This is Bishop Alan’s third book, and was written during a sabbatical he took in the early part of 2018. In it Bishop Alan, who has been Bishop of Connor since June 2007, examines how his years of leadership in the church caused him to lose sight of the original awe that called him to his faith.
Publishers Columba Press describe The Jewel in the Mess as a very personal book which looks at the idea of God without the institutions and hierarchy. The book instead refocuses on the figure of Jesus at the heart of the Bible.
The book explores how through his struggle with depression and his diagnosis with prostate cancer, Bishop Alan has come to find the message of Jesus in the difficult, dark and chaotic parts of life.
He pares faith back to its core beliefs, before the bureaucracy, to Jesus, with his messy, humble and human beginning, who blessed the people around him.
Using examples of biblical stories and examining the ways in which God shows himself in our ordinary lives, this book centres on Jesus while incorporating the complicated corners of life that Bishop Alan visited during his sabbatical, such as the mission centres of Church Army UK and Ireland.
The launch will take place on Tuesday May 7 at 1.30pm in the Connor Room, Spectrum Centre, Shankill Road, Belfast.
Speakers at the event are the Rev Dr Heather Morris, General Secretary, Home Mission Department of the Methodist Church in Ireland, and Professor David Jones, Pro-Vice Chancellor , Education & Students at Queen’s University, Belfast.
Bishop Alan has previously written two books – Fulfilment and Frustration (2000) and Shadows on a Journey (2011), both published by Columba.