Books by OCN members


Andrew Furlong

Books by Andrew Furlong

Tried for Heresy A 21st Century Journey of Faith

Andrew Furlong's story is a fascinating one. It pits a profoundly honest spiritual search against a frightened ecclesiastical hierarchy that somehow believes that it has to be God's defender. That hierarchy does not recognize that the timeless experience of God can never be captured in the time warped explanations of human beings, even those human beings who create Bibles and Creeds and who pontificate regularly in God's name. Andrew Furlong has broken open the faith traditions of yesterday, exposed its idolatry and issued an invitation to his readers to walk beyond the limiting barriers of religious fear into the life giving mystery of God.

The Rt. Rev. John S. Spong, 8th Bishop of Newark

Hilary Wakeman

Books by Hilary Wakeman

Saving Christianity: New Thinking for Old Beliefs


Saving Christianity: New Thinking for Old Beliefs . By Hilary Wakeman The Liffey Press 171 pages

FROM the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, Bishop of Wakefield.


Hilary Wakeman's book performs a unique function: it takes the Christian tradition, reflects upon continuity and change and does so in a way that is accessible to a broad audience. Challenging without being destructive, accessible without being simplistic, the book asks how we might offer the gospel of Christ to our present age. Hilary wakeman does not offer a blueprint, for that is not her way. Instead she looks at the issues that surround some of the great doctrines of the Christian faith and asks how we might approach them again for our opwn generation. As Christians, in all ages, we are called to 'give account of the faith which is in us'. This book does precisely this and it does it in a way that leaves no question unasked. It is the beginning of a discussion and not the end, the Church has always been a forum for vigorous debate - Hilary Wakeman provokes us to enter that debate once again.

From: Presbyerian Church Notes, Irish Times, 09.12.06

With even leaders in denominations of the church acknowledging perceptible declines in membership and attendances, except in some local areas and churches, on a principle of receiving light from all qaurters, the publication of Saving Christianity - thinking for old beliefs, Hilary wakeman, Liffey Press, should not go unnoticed.

This is a courageous and timely book by an author who is theologically erudite. Where there may be two broad approaches to meet a perceived crisis one perhaps more traditionally vociferous than the other, Wakeman's book deserves lengthy consideration.

Ms Wakeman sees a cause for decline in "the unwillingness of all the churches in all countries but perhaps especially now in Ireland, tpo look honestly and openly into what we say we believe.

"Disillusioned with standard theology in all the denominations, more and more people are ceasing to attend church, while others are prevented by the same from entering. And yet among the self-exiled people there is a widespread sense of loss and sadness."


The Ordinary God: Notes from the Far West of Ireland


By Hilary Wakeman

A bible discussion group, parishioners of various ages, was getting tied up in knots on a rather basic subject – God.
In frustration, one woman said to another, ‘But, what sort of God are you talking about?’ 

The other woman looked puzzled. ‘Just the ordinary, God,’ she said.

That is what this book is about. The ordinary, everyday God. The ‘God’ that comes instinctively to most of us. The essays in this book come largely from that point of view.

Some of them appeared in The Irish Times. Most of them appeared in the Southern Star newspaper between 2007 and 2009. These were addressed to the ordinary people of West Cork, a people for whose down-to-earth-ness the author has had a huge respect since 1996 when she became the rector of the furthest south-west parish of the Church of Ireland.

Now retired, she has written these articles for Catholics and Anglicans and Protestants, and the people in-between and outside: for anyone who is interested in the difference between religion and spirituality, or in what our churches are doing … or not doing … or more importantly should be doing in the future.

Hilary Wakeman was among the first group of women ordained in the Church of England, in 1994, and was Vicar of a city-centre church in Norwich, chaplain to the local theatre and to the city's night shelter, and acting Diocesan Communications Officer. In 1973 she had founded the Julian Meetings, a now-international network of contemplative prayer groups and was its Convenor for over 25 years.

In 1996 she moved to Ireland, becoming Rector of the most south-westerly parish in the Church of Ireland. Since retiring in 2001 she has been co-editor, with her husband, of the poetry magazine The SHOp. A founder member of the Open Christianity Network, her main concerns are how Christianity must change if it is not to die, and the welfare of those who are ill at ease in the churches or feel excluded by them.
She has had three previous books published:

  • [Ed.] Women Priests: the first years (Darton, Longman & Todd, 1996)
  • [Ed.] Circles of Silence: thoughts on contemplative prayer (Darton, Longman & Todd, 2002)
  • Saving Christianity: new thinking for old beliefs (Liffey Press, 2003)


The Ordinary God: notes from the far west of Ireland


ISBN 978-1-905785-73-5


Editors: for a review copy please contact the Liffey Press

Price: €14.95


Sean O'Conaill

Books by Sean O'Conaill

Scattering the Proud

In this radically original and optimistic reflection on the future of Christianiy in the Western World, Sean O'Conaill starts from the conviction that the life, ministry and death of Jesus of Nazareth were a deliberate reversal of the human 'heroic' journey to adulation and influence, which has caused violence, tyranny and injustice in all epochs. He did not identify with, or seek to emulate, the powerful and the influential; he sought out the sinners and the outcasts and taught that every person was of equal worth in the eyes of God. In the end he exalted the person who was most despised - the victim - by accepting an ignominious death.
O'Conaill argues that, even since the earliest times, Jesus' followers have been tempted to re-join the 'upward journey' towards power and influence - a journey which inevitably creates 'pyramids of esteem' or 'hierarchies of respect' which glorify individuals and elites at the expense of majorities.
The development of the relationship between Christianity and the political establishment, in the fourth century, soon associated Christ himself with coercion and led, in the end, to the schisms between East and West, Protestant and Catholic, and between Christianity and liberal secularism. It is also at the root of the 'silent schism' within the Catholic Church.
The future of Christianity then lies in its willingness to abandon this 'upward journey' and to return to the essence of the gospel message, not only institutionally but personally in the lives of all Christians. This return to a counter-cultural stance will aim to raise the disadvantaged and to secure the future of the global family and its environment.


'This author writes passionately out of concern for religious truth… This book will help to supply the need for a contemporary form of spiritual reading.'