From Library Journal
Russell, a Presbyterian clergyman and professor of theology at Yale Divinity School, uses the metaphor of three tables--the Round Table of connection, the Kitchen Table of solidarity, and the Welcome Table of partnership--to set forth her vision of a church that is not alienating to women, nonwhites, or the laity. She envisions a church in which all work for justice and freedom and in which church leaders "make all persons welcome as they gather around God's table of New Creation." She especially criticizes the way "right" administration of sacraments "has fenced the table by requiring that only those ordained and authorized in a particular pattern officiate," and she calls for a spirituality that unites all individuals. Highly recommended for all seminary libraries and for academic and public libraries as well.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Purvis' engaging and informative study of two Atlanta churches, one Episcopal and one Presbyterian, whose senior pastors are women, is not only an excellent contribution to the study of congregational life and leadership, but also a model of ethnographic writing. The author is a good storyteller who lets the stories of these communities and their leaders unfold; there is as much to be learned from the style as from the content of the book. That is not to diminish the content, though. Two congregations is a small sample, but here it is an impressively deep one. Purvis' suggestion that "the combination of conventional roles in unconventional ways" helps "regender those roles and widen the range of possible social constructs for the process of gendering itself" is offered with appropriate caution, but it is thoroughly grounded and should prove fruitful for other researchers. Don't let the title restrict the audience; this is a gem, of interest to anyone who seeks a better understanding of communities, organizational change, or leadership. Steve Schroeder