Former Dean of Belfast John Mann returns to St Anne’s Cathedral on Thursday September 28 to launch his latest book, Journeying into the Light.
Journeying to the Light; Daily Readings Through Advent and Christmas is intended to be read daily through the period from Advent Sunday to the Epiphany. It is largely based upon one of the Eucharistic readings each day.
Special guests at the launch, which takes place at 12 noon, will be the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev George Davison, and the Very Rev Canon Edward O’Donnell, PP of St Brigid’s, Derryvolgie, and Ecumenical Canon of St Anne’s Cathedral.
Journeying to the Light contains a forward by Bishop Brendan Leahy, Roman Catholic Bishop of Limerick.
In a commendation on the back cover, the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Rev John McDowell, writes: “These meditations on Scripture by John Mann explore the realities of light and darkness as they are found in Scripture, in human life and in Christian discipleship.
“They are the fruit of a lifetime’s pastoral ministry on these islands, chiefly in Belfast, where the lambent glow of John’s ministry was felt for 30 years.”
John Mann was born in London and ordained a deacon in 1979 and a priest in 1981. A graduate of Queen’s University Belfast, he trained for ordination at the Church of Ireland Theological College, and was curate assistant at Cloughfern Parish, Diocese of Connor, from 1979-1982 and at Knock Parish, Diocese of Down, from 1982-1985.
In 1985 he was appointed rector of the grouped parishes of Ballyrashane and Kildollagh, Diocese of Connor, where he remained until 1989 when he went to the Diocese of Winchester as rector of the Parishes of Bentworth, Shalden and Lasham.
In 1993 John returned to Connor and the Parish of Cloughfern as rector, and in 2002 he moved to St Jonn’s, Malone. He was appointed Dean of Belfast in June 2011, and in September 2017 left Belfast to take up the post of team rector of the Parish of Swanage with Studland. He retired in spring 2021 and he and his wife Helen are living on the Isle of Man.
In addition to Journeying to the Light, John has just finished writing a book on the Seven Words of Christ from the Cross which will be published in time for Lent 2024. Both books are published by Messenger Publications.
Journeying to the Light; Daily Readings Through Advent and Christmas is available from The Book Well at a cost of £11.95.
Journeying to the Light is intended to be read daily through the period from Advent Sunday to the Epiphany. It is largely based upon one of the Eucharistic readings each day. There are variations, and it can be adapted to be used whatever the length of Advent, and for individual or group use.
The author weaves contemporary trends with biblical themes and with events of his own life. It has at its heart the Incarnation; anticipated by the prophets; joyfully experienced through the words of Luke, and proclaimed to the nations through the visit of the Magi, as recorded by Matthew. The author is an Anglican priest, but as this book is based upon the the Revised Common Lectionary, it is ecumenical in its reach, as many of the readings coincide with those appointed for both the daily Mass in Roman Catholic Churches and in Anglican Churches. Equally, the daily reflections, may be of use to all individuals who are seeking to establish a regular period of contemplation and space through Advent and Christmas, which is traditionally full of distraction and busyness.
Bishop Brendan Leahy is joined by Archbishop John McDowell of the Church of Ireland in commending the book for our use, and two Church of England bishops add their voices to suggest that a deepening of our reflection, throughout these days of joyous hope, helps us to seek further the source of the light that was coming to humanity, that is Jesus, son of Mary, redeemer of the world.
A churchgoer, a seeker after truth or, quite possibly in these tumultuous days, a Christian soul whose path has become darkened or distracted in recent years will find something in these pages to encourage them beyond written texts of any kind to set their eyes towards the light and their heart to the divine.