Book Launch: Spirit of peace in the Middle East

Added about 7 years ago by Sacristy Press

PRESS RELEASE: Durham-based Sacristy Press has published a challenging book looking at the turbulent situation in the Middle East. The Spirit of Peace: Pentecost and Affliction in the Middle East, written by County Durham-born Professor Mary C. Grey, comes at a time when Middle Eastern Christians are facing great affliction and renewed threats of violence.

In the book, theologian Mary Grey asks where the Holy Spirit is in the collapse of the Arab Spring, and suggests that the Holy Spirit is leading the people of the Middle East – Christians, Jews and Muslims – to a new future. She also suggests that God’s outpouring Spirit must be seen as the power of resistance to evil, and promises new energy for justice and peace in a situation that seems to be beyond hope.

The book uniquely links scripture and the Christian concept of the Holy Spirit with both early Christian history and contemporary political reality in Gaza, Syria and Egypt. It concludes by focusing on breaking the impasse and moving forward from centuries of mistrust, through dialogue and bridge-building on the part of many NGOs and other remarkable individuals.

Mary Grey said: “Having previously written on the subject of the spirituality of reconciliation, I felt compelled to write this book by the worsening situation in the Middle East following my recent experiences in Israel, Palestine and Egypt, and developing friendships with Middle Eastern Christians.

“In the book I explore the hope that peace might become a reality in the lands we call ‘holy’ through the intervention of God’s Spirit.”

Theological writer Timothy Radcliffe, said: “Mary Grey dares to look closely at the appalling affliction of the Middle East today, and there find signs of the Holy Spirit at work: enduring, healing, reconciling, and imagining a new peace. She offers us brave hope in this awful time of darkness and suffering.”

The Spirit of Peace will be launched with a free talk by the author at Sarum College Bookshop, Salisbury, on Friday March 6th at 5.30pm.

Jenny Monds, Manager of Sarum College Bookshop said, It's always a thrill to introduce authors to their readers and vice versa. It's a particular pleasure to have Professor Mary Grey with us again, as she has a long been associated with Sarum College. We are hoping for a good turn out to this free event to meet the author of this timely book.


Notes for Editors

The Spirit of Peace book launch will be followed by an opportunity attend the subsequent talk at nearby Salisbury Cathedral about Magna Carta by Neil MacGregor.

The Spirit of Peace: Pentecost and Affliction in the Middle East was published in 2015 by Sacristy Press, Durham, and is available to order from (ISBN: 978-1-908381-20-0). For review copies, please contact us with details of your publication or media outlet.

The Spirit of Peace is the third book in a trilogy. The Advent of Peace (2010) and The Resurrection of Peace (2012) were published by SPCK.

Sacristy Press was founded in 2011 to publish historical and theological titles, both fiction and non-fiction. It is based in the historic academic city of Durham in North East England. More information about Sacristy Press can found on their website at

Related Twitter handles: @SacristyPress, @SarumCollege, @SarumCBookshop

Author Biography

Professor Mary C. Grey is a Roman Catholic liberation theologian. Born in Houghton-le-Spring in County Durham, Grey obtained an MA in Classics from Oxford and taught Classics at FCJ Convent in Middlesbrough. After receiving a doctorate in Theology at the University of Louvain, Belgium, she has held several academic posts, including most recently as Visiting Professor at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham.

In addition to ecological theology, Grey is an activist for social justice in areas including the Holy Land (as a trustee of Living Stones of the Holy Lands), and as a core member of the Balfour Project. In 1987, she and her husband, Dr Nicholas Grey, co-founded the NGO Wells for India. Nicholas and Mary have four adult children and now live in Hampshire.


The Revd Dr Naim Ateek, Founder of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, Jerusalem, said: “In a deeply inspiring way, Mary Grey explores the journey of the Spirit alongside struggling people through their affliction. She traces the multiple dimensions of the Spirit in the Gospel story as well as in contemporary times. A journey of hope towards peace.”

The Revd Nadim Nassar, Director & co-founder of The Awareness Foundation, London, said: “The Spirit of Peace is an inspirational and courageous work, written with immense care and a clear love of the Middle East. Mary Grey’s emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit reveals a crucial dimension of faith dynamics in the Middle East. In that part of the world, we desperately need the work of the Holy Spirit to enlighten and inspire us so that we may understand our history better, face our challenges, and build a future where Christianity can continue to be a beacon of the love of God in the birthplace of our faith.”

Rabbi Michael Lerner, Chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and Editor of Tikkun magazine, said: “In The Spirit of Peace Mary Grey has done what few Christian theologians in the West have dared to do: to apply the insights of Christian Liberation theology to the suffering of so many people in the contemporary Middle East. In so doing, she reminds us of the powerful contemporary relevance of this approach to Christianity and challenges people of all faiths and none to really allow in to our hearts and our consciousness both the suffering and the ground for hope in what is sometimes dismissed as an intractable problem.”

Please note: Sacristy Press does not necessarily share or endorse the views of the guest contributors to this blog.

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