LET THERE BE LIGHT
Parish Leadership for the 21ST Century
FATHER JAMES GRANT
Paperback, 120 pages, $22.95
A Modotti Press Title
Release Date: April 2016What they are saying about "Let there be Light"
This book confronts the need for change in the Catholic Church.
I have known the author of this book Father James Grant for over 10
years and consider him a courageous and strong religious leader. Father
James is a visionary and personal friend. He is an authentic Church
leader who believes in taking the Catholic Church to the people and not
the other way around.
Father James first came to my attention when I was the Director of Human
Resources at AIG which is a multi-national insurance organisation. He
was introduced to me by then AIG Chief Executive Officer Mr. Chris
Townsend who described him as: “an entrepreneurial and interesting
priest”. He was right on both counts!
Father James founded the organisation “Chaplains without Borders” in
2004 to provide chaplaincy services to corporate Australia. Father
James was appointed as the world’s first chaplain to the casino industry
in 2006 (Crown Casino).
Father James provides an insightful view of the need for change to
current parish practices and strategy in this book. He talks about the
need for ministers to move outside what he describes as their “comfort
zone”. Father James argues that if a parish fails to adapt or reform it
is at serious risk of decline.
He uses his knowledge and experience gained over many years in business
and provides parish ministers with a framework for leading effective
change in their parishes. He explores a range of concepts and
strategies which will assist a parish to implement the necessary change
to survive and thrive into the future.
Father James believes that the Church is just like any other
organisation. It must stay focused on and relevant to the needs of its
community or stakeholders to thrive and grow. It must therefore adapt
to new ways of doing things and engaging with its community and/or
This book is compelling reading for parish leaders involved in managing
stakeholders and setting the strategic direction of the parish. He
encourages Church leaders to fully understand the demographics of the
community or stakeholders it serves, to be open minded to new ideas
without compromising on Church values or belief’s and to use the sphere
of influence to drive real outcomes whilst being tolerant of the
diversity of views held by the community and stakeholders.
Father James wants the Catholic Church to make a difference in the lives of people through renewal.
Carlo Galati --Former National General Manager AIG Human Resources
I have worked with Father James for many years through the ‘Chaplain’s
without Borders’ pastoral care program he has provided to our
workplace. I admire the work undertaken by Father James and the
contemporary way he seeks to add value to the lives of many and in
parallel, works to make the church relevant in this 21st century.
Father James understands that the concept of a congregation has moved
beyond attendance at a Sunday Service. Father James cultivates a sense
of congregation, a collective coming together of likeminded people,
whilst breaking down traditional perceptions of what a parish must be.
Louise Tebbutt -- Executive General Manager Human Resources, Risk and Safety Myer
This book challenges every church to find ways to adapt and change in
the 21st century. The work is large in scope and many of the ideas will
be confronting for those who see their church as a comfortable and
stable old friend. Yet it would be wrong to say that Father James
proposes all past practices should be discarded or that the teachings of
the Catholic Church should deviate from conservative belief. Rather
the work recognises the importance of the church’s history, tradition
and place in the community but seeks to make these foundations relevant
for the modern worshipper. Father James suggests a clear way forward
for church leaders and parishioners – ask what can I do to keep my
church meaningful in today’s world? The book gives hope that the
Catholic Church will remain a place of faith and succour for the
remainder of this century.
Peter Clarke -- Melbourne Lawyer
Fr James Grant manages to re-energise Catholic priests in our day and
age when we feel more like closing down the shop. With his optimistic
outlook and pastoral experience, he gives us many clues about how to
tackle the challenges of our 21st century. He doesn’t shy away from the
obstacles of a modern day parish and shows us the way forward: innovate
Knowing him, I had the pleasure to read his book and find the topics
we discuss from time to time: these things are in his mind and tries to
give some answers. He doesn’t have time for blaming the past or looking
to the dark clouds of the future. He lives in the present time, tries to
be objective and offer us priests, many different ideas to put into
practice straight away. Polemics or debates don’t bog him down; he
manages to be practical and go down to basics. We should be grateful for
Fr Joseph Pich -- Opus Dei Community Melbourne
Adherence to the past, whether an ideally-imagine past or an actual one,
can in this highly competitive landscape, almost guarantee a steady
slide into obscurity and irrelevance.
Let There Be Light is a read that pulls no punches; it kicks open the
doors and loudly heralds a call for change. We need but to stand back a
moment, open our eyes, and it becomes very clear that change is exactly
what is needed.
For thousands of years, the social fabric of the world changed very
little; but that is no longer the world we inhabit. Adaptation is now
the key to survival and growth, for any organization; the church being
This book suggests a severance of old ties to outdated parish cliques
and past glories; and proposes a powerfully outlined transition toward a
modern model of the role that the church might play into today’s
Even though this book may challenge some old and entrenched ideas,
its real purpose is to illuminate, inspire and encourage others to step
up and embrace an ethos of leadership that will pave the way for a
better world tomorrow.
John Will -- Australia’s Leading Martial Arts Instructor
Drawing on his extensive overseas and Australian experience of parish
life, Fr James Grant shows that, despite rising secularism and religious
apathy in the West, there is no need for priests and parishioners to
accept an inevitable decline in parish life and activity.
His key insight is that churches have to move with the time while
staying true to their core beliefs. This does not mean reading the
zeitgeist of passing fashions or pursuing political causes from the
pulpit. Many traditional faith brands such as Methodism and
Presbyterianism have virtually disappeared, while erstwhile pillars of
yesteryear, such as the Anglican Church, are rapidly withering on the
vine. By trying to blend political causes with religious beliefs they
have only succeeded in confusing their lifetime supporters, while
failing to persuade activists to come on board. Activists may be
passionate about their pet causes, but they don't need to do so within a
The Catholic Church has over a billion adherents worldwide and is
still expanding in many countries - not because it bends with the
political wind but because it stays true to its long held beliefs. Even
those who don't strictly follow its teachings on such subjects as
contraception and divorce can still admire its consistency of purpose
and high principles. After all, its basic message of primacy for the
poor and disadvantaged is a timeless and peerless one, which first
captured hearts and minds nearly two thousand years ago.
The bulwark of modern society has always been the family and family
values, but what has previously been taken for granted is now under
vigorous assault. Marriage is becoming an optional extra for many, while
its definition is undergoing profound re-thinking. But a multitude of
studies have shown that those who have settled family lives are much
more likely to achieve both material and spiritual prosperity, as well
as a greater degree of happiness and life satisfaction.
Father Grant gives many practical examples of what a forward thinking
but traditional values based programme can achieve. Those who already
attend church are almost, by definition, amenable to an offer of further
spiritual uplift and would be willing to contribute to community and
parish life in various ways, if they can see an active agenda. Those who
have turned away or are still looking for something to fill the
spiritual hunger gap would be attracted by a parish priest and council
which is keen to engage them on issues of mutual concern, whether
pastoral or charitable. Care and compassion and concern for the poor
should be core business for churches. So a programme which marries the
traditional values and teaching of the gospel with the busy lives of
ordinary people should have widespread appeal. Fr Grant shows that this
can, indeed must, be done if the Catholic Church is to remain vibrant
and relevant to the lives of ordinary Australians.
Richard Alston -- former barrister who from 1986 to 2014 was a Liberal
Member of the Australian Senate. From 1996 – 2003 he was Minister for
Communications and the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the
Senate. From 2005-2008 he was Australian High Commissioner to the
United Kingdom in London.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fr James Grant has over thirty years of experience in the field of
pastoral care, and is widely regarded as one of Australia’s most
innovative priests. With overseas experience in the UK and Europe, and
having worked in schools, he runs numerous programs. Fr James has also
founded Chaplains Without Borders, Australia’s first inter-faith
corporate chaplaincy service. Additionally, he has set up the strategic
networking forum Catholics in Business and has founded two schools on
the Indian sub-continent. He previous book Resurgence. Revitalising
Western Catholicism - An Australian Response
was published in 2014.
This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 09 March, 2016.