The Bloomsbury Guide to Pastoral Care (2014) is a book edited by Bernadette Flanagan and Sharon Thornton and published by Bloomsbury Publishing. This book is an invaluable tool for pastors and seminary students in the area of pastoral ministry. I am saying that because this book provides an actual and accurate perspective about pastoral care and themes related to this discipline.
The book is divided into two main sections. Part 1: European Trends and Themes, presents aspects of the pastoral care ministry from and theoretical and practical European perspective. Part 2: North American Trends and Themes, is devoted to the pastoral care field and how it is viewed and applied in North America.
This book contains sixteen chapters written by different authors writing on their area of expertise. Something I really like about this book is that chapters are concise and precise at the same time. That helps readers to not feel bothered by unnecessary terminology and long chapters that do not contribute to the understanding of the issue under discussion. Instead, chapters are short and full of precise information that help readers to get the main points the authors are trying to transmit.
Chapter 1 introduces the reader to the world of pastoral care. In this chapter, the author defines the term pastoral care and its etymology. This chapter presents and overview about the relationship that exists between pastoral care and pastoral counseling, and how these two disciplines are also different in function and responsibilities. This chapter is crucial and will capture the reader’s attention in a way that will be impossible for him or her to stop reading the book. The term practical theology is also included in this chapter as the author explains how it relates to pastoral care.
Other themes that readers will find in this book are cyberbullying among adolescent girls, nurturing families, domestic violence, mental health ministry in the congregation and community, or pastoral care of the ageing. All of these themes are contemporary issues that require the intervention of those involved in pastoral care ministry.
Something I personally miss from this book is the inclusion of a more explicit biblical perspective and terminology. Biblical passages about pastoral care or biblical terminology would be appreciated by those who are in ministry, since they are most likely the potential readers to whom this book is addressed. I am not claiming this book should line up with any denomination or doctrine in particular, but that pastoral care is well supported by the Bible and this book would benefit from a more specific biblical support.
However, I highly recommend this book to those who are in ministry, those who plan to, and those who are just interested in learning more about the spellbinding world of pastoral care. This is an excellent book for both experienced pastors and beginners.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.