This work of parochial theology is a discussion between a rector and parishioner. It engages the question of how Benedictine spirituality and parish identity can thrive within a post-Christendom society that has become antagonistic towards Christian life.
Publishing Date: August 2012
Specifics: Saddle-stitch, 29 pp., 7 x 10
Dr. Rowan Williams
“I hope this book is widely read and widely influential.”
The Rev. Dr Louis Weil
The Benedictine Parish is a conversation between a priest and a parishioner. Father Thomas Fraser is the rector of St Paul’s Parish, Riverside, Illinois, where Matthew Dallman and his family are members. In this conversation, Father Fraser and Matthew discuss what it means for the parish, over the course of three decades, to have come to understand itself to be Benedictine and Catholic in The Episcopal Church.
A cradle Episcopalian, Father Fraser details his own spiritual journey in the Church that led him to help spearhead the rebuilding of this once-dying parish. The effort involved making a radical break: out was a “clinic model” built upon typical parish programs. What grew instead was a “religious community model” centered in the formation of its members as well as a liturgy that is monastic in its paradigm.
A work of parochial theology, The Benedictine Parish is an invitation to participate in the questions and challenges that many mature Christians are increasingly facing. This book suggests that perhaps we, the children of God, might not only endure through, but also prayerfully thrive in, an era increasingly secular and torn by social discord. There are no easy remedies in parish life; yet as Father Fraser reminds us, it all does come down to two words: “preferring Christ”.
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