With a Little !kip from my Friends by John Fellow (Allen Lane £2.50)
"Community development" is one of the "in" things of the present for helping the struggling parochial clergy. Case-work has been the root of their individual approach, as it has been for social workers.
Now a new breed of community workers is growing up ,who, while not condemning case-work totally, lay much
more emphasis on community self-help, the training of what is called "indigenous leadership," and the non-directive approach. Often such workers are unable to escape front the authoritarian role which they are. so quick to condemn in others.
Fellow's autobiographical account of sonic 18 years as a Congregational minister in Tower Hamlets in London's Fast End, is honestly oldfashioned and untrendy. Not that he ignores the community aspect of the work — very far from it. But the book shows that his work is not set within a rigidly defined theoretical approach. He follows where the Lord leads hint, not where the text-book dictates.
The book is written hastily (the author admits), and deserves to be read in the same way. The flavour of the flux and cosmic change of the period under review is caught.
From little beginnings, through many problems, a new concept of Church presence is worked out. CareHouse — church, community centre, pub
and club. all in one is the present manifestation of one type of non-Conformist witness to Christ in the East End.
Vignettes of John Pellow's parishibners and friends are drawn, and contain a wealth of social analysis. The excitement, and the failure, of excursions into political protest over rents, is described. The "workerpriest" idea becomes a reality for John Pellow as his church "living" literally disappears in the rubble.
The hook is not presented as the answer to parish renewal, 'Jut as an up-to-date version of Ernest Southcott's classic description of his work in Leeds some 15 years ago, it provides heart and inspiration.
Foster • Murphy