Book Review – Weekly Meditations: 2011 – 2014 by Daniel R. Heischman

While admittedly not having the most gripping of book titles, Daniel Heischman has provided a really valuable and helpful resource that speaks directly into our Anglican school context.

Daniel is about step down as the Executive Director of the National Association of Episcopal Schools in the US; a position he has held since 2007. In the role he has sent out a weekly meditation to the Episcopal school’s network. This book represents a compilation of these meditations from 2011 to 2014.

I first became aware of Daniel Heischman when he came to Australia to run a national forum for Anglican Schools Australia in May 2018, helping us explore Anglican identify. I expected, as a bigwig from the United States,  that he would have a lot to say. However, what really impressed me at that occasion was that Daniel did far more listening than he did speaking. He helped facilitate a really helpful conversation exploring what is meant by Anglican identity in our Australian school’s context.  

This event became the springboard for the paper that Daniel produced ‘Embracing our Anglican Identity’ which has been a really helpful document. It also encouraged those of us who attended the forum to connect up with the Episcopal school’s network and the resources they have on offer.

One of those resources are Daniel’s weekly meditations. The meditations while being succinct and pithy are rich in wisdom and insight. Daniel draws on a range of sources, scripture, an inspiring quote, a recent event or life experience to provide an engaging and thoughtful series of reflections. These reflections are written with chaplains in mind so they have the big advantage of speaking directly into our context.  

If you regularly speak in your school at assemblies and chapel coming up with ideas can be a challenge. Daniel’s meditations provide a rich stimulus in terms of the breadth of topics he considers and how he gently and winsomely weaves the wisdom and insight of the Christian message into the topic under consideration. The reflections cover the regular rhythm of the school year and while the seasons from northern hemisphere to southern hemisphere might not match up, the wisdom on offer certainly easily translates.

Reading these meditations I found myself regularly highlighting passages, and making notes in the margins. Over the course of the book Daniel touches upon many of the issues we regularly face in our ministry and he has some really helpful insights to offer.   

There are two volumes of meditations, the first spanning the years 2011 to 2014 and the second from 2014 to 2017. The books are available through the Episcopal Schools website (see the link at the top of the post) and are well worth getting a copy.   

We don’t normally do giveaways on the blog, but in this instance we are. I have a copy of each volume of Daniel’s meditations to give away to a good home so if you are interested please be in contact.

Andrew Stewart Written by:

Reverend Andrew Stewart has twenty years experience as a school chaplain and works as a chaplain at Mentone Grammar in Melbourne. Andrew is also the chair of the Chaplains in Anglican Schools network in Victoria.

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