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A Pastoral Theology of Childlessness


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About the Author

Emma Nash is an officer in The Methodist Church's Evangelism and Growth Team.


"Emma writes a searingly honest and accessible account of her experience of childlessness. She explores the deep isolation that can be experienced by people struggling with involuntary childlessness and how this pain can even be made worse by both church and Scripture reading. She considers the ethical dilemmas involved with infertility treatment and the powerlessness and helplessness that many endure as a result of infertility. Drawing on her lived experience she provides hope by offering consolation from theological writers and a rereading of Scripture to offer a way through this. She also has written some helpful liturgical material and provides a thorough bibliography for further resources in this area. This is one of the most powerful and helpful books I have read in a long time." -- Cathy Ross, Church Mission Society, UK
"Emma's ability to move seamlessly between her own experiences, the biblical text and the wider issues around infertility meant that before I knew it I'd finished the book in one sitting. Emma's writing is full of tenderness for those who share her experiences, whilst also making space for those who might identify with them for a whole range of reasons. I hope that this book is read by people far and wide and, not least, by those who lead people in any way in our churches." -- Sarah Crane, Baptist Minister and Lead Chaplain at Milton Keynes University Hospital
"In my experience all too often ministers can be crassly insensitive to the feelings of couples who for one reason or another cannot have children. For this reason I warmly commend A Pastoral Theology of Childlessness in which Emma Nash not only bravely shares her struggle with childlessness, but also provides a thought-provoking theological framework enabling ministers to help couples suffering from the pain and the anger which results from childlessness. This is a great pastoral resource: very readable, it should be required reading for all ministers - and, of course, for those training for ministry." -- Paul Beasley-Murray, Former principal of Spurgeon's College
"There is so much that can be said in praise of this book, but I experienced it supremely as a brave book. Emma Nash explores an important but so often hidden subject with such honesty and vulnerability that someone for whom this is not their experience has their eyes opened and heart moved in the most helpful way. It is also a profound and beautiful book as Emma weaves insightful biblical interpretation, compelling theology and sensitive practice around and through her own experience. In the way it has been written it is model of theological reflection. Since this can be a hidden experience, I would strongly encourage all those who offer pastoral care to read this book, so that when the time comes they are better prepared to empathise and listen well." -- Anthony Clarke, Regents Park College, UK
"From its powerful, honest opening to its deeply pastoral closing, this book is much needed. As she contemplates the experience of involuntary childlessness, Emma Nash's gaze is unflinchingly honest yet always compassionate. Nash explores the importance of acknowledging the pain of involuntary childlessness rather than trying to tidy it up or explain it away. In each chapter her observations on what she and others have gone through or are going through ('the experience') and powerful theological insights ('the consolation') are firmly anchored to the pastoral need ('the practice'). The final chapter is full of useful ideas. The book is profound yet accessible, and for those who dwell in this Holy Saturday (chapter 2), for ministers looking to support and care, for church friends, it's a must-read." -- Jenni Williams, author of 'God Remembered Rachel'

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