Location and Times


Welcome to the SSUC Library page. Please visit the library in the main floor lounge of our building, browse the shelves, grab a cup of coffee and settle in for a read, or borrow a book and bring it back when you’re done. Would you like to browse the catalogue from home? See the Title catalogue here; the  Author catalogue here; and the Reference books catalogue here. In the meantime, get introduced to a new book: read a preview of a featured book every two weeks, written by our librarians. Enjoy.


Books want to be read
Take the time, make the time, for SSUC’s Library 

PEARLS BEFORE SWINE (C) 2019. Stephen Pastis. Reprinted by persmission of ANDREW MCMEEL SYNDICATION. All rights reserved.


Look at Rat being blockish, as usual: he’s turning a blind eye and a deaf ear and a cold, cold heart to a book that wants so to be read.
Almost always bumptious and presumptuous, he’s California cartoonist Stephen Pastis’ rascally, rowdy rodent in the comic strip “Pearls Before Swine”; this particular bon mot appeared in the August 10th Edmonton Journal. It’s funny, yes, but it tells a truth—Pastis’ comic strips often do: Rat is the first character he created, and the one through whom, he allows, “I could really say what’s on my mind. When I put it on paper, it’s my voice.” 
“So,” Elizabeth Renter writes about the act of reading, this in Natural Society back in 2013, “many people don’t appreciate it.” She tells of “a HuffPost poll showing last year that of 1,000 participants, 28%…hadn’t read a book in over a year.” A shame, that: reading, she adds, “is something that not enough people take the time to do….” Just like Rat.
So it is that we invite you, we urge you, to take the time…make the time…to read a book, and more, that you’ll find in your own church’s Library. There are now 560 of them, all of which, to a greater or lesser degree, concern ideas and subject matter of consequence, certainly to seekers: religion, church, spirituality, theology, Jesus, faith, doubt, values, belief, God and gods, and all such things. These are writings to be pored over and pondered, weighed and wondered about, and, likely enough, valued.
The classics are present and accounted for, everything from The Confessions of St. Augustine to Martin Buber’s I and Thou. There are works written by such luminaries as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Northrop Frye, Abraham Heschel, Albert Schweitzer, Paul Tillich, and Simone Weil. Others will acquaint you with such great church figures as John Wesley and Hildegard of Bingen. There are plays—The Trial of God by Elie Wiesel, and Lucas Hnath’s The Christians. Progressive Christianity pioneers like Jack Spong and Lloyd Geering penned still other of the volumes. Consider Karen Armstrong’s The Case for God, but also Richard Dawkins’ refutation in The God Delusion
You’ll come upon the Iona Abbey Worship Book, Bible atlases, an eco-foods guide, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, self-help books, including a lot on loss and grieving (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross authored five of them), even Nancy Steeves’ doctoral thesis. There’s even fiction: challenge yourself, and read Nikos Kazantzakis’ controversial The Last Temptation of Christ, or Putting Away Childish Things, the novel that, as one reviewer put it, “flows out of Marcus Borg’s life.” There are books in the collection about the Earth Charter, LGBTQ concerns, the Dead Sea Scrolls, fundamentalism, myths and mythology, bullying, preaching, sexism, the labyrinth, mid-life crises, evolution, Christmas, human rights and humanism, feminist theology, Buddha, Islam, justice, the parables, prayer, Christian ethics, Celtic wisdom, parenting, sin, eternal life, shamanism. Whoa, catch your breath. 
Discover The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot; read how Jesus became Christian, and also God; see why No Man is an Island; explore The World of Anne Frank; join in The Battle for God, or play Hide and Seek with God, or witness SSUC’s Clair Woodbury Looking for God; go In Search of Paul; learn how to love nature; spend The Last Week with Jesus; get acquainted with the Middle East; ask, Can We Trust the New Testament?; ask as well The Great Questions of Life; meet The Pagan Christ; find faith, peace, the right words, your way home, and your religion. Why, You Can Teach Yourself Philosophy of Religion. And this litany of titles and topics only scratches the surface!
Along with hands-full of DVDs and videos, all this is waiting to be browsed and borrowed; what’s not to be circulated are the slim number of reference works. The collection is housed in bookcases in SSUC’s Library & Lounge—it’s the inviting room off the foyer, on the right as you enter the church. Everything has been ordered and shelved, arranged by author, from A (Abbott, Deborah) to Z (Zuckerman, Andrew). 
Book-borrowing has been made as easy as can be: you’ll find lists, both by author and title, in a binder atop the first of the bookcases; these…and quite a lot more…can be found, as well, on the Library’s webpage [ssucedmonton.com/library]. Simply sign out the book[s] you want using the in-and-out form—it’s in the same binder; later on, please note there the date you return the item[s] borrowed. It’s pretty well grab and go! So, please, get going!
Ellen & Ken Fredrick



Featured Book: Drink From the Well

“Who are we?” It’s the question Fred Plumer puts as the heading of the first chapter in his book, Drink from the Well, in which he, in the words of his publisher, seeks to “define the Progressive Christianity movement as it evolves.” He should know: for about a decade, beginning in 2006, Plumer served as president of ProgressiveChristianity.org, aka the Center for

Featured Book: The Emerging Christian Way: Thoughts, Stories & Wisdom for a Faith in Transformation

Said by its publisher to cover “every aspect of this developing Christianity,” The Emerging Christian Way is a book it took 14 authors to write—each penned one chapter—including such luminaries as Matthew Fox and Tom Harper [six have a connection to the United Church of Canada], plus one editor, Michael Schwartzentruber, to compile and refine. Together, they conjure a fresh

Featured Book: The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What’s So Good About the Good News?

In a National Public Radio interview a dozen years ago, Peter Gomes admitted that his book “isn’t at all what its racy title suggests”: “I’m sorry to disappoint you,” he remarked, noting that, for example, The Scandalous Gospel doesn’t spotlight Jesus’s relationship with Mary Magdalene. As NPR reported, “…the ’scandal,’ according to Gomes, is the lack of attention to the gospel,

Featured Book: A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story

“This is the book that progressives and liberals having been waiting for,” progressivechristianity.org proclaimed a decade ago, “a deeply researched history of Christianity that sheds new light on the underreported personalities and movements of the faith.” It points up “grassroots movements in Christianity that preserved Jesus’s message of social justice for 2,000 years, and their impact on the church today.” 

Featured Book: Christianity: A Very Short Introduction

Part of the already-teeming and constantly-expanding library of VSI works produced by Oxford University Press, this succinct text—which “provides a candid portrait of Christianity’s past and present,” the publisher says of the book—is greatly appreciated: it is “…clearly and engagingly written”; indeed, “…it is difficult to imagine,” one UK blogger reckoned, “how a better book could be written.” Another, an

Featured Book: Questions are the Answer: Nakedpastor & the Search for Understanding

Picture this: the pastor at his pulpit confesses to his parishioners, “I’m sorry people, but in my faith journey, I’m afraid I’m entering the ‘I just don’t know!’ stage.” They shout back, “Welcome!” It’s one of almost 100 of David Hayward’s Nakedpastor cartoons in this autobiographical book. Together with his text, they tell of his story into and out of

Featured Book: Here I Stand: My Struggle for a Christianity of Integrity, Love and Equality

Upon his death, whenever that comes—John Shelby Spong, scathed by a stroke, is now 88—his publisher should engage a biographer to report the many goings-on in his life in the years since he wrote his autobiography, and bring up to date his theological thinking and conclusions. Even without what’d be a lengthy epilogue, Here I Stand makes an engrossing read: Publishers

Featured Book: Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

Tufts University philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett argues that “society must overcome its ‘spell’ against studying religion as a natural, evolutionary occurrence,” Kirkus Reviews says of this book. The atheist author, “seeks to expose religion to the systematic tools of modern science,” and “presents material from various researchers regarding how religion has evolved in human cultures.” Not surprisingly, Scientific

Featured Book: The Case for God

The Case for God—which Britain’s The Daily Telegraph called Karen Armstrong’s “best, most lucid book to date”—“wraps a rebuke to the more militant sort of atheism,” according to New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, “in an engaging survey of Western religious thought. …a former nun turned prolific popular historian, [she] wants to rescue the idea of God from its cultural despisers and its more literal-minded

Featured Book: The God Delusion

When Penguin issued the 10th anniversary edition of The God Delusion, the publishing house began its pitch by recalling how the book had “caused a sensation” when it was first released. In its critique, The Guardian, referencing its author, Richard Dawkins, reckoned that “believers in God are right to see him as their arch-enemy.” The Darwinian scientist and essayist on popular science, in “dissecting the


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