It does us much good to read books of this kind. Written more than thirty years ago it chronicles God’s work in the life of an Episcopalian minister who had been called to a declining neighborhood in Houston, Texas. Perhaps the whole story hinges upon the almost total failure of this man and his ministry in spite of his strong sense of calling to the parish. He came face to face with the powerlessness of his ministry and in honesty, turning to God was led in paths not popular in those days. This is the story of a strong personality, humbled by failure and brought to the experience of the empowering of God’s Spirit. He and his wife passed into a life lived in the Spirit’s power. As this was taking place God worked in that neighborhood parish, people were gathered by the Lord; people of every kind and from every background. The phrase ‘gathered for power’ is surely evocative of what took place. The old traditionalism of the Episcopal church gave way to a communal life and a ministry which was made up of a number of people rather than depending upon one rector. In the course of this process of travail unto new birth both in individual lives and of the gathering congregation there were those who left the church, preferring the old things and those who were drawn by the power of God present to deliver and heal. These events took place in the mid sixties of the twentieth century. It was a time when the Lord was pouring out of His Spirit in many places. However, the question that can be asked is ‘can God do it again’? Is it possible that He is able to grant localized out pourings of His Spirit as He did in that Houston parish? It is clear that He dealt deeply with this rector and his wife; they were brought to a profound repentance in the context of their lives as a minister and his wife. Their ideals were dashed, their habits changed, and their theology altered. Neighborhood local churches, experiencing the life and power of the Holy Spirit is surely God’s purpose in our day and expectations in that direction will be enhanced by a reading of this book.
GATHERED FOR POWER
Last modified: June 28, 2021