Sabbatical Day 82: Reflection time and a sabbatical in numbers

In a scene of one of my favourite films, Gregory’s Girl, Clare Grogan (Susan) asks John Gordon Sinclair (Gregory) why boys are obsessed with numbers. He denies the charge until she shows him what he’s like and then he replies “numbers make the world go round.”

The Robbies didn’t quite go round the world but I am a boy who is slightly obsessed by numbers. So here’s a summary of this sabbatical in numbers. This list is the result of a morning spent reflecting and praying through things God has taught me over the past twelve weeks. The list is the non-personal summary:

84 days
5 different countries
23,400 miles travelled
10 churches visited
4 sermons preached
100+ friends reunited
27 meals with friends
30 blog posts written
15 books and 8 academic articles read
5 Robbie family members delighted
1 God to be forever praised and glorified

The study and family travel have both done huge amounts of good for the Robbies, and hopefully for the many people we met with and for ministry in the next few years. It has been a very refreshing twelve weeks.

I had my final supervision with Garry Williams this afternoon, which we helpful for refining my study guide but also very stimulating. I finished reading Garry’s book “His love endures forever”, which refreshed my knowledge in head and heart of just how God is love.

Someone asked for my reading list, so here’s everything I can remember reading, in the order I read them, and hope this list might be helpful for others

Books on Sacraments and Preaching
Calvin’s Doctrine of the Word and Sacrament
Ronald S. Wallace, (Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh, 1953)
Given for You: Reclaiming Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper.
Keith A. Matthison (P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, 2002)
Archbishop Cranmer’s Immortal Bequest. Samuel Leuenberger
Thomas Cranmer. Countenay Library of Reformation Classics
The Covenant Sealed: The development of Puritan Sacramental Theology in Old and New England
E. Brooks Holifield (Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1974)
Francis Turretin: Institutes of Elenctic Theology Question 19- The Sacraments
A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God centred worship
Michael Horton (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2002)

Journal articles
Affinity Journal No 68 Spring 2015
Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper and its Relevance for Today, William B. Evans
Not reformed enough: critiquing contemporary practice of the Lord’s Supper.
John Stevens
Response to John Stevens, “Not Reformed Enough: Critiquing Contemporary Practice of the Lord’s Supper 39 Robert Strivens Principal, London Theological Seminary
The Lord’s Supper in England: Then and now – a look at how Thomas Cranmer’s eucharistic theology compares with today. Richard Wardman
The Doctrine of Justification in the Church of England: Latimer Studies 3 Robin Leaver Latimer House 1979

Website articles
Holy Communion in Common Worship by David Peterson (
Church Society Issues | Liturgy | Holy Communion Order Two in Contemporary Language (
A Spiritual Banquet: John Calvin on the Lord’s Supper by Matthew W. Mason (
The Prayer Book Catechism by Jim Rushton (
The Function of the Words of Institution in the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper, Ros Clarke (

To be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism. The Anglican Church in North America (January 2014)
The Book of Common Prayer catechism.

Books on Urban Ministry
Urban Harvest. Roy Joslin
Angels on the Walls. Wallace and Mary Brown
Crossing the Divide by Owen Hylton
William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, In Darkest England and the Way Out

Books for personal growth
Radical Together, David Platt
Shaped by the Gospel Tim Keller
What would Jesus ask? Jim Dixon
Questioning Evangelism. Randy Newman
His love Endures Forever: Reflections on the love of God, Garry J Williams

About neilrobbie

I am a 6'6" formerly ginger Scot, in a cross cultural marriage to my lovely Londoner wife. We've lived in SE Asia and since 2005, I have served as an Anglican minister in Wolverhampton and West Bromwich.
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