Resource centre logosmallThe Resource Centre library contains books available for borrowing as well as a selection of teaching Videos and DVDs are also available to hire.

Membership of the Resource Centre is R50 per year and is open to everyone,
not just Christ Church members.

Book Reviews

by Gene Edwards

Gene Edwards is on Rob's list of favourite authors and this very short book (easily read in one sitting) doesn't disappoint! It is partly a simple and profound fictional account of John the Baptist and partly an inspirational book. Not much is known about the life of John the Baptist so the book is based on his temperament and the facts we do know. He lived a life of abstinence and prayer awaiting the Messiah, baptised the Messiah, and was put in prison later to be killed by King Herod.

Jesus is viewed from an intriguing perspective:  Instead of seeing John as fitting into Jesus' story, we see Jesus fitting into John's story! We even see John's doubts when he sends a message from his cell to Jesus to ask "Are you really the Messiah?" This comes out of the question in John's mind – and in all our minds – of why didn't Jesus heal everyone when he was here and why doesn't he heal everyone today. Why is there still suffering? If John the Baptist can ask this question then it must be okay to doubt sometimes. Can faith and doubt co-exist?

The following words in the book repeatedly said by Jesus are: "And blessed are you if you are not offended with me". Jesus understands our confusion when he does not live up to our expectations.

Reviewed by Theresa Keay

by Pete Portal

Commenting about this book, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba reflects that “it’s hard to imagine a tougher urban ministry than that among the gangsters and addicts of Manenberg. Whoever you are, wherever you minister, Pete Portal’s vivid, tough account of keeping faith in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds will teach you something about developing a rigorous theology, appropriate to local needs.”

The author is originally from Britain, but has lived in Cape Town since 2009.  He left a promising career in children’s television to join a colleague in Manenberg, one of South Africa’s most notorious communities.  He and his wife Sarah serve on the core leadership team of Tree of Life, a church community in Manenberg that runs various ministries among the vulnerable and marginalised people of the Cape Flats.

 “No Neutral Ground: is the thought-provoking story of his move from London to Cape Town, of heroin addicts and gangsters meeting Jesus and being transformed; and how he went from living with an addict to helping establish a church community – and all the heartbreaks and challenges along the way … the mundane and the miraculous, heaven and hell, all balanced on a knife’s edge. Offering searing insights and an inspiring vision of Christian faith, Pete asks why anyone would choose this way of life, if giving up our lives for others is worth it – and “what the church could become, if we were willing to risk it, to reach the forgotten and the  lost.”

Reviewed by Bill Sewell

by Pete Portal

This 'is the gripping account of Pete Portal's move from London to Manenberg, of addicts and gangsters meeting Jesus and being transformed, and how he went from living with a heroin addict to helping establish a church community – and all the heartbreak and failure along the way' (Strickland).

Pete Portal draws alongside the Manenberg community in a way that is admirable. He is never condescending towards his neighbours, always accepting, as he views himself as a resident of Manenberg and not as someone from a church who is doing mission work.

'It would be easy to read some of the stories in this book and feel discouraged because our own lives look so different ... but he says that all Christian service should be viewed as being on the frontline for God' (Lloyd).

To bring the book closer to home I quote from the book a paragraph mentioning our much-loved late CCK member who attended the evening service, James Thomas:
'The far-reaching legacy left by James Thomas lives on – in the continent of Africa where local entrepreneurs he trained up are transforming communities – and lives on in Manenberg through the memory of a jauntily named coffee shop (Jou Ma Se Kombuis) ... Yet James never lived to see the fulfilment of this dream. In September 2013 he was killed ... while visiting Kenya to train up more nation-changing entrepreneurs.'

A riveting, fascinating and challenging book with words to ponder in the last chapter: 'Ultimately we pray because Jesus is beautiful'.
Reviewed by Theresa Keay

by Gary Eberle

Vertical time gives meaning to our lives and this medieval practice may help us in our age of time-famine. There is horizontal time and there is vertical time. Horizontal time is the time we spend our lives living today, the linear world of past, present and future, mostly future. But there is never enough time. Vertical time is the world of eternity, of ritual, of art appreciation, of sacredness where linear time does not happen.

'Monks invented schedules to keep their minds in eternity rather than time. What happened? How did the flexible medieval sense of time bring forth the time-obsessed modern man and woman?' (Eberle)

The author suggests that we can start, with keeping the liturgical year, the festivals, Advent and Lent, days of preparation for the celebration of Christmas and Easter. And on entering church on a Sunday morning let us enter into the world of vertical time, of sacredness and familiar words. And daily on rising, to enter into vertical time as we recite the Morning Prayers.

Gary Eberle gives inspiring ideas for those who would like to start Monday mornings refreshed after spending the Sabbath as a day of worship and rest.

The material in the book is a good review of how time evolved into the frenzy of today. It describes the historical evolution of how we came to turn our backs on the vertical time of eternity. It is not a meditative book, but rather informative and with many practical suggestions.

Reviewed by Theresa Keay

THE BOOK YOUR PASTOR WISHES YOU WOULD READ (but is too embarrassed to ask):
By Christopher Ash

Do we know our leaders? Do we know them as people with visions, likes, dislikes? Do we pray for them? Do we expect them to pray for us? Are we able to give a gift to a leader with the words: "To A Leader who really cares about his congregation, with much love and appreciation, from A Congregant"? For more information perhaps read this little book. It may show you how to care for your leaders.

It is difficult to give an analysis of a book like this. It is heart-rending to think that our leaders may be neglected – I'm sure we would be horrified if this was true.

The book is short (about 100 pages) and the print is easy to read. It's easily read in one sitting. So it's not just a book for those who enjoy reading. Almost anyone can read it.

The title of the first chapter is: Pastors are people too; the second chapter: Why would you want to care for your pastor?: the final chapter: Somebody needs to know your pastor!

With all this information in this little book it may be worthwhile reading it.

We have three copies in the Resource Centre and if they are all out you can reserve a copy.
Reviewed by Theresa Keay


Stephen Hofmeyr, 20/12/2010


Christ Church Kenilworth  |  Cnr Summerley & Richmond Road  |  Tel: +27 (021) 797 6332  | E-mail:
Service Times: Sunday Worship  8.00am, 10.00am & 6.30pm  |  Wednesday Service: 10am   | Tuesday Quiet Service: 6.30pm (fortnightly)

Taryn Galloway, 06/05/2015