Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Book Review: The Long of it

My earliest memories of the author of this autobiography were in the Diocesan Magazine he edited, with his name emblazoned in bold letters. An appropriate, if slightly humorous name for a minister with journalistic tendencies: S. E. Long (read it as 'essay long' and you'll get my drift!).

Ernest Long is now in his eighties, and in this book presents a series of memories and anecdotes from his life and ministry. Having served curacies in St Donard's and Willowfield in East Belfast, the rest of his stipendiary ministry was in Dromara, not too far from where I grew up. There were interesting stories of how the self-confessed city boy adapted to life in rural County Down, which may be useful for me as I move to Fermanagh in the near future!

Despite very different times, what shines through is the gospel is the same in every generation, it just needs to be communicated to the people in ways they understand. Community involvement, outreach, all the buzz words of the emerging era were already in place in Long's rural ministry, as he relates his experiences of community life and outreach in Dromara.

Long is also well known locally for his prominent position in the Orange Order, and a considerable portion of the book was given to detailing his involvement with the Order, including his international speaking tours on behalf of the Grand Lodge. Perhaps my only regret is that he didn't spend much time discussing the recent difficulties, instead skirting around them.

All in all, The Long of it is an interesting read to discover the impact the gospel has had on an individual life, and the wider impact through that one person to reach and change so many. It will be particularly interesting for those with some knowledge of the local area, but would be profitable for a wider audience too.

The Long of it is available from Slieve Croob Press and has one of my photos on the front cover!

No comments:

Post a Comment