Liberal clergyman Richard Leonard shares life lessons as a minister at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in New York City through a collection of 11 sermons and seven other writings, including a witty annual church report, in his book, Ports of Call: Journeys in Ministry.
In keeping with the culture of the Unitarian Universalist Association, his sermons are not Bible-based, but contain wisdom drawn from various philosophies and religions in addition to his own experiences, which make for interesting and encouraging musings.
In his forward, Leonard states, “If one theme runs through these writings, it is that this world is a vaster place than any of us can imagine, with tremendous variations of culture and human experience.” He then proceeds to validate this statement through personal stories, such as the anecdote of a rigid Mr. Jones and his frozen bow tie, which humorously illustrates a sermon on the need to remain flexible in a changing world. Short sermons that center around tales of being stranded in Mongolia, surprises of baseball, travels in Pakistan, and officiating at multicultural weddings, along with the routine adventures of ministry life in general provide a helpful message and a lovely, uplifting read.
Each sermon is introduced with a reading — prayers, poetry, book excerpt, newspaper article, or a Scripture passage — that illustrates the message. The author’s love for life and concern for justice comes through in his excellent writing that presents a fascinating array of rich material.
Whether readers participate in a liberal church experience or come from a more traditional Christian background, they will close the covers of this book gently challenged, graciously inspired, and knowing that life, even though complicated, can be very good indeed.
Also available as an ebook.