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from sir with love

New books shares a scripture teacher’s unique view on life and faith from the classroom window

FAITH NEWS SERVICE – “Every generation worries about the values and beliefs of the next. From his experience at a private girls’ school, Ken Edgecombe gives us a fascinating glimpse of how young people view — and experience — faith,” said Philip Yancey, in endorsing Ken’s new book, From Sir, With Love: Glimpses of Faith Through a Classroom Window.

For 21 years, Ken Edgecombe taught Religious Education at a private girls’ school in Wellington, New Zealand. The school was Presbyterian, but the girls were not, and he grappled every day with the challenge of presenting aspects of faith to a mixed — and captive — audience, all the while holding true to Christian essentials to win the girls’ attention and involvement in the subject.

From Sir, With Love is Ken’s story. It is honest, it is anecdotal, it is theological. It is the subject of heaven in the language of the classroom. It covers the questions of the classroom: “Is God real?” “Can faith and science co-exist?” “What about other faiths?” “Do you, personally, really trust the Bible?”

In presenting these subjects to students, Ken has had to do so in way that is palatable. The outcome of this is that Christians will also get an insight into how they too can answer such questions; either for themselves, or for those who bring up similar queries around God.

From Sir, With Love is humorous and wry and self-deprecating, and it doesn’t offer formulaic answers to life’s big questions. It will leave you wondering: What do I believe? What might I have said? It is an insight into a different world with a wonderful mix of wry, humorous, and shrewd reflections. It comes from a writer on top of his craft with a story to entertain and inspire.

It is a book you can read for the sheer enjoyment of it, and one you can pass on to someone else for the innate challenge of it, or perhaps the inspiration of it. It might be used as a resource for those who also teach the faith. A state school principal in Wellington said, “Were I the Principal of a church school, I would want any newly appointed Chaplain to read it, and then discuss it with me to see what they had learned. If they had learned nothing, their tenure might be pretty short!”

A teacher in Vancouver said, “I would thoroughly recommend this book, especially to teachers. I wish I had been able to read it years ago. So much of it applies to any conversation or discussion group on matters of faith, or indeed life in general. It’s a fabulous book.”

Ken Edgecombe spent 25 years in secondary teaching before becoming the National Director of Scripture Union New Zealand in the 1990s, and then returning to teaching until his retirement at the end of 2021. He is married to Felicia, who is a musician, and they are the parents of four sons and the grandparents of a grandson and seven granddaughters. They live in Wellington, where they remain dedicated members of their local church, and Ken takes a more than passing interest in All Black rugby.

Reviews

“Every generation worries about the values and beliefs of the next. From his experience at a private girls’ school, Ken Edgecombe gives us a fascinating glimpse of how young people view — and experience — faith.”
Philip Yancey, American writer and former editor-at-large for Christianity Today

“If this book’s effect is anything like Mr Edgecombe’s classes or assemblies, you will not only come away from reading it entertained and intellectually stimulated, but also with a new drive to become a better person. Which is the effect Mr Edgecombe has had on myself and the majority of Queen Margaret College students.”
Erinn Aspell, Queen Margaret College Head Girl, 2021

“… A great record of education and learning and of a faith in practice. And of a teacher’s journey.”
Michael Keith, Wellington writer and editor

“… Jam-packed with colour and literary appeal and wonderful wisdom coming through in every paragraph. … full of quite profound insights into Christian communication to audiences of varied backgrounds, as well as being thoroughly entertaining.”
Tom Slater, former National Director of the Australian Evangelical Alliance

“… Whimsical style and understated quips had me hooked … I would enthusiastically recommend the book …”
Peter Lineham MNZM,  Professor Emeritus of History, Massey University

“I listened happily in many Chaplain’s Assemblies, one of approximately 700 people present who felt like Ken was talking just with them. The chapters of this book give me the same feeling that the two of us are engaged in conversation, and showcase Ken’s profound skill as a storyteller.”
Jacqui Brown, Principal, New Plymouth Girls’ High School