that God is with the martyr 'in the pain and anguish, giving courage and strength; the peace of death and the triumph of the spirit's resurrection.' And Mr Reed adds further 'special days' like Human Rights Day' on which he invites prayers for 'those who speak and write and preach against the denial of human worth and dignity; those whose struggle is moved by love and compassion, not hatred and the thirst for vengeance.'

The collection includes a meditation 'On being religious liberally'. The Unitarian denomination, one of the oldest Nonconformist movements in Britain, is also the most liberal and forward-looking of faiths.

Cliff Reed has been active in the Unitarian ministry for over thirty-five years, for most of that time in Ipswich, Suffolk.

Sacred Earth is available from The Lindsey Press, Essex Hall at £9 plus postage. Contact details below.