Title: Believe It Or Not
Back Cover Blurb:
PATRICK SEMPLE was born into the minority Church of Ireland community in Wexford at the beginning of the second world war. 'These were the days of Catholic triumphalism when ecumenism in provincial Ireland was non-existent. Relations between individuals and families were good but at a parish level there was no contact ... Canon Hazley would have had no contact with the Catholic clergy and if they met in public they would simply have exchanged polite greetings and passed on.'
'The Sunday morning service was much more than a meeting for the worship of Almighty God according to the Anglican tradition, it was the coming together of a tiny minority affirming their distinctiveness and their determination to survive ... There was a strong sense of allegiance ... to the Church of Ireland, which was more 'tribal than theological.' This is a very straight-talking, honest and often humorous insider account of growing up in such a church in such a society. Religion was also a factor in getting his first job in Brittain's motor assemblers in Rathmines, but did not interfere with the lively social life of his late teens. From there, the development of a sense of vocation, education at Trinity College, entry into the ministry and a first parish appointment in Belfast. Again, he chronicles the culture-clash between the world in which he grew up and the very different circumstances of religiously-divided Belfast. In a very full life in the ministry, Patrick Semple talks of ecumenism at parish level, of the idiosyncracies of aspects of the life of the Church of Ireland, and about difficulties with various aspects of Christian faith itself. As well as serving in parishes in Belfast, Laois, Wicklow and Dublin, he has been Church of Ireland Adult Education Officer and a chaplain to Mountjoy prison.
Title: The Rector Who Wouldn’t Pray For Rain
Back Cover Blurb
I used to tell parishioners that I didn't believe in a God that intervened in the weather to fill the coffers of well~heeled farmers in Co Laois ... but word came back to me that people found my attitude somewhat disturbing and I became known to some people as 'the rector who wouldn't pray for rain'.
In his frank and outspoken memoir, former Church of Ireland clergyman Patrick Semple examines his childhood awareness of religion and how the Catholic Church was perceived by the minority community of the Church of Ireland. In his varied career he moved from small country parisnes to chaplaincies in three hospitals and Mountjoy Prison and he describes the diverse cast of characters he met along the way with incisive humour and compassion.
Semple discusses with refreshing honesty why he no longer believes the essential doctrines of the Christian faith and how his personal spirituality has evolved.