Messages in the Mall -- Looking at Life in 600 Words or Less (Church Publishing, 2008) is a new book by Bishop Paul Marshall who has written extensively both for scholars and clergy and for the general reader. His scholarly works have been described as “readable” and his popular works as “learned.” For more than a decade, Bishop Paul has written a monthly column for secular newspapers, usually 600 words or less and different from the monthly column he writes for Diocesan Life. This rigorous discipline of writing to strict space requirements was meant from its beginning in 1996 to engage the secular culture and to bring the church's message to it by commenting on the realities of the human condition and on issues of general interest. The book is a compilation of many of the columns, organized along thematic lines. Some six to eight papers in northeastern Pennsylvania currently publish the monthly column. Their combined circulation is about 400,000. Click here for more information.
The Bishop Is Coming (Church Publishing, 2007) is the first new ceremonial guide for bishops in more than 25 years and the first book of its kind aimed at helping congregations prepare for a bishop’s visit. This short book has a dual purpose and is aimed at two audiences. Through practical instruction and guidance, it equips bishops to minister effectively as the chief pastor in the diocese, while helping clergy and congregations reduce the eternal anxiety around the words, the bishop is coming. Realizing that ceremonial custom varies among dioceses and congregations, Bishop Paul lays out some normative principles that should be followed in all liturgies at which the bishop presides or is present. His clear, engaging, and often humorous style will put the reader at ease when dealing with ceremonial material.
One, Catholic and Apostolic: Samuel Seabury and the Early Episcopal Church (Church Publishing, 2004) is a fascinating story of the first bishop in the Episcopal Church. It explores the complex personalities, motivations, loyalties and prejudices that went into the formation of the Episcopal Church and the creation of its liturgy. Using Bishop Samuel Seabury’s persona and thought as central themes, Bishop Paul argues that liturgy cannot be understood simply by studying texts. “Marshall does what few scholars ever really do,” Peter Eaton, dean of St. John’s Cathedral, Denver, said in his review in The Anglican, October 2005. “He tells us things that are both new and true, and he does this with authority, and not as the scribes. No one who wants truly to understand this crucial period of our history can do without this book.”
Same-Sex Unions: Stories and Rites (Church Publishing, 2004) is a collection and analysis of representative rites in use in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, a contribution to the continuing debate on the church’s pastoral care. An expanded version of Same Sex Unions: An Inquiry, written initially for bishops on their way to General Convention 2003, it begins with a focus on the lives of two deeply committed Christian couples. Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina called the book a pastoral gift. “Bringing together the mind of a scholar and the heart of a pastor, Bishop Marshall has given birth to a work that can help us grow as a community of faith in which all who seek to follow Jesus are helped and supported on their journey. I am honored to commend this work to the church."
Earlier books by Bishop Paul include: Leaps and Boundaries: The Prayer Book in the 21st Century (Co-edited with Dr. Lesley Northup, Morehouse, 1997); The Voice of a Stranger: On the Lay Origins of Anglican Liturgics (Church Publishing, 1993); Anglican Liturgy in America: Prayer Book Parallels (Church Publishing, 1989, 1991, 1996), a three-volume set that compares texts of different versions of The Book of Common Prayer; and Preaching for the Church Today: The Skills, Prayer and Art of Sermon Preparation (Church Publishing, 1991). “I have a rather pragmatic view of preaching,” he wrote. “If it doesn’t help people live, then it’s probably a waste of their time.”
Additionally, a 90-minute video on Reading the Bible Today, produced during a live presentation in the fall of 2003 in response to General Convention decisions related to homosexuality, was distributed nationally by the Episcopal Media Center, Atlanta.
Bishop Paul has also written more than 50 articles and reviews for periodicals. A Note on the Role on North America in the Evolution of Anglicanism (Anglican Theological Review, Fall 2005) is a must read for anyone attempting to navigate through the recent waves and winds of the Anglican Communion sea.