Hope and Life Press is pleased to announce the release of the devotional book Life’s Complicated: Pray Simply by the Anglican curate, the Reverend Andrew Highway of the Diocese of Llandaff, The Church in Wales. Life’s Complicated: Pray Simply is a collection of straightforward prayers from the heart that are intended to help readers have a conversation with God in a simple and honest manner, about all the things that can occur throughout daily life. These prayers address how we feel, what we see, our experiences, fears and worries; hopes, joys, and aspirations. The book is divided into four sections, with prayers about Ordinary Things, When Seeking God, Through the Year, and In the World. Life’s Complicated: Pray Simply is available worldwide from Amazon, directly through the publishers Hope and Life Press, and at other major booksellers.
– Welcome collection of short prayers in a frightfully busy world. These succinct and incisive prayers help counter the pressures of modern life, intrusive technology, and widespread commercialism. Life’s Complicated: Pray Simply guides us back to a still, listening, loving God – The Reverend Dr. Mark Dimond, Bishop’s Chaplain, The Church in Wales.
– Human, heartfelt, concise, simple, tender prayers clearly rooted in the God of love who is in Christ. At the end of our day, the only thing that matters is prayer. It is clear in Life’s Complicated: Pray Simply that prayer matters to the Reverend Andrew Highway – The Right Reverend David Wilbourne, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Llandaff, The Church in Wales.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The Reverend Andrew Highway is an Anglican assistant curate with the Church in Wales. He grew up in the market town of Chipping Sodbury in South Gloucestershire on the edge of the Cotswolds and is the son of a Baptist minister. Highway’s early experience of both traditional and charismatic Baptist worship provided him with basic spiritual formation, but in 2005 he started exploring a more catholic spirituality, leading to a deeper appreciation of the sacraments and the rhythm of daily prayer. After finding his spiritual home to date in the Anglican Church, Highway studied at Saint Michael’s Theological College, United Kingdom, and was ordained by the Archbishop of Wales at Llandaff Cathedral in 2012. During preparation for ordination, Highway felt particularly drawn to the intersection of Anglo Catholic and Celtic spiritualities, whereas his vocational formation was influenced by the liturgy, architecture and values of the Oxford Movement.
As a non-stipendiary minister, Highway works as a Town Center Development Manager with Caerphilly County Borough Council and has enjoyed a varied career, including 10 years as a police officer with the South Wales Police, before moving into local government for a career in place management. Highway has developed an effective Unique Places model of town center management and created the Choose the High Street brand that encourages people to support their local high streets. In his vocational capacity, Highway presently serves in parish ministry with the Diocese of Llandaff in the deanery of Merthyr Tydfil and Caerphilly.
Thought provoking read from new poet. This short volume of work from a young poet, using a sonnet to illustrate religious and iconic figures could be off putting, but Christopher Villiers has used his own words to convey the historic and deeply human experiences of biblical characters. Each sonnet is also illustrated by pictures of classical art. This assists the reader to focus and personally reflex. This is a wonderful collection and example from this new poet. I look forward to reading more of his work in the future.
Food for the mind and the heart. It may be helpful to think of these sonnets as prayers that rhyme. The meticulously crafted first person narratives, each one containing a volta that depicts the narrator’s mind coming to a fresh realisation of the nature of divinity, show God’s power at work in the world in a variety of settings. Whether the subject of the sonnet is a saint, a sinner, or simply a flawed person whose relationship with God requires improvement, slowly feeling their way towards enlightenment using the handholds of rhyme and metre, they will eventually realise — perhaps too late — that they are part of a pattern more wide, deep, and beautiful than they can comprehend entirely. The elegant form of the sonnet, a staple of poetry for hundreds of years, is therefore used as a microcosm of the divine reason or Logos in which all this book’s readers live and move and have their being.
The author is gifted with a rare intelligence, tempered with understanding and piety, which he uses to enter the heads of a heterogeneous range of Biblical figures. Although their corporeal forms became dust millennia ago, their spirits continue not only in whichever extra-mundane afterlife they now inhabit, but also in the pages of this slender yet deeply intriguing volume.
A moving way to experience and meditate on the Scriptures. This is an impressive and ambitious collection of poems from a young theologian and poet. Starting with Adam and Eve, and ending with the coronation of Mary in heaven, the collection spans the story of redemption, with each poem offering a glimpse through the eyes of one of the biblical characters in each key event. The poems work well as individual meditations, but it is also fruitful to read them all in one go – you are led through the whole grand story, but in a personal and grounded way with events, emotions, and theological messages crystallised in the perspective of each individual person. The poems encourage the reader to identify with the person speaking and to imagine themselves in the speaker’s place in a way reminiscent of Ignatian spirituality. I personally found the New Testament poems to be particularly evocative: my favourites included Redemption (the moment where Mary Magdalene anoints the feet of Christ) and Samaritan Woman.
Our British Catholic theologian and poet Christopher Villiers (right) will be giving a public reading from his newly released book Petals of Vision at Barnstaple Library, Devon, England on January 28. Entrance is free and all are welcome. Signed copies of the paperback edition of the book will be available.
Hope and Life Press is pleased to announce the release of the poetry book titled Petals of Vision by award-winning British Catholic theologian and poet Christopher Villiers. Petals of Vision is an anthology of 72 poems and sonnets in which the vicissitudes of human love are addressed through lyrics and flawless rhymes that fill the soul with love, sorrow, hope, joy, humility, depth, and even laughter. Presented through a world characterized by versatility and surrounded by symbolism, sincere images, and heartfelt thoughts, this new collection gives readers of classic poetry a great opportunity to revel once again, as its contents imprint on the memory for a lifetime. Petals of Vision is available in paperback and ebook editions from Amazon, the publishers Hope and Life Press, and major booksellers.
Villiers’s lyrics fill the soul with love, humility and depth . . . a superb writer who reinvigorates personalized memories or a similar ambiance drawn from the verses depicted in subtle implications that embody hope, sympathize with sorrow along with exuberance and triumphs . . . genuinely a poet who takes life to the fullest. Readers will revel in Villiers’s Petals of Vision that will imprint in the memory, plus relish each stance while absorbing every phrase until the end – Hadel S. Ma’ayeh, Huffington Post Passionista and author of From the Heart: A Journey of Love.
Villiers’s new collection Petals of Vision offers deeply felt poetry in a wide variety of forms and covering subjects. Here are sonnets that chart the highs and lows of human love, short lyrics inspired by nature, and also some delightful ‘nonsense poems’ voiced for different animals – for example, the excellent and satiric Parliament of Owls. There are many moving little touches and poems that are, in his words “Petals of grace” that “Spread blessing/Unseen by the wider world” – Reverend Malcolm Guite, Ph.D., Chaplain and Supervisor, Girton College, Cambridge University.
In this wonderful second collection of poems, Villiers again sings “the universe into … rhyme” and weaves nature with religious allusion in suggested tales of love’s loss and gain. Here are deft and lucid vignettes, sturdy poems of yearning, new found resolve, and — on occasion — humor too – Gerard Loughlin, Ph.D., Professor of Theology and Religion, Durham University.
About the Author
Christopher Villiers is a British theologian and freelance writer who has written about religious matters for a wide variety of publications, both academic and popular. He holds the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Theology from Durham University, United Kingdom, with a specialization in the history of Christian doctrine. His postgraduate thesis addressed the Divine impassibility in the theology of Saint Cyril of Alexandria, with reference to modern theological debates on divine impassibility deriving from biblical, historical and philosophical scholarship.
Villiers is a practicing Catholic with an interest in ecumenism, particularly in relation to the Eastern Orthodox churches. He writes on a regular basis for the ecumenical theological journal Sobornost. Villiers is the author of Sonnets From the Spirit (2015), a book of illustrated biblical poetry for Lent. He is also the winner of the 2008 Jean Cowling Prize in Theology and the first prizewinner of the 2015 Sonnets for Shakespeare Poetry Award.
Hope and Life Press is pleased to welcome on board the British Anglican assistant curate and writer, the Reverend Andrew Highway, with his book Life’s Complicated: Pray Simply, set to be released early in the Winter 2017 season in paperback and ebook editions. Highway is an Anglican minister with The Church in Wales. He grew up in the market town of Chipping Sodbury in South Gloucestershire on the edge of the Cotswolds and is the son of a Baptist minister. His early experience of both traditional and charismatic Baptist worship provided Highway with basic spiritual formation, but in 2005 he started exploring a more catholic spirituality, leading to a deeper appreciation of the sacraments and the rhythm of daily prayer. After finding his spiritual home to date in the Anglican Church, Highway studied at Saint Michael’s Theological College, United Kingdom, and was ordained by the Archbishop of Wales at Llandaff Cathedral in 2012. During preparation for ordination, Highway felt particularly drawn to the intersection of Anglo Catholic and celtic spiritualities, whereas his vocational formation was influenced by the liturgy, architecture and values of the Oxford Movement.
As a non-stipendiary minister, Highway works as a town center development manager with Caerphilly County Borough Council and has enjoyed a varied career, including 10 years as a police officer with the South Wales Police, before moving into local government for a career in place management. Highway has developed an effective Unique Places model of town center management and created the Choose the High Street brand that encourages people to support their local high streets. In his vocational capacity, Highway presently serves in parish ministry with the Diocese of Llandaff in the deanery of Merthyr Tydfil and Caerphilly.
Here is a photograph of our award-winning British Catholic theologian and poet Christopher Villiers during a reading of his book Sonnets From the Spiritearlier today at Durham University, North East England. Both the author and the poems were very well received by the audience who could not stop asking for more. Sonnets From the Spirit is available in paperback and ebook editions from Amazon, the publishers and major booksellers.
The publication of “Sonnets from the Spirit” confirms what I have long held; that theology is far too important a matter to be left to academics alone. Theology needs to be proclaimed by poets as well as by professors. This has been admirably done by rising young British poet and theologian, Christopher Villiers. These 52 poems (and hopefully more are soon forthcoming) are at the same time whimsical and profound, worldly and devout. Christopher’s poetry come from a man who has a happy, genuine, and abiding faith. Though relatively young in years, Christopher’s writings bespeak the work of an “old soul.” These poems call one to lift one’s head from the crisp printed page and smell the stench surrounding the lowly manger, feel the rough wood of a bloody cross, see the doubt in Thomas’ eyes, and behold the blinding glory of the One who sits at the Father’s right hand. Personally, I plan to use these poems (giving proper credit, of course) in the Bible classes that I teach at my church. Pray write on, Christopher! It would not at all surprise me to see your poems included in future editions of the “Oxford Book of English Verse.”