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Thu 18 Dec 2014 @ 12:47

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Summon's Miscellany of Saints and Sinners

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ISBN-13: 9781853116674
Published: 31/10/2005
Product description
Which saint is the one to call on when you've lost your keys? Which hairdresser was beatified? What might the Fourteen Holy Helpers do for you, and why are so many beers named after monasteries? On the other side of the coin, who makes it on to the list of the world's 10 worst dictators and who doesn't? Who sold the Eiffel Tower as scrap metal and which circle of hell do flatterers end up in? An entertaining and illuminating guide to the best and worst of human nature.
Product Reviews

"Following on from his successful earlier work, Summon's Christian Miscellany, come this new book looking at the history of saints and sinners. While it is light and accessible, there is enough material here to liven up many a sermon. (...) Whether for fun or as research into a sermon, this book makes fascinating reading." The Church of England Newspaper, 17 March 2006.

Author Information

Parminder Summon

PARMINDER SUMMON is the author of Summon's Christian Miscellany published by Lion in the UK and Doubleday in the US. A fundraiser for Cancer Research, he lives in Nene, Cambridgeshire, where he is actively involved in his local church.

Author Interview
Canterbury Press is very pleased to publish Summon's Miscellany of Saints and Sinners in November 2005. We invited author Parminder Summon to spend a few moments talking to us just before publication.

Parminder - welcome to the Canterbury Press website.

Tell us about the book - what is a miscellany?

A miscellany is a collection of interesting facts, lost wisdom rediscovered and ancient traditions designed to entertain and illuminate. Summon's Miscellany of Saints and Sinners attempts to provide answers to questions you didn't know you didn't know, such as: 'Who were the Adamites and why did they worship without clothes? What are Apostle Spoons? Who are the Fourteen Holy Helpers? What is the Government of Hades? What saints are associated with weather lore?

How did the book come about?

Last year I produced a book called Summon's Christian Miscellany, which was a quick delve into the nooks and crannies of our faith. I really enjoyed doing the research and it became apparent that there is so much more still to discover!

Christianity is full of interesting characters, fascinating practices, historical documents and amazing traditions. I thought it would be good to give a flavour of of our faith and also show the other side of the coin. It is too easy for us to be locked into our way of doing things, but there are many expressions of the Christian faith and this diversity can enlighten us.

We also know we are all sinners, so the book contains information about notable fraudsters, the world's worst dictators and a digest of popular heresies.

How did you decide what went in and what was left out?

As an avid reader, I put myself in the position of a typical reader and simply sought to research some of the issues I knew about but were on the edge of my mind. Then I adopted some basic criteria; the contents had to be interesting, entertaining and designed to elicit the response "I didn't know that!" The format is deliberately eclectic and gives a great opportunity to present fascinating snippets to an information rich but often time-starved audience.

Has anything surprised you in compiling the book?

Many things! I was delighted to discover that there are loads of fascinating traditions and stories about saints and sinners; for example, did you know that some churches perform the lovely ceremony of Blessing The Throat on St Blaise's Day (3 February) every year? Or that, St Cuthbert was a pupil of St Aidan at Melrose Abbey and later became Bishop of Lindisfarne in the 8th century. He was greatly beloved and many miracles are attributed to him. Once, he died from long prayers and meditation at the shore, but two otters came out of the water and revived him back to life! Grigory Rasputin prophesied his own death just a month before the event. Johann tetzel was a Dominican priest and master seller of indulgences during the 16th century. Armed with papal authority, he would travel from village to village throughout Germany with printed receipts from the Pope guaranteeing release from purgatory into paradise in exchange for money, which was used to make the Vatican look even grander.

Tell us more about the 'Curious Deeds of English Saints'?

 England is hugely blessed with many fantastic stories about amazing saints. Here are just two from the book. St Elphege (or Alphege) became bishop of Winchester in 1006 and Archbishop of Canterbury. He was imprisoned in Greenwich by the Danes who overan Kent and Lond in 1011. Whilst in prison the devil appeared to him in likeness of an angel, and tempted him to follow him into a dark valley, over which he wearily walked through hedges and ditches. At last the devil vanished, and a real angel appeared and told St. Elphege to be a martyr. He was slain by the Danes in 1012 and is buried in St Paul's in London.

St Aldhelm (d.709) founded the abbey of Malmesbury, and was the first Englishman who cultivated both Latin and English. He lived a life of strict discipline and used to recite the Psalter at night, plunged up to the shoulders in a pond of water. His biographers say that whilst in Rome, he turned a sunbeam into a clothes peg to hang his vestments!

I should point out that I am not making any claims for the veracity of these stories, but they are interesting!

Tell us a little about yourself? You work in fund-raising?

 I worship with Nene Family Church in Peterborough and am married with 2 children. I am a member of Gideons International and a youth leader in my church.

I work for Cancer Research UK helping supporters to raise money to cure cancer faster. It is a wonderful charity and I am blessed that we offer hope to many people who are suffering from cancer.