Sacred Stories of Ordinary Families: Living the Faith in Daily Life
Diana R. Garland
Jossey-Bass, 266 pages, $19.95

What characterizes faith and spirituality in U.S. family life? The chair of the School of Social Work at Baylor University and director of Baylor's Center for Family and Community Ministries launched a research project to find out. After interviewing 110 families from 32 congregations in four regions of the country, Diane R. Garland shares their experiences of how faith is a resource for coping with everyday stress and major crises.

Blending stories from these families with examples from Scripture, Garland shows how simple activities—rides in the car, watching a television program together, and especially family mealtimes—can help bind families closer and deepen their relationship with God. Other characterizations of faith in family life include hospitality, prayer, and community service.

Many of the stories she tells are not earthshaking or overtly about belief. But Garland believes that they "connect us to a sense of meaning and purpose in our own lives, and to the great truths of our faith."

This book is best read in a group, using the guides provided. Those working within congregations to strengthen family ministries, and families interested in the power of shared story, will find this a good discussion starter.

Cindy Crosby is a frequent contributor to Publishers Weekly.

Related Elsewhere:

Sacred Stories of Ordinary Families can be ordered from and other book retailers.

The website Baylor's Center for Family & Community Ministries has a biographical sketch of the book's author, Diana R. Garland.

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