School of Love

Planting a Church in the Shadow of Empire

Roger Joslin

Sep/2015, 240 Pages, PAPER, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9780819231932



• Model for reaching out to the community with a gospel of love and welcome
• Hope for those who think a progressive church can't succeed in a conservative culture: Helps identify those who feel like outsiders in that culture

Roger Joslin arrived in Bentonville, Arkansas, in 2006 as a newly ordained deacon to become the vicar of All Saints Episcopal Church, a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas. All Saints has grown to be the fifth-largest congregation in the Diocese of Arkansas, with an average Sunday attendance of over 230, and is well on its way to parish status. All Saints’ location in Bentonville, the home of Walmart, adds another layer to the story. Joslin makes a powerful case for the role of a progressive Episcopal church in a conservative culture and for the appeal of preaching and practicing a gospel of inclusion that reaches out to groups or individuals who have been marginalized by churches.

For church plant leadership teams; leaders of progressive churches seeking connection with their communities; individuals interested in intersections of religion, spirituality, and culture.

Read the introduction
Listen to Roger share the story of All Saints' Episcopal Church

Roger Joslin is the vicar of All Saints Episcopal Church in Bentonville, Arkansas. He arrived there as a newly ordained deacon in 2006, was ordained to the priesthood later that year. He grew up Baptist in Texas, and prior to ordination was a woodworker. He is the author of Running the Spiritual Path: A Runner's Guide to Breathing, Meditating and Exploring the Prayerful Dimension of the Sport, published by St. Martin's Press in 2003; it sold approximately 20,000 copies.


A decade ago, Roger Joslin arrived in Bentonville, Arkansas, with his dog and his truck and a charge to plant an Episcopal church, the first in a town that is also home to the largest corporation in the world, Walmart. How All Saints’ Episcopal Church develops into a vibrant church, serving the community and providing a church home to those who never thought they would find one in Bentonville, is both inspiring and instructive. School of Love demonstrates what can happen when passion and compassion meet.

School of Love tells the story of successfully planting a new church in Bentonville, Arkansas, the corporate headquarters of Walmart. Even better, it is a witty and wise guide to seeing the presence of God in the world and embarking on a spiritual way of life that changes everything. If you dream of a church that matters deeply in our time, like me, you may be tempted to move to Arkansas to join All Saints’. But don’t. Instead, heed its advice and renew your local congregation.
—Diana Butler Bass, author of Grounded: Finding God in the World—A Spiritual Revolution

This book is not for the faint of heart. It is not for those that want to avoid the wilderness or the wild. It is a love story. Do you love your people? If you can answer in the affirmative, the church, one way or the other, will thrive where you are, as it has at All Saints. In School of Love, Roger Joslin tells of the love he has for his people. Even more, he reminds us that the “people” are not only those who come to the church, but all those children of God who may never darken your door.
—The Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel, Bishop of Olympia

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