"Brilliantly clear, succinct, readable, informed. Here is winsome erudition that teaches us not only who it is that Christians worship, but also the sheer joy, vitality, and graced intelligence that pertain to worshiping this God. Stephen Bullivant is a breath of fresh air for Christian intellectual life. --Matthew Levering"
The launch took place in the beautiful confines of the Waldegrave Drawing Room. The sun was still shining and the room was awash with bright May light.
Lots of young seminarians were present, including Joseph Bailham (to the extreme right) who used to blog as Catholic With Attitude.
Can anyone spot Francis Campbell?
The room was buzzing! It was my first time meeting Stephen and his wife, Joanna, who is a musician and mother to their two little girls, Grace and Alice. Both Stephen and Joanna are converts to Catholicism.
When Stephen was speaking, he gave special thanks to Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman Osb, who baptised Stephen in Rome at St Paul's Outside the Walls on May 11th 2008. The book launch also marked the 7th anniversary of Stephen's baptism. Stephen was born in Cumbria, and did not have a religious upbringing.
Fr Hugh is a very encouraging Benedictine and he brings out the best in people.
In view of the post that I did welcoming Princess Charlotte, it was pointed out that I ought to have a photo taken with the portrait of Queen Charlotte.
Stephen is a senior lecturer in Theology and Ethics at St Mary's, and his former students were in the audience. Here are Rebeccah and Sacha who were telling me that they liked St Mary's, one of England's best known Catholic universities because it has such a warm, friendly atmosphere where, 'people look out for each other'.
Fr Hugh, Peter Tyler and Michael Kirwan are sharing a joke over a glass of wine.
Peter Tyler was telling me that centuries ago Twickenham was the nearest place to Central London that Catholics were *allowed* to live. If they lived closer to the centre of town, they would break the law.
Afterwards, we had a delicious Italian dinner to celebrate. I had one of my all-time favourite meals, baked salmon, asparagus, creamed potato with a lightly sparkling white wine. We toasted the success of Stephen's book.
Jacob Phillips is to my right - he is doing a doctorate on Bonhoeffer and having to study the German language very intensely in the process.
We were a very lively group and other people dining in the restaurant came up to us to ask us why we were having so much fun! This reminds of the key reason that I think Stephen's book stands out, it is funny while it explains essential dogma.