Written from his own experience as Church of Ireland Bishop of Connor, Alan Abernethy’s new book examines how his years of leadership in the church caused him to lose sight of the original awe that called him to his faith. The Jewel in the Mess is a very personal book, written while on sabbatical for his mental health, which looks at the idea of God without the institutions and hierarchy. The book instead refocuses on the figure of Jesus at the heart of the Bible.
Through his struggle with depression and his diagnosis with prostate cancer, Bishop Abernethy has come to find the message of Jesus in the difficult, dark and chaotic parts of life. This is a very honest, open account, detailing the personal struggles Bishop Abernethy has gone through. The breakup of his family following his father’s gambling addiction, the mark that it left on him; his depression after his appointment as Bishop requiring a sabbatical to write a book of personal liberation; then his bombshell cancer diagnosis just after he completed the book; all of these are discussed, with Jesus always in the middle of the mess, bringing light.
He pares faith back to its core beliefs, before the bureaucracy, to Jesus, with his messy, humble and human beginning, who blessed the people around him. Using examples of biblical stories and examining the ways in which God shows himself in our ordinary lives, this book centres on Jesus while incorporating the complicated corners of life that Abernethy visited during his sabbatical, such as the mission centres of Church Army UK and Ireland.
This book is a call to bless the mess of the everyday world.
The Jewel in the Mess will be launched on the 7th May, at 1.30pm in the Spectrum Centre on Shankill Road, Belfast. Speakers will be Rev Dr Heather Morris, Methodist Church in Ireland and Professor David Jones, Queen’s University. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to buy a copy of The Jewel in the Mess you can click here.