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Tales of a Country Parish

by Michael Ford last modified 17 Feb, 2022 12:23 PM

The Revd Colin Herber-Percy of Pewsey Deanery has released his book, Tales of a Country Parish. He has shared with us what led to this book being written.

"At the start of lockdown I began to write reflections and prayers for lonely and anxious parishioners. Initially, I thought of the reflections as a way of meeting a need in the people I’m called to serve; I hadn’t recognised the need in myself. As I began to write, I quickly found the words that came were a deeply personal sounding, a way of expressing my deep love for these parishes in rural Wiltshire with their steep chalk downland, forests, ancient drovers’ tracks and Saxon herepaths. 

Within days, the posts I was firing off on a wing and a prayer were being shared far beyond my rural parishes. Under the circumstances, it doesn’t seem quite right to say they ‘went viral’ but that’s effectively what happened. I began to receive emails from people I’d never met living in places I’d never visited, or even heard of. Many of their emails were deeply moving: from isolation, from Intensive Care Units, from the lonely and afraid all over the world. 

Struggling through my own situation – a wife with Covid, frightened children, family members needing crisis support – the posts became more personal, prayerful, and began to fill up with people, places, pieces of music and passages from books I found myself returning to for consolation and counsel. 

It’s the year’s cycle that gives the book its structure: spring to spring. But laid over the familiar pattern of our changing seasons are less familiar spells of lockdown and quarantine, tiers and testing. For all of us, these last two years beat like the valves of a heart, closing and opening and closing. 

Tales of a Country Parish was not written from a point of view, but from a loved place, and from the heart. The tales weren’t written with an agenda, but with love, not to people, but for people. I suppose it’s not a voice you hear very often on social media threads or in the mainstream media or even in synods – but I hope it’s the authentic voice of the parish." 

Tales of a Country Parish is available now from all good bookshops. And the weekly reflections are still going out to a growing number of recipients around the world. If you would like to subscribe to the email reflections, please let Colin know by emailing:

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