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The Vicar’s Secret Wallpaper 

Might alter a little the perceptions of those not in ministry, and remind those of us who have that great privilege that we too are no different from anyone else

The VicarsThe Vicar’s Secret Wallpaper - moments, meanderings and meaning in Christian ministry 
By Malcolm Nicholas 
Rossendale Books 
ISBN No: 978-1-326-58563-1
Reviewed By: Jeannie Kendall

What is it really like to be a minister? If you are one, you may have a clear answer (though, to be fair, each of us only know what it is like to be us as a minister in our own specific setting)

If you aren’t, you may have ideas with varying kinds of realism. I well remember a lady at a previous church who said of course I could not know what it was like to wrestle with anger because I never felt it. I soon disabused her of this odd view of my humanity. She genuinely thought ministers were some form of curious sub-species.

Malcolm Nicholas has written a book of reflection on ministry in different settings. Each (short) section sets a scene with an anecdote – written in the present tense which initially I found off-putting but did adjust to. He then writes a person reflection on each, which vary from a rather sad questioning through to a wry humour. In between are more general reflections as he transitions from one form of ministry to another.

As the title suggests, his ministry has been in an Anglican setting, and just occasionally this may feel different from those ministering in other denominations. Most of it though will feel very familiar. In particular, what shines through is his (and our) humanity: suffering the same questions and heartaches (and moments of humour) as everyone else on the planet.

This is an easy read: a bit like looking (with permission) into someone’s journals. It won’t change the world – but might alter a little the perceptions of those not in ministry who struggle to understand it, and remind those of us who have that great privilege, lest we need it, that we too are no different from anyone else.

Jeannie is co-minister of Carshalton Beeches Baptist church

Baptist Times, 01/12/2016
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