Inspiring books

We love to hear from former parish assistants. Here, for both Lent and International Book Day,  five tell us of books which have inspired them. Thank you so much to them. There’s a lovely variety. They may inspire you too.

First of all Laura Whitehouse, now a Year 4 teacher in Werrington, Peterborough.

mystery-ev-uThe Mystery of Everything by  Hilary Brand

This Lent course study book got me to think deeper about things in an interesting way, through the film ‘The Theory of Everything’.  I strongly recommend that people delve into this book. It covers a range of topics, from wonder to weakness finishing with hope. Hilary Brand uses the film to stimulate thought in an innovative way. It makes an interesting read for Lent.

Secondly, our Harrisonburg, USA correspondent, Mycah McNett.

walk-relaxedWalking in a Relaxed Manner by Joyce Rupp

This book came into my hands at a time when I was preparing to rush into an unknown future after having lived in Manchester for nearly a year.  I had no idea what I was going to do with myself when I returned to the United States, and while reading this book I was reminded that I did not always have to have a plan, just a willing spirit to walk a little slower sometimes, and listen to God.

And a choice of Toby Gibbons, completing his training for the priesthood, at Durham.

crankyA book that really inspired me is Cranky Beautiful Faith, by Nadia Bolz-Weber. It’s her biography/faith story, it tells of her early life and then call to be a Lutheran pastor in the States. It’s a beautiful down to earth story about real faith told in a very honest and moving way. It’s also the perfect antidote for anyone who says God can’t use me I’m not good enough. It’s done the rounds here at college a few times.


And another from Durham, Fr Leon Rogers, Parish Priest in Hartlepool. Leon couldn’t narrow it down to one so we chose the first on his list!

alaska-uAlone in the Wilderness– the autobiography of Dick Proenneke.

The musings of a modern day hermit who when the world was thriving with the fog of industry carved out a life in the remote wilderness of Alaska.

A testimony of simple life,  love of creation and the importance of self belief.

And finally Fr Robert Wynford Harris, Vicar in Seaview, Isle of Wight.

Sexing The Cherry‘ by Jeanette Winterson

sex-cherry-uI was in my twenties when I first read this, and probably thought I already knew enough about beauty/rejection/love/inclusion/exclusion – and the ‘outsider’s’ viewpoint. Of course I was wrong! I adore this book and am still mesmerised by its characters and  the challenge they present to prejudice. It is beautifully, written, and a rich though not always comfortable adventure in reading and imagination.

Which book would you suggest for a list of inspiring books – why not say by posting a comment below?

Have a look too at Sandra Palmer’s blog post on how Children’s books can inspire us all.


About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community where people of differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
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