Edited by Bernadette Flanagan and Sharon Thornton
Bloomsbury Continuum, 2014, £35.00, Hb 240pp, ISBN 9781441125170
Reviewed by Russ Parker, director of Acorn Christian Healing Foundation.
This book consists of a collection of essays addressing a wide range of issues affecting the practice of pastoral care in a world of rapidly changing social contexts. The subject matter embraces such diverse issues as asylum seekers, cults and sects, male violence against women and cyberbullying. As such the book offers an insight into disciplines and experiences that may fall outside the remit of many of its readers.
The book is divided into two basic sections covering European trends and themes and their North American equivalents. A most helpful chapter is the one entitled 'pastoral care today' by Kevin Egan, who helpfully explores the differences to be understood between pastoral care and pastoral counselling. He charts the increasing secularisation within the disciplines of the pastoral world and examines the role still remaining for the traditional care from the church pastor and the boundaries such secularisation now entails.
The book is informative for those encountering new arenas of concern and the extensive book recommendations will enable such readers to grow in their knowledge of their new fields of enquiry. However, as most pastoral carers work within their fields of expertise this book can only serve as a discussion starter.