[Click on the photo for a larger version on the Flickr website]
I’ve just been to the launch of ‘What am I doing here?’ at Church House and am sitting in the Methodists’ canteen. Aren’t the Methodists great.
The book has some of my cartoons in it. I gave a short speech and was videoed a bit. I will not come across well on the video. The picture above is of me signing some books with Hilary Brand, the author.
There is a press release about the book on the Church of England website which I have reproduced below:
Church launches a guidebook to churchgoing
26 June 2008
A cartoonist and an author have joined forces to create a fresh guide to churchgoing – published by the Church of England this week – which has already won praise for its no-nonsense approach to explaining the Anglican faith.
What Am I Doing Here?, produced by Church House Publishing, uses the main weekly communion service as a basis for explaining why people go to church, and what happens when they do.
Broadcaster and editor of Private Eye, Ian Hislop, is among early fans of the book’s ability to communicate simply what going to church is really about. He comments: “Most books nowadays explain why people don’t go to church anymore. It is good to find one that explains why people still do.”
Accompanied by illustrations from cartoonist Dave Walker, the pocket-sized book guides readers through each of the key parts of the Holy Communion service, demystifying what happens and why.
Written by Hilary Brand (Christ and the Chocolaterie; The Sceptic’s Guide to the Bible), the book serves as an ideal resource for churches to offer people who have recently started attending church, perhaps through contact with Fresh Expressions, Back to Church Sunday, or other mission initiatives.
It follows research (pdf document) that recently revealed three million people (six per cent of the adult population) would come back to church if they received a personal invitation.
The Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Croydon, is convinced that the book’s down-to-earth style will help explain what the 1.7 million people who attend a Church of England church each month get up to, without resorting to theological jargon: “Written from the perspective of an ordinary ‘person in the pew’, this book is a wonderfully direct, simple and informative guide to what goes on in church and takes us on the brief journey we make when we worship together.
“It debunks some of the myths about church – for example, that only ‘self-righteous’ people go to church. Church is for all people – the ragbag of saints and sinners that we are – and Hilary Brand’s simple clarity and Dave Walker’s cartoons should make it a more welcoming place particularly for those who don’t go to church, but might like to.”
Over its 72 pages, What Am I Doing Here? highlights key parts of the Holy Communion service, including:
- Wonder and wow factor – how worship begins with finding and expressing gratitude for all that God has done
- Admitting and acknowledging – recognizing and ‘owning’ the fact that we are responsible for messing up, and that we need God to forgive us
- Receiving and renewing – the need for gaining strength, comfort and delight in remembering and reenacting the Last Supper, the ultimate demonstration of God’s sacrifice for the sake of humankind.
What Am I Doing Here?, priced £4.99 (ISBN 978-07151-4161-8), is available from Christian bookshops, or by mail order via the web.
My own page about the book is here.