New book to share the gift of Sabbath

Author Dr Bruce Manners holds copies of the new sharing book.

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A new book has been published as a resource for sharing the gift and goodness of Sabbath. Sabbath Gift by Dr Bruce Manners builds on the Adventist Church’s #SabbathGift project that has engaged church members in sharing the concept and benefits of Sabbath through social media. The new book focuses on the wellbeing aspects of Sabbath and invites readers to take the Sabbath Challenge, a four-week experiment with Sabbath-keeping.

“Having a day for significant life-affirming things is important,” said Dr Manners, a retired pastor and writer. “This is the basis of the Sabbath commands in the Bible.”

Dr Manners references an article published in early 2023 in the Harvard Business Review that described the growth of “time poverty” in which so many of us are experiencing greater busyness and stress. “The Sabbath is an antidote to time poverty and a gift we give ourselves to focus on what’s important,” he concluded.

Sabbath Gift was written and published with support of the Literature Ministries Committee of the South Pacific Division and more than 19,000 copies were pre-ordered by conferences and churches around Australia and New Zealand. “Sabbath Gift is a great read and important topic for our busy lives,” commented Brenton Lowe, coordinator of Literature Ministries. He said additional copies of the books are available through conference Literature Ministries coordinators, as well as from Adventist bookshops.

As a book for sharing, Sabbath Gift was written for people who might have little understanding of Sabbath, even as the concept of “technology Sabbaths” is becoming more common. Dr Manners shared some of his experience as a life-long Sabbath keeper, but he says he also learned more about Sabbath himself in researching and writing the book, including the opportunity to interview the rabbi emeritus of Melbourne’s Temple Beth Israel.    

“I discovered the beauty of the way Jews greet the Sabbath with a song ‘Come, my Beloved’ a reference to the ‘Sabbath bride’ joining them,” he said. “He called it a ‘beautiful, very evocative’ experience. Candles and special food are part of the beginning of the Sabbath—and similarly with the end of Sabbath, candles and spices are again involved. I see that as a challenge to we Adventists who, mostly, haven’t thought beyond beginning and ending the Sabbath with prayer.”

The book is part of a promotion focused on sharing the benefits of the Sabbath with the wider community. The promotion, launched in June 2023, draws attention to the benefits of the Sabbath as a time of rest and restoration, community and connection in today’s stressful, fast-paced and isolated world. And, most importantly, to share that the Sabbath is a gift from a loving God. Since its launch, the promotion has drawn more than 20,000 people to the Sabbath Gift website.

Sabbath Gift is available from Adventist bookshops in Australia and New Zealand, or online

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