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.


Introducing the SSUC Library’s collection

As easy as can be

It was one of those wake-up calls from the Edmonton Public Library; since we visit one branch or another not infrequently, we get a lot of these gentle prompts. This e-mail reminded us that the four DVDs we’d borrowed, not three weeks before, were due back in three days time.

In that same batch of e-mails that we found that morning in our computer inbox was our weekly bundle of talks from TED.com, which just happened to include Dawn Wacek’s declamation, “A librarian’s case against overdue fines.” Right on!, we thought, since we’d not yet found the time to view even one of those four movies.

“I know from experience,” affirmed Ms. Wacek, a librarian in Wisconsin, “that people will stay away from the library rather than face the authority of the librarian when they have late items. …my mom hasn’t been in a library in decades because, when she was young, she lost a book.” Her conclusion? “If we want people to use the library again, we should just get rid of fines altogether.”

And then we remembered that there are no overdue fines for books or DVDs or videos borrowed from the SSUC Library, and not returned expeditiously. That’s because there are no due dates.

And in every other way, we’ve tried to make book-borrowing as easy as can be: for starters, the library has been moved from a back-of-beyond location to the inviting room off the foyer, on the right as you enter the church—it’s now the Library & Lounge. Once you’re there, scan the titles, or simply peruse the black-on-white inventory of books and more that make up the collection—it’s in the binder atop the first bookcase; you can do this also by going to ssucedmonton.com/library. (Think of it as a treasure hunt.)

REALITY CHECK © 2019 Dave Whamond. Reprinted by permission of ANDREWS
MCMEEL SYNDICATION for UFS. All rights reserved.

Then, pick one or more of the 400-plus items to take home with you to enjoy, and learn from, at your leisure. Or take to one of the room’s comfy chairs or sofas, and begin your study then and there—you’re welcome in the Library & Lounge whenever the building is open, and the room is not otherwise in use. The simple sign-out, sign-in procedure for borrowing items is explained in the instruction sheet, also on top of that first bookcase.

You will be surprised…pleasantly surprised…by what you’ll find there: for a willy-nilly collection of gently-used books about religion-and-such, there’s so much that’s sage, helpful, prescient. And what’s there is oh, so varied: there are the classics (Martin Buber’s I and Thou, Huston Smith’s The Religions of Man, Elie Wiesel’s Night, Paul Tillich’s The New Being); texts that’ll acquaint you with great church figures (John Wesley, Hildegard of Bingen, The Pagan Christ); self-help books, including a lot on loss and grieving; works by renowned authors (Karen Armstrong, Sam Harris, Harold Kushner, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross), and by progressive Christianity pioneers (Marcus Borg, Jack Spong, Lloyd Geering); even Nancy Steeves’ doctoral thesis; plus a handful of topical DVDs (The Story of Stuff, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth).

We cannot but believe that you’ll find something there that’ll interest you…you. You’ll come across Bible atlases, novels, an eco-foods guide, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, a handbook for handling differences within a congregation, a history of St. Stephen’s College (by SSUC’s Gayle Simonson). There are books on those shelves about God (including a biography of God), LGBTQ concerns, fundamentalism, evolution, myths and mysticism, bullying, preaching, the Earth Charter, sexism, the labyrinth, mid-life crises, Christmas, human rights and humanism, feminist theology, Buddha, Islam, justice, the parables, prayer, Christian ethics, Celtic wisdom, parenting, sin, eternal life. (Take a breath.)

Read how Jesus became Christian, and also God; turn Water Into Wine; ferret out lost teachings; see why No Man is an Island; imagine the future of the church; 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; unravel the Dead Sea Scrolls; 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?; 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! Please, see for yourself.

We hope to see proven out Ms. Wacek’s claim that, “When people aren’t afraid of the fines they might accrue, they’ll line up to access what we have to offer.”

Ellen & Ken Fredrick


Featured Book: The Soul’s Religion: Cultivating a Profoundly Spiritual Way of Life

“…Today people all over the world are abandoning their religions in disgust and anger,” Thomas Moore reckons in this long-awaited companion volume to his 1992 bestseller, Care of the Soul. “Still, everyone has an instinct for the transcendence. People know intuitively that some kind of spiritual life is necessary, and so many are searching on their own….”  Once a monk

Library Learnings

A focus on Indigeneity:  We must move “past the past” “Ripped from the headlines,” the saying goes.  Perhaps that can be said for what’s now underway in “Library Learnings,” and what will continue right through year’s end: a series of seven interrelated essays about Indigeneity in Canada. After all, does a day go by in which the media don’t report on Indigenous peoples

Featured Book: Why Religion? A Personal Story

Elaine Pagels, who wrote the last of the SSUC Library’s Featured Books—her foundational work, The Gnostic Gospels— “is a hard person to describe in a word,” though the Washington Times reviewer of Why Religion? tried: scholar, author, historian, heretic. But Philip Kopper concludes, “‘hero’ fits best, namely an individual who faces ordeals of indescribable agony, and prevails….”   According to Publishers Weekly, Pagels,

Featured Book: The Gnostic Gospels

Elaine Pagels “sees in gnosticism a ‘powerful alternative to…orthodox Christian tradition,’ an alternative she clearly finds attractive,” a Kirkus Reviews’ critic writes about her book, The Gnostic Gospels. Trouble is, “gnostic tenets were repressed by mainstream Christianity because, Pagels claims, they constituted a political threat to the hierarchy.” In The Guardian, the former archbishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway concurs: “…scholars like Pagels are beginning to regret that

Featured Book: The Gifts of Imperfection

On a recent Sunday, Chris New, in his preaching, pointed up this book…as well he might. Publishers Weekly calls it “a guidebook for pilgrims on the journey to wholehearted living.” And Niklas Goeke, for the website fourminutebooks.com, where he insists that professor, researcher, and author Brene Brown “never fails to deliver,” calls this the book “that really put her on the map.”

Featured Book: The Practicing Congregation: Imagining a New Old Church

Historian Diana Butler Bass is unwilling to write off mainline Protestant churches as a lost cause. In fact, after having “done the serious research,” as the Hearts & Minds website puts it, she tells, in her 2004 book, of a transformation going on within at least some congregations: they’re showing, as her publisher, the Alban Institute observes, “an unexpected vitality,

Featured Book: Finding Peace

A “culture of peace” was, in part, the focus of SSUC’s last-of-May Sunday service. It was earlier that month that Canada’s Jean Vanier died; a remembrance in The Globe avowed that his “capacity for human empathy was inexhaustible.” So choosing the luminary’s Finding Peace to be the Library’s Featured Book is altogether rightful. In his 2003 book, the humanitarian—his signature accomplishment was

Featured Book: Man’s Search for Meaning

“Man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life,” Viktor Frankl attests. Man’s Search for Meaning has sold over 10 million copies, been translated into two-dozen languages, and was voted one of America’s 10 most influential books by the Library of Congress. It is, first of all, Frankl’s memoir of life in Nazi death camps, then an exposition of

Featured Book: Honest to God

“It would be difficult to describe the publication of Honest to God on March 19, 1963, as anything but a sensation,” sofia.org.uk attests. “The book was almost universally condemned by traditionalists,” Wikipedia acknowledges. “It’s not every day that a bishop goes on record as apparently denying almost every Christian doctrine,” The Church Times lamented. Back to Sofia: “It also gave John

Featured Book: The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

What if Jesus had a twin brother, Christ? And what if his role was to chronicle Jesus’ life? And what if he turned out to be less an historian, and more a spin doctor? ‘Cause maybe Jesus’ ordinary life needed to be embellished, or maybe his steely exhortations needed to be tamed? “In writing of things as they should have been,” Christ


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