A Long Walk Up the Charts

by Gerry Lynch last modified 02 Feb, 2017 05:39 PM

Book by Dorset priest reaches Amazon Lent Top 5

A Dorset priest’s book has reached the top five of amazon.co.uk’s Lent bestsellers list, joining company such as the Archbishop of Canterbury and theologian Paula Gooder.

The Reverend Tim Heaton, Assistant Curate of Gillingham and Milton on Stour, wrote The Long Road to Heaven based on the film The Way.

“It feels great”, says Tim, “and I hope the book might move up higher, as there is still a month to go until the start of Lent.

“The book was originally published for Lent 2014, so this is the fourth year I have been promoting it. It sells about 2,000 copies a year. The book has gone widely, and has been used as the basis of Lent courses in churches all across the UK and abroad.

The Way is a great film about the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, the famous Way of St James which is walked by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year.”

In The Way, Martin Sheen plays an American ophthalmologist who goes to France following the death of his adult son, killed in the Pyrenees during a storm while walking the Camino. Tom's purpose is initially to retrieve his son's body. However, in a combination of grief and homage to his son, Tom decides to walk the ancient spiritual trail, where he encounters other travellers on their own journeys, literal and metaphorical.

“The Lent course involves watching some clips from a film” Tim continues, “which was once uncommon but has now been used very successfully, especially by Hillary Brand. Lent groups can find it so much more engaging to watch clips from a film as a springboard to discussion. The visual dimension often opens up discussion in a great way.

“The course is essentially an exploration of salvation.”

Tim also says there is another book he would recommend this Lent: “I have seen the Diocese’s Lent prayer book Praying Together and I think it is firsly a tremendous initiative to get everybody praying together across the Diocese. Beyond that, it’s also a nice little booklet which will slip into a handbag or pocket. I am also impressed that we have got our prayers on to an app as well.

“I’m very keen for people to support their local Christian or independent bookshop, so I encourage people to only buy from Amazon if they want the Kindle edition. Otherwise, I hope people will support a local shop or the Sarum College Bookshop.”

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