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Preaching in the Present Tense

This book, ReImagine: Preaching in the Present Tense, is about what happens when we let the stories of our lives intersect the stories of our faith.  What emerges at that crossroads is preaching which speaks in the present tense.  From Selma to Star Wars, from Haiti to Spain, Mark Whittall weaves our adventures with those of our biblical predecessors, creating new stories which are both relevant and engaging, and which provide a glimpse of the spiritual dimension of everyday life. 

A transgender renaming. Residential schools for Indigenous children. Same-sex marriage. A pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. At first glance these stories may have little in common, and yet, when put into conversation with the ancient stories of our faith, their shared lot is to give birth to sacred meaning and an experience of the divine. To preach out of the stuff of our lives is to speak in the wisdom tradition - a way of speaking that relies on the conviction that God is present and active, here and now.

Released October 2017

Published by Wood Lake
160 PP | 6" x 9" | Paper

Print $19.95

eBook $9.98

I would love a double portion of Mark Whittall’s courage. Where most of us shy away quiet, Mark clears his voice, and speaks a word from the Lord. No wonder his parish in Ottawa is flourishing. This is a model for preaching in mainline liberal parishes across Canada and beyond.

Jason Byassee, Butler Chair in Homiletics and Biblical Hermeneutics, Vancouver School of Theology


Stories from an Urban Church

Caution: may inspire readers to re-think church and, if necessary, begin again.


In these days of declining membership in mainline congregations, a new church plant is a rarity. Even more so, perhaps, when the church plant involves an existing 145-year-old building, and a focus on ministry to college and university students, young adults living in the neighbourhood, and those experiencing homelessness and dealing with poverty.


In ReInvention: Stories from an Urban Church, Mark Whittall shares the insights and wisdom he and a small-but-dedicated team gained as they worked to establish a new congregation in St. Albans Church, the second oldest Anglican parish in Ottawa.


The challenges the team faced were not small: the renovation of the original building, negative reaction from the community to the placement of a day program for the homeless, creating new liturgies and a new kind of church experience, and learning how best to reach out to and involve people with little or no prior church involvement. The result of all these efforts, however, has been the transformation of St. Albans into a vibrant centre for worship, a beautiful venue for the arts, and place of shelter and safety for many of the city’s most vulnerable inhabitants.

Released January 2016

Published by Wood Lake
160 PP | 6" x 9" | Paper

Print $19.95

eBook $9.98

ReInvention: Stories from an Urbam church book cover

This is a hopeful story, a Godly story and a human story. It is a worthwhile read for all who seek God in community and those who struggle to know God more fully.

The Rt. Rev. Dr. John H Chapman
Bishop of the Diocese of Ottawa


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