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Publication Date: 17 Aug 2017
Publisher: SPCK Publishing
Page Count: 128
Author: Magdalen Smith
ISBN-13: 9780281077182, 9780281077199

Unearthly Beauty

Through Advent With The Saints
By Magdalen Smith
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ISBN: 9780281077182
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ISBN: 9780281077199
‘Saints are people of unearthly beauty who show us a deep understanding of the fluid nature of divine grace.’

This warm-hearted book is for those of us who enter Advent longing for spiritual sustenance to balance the worldly charms of the Christmas season. Jesus’ arrival in poverty and vulnerability provoked feelings of unease as well as expectation and hope . . . How will we keep the faith as Christians called to live distinctively in an age of anxiety?

Magdalen Smith believes we can be inspired by people from the past – those whose names are familiar or less so – whom the Church calls ‘saints’. In these wide-ranging devotions, full of contemporary stories and enjoyable cultural allusions, she introduces 24 characters who manifest a mysterious dynamic . . . and enable us to glimpse holiness in a new way.

‘With heartfelt honesty, clarity and humanity, Magdalen Smith challenges the Church to see the journey ahead with new eyes. This book is a timely prophetic call to be refreshed by our inheritance in ways that renew integrity and hope.’
Libby Lane, Bishop of Stockport

‘A treasure chest of gems.’
Jill Duff, Director of St Mellitus North West training course
About the Author
Magdalen Smith is Diocesan Director of Ordinands and a priest in the Diocese of Chester. She has a background in the visual arts and is interested in the dialogue between faith and contemporary culture. A retreat leader and spiritual director, she has published Steel Angels: The personal qualities of a priest and Fragile Mystics: Reclaiming a prayerful life.
Press Reviews

Steel Angels (SPCK, 2014): This book is a breath of fresh air. It takes the nine Criteria which the Church uses for selecting clergy and applies them to reflect on the practicalities of lived-out ministerial life. But what is so exciting is the engaging way this is done: the world of art, film, novels and poetry are all richly evoked to spark the reader s imagination and to enable creative connections. This is an insightful and thought-provoking book which will provide fresh perspectives, set theological hares running and serve as a valuable resource for all those involved in pastoral ministry or exploring their vocation.

- Stephen Ferns, Senior Selection Secretary, Church of England Ministry Division

Magdalen’s book could produce a rethinking and reorientation of pastoral theology.

- The Revd Ken Leech

Steel Angels by Magdalen Smith is an excellent contribution to the discernment canon. Smith uses a range of techniques to look at the spiritual, emotional, pastoral, and administrative aspects of the life and work of a priest . . . Drawing on appropriate personal experience, church politics, art and the Bible, her beautifully written book offers many delights. Her capacity for taking the mundane and finding an illuminating illustration from scripture, literature, the visual arts or popular culture ensures that there is no dryness of approach.

- Church Times

Fragile Mystics (SPCK, 2015): The mystics, both medieval and modern, bring a welcome invitation to be still, adore, face the reality of darkness and grow above all in the love of God which, as Paul says, ‘surpasses knowledge’ (Ephesians 3 v 19). If prayerfulness is diminishing in your life or ministry, Magdalen Smith’s quiet skill will help you see that it doesn’t have to be this way.

- Keith Sinclair, Bishop of Birkenhead

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