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Becoming a vicar seems a long shot. Becoming a dad will take a miracle.
Matt Woodcock’s frank, funny real-life diaries reveal what it was like for him to train as a vicar while struggling against all odds to become a father. In them he lays bare his joys and struggles as he attempts to reconcile his calling as a vicar with his life a s a part-loving journalist, footy-freak and incorrigible extrovert.
Becoming Reverend is a compelling and original account of how faith can work in the midst of a messy life, combing family, fertility, faith and friendship with the story of a divine – but unlikely – calling.
Paperback book plus online, downloadable discussion guide. Latter comprises 3 A4 sheets for group discussion:
Also available as a Kindle book, and an audiobook, read by Woodcock, via amazon.
Adult, small groups, beginning, enquiring, growing. Older youth would appreciate it too.
Entertaining and unique opportunity to delve into the world of the ‘trainee vicar'.
The downloadable questions seem a bit of an afterthought rather than integral to the book; however, they do encourage further explorations of the issues raised. Like the book, they are well pitched to appeal to both Christians and others interested.
Just the A4 sheets with introduction and questions. These are divided into four sections, but Prologue and Year One would work well together for one session. Woodcock is a former journalist so the book is well written and entertaining. Looking on the website www.becomingreverend.com will help you decide if this resource will suit your group.
Any group member with a bit of experience of leading.
The book is easy to read, unusual and enjoyable. Its self-deprecating style will draw readers in, and make them laugh. Woodcock's situation may be specific, but most of the issues raised are common to us all.
Some brief videos on the www.becomingreverend.com website, which are, like the book, generally entertaining and inviting. See below.
Read the book! Decide how many sessions to do – three would probably be about right.
www.becomingreverend.com is in one way a book promotion site, but also includes the videos – both of Woodcock introducing the topics of the book, and animated versions of the same. Some extra questions and thoughts here under the tabs: Faith, Friendship, Marriage, Fertility, Calling. Link to www.callwaiting.org.uk for further help and interest.
This would be up to the leader to enable. There is no material or structure apart from the book and the questions. Latter should provoke honest and good discussion.
As above – just the book and the questions, so the group would need to be one that enjoyed that; or the leader would need to put some other elements in to the time.
Woodcock wrote the book to be accessible to ‘those who know and love the Church, and for those who don't', and has generally succeeded in his aim. His overall surprise in finding himself studying to be a minister is reflected in his attitude to the journey, so his writing is down-to-earth and ‘normal'. For those considering becoming a minister, this book will of course be extremely relevant, and contribute to the deliberations. Looking on the website www.becomingreverend.com will help you decide if this resource will suit your group.
Questions should encourage honesty and good personal reflection; any ongoing application would be up to the group and the individual.
Woodcock is studying theology so refers both to broad concepts and specifics, scattered throughout the narrative.
Woodcock uses a light approach, but refers to the challenges of biblical study as well as how the word of God is alive and active in his life.
Honest and helpful interaction with biblical concepts and texts, as Woodcock wrestles with life's ups and downs.
Despite the fact that not many group members will be in Woodcock's situation of theological study and ‘vicar training', there is plenty of material in his life that is common to most of us.
Hopefully this book will raise helpful questions for those who are not yet Christians, and for Christians, alike.
Woodcock invites us in to his experience of wrestling with his faith and its implications, which helpfully raises issues we can engage with as well.
Though his ordination journey is specific, Woodcock writes about it in ‘human' and relatable-to ways. His various personal and family trials are some that many will share.
This is a passion of Woodcock's which comes across clearly and should inspire.
Lots of examples of this in Woodcock's life and ministry, both through the book and the website.
Not a particular focus.
Implicit but not a focus.