This is the first comprehensive treatment of the relationship between the doctrine of the Trinity and pastoral care and counselling. Neil Pembroke contends that an in-depth reflection on the relational dynamics in the Godhead has the capacity to radically renew pastoral practice. Pembroke applies the notion of relational space to care in a parish setting. The life of the triune God is defined by both closeness and open space. The divine persons indwell each other in love, but they also provide space for the expression of particularity. This principle of closeness-with-space is applied in three different pastoral contexts, namely, community life, spiritual friendship, and pastoral conversations. The specialized ministry of pastoral counselling is the focus in the second half of the book. Informing the various explorations is the principle of participation through love: the divine persons participate in each other's existence through loving self-communication. Pembroke shows how this trinitarian virtue is at the centre of three key counselling dynamics: the counselling alliance, empathy, and mirroring.
Neil Pembroke teaches in the religion and psychology area at the University of Queensland, Australia. Prior to this he lectured in pastoral care and counselling at the Adelaide College of Divinity and the School of Theology, Flinders University. Over the past five years he has delivered papers at a number of conferences on topics such as the moral context of pastoral counselling, personal presence in spiritual direction, and the metaphor of hospitality in counselling and in Christian community. Prior to his academic career, he was engaged in parish ministry for eight years. Books published include Working Relationships: Spirituality in Human Service and Organisational Life, The Art of Listening: Dialogue, Shame, and Pastoral Care.
’Standing between being caught up in the vision of God and being aware of human dynamics is one of the most important places to be, and no reader can fail to be stimulated by these reflections from that meeting place.’ Crucible ’Neil Pembroke has courageously done what many of us in the field of pastoral theology have not dared and that is to seriously engage with that most elusive of doctrines, the Trinity, and its implications for the theory and practice of the ministry of care. Moreover, he has succeeded in doing this in a most creative and grounded way, informed by his and others’ reflective pastoral practice. Pembroke’s undoubted flair for developing creative descriptions of the concepts at the heart of his Trinitarian pastoral theology enables him to fulfil his book’s main aim. This was not just to show that the doctrine of the Trinity has relevance for pastoral care and counselling, but to reveal how engagement with Trinitarian theology 'has the capacity to renew our vision of the ministry of care.'’ Journal of Practical Theology