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Featured Book: Fishing Tips: How Curiosity Transformed a Community of Faith


“Hillhurst has become a poster child for congregational renewal in The United Church of Canada,” editor David Wilson wrote in The United Church Observer in 2015. “…Pentland clearly has good intentions, but…good intentions can go awry, especially when they are not tempered by the qualities of Christian humility…,” UCC minister-turned-Anglican priest Jeff Seaton demurred in his 2018 book, Who’s Minding the Store? The United Church of Canada Meets a Secular Age.

They’re referring to the same man and the same congregation: John Pentland, minister at Calgary’s Hillhurst United Church. Decide for yourself who’s right: read the cleric’s Fishing Tips: How Curiosity Transformed a Community of Faith.

Fifteen years ago, Pentland took on city-centre Hillhurst’s stall: “Same old, same old doesn’t work,” he declared. Now, many changes later, hundreds attend its several Sunday services. “After delivering a sermon on nine tips that helped Hillhurst United innovate, Pentland was encouraged to expand his thoughts into a book,” the Calgary Herald reports. Fishing Tips reveals, Seaton keens, “Pentland’s vision of a popular and relevant church”. It is, The Christian Century posits, “both open and inclusive on social questions, and at the same time evangelical in outreach and committed to scripture and doctrine.”

Fishing Tips: How Curiosity Transformed a Community of Faith
By John Pentland
United Church Publishing House, 2019

The previous Featured Book, Frederick Buechner’s Buechner 101: Essays and sermons of Frederick Buechner, is now available in the Library.