HTC Reading Group Books for January, February, and Lent 2023

January, 2023

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization

Henry Holt and Co. (September 20, 2022)

Bringing his cosmic perspective to civilization on earth, Neil deGrasse Tyson shines new light on the crucial fault lines of our time—war, politics, religion, truth, beauty, gender, and race—in a way that stimulates a deeper sense of unity for us all.  In a time when our political and cultural views feel more polarized than ever, Tyson provides a much-needed antidote to so much of what divides us, while making a passionate case for the twin chariots of enlightenment—a cosmic perspective and the rationality of science.  With crystalline prose, Starry Messenger walks us through the scientific palette that sees and paints the world differently. From insights on resolving global conflict to reminders of how precious it is to be alive, Tyson reveals, with warmth and eloquence, an array of brilliant and beautiful truths that apply to us all, informed and enlightened by knowledge of our place in the universe.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist and the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History.


February, 2023

Helen Greaves, Testimony of Light   ‎ (TarcherPerigee; Original edition June 25, 2009)

Frances Banks died, as she had lived, fully aware of what she was experiencing and where she hoped to go. She was an Anglican nun for 25 years and for much of that time, the principal of the Teachers’ Training College in Grahamstown, South Africa.  Her friend Helen Greaves was by her side as she finally lapsed into unconsciousness. Then, one evening some three weeks after Frances’s death, Helen sensed her presence. This extraordinary encounter marked the beginning of contact between them from both sides of the veil—between life as we know it and life on “the other side.” Testimony of Light is based on these communications that Helen received telepathically from Frances. The writings have been authenticated by those who knew them both and who were familiar with their individual writing styles. Moving and inspiring, this classic book is a testament to the enduring power of their friendship, and offers an important message to us all—that the death of the body is but a gentle passing to a much freer and fuller life.

Helen Greaves lived in the United Kingdom and was the author of several books of metaphysics, including The Challenging Light, The Dissolving Veil, and The Wheel of Eternity. Testimony of Light has remained in print since it was first published in 1969 and it has touched the lives of many.

Lent, 2023

Robert Jonas, My Dear Far-Nearness: The Holy Trinity as Spiritual Practice [Orbis Books, 2022]

Dr. Jonas writes: “Years of prayer and study have convinced me that the God we know in three Persons—as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—can be experienced directly in our daily lives as three facets of our awareness. My Dear Far-Nearness: The Holy Trinity as Spiritual Practice takes its title from the name that a 14th century mystic, Marguerite Porete, used for God. Drawing from Scripture, the creeds, Christian mystics from the 2nd century to the present, and contemporary psychology, My Dear Far-Nearness shows how we can attune ourselves to God’s presence and live in union with God, who dwells within and among us.”  

 Dr. Jonas is founder and director of The Empty Bell, a contemplative sanctuary in Northampton, Massachusetts, whose website ( is an extraordinary resource for contemplative Christians and for Buddhist-Christian dialogue.  To learn more go to: and

Listen to Jonas talk about his life and book for the Henri Nouwen Society

Robert A. Jonas

The discussion  group will meet Thursday,  April 13th 5:00 pm in the Parish Hall. We won’t have a  book for April.