Book Review: Becoming Reverend by Matt Woodcock

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As someone who is trying to discern a possible vocation to Holy Orders within the Church of England, reading a diary or a memoir by someone who has gone down the same route is always interesting, and The Revd Matt Woodcock’s book Becoming Reverend.

While he is obviously of a different churchmanship than myself (fairly obvious, especially through some less-than-kind opinions about the Book of Common Prayer and more formal worship in general) I find his honesty about his struggles with both his faith and his vocation refreshing and I especially like his thoughts about trying to still be his old self/“one of the lads down at the pub” with Holy Orders. Those thoughts are surely shared by most of the people discerning a possible vocation.

Trying to survice theological college is also something that he describes well, sometimes rather funnily, including trying to cope with the baring of ones soul to a number of persons you didn’t know before you were put together in the same class at college. I feel a certain connection with him when he discusses trying to tone down being the “class clown” and not taking up too much space in conversations etc., as it is most certainly something I will need to struggle with myself over the coming years.

What I wasn’t overly keen on, however, was the incessant talking about sexual attraction and the sexual act itself. I get it, for a couple who desperately wants a child, not being able to have one is a terrible tragedy and something that affects you deeply. While the talking about sex might seem natural to a journalist, I find it (perhaps it’s just me being a prude) slightly disconcerting to come from an ordinand.

All in all, it was a good read, and I am glad I bought the book – it is very obvious that Matt Woodcock used to be a journalist! I finished the book happily in one lazy afternoon, but I am not sure it is a book I will read again.

Grade: 4 Ps of 5. 


About Petter

Demi-Norwegian Swede in Oxford. Rather churchy type.
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