Ruth has created such a lovely tribute to her father, The Revd Stuart Bamforth, compiling, editing and publishing this collection of teachings from his sermons, that reflect some of the key messages that he spent a lifetime communicating.
I know from experience how much preparation and passion goes in to preparing and delivering sermons. The Bible teaches that it is a great responsibility, and judging by this book it is a responsibility that the Revd Bamforth took very seriously and carried out diligently.
His wisdom is clearly soaked in study, as well as practical experience, which is then distilled and presented to the listening ears. But nothing seems to be lost be reading them now, rather than hearing them at the time.
The introduction offers the reader a detailed background, that tells the life story of an intellectual man, humble and called to care for others. A man of solid faith, who found it was best fed by more traditional forms of worship, which gave him a deep spiritual connection to God.
The content is drawn from sermons delivered over 52 years of service, an amazing record of Christian study which is so relevant and foundational now, for those with a faith or those perhaps still exploring. It is a goldmine.
Easy to read and gentle in their approach, the words are bathed in compassion for the listener and offer a clarity of communication. Complex concepts are distilled so they are easily understood, often coming back to the core gospel message and key commandments of Jesus.
The chapters cover topics like love, faith, joy and what it means to be a Christian. There is a section on the Bible and prayer, as well as topics that were clearly close to his heart about the importance of the Sacraments, which as a non-Church of England Christian I found really interesting and helpful. Finally, a chapter on the priestly vocation, a subject that he was clearly expert on and explains with clarity.
The sermons are peppered with anecdotes, practical and poignant, and quotes from the many influences whom he had learnt wisdoms from. There is a rich vein of humility running throughout all the sermons, which for me is always a good measure of their purpose.
It is skilfully compiled and edited so the content flows well and is easy to read.
At the end of each chapter are some helpful questions that could be used for a discussion group or further personal study.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, but was under no pressure to provide a favourable review.