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Sabbath in the City: Sustaining Urban Pastoral Excellence Paperback – October 14, 2008
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About the Author
Claire E. Wolfteich is Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Spiritual Formation and Co-Director of the Center for Practical Theology at Boston University School of Theology, Boston, Massachuesetts. She is also Director of the Pastoral and Spiritual Formation Program at BU. She is the author of American Catholics through the Twentieth Century: Spirituality, Lay Experience, and Public Life, Navigating New Terrain: Work and Women's Spiritual Lives, and Lord, Have Mercy: Praying for Justice with Conviction and Humility.
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1. The cultivation of holy, life-giving friendships, particularly with other pastors;
2. Regular Sabbath practices of rest that allow for acts of both creation and liberation;
3. A renewal of the spirit through disciplines like prayer, reading Scripture, and silence;
4. Study and reflection on the theology and practice of ministry (the authors tie this in with the above activity, renewal of the spirit).
While the authors note that pastoral excellence thus constituted is applicable to other, non-urban settings, they emphasize the uniqueness of the urban context and how it can challenge and fatigue urban pastors. They describe the city as “a place of distractions, busyness, and frenzied activity." In contradistinction to more affluent suburban parishes, the urban church is likely to function as a full-service institution that addresses the variegated needs of the city in which it resides. The authors follow the group of 96 participants and show how the four practices listed above helped them to cultivate and sustain pastoral excellence.
Reading the book was itself an act of refreshment. Two aspects were most helpful to me:
First, the authors highlight the importance to pastors of cultivating holy, God-focused friendships.Read more ›