The Recovery of Hope

Bible reflections for sensing God's presence and hearing God's call

Naomi Starkey

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We live in the hope of experiencing first-hand the all-sufficient grace, love and forgiveness which is God's alone, a hope that we may know with our heads long before we feel it in our hearts. This book is centred on a hope that means encountering God not only as consoling presence in the darkness but as one who challenges us to respond to his call. That call may prove to be costly, but as we respond, we will find ourselves transformed as we discover and rediscover not only that we are known exactly as we are, but loved beyond understanding as God's precious children.

In a series of Bible reflections - and some poems - the theme of this hope is explored in different ways, from the yearning of the Psalmist to walking the gentle journey of the Good Shepherd's leading.

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Author info

Naomi Starkey is a full-time ordained minister in the Church in Wales, living on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales. From 1997 - 2015 she was a commissioning editor for BRF as well as editing New Daylight and Quiet Spaces over a number of years. She has also written The Recovery of Love, Pilgrims to the Manger and Good Enough Mother for BRF.


Church Times 24 March 2016

NAOMI STARKEY's The Recovery of Hope cobbles together 103 wide ranging Bible reading notes, all with hope in common, originally published in sundry editions of BRF's New Daylight . A mature writer with a sure touch, her soign commentary on any biblical text never exceeds 300 words, and her balanced hermeneutic is well resourced and sparky.
Her book includes four beautifully crafted poems, with all her writing having the high quality of a prose poem. She is never afraid to be hard-hitting, with comments such as "Unlimited power carries with it unlimited responsibility rather than unlimited veniality,"and "Leaders should care for their flock rather than simply grandstand on issues." I will try to grandstand less and care more!
The three sub-themes, "Coping with Darkness", "Challenged to Journey", and "In Resurrection Light", boldly take us into some unusual territory. There are 14 studies on 2 Kings 13-17, 14 on Stephen's speech in Acts, and 12 on the latter chapters of Mark (including the shorter and longer endings); a further seven studies are offered on Psalm 37, Jonah, and Ezekiel. Themes on "The Absence of God", "Gardens and God", and "Holy Fire" draw material from across the scriptures. Starkey is the most pleasant of fellow travellers throughout, a sheer joy to be with. She draws examples from her ministerial context in glorious North Wales, seasoning the text with the occasional Welsh word - can it get any better than this?

The Rt Revd David Wilbourne; Assistant Bishop of Llandaff.

Diocese of Bangor News February 2016

From the psalms and prophets of the Old Testament to the gospels and epistles of the New Testament, chapters are opened up to draw us to read more deeply. Naomi presents each section with an introduction and then taking a few verses at a time explores at greater depth the meaning behind the words. This is not offered as a commentary but in a way that draws the reader into the passage being read, and how that may be 'read' within our own lives. Hope is important for every person, and here, through the ups and downs of the biblical stories, we can find again the hope that is given to us in God. Naomi writes very simply, but is not simplistic. She encourages further reading and offers plenty of thought provoking questions.

Anyone who enjoys an Advent or Lent book and feels bereft through the rest of the year, will find much in this book to help fill that gap.

I enjoyed reading Naomi's book, and found plenty within its pages which made me stop, think and pray.

Janet Fletcher Diocese of Bangor Spirituality Officer

Cambrian News; 11 February 2016

JULIE MCNICHOLLS VALE follows cleric-in-training Naomi Starkey's journey from the Channel Islands to the Llyn Peninsula and her beliefs through her book...

For the last eight months, cleric-in-training Naomi Starkey has made Aberdaron on the Llyn Peninsula her home.

A full-time ordained minister in the Church in Wales, Naomi works in the Bro Enlli Ministry area, which covers the south-west coast of the Llyn Peninsula and takes in six churches, including St Hywyn, Aberdaron;St Pedrog, Llanbedrog and St Cian, Llangian.

Aberdaron is undoubtedly beautiful, but far from her previous home, near Llanidloes.

And becoming a full-time member of the ministry also seems far removed from her previous work in publishing, but the 50-year-old mother-of-three knew the time was right to make the move to Gwynedd, and to the church.

'I had a strong sense that it was time to move from publishing - a field I had worked in for 21 years - to full-time church work and there was a job in Aberdaron that I felt was right for me.The area of publishing I worked in was related in a way, as I had been editor of the BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship) for many years, but that's not the same as leading services and getting out there meeting people.'

Naomi started working for the church as a part-time cleric in Machnylleth and the surrounding villages. Then a cleric-in-training post came up in Gwynedd and Naomi made the move in June 2015. Also that month, Naomi was ordained as a priest in Bangor. She was previously ordained as a deacon in June 2014.

Naomi says it wasn't her childhood dream to become a priest - indeed, it wasn't possible for women to do so at the time - but there had always been a leaning towards the church, as she explained. 'According to me mother I used to line up my teddies and give church services to them like my father, who was a vicar.But I never thought of becoming a vicar myself. I didn't think I could as a woman because women couldn't be ordained at the time. But my mother reminded me that I used to do this when I was about five years old, so I guess there's always been something there.'

Naomi was raised on the Channel Islands, and believes growing up there has helped her to fall in love with Aberdaron. 'My father was a vicar on the Channel Islands, on Jersey, and there are so many similarities to the Llyn,' Naomi said. 'It's almost like being on an island here in Aberdaron and there is some bilingualism, as there is on Jersey. There is also a lot of farming, tourism and of course, beautiful beaches.' As a cleric in training, Naomi says she is happy to be learning more about the church, and about the Llyn, and would like to stay in the area if possible. 'It depends if work is available but I have been learning Welsh for six years and I lead services and preach in Welsh, so I would definitely like to be able to use the language in a future post. And Aberdaron is lovely, as is the Llyn. I love the beaches on the Llyn in particular, and the mountains. It feels such a privilege to live somewhere that people want to go to on their holidays.'

As well as working for the Bro Enlli Ministry and exploring the Llyn, Naomi has also just released her fourth book. The Recovery of Hope contains a series of Bible passages, along with reflections on them and some poems written by Naomi. The theme of hope is explored throughout.

'Even if people are not fully paid-up members of the church, there is a lot in the Bible that can give comfort, especially in dark times,' said Naomi. 'In the book there are readings and words to encourage, and to help, even if you don't believe what those words imply. Even if you are not a Christian, the Bible is still full of wisdom and that can be helpful.' She went on: 'In the 1960s there was a sense that science would prove everything and religion was for the elderly or the weak. Now I think people are more spiritual. There's mindfulness and gratitude, and faith. There's a lot in the Bible that's hard to understand and to wrestle with and that needs reflection and interpretation. Through the book, and my work, I share what I know. I won't tell you what to believe in, but I will start a conversation. I hope that, for those who already read the Bible and go to church, this book might give them access to lesser-known parts they may not have read before. For others, I think, and I hope, that this book is a gentle way in.'

Book details

  • ISBN: 9780857464170
  • Published: 22 January 2016
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
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