Being in Ministry Honestly, Openly, and Deeply

Being in Ministry Honestly, Openly, and Deeply

Douglas Purnell, Wipf & Stock

Being in Ministry is one of those books that make you inhale and think, “This is a beautiful book.”

The Rev. Doug Purnell reflects on his life’s journey as a “priestly person”, as he calls himself, with breathtaking honesty and the thoughts of an artist.

My favourite parts of the book included his telling of painting while listening to jazz music; the newly-married couple who continued to kiss enthusiastically during his prayer for them and the men’s group he ran called “Blokes’ Sheds”, which was held in sheds belonging to “blokes” from his congregation.

They are like paintings as well as stories.

I also benefited from his thoughts on forgiveness, loneliness, grief, organising his days and goals, memories, mental illness, ministry and people’s attempts to deal with death.

Purnell writes a lot about death, something that he has dealt with often through his work as minister.

Being in Ministry will be of benefit to all sorts of people: ministers, people thinking about becoming ministers, artists, people who are searching, people who dealing with feelings of hurt and rejection, and people who just like reading about real people.

As Purnell writes: “My hope is that you be able to ‘cut loose’ with these stories as a good swing player does with music and then take them where you need to go.”

I did. You will.

Katy Gerner

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