Foreward by Rev Dr Samuel Wells is Vicar of St-Martin-in-the-Fields and visiting professor of Christian Ethics at King’s College, London.
He has published 35 books
Neville Black is a social and ecclesial entrepreneur. He has spent his life on border between the church that is and the church that could be. Most people think of the church as an institution: dependable, durable, wise, hospitable – but static, backward-looking, slow to change, elitist and self-satisfied. Neville has never thought of the church as an institution; he thinks of it more as an insurgency. He understands people’s need for abiding signals and habits of constancy, for needing people and things to rely on: but he’s never found much of that in the gospels, where he’s perceived a message of a realm of God breaking in. Neville wants to be part of that burglary – that break-in: it might make a mess, it might tread on toes, but it’s what the Holy Spirit is doing, and he’s always wanted to be part of it. And to be fair, Neville would tread on toes whether he meant to or not.
This is a story of how Neville’s imagination, energy, and tender heart grew from childhood hardship and evangelical piety to empowered leadership and finally visionary entrepreneurship. There are always at least two stories going on: one amid adversity, with considerable challenges, the need to support those closest to him, the class and regional prejudice and small-mindedness of the church; the other of creativity, resilience, effervescent inventiveness, infectious kindness and generous embrace. And the third story is of Neville and the Trinity – fired with the Spirit, walking humbly with Jesus, captivated by the Father – yet wrestling like Jacob, seeking who he really is and who God really is. I imagine most who read this will know and love Neville already. I for one owe him more than I can ever describe or detail. But I’m sure that all who read this will know and love Neville by the time they finish. Because this is a man who has allowed the Spirit to sing a song in his heart. And because of Neville, we will never forget how that song goes.
Rev Dr Samuel Wells is Vicar of St-Martin-in-the-Fields and visiting professor of Christian Ethics at King’s College, London. He has published 35 books