Vocations: Reading List

Finding out more

Talking to those who are in training – on an ordination course or at a theological college – and those serving a curacy, will offer valuable insights about experiences in the later parts of the journey. Of course, talking with those who have been in ordained ministry for a number of years – especially those in charge of a parish or group of parishes – will enrich your understanding of what the role can be.

Ordained ministry also embraces a number of non-parochial posts and if you have a special interest or sense your call may have a specific focus, then follow this up by contacting those already in such posts.

Watching others actually doing the job, maybe by ‘shadowing’ or organizing a short- term placement, will give you a greater sense of the many dimensions to the work of a priest.

Reading about and around the subject can answer some of the questions that have not yet come to mind but which are important as you explore further. Here are some suggestions; a longer list is available by clicking on the link below.

General Vocation – Called by God

  • John Adair: How to find your Vocation (Canterbury Press 2000)
  • Francis Dewar: Called or Collared? (new ed SPCK 2000)

Ordained Ministry

  • Stephen Croft: Ministry in Three Dimensions (DLT 1999)
  • John Pritchard: The Life and Work of a Priest (SPCK 2007)
  • Michael Ramsey: The Christian Priest Today (SPCK revised 1985)


  • Alan Barlett: A Passionate Balance (DLT 2007)
  • Richard Giles: How to be an Anglican (Canterbury Press 2003)

Mission/Spirituality/Theology etc

  • Rob Bell: Velvet Elvis, Repainting the Christian Faith (Zondervan 2005)
  • Vincent Donovan: Christianity Rediscovered (SCM 1978)
  • John Pritchard: How to Pray (SPCK 2002)

Weekly Newspapers

  • The Church Times
  • The Church of England Newspaper
  • The Church of England’s Ministry Division website is a good point of reference for ‘chapter and verse’ on vocations, selection and some ministries with a specific focus.

Extended Booklist

General Vocation – Called by God

  • Francis Dewar: Live for a Change (DLT 1999)
  • Charles Richardson: This is our Calling (SPCK 2004)
  • Malcolm Torry (ed): Diverse Gifts (Canterbury Press 2006)

Ordained Ministry

  • Alan Billings: Making God Possible, The Task of Ordained Ministry (SPCK 2010)
  • Rosalind Brown: Being a Deacon Today (Canterbury Press 2005)
  • Cocksworth/Brown: Being a Priest Today (Canterbury Press 2002)
  • George Guiver: The Fire and the Clay (SPCK 1993)

Various Ministries/ Leadership

  • William Countryside: Living on the Border of the Holy (Morehouse 1999)
  • Ruth Etchells: Set My People Free (Fount 1995)
  • Robin Greenwood & Caroline Pascoe: Local Ministry (SPCK 2006)
  • Gordon Kuhrt: Bridging the Gap – Reader Ministry Today (CHP 2002)
  • James Lawrence: Growing Leaders: Reflections on Leadership (CPAS 2004)
  • Rowling/Gooder: Reader Ministry Explored (SPCK 2009)
  • Isabel Losada: New Habits (Hodder & Stoughton 1999)
  • Anglican Religious Communities Year Book (Canterbury Press)


  • Mark Chapman: Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction (OUP 2006)
  • Coakley/Wells: Praying For England (Continuum 2008)

Mission/Spirituality/Theology etc

  • Gerard Hughes: God of Surprises (BRF 1993)
  • Michael Mayne: This Sunrise of Wonder (DLT 2008)
  • Mission Shaped Church & Associated Reports (CHP 2004)
  • Timothy Radcliffe: Why go to Church? (Continuum 2008)

Suggestions from the Church of England Ministry Division

Robert Warren and Kate Bruce, Life Calling, Church House Publish 2007 Written as a 5 session course. It offers an opportunity to explore the meaning of the term ‘vocation’ and includes material to encourage thinking, discussing and praying about vocation in its widest sense. This also includes Biblical material and ideas that could be drawn on by individuals.

“Your SHAPE for God’s service” Carlisle Diocese
Materials for a six session course, designed to be appropriate for all kinds of churches, including small ones whose members are not confident about having anything spiritual to offer. The course looks at the whole person (including our Spiritual gifts, Heart’s desires, Abilities, Personality & Experience), aiming to help people grow in their Christian discipleship in every area of their lives – work, family, friends, local community, church, voluntary and leisure activities. More information on the course and materials can be found here.

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