I just finished Bringing in the Sheaves. Wheat and Chaff from My Years as a Priest by the Revd Richard Coles. Fr Coles is the former Communard who left, as he himself puts it “pop for the pulpit” and is now both a host on the BBC and the Parish Priest of Finedon. I follow him on twitter, and actually attended a presentation of his previous book, Fathomless Riches: or how I went from Pop to Pulpit in St Paul’s Cathedral a few years ago. Fathomless Riches I very much enjoyed, so when I realised that Bringing in the Sheaves was to be found for my trusty Kindle, I couldn’t help myself.
So – what did I think about it? It’s difficult to say. Fr Coles is a good story-teller, and he has some really good stories to tell, including how he met his partner, the Revd David Coles, in Church (surprise!) and some of the more absurd encounters during his ministry was enough to make it interesting alone. He has, however, attempted to organise the content of the book around the various highlights of the religious year, which makes it a bit unstructured, and anecdotes are mixed without any direct thought about the content.
After recent controversies in the dear old CofE, it’s very encouraging to read something written by an openly gay clergyman which isn’t just moaning from first page to the last, in fact he mentions precious little about his sexual orientation, apart from mentioning things he’s doing with his partner. After having seen (too) many social media posts lately from various people who are more “on the barricades” and controversial than Fr Coles (and myself!) this was a very welcome change!
All in all, despite the somewhat irritating structure, it was a good read, and I finished it in 2 days. Well worth a buy, in my opinion.