In our conversation about how we can resource and enable wellbeing in Christian leadership there is a range of books, ideas, apps and podcasts.
This page is for sharing them, and Revd Canon Jane Richards is going to update the page termly. Here are some that have been recommended to us, and collated by Jill and Jane, as a starter. We look forward to your suggestions so that the page can stay fresh.
Four Thousand Weeks, Oliver Burkmann
Oliver Burkmann writes about productivity, mortality, and the power of limits. He tackles busyness, the efficiency trap and what it might mean to re-discover rest, starting from the premise that the average human life-span is absurdly, terrifyingly short. Not a Christian text per se, but extremely thought-provoking.
The Sabbath, Abraham Joshua Heschel
A classic and profound meditation on the meaning of the Seventh Day from one of the most widely respected Jewish theologians of the twentieth century. Heschel introduced the idea of an ‘architecture of holiness’ that appears not in space but in time. Deserves to be read slowly, in a place of your choosing, where you can journal, can drink deep from your surroundings, from creation, and from the words of this book.
The Art of Enough, Becky Hall
Written by a coach, facilitator and speaker who has worked for over 20 years with organizations, teams, and leaders, Becky tackles the feelings that many have of not being enough, our sense of overwhelming demands, and shrinking resources. She offers seven ways of easing away from the pulls of scarcity and excess towards flourishing, and finding the balance and boundaries we need for ourselves and our world. Would work well if discussed in a small reading group, one chapter at a time, where people are ready to be honest and vulnerable with one another.
Act 3: The Art of Growing Older, Judy Reith and Adrian Reith
A provocative workbook that asks the question how will you prepare for life beyond your current occupation? What will be important to you in the years from 50 to 80? A book that has practical tools to help you look at life beyond work. Written by two coaches, the book gives a structure for thinking about values, work, play, home, relationships and your interests. To people who may have only thought about vocation in terms or ordained or licensed work in the church it pushes beyond this and dares us to think about the possibilities after we transition into later life. A book to lead us to journal and into conversations with our spiritual director or our nearest and dearest perhaps?
Playing in Living Water, Practising a Prayerful Life, Jennifer Goodyer
Just published, and written by a British spiritual director, this book offers ten pathways to prayer rooted in the connection between playing and praying. It offers a vision of prayer as a ‘vast lake’ offered to all who come. ‘To pray in a spirit of play is to give ourselves whole-heartedly to God.’ Chapters on praying with nature, with our bodies, with the story of our lives, with creativity, with technology and with silence. There will be familiar material here, but also stories and examples that are new.
Apps for prayer, to relax, for mental health or for fitness
- Lectio 365
- Headspace App
- The Sanctuary App
- Soul time
- Couch to 5K
Podcasts and Audio
These podcast and audio resources are slow and relaxing, to help with mental health or switching off
- Slow Radio, the sound of birds, mountain climbing or monks chatting
- Soul Music
- Just One Thing Presents Sleep Well with Michael Mosley
The Mind and Soul Foundation
The Mind and Soul Foundation have a wide range of audio resources on their website. Some suggested titles are listed below:
From Will Van Der Hart
- The Inner Life of the Leader
- Emotional Health, Flexible Working and the Pressure of Success
- Coping with Loss
- Towards a Theology of Mental Health
- Tough Questions on Mental Health
- Mindfulness Strategies for Managing Pain
- The Sermon on the Mount (with Pete Hughes)
From Dr Kate Middleton
- How do you de-stress when you can’t or don’t want to do less
From Patrick and Diane Regan
- Honesty Over Silence