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The Gospel in the Global Village: Sharing God’s dream of shalom

Canterbury Press (London), 2009
RRP $32.95

Reviewed by Peter Harvey, Frontier Services, Flinders Patrol Minister.

THIS IS the second book by Katharine Jefferts Schori written as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA.

Like her first work, On a Wing and a Prayer, it is a collection of sermons and speeches given by the bishop at conferences and gatherings around the world in which she addresses some of the complex issues confronting (particularly) ECUSA and the worldwide church in general.

The themes addressed are arranged thematically, which makes reading the book a little repetitive at first, but also highlights the consistency of thought which has marked the bishop’s presidency.

The overriding message that comes through is the relevance of faith to social and political justice.

Many of Ms Jeffert Schori’s addresses sound out a prophetic voice that decries injustice, by focusing on the importance of the Millennium Development Goals and the need for those who follow Jesus to make the gospel the social blueprint for the New Jerusalem.

The bishop’s reflections on leadership and on the relationship of religion and science, especially in respect to climate change, are particularly interesting because they reflect her unique experience as previously, a professional oceanographer, and now as the first female primate within the Anglican Communion.

Taken altogether the book sets out Ms Jeffert Schori’s understanding of what it means to "share God’s dream of shalom".
In its portrayal of her as one who really is as deeply rooted in the world as in the Church, it offers an all too rare glimpse of an alternative model of church leadership, one that is ‘more deeply rooted in a spirituality of practice than a spirituality of place’.