[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.
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.
This is the bus that my friend Simon uses for his youthwork project. The video allows you to look around it from the comfort of your computer chair.
I always like looking around buses. They are like campervans, but bigger.
If you have a bus, campervan, mobile home, boat, shed, outbuilding or something else interesting that we could look around please let me know. There you go, a little weekend project for you. I hope everyone has a good weekend, whether you use it videoing the inside of your garden shed or in some other way.
Photo taken in the Wish Tower Cafe Eastbourne on Saturday.
Sorry to not be around for a few days. I took my little computer but forgot my dongle. Actually, as it turned out, life is rather more fun when you don’t look at the computer. Though it means I’m now behind on a million religious news stories.
I love Eastbourne. We watched some tennis and saw some people, but not many people as we could have done as I forgot to organise it.
Additional note on the Wish Tower Cafe by Russell Davies on his “a good place for a cup of tea and a think” blog:
But these huge rows of comfy chairs are the best bit. Long rows facing out to sea and sunshine. Obviously in a lot of demand, so the pensioners develop clinical expertise in sensing what sets of chairs are about to come free. They can read the signals of coming and going in much the same way fishermen intuit the movements of the tide and the schooling of the fish.
Please excuse two ‘publications’ posts on the same day – it just so happens that they’ve come into stock within a day of each other.
The Dave Walker Guide to the Church 2009 Calendar is published by Canterbury Press. This year’s theme is ‘Things to take to church’. All of the pages of cartoons are new apart from one. They took me ages. Subjects include:
What to take and what to leave at home
How to decide what to wear
A pre-church planner
Things to take if you have small children
Why you should or should not take a mobile phone
Things you will need to explain if you take a friend
Things to take home from church
Medicinal products you will need
Oddly enough I did a post on February 10 2008 asking for your ideas on the subject of ‘things to take to church’. Your answers in the comments were a great help to me and sustained me through the long nights of toil. So thank you – seriously.
The Canterbury Press page is here. Church House Bookshop have it in stock, priced £5.99. They do mail order. If you’re looking to order it elsewhere the ISBN number is 9781853118746.
I’ll post soon about my new cartoon book, which is due out in August or hopefully even July. In the meantime information about it is available on the internet, but I’m not telling you where.
I’ve just heard that ‘What am I doing here’, the book I’ve contributed cartoons to is now available. It is published by Church House Publishing – the page on their website is here.
Church House Bookshop contacted me this morning to say they have it in stock – see this page. They do mail order. It should be available in lots of other places as well – the ISBN number is 9780715141618 if you want to order or search for it somewhere.
There are about 8 cartoons I think – one for each of most of the chapters. I’ve posted one below. I’ll admit that at first I was hesitant to do the cartoons for this book as I was stressed with other things at the time, but when I read the manuscript I said yes. It goes through a typical Anglican communion service and explains why we do what we do. I think it could be a really useful book to (for example) give to newcomers who are not used to church services and all the strange things that happen in them. I’ve posted the publisher’s description below.
Have you ever wondered what church is all about? Ever found yourself in a service wondering what on earth is going on? And what the point of it all is?
Whether you’re completely new to church or have been coming to church for a while, this little book is here to help you!
With a down-to-earth style and subtle humour, What am I Doing Here? takes you through an Anglican Holy Communion service, demystifying what happens – and why.
Subjects covered include:
* What are you doing here?: The need to meet your maker
* Worship: The need to celebrate and count our blessings
* Confession: The need for accounting procedures and a clean slate
* Sermons: The need for wise words and challenging questions
* The Creed: The need for a basic belief system
* Prayer: The need to engage with the wider world and ask for help
* The Peace: The need to live in right relationship with others
* Holy Communion: The need for strength, comfort and delight
* Being sent out and the after-church chat: The need to share the journey
Hilary Brand is the best-selling author of Christ and the Chocolaterie and The Sceptic’s Guide to the Bible. As an ordinary pew-dweller rather than a church leader, she’s in an ideal position to empathise with newcomers.
Dave Walker is one of the best-known Christian cartoonists in the UK. He runs www.cartoonchurch.com and contributes the weekly ‘Dave Walker Guide to the Church’ cartoon in the Church Times.
I would like to point out that my van does not present a blockage to the emergency services. There is plenty of room for them to get past. However, the refuse and cleansing operational services (bin men) have to reverse around a corner and so I can see why they would think my van could be in the way. I will therefore resolve to be a better parker from now on.
I blame the people who planned our housing estate in the first place who did not leave enough room for people to park thereby making it very difficult not to upset the refuse and cleansing operational services. This would I assume be Basildon Council.
On Friday we went to see the Radio 4 comedy show New World Order being recorded. It is by Danny Wallace and was very entertaining… and free. Before we went into the actual studio-sort-of-area we had to write a question to ask the ruler of the world. Ten or so people were selected to read their questions out, of which I was one. Goodness.
I am not going to tell you my question as it might be supposed to be highly secret. It may well not be used though as they recorded about an hour and fifteen minutes-worth (a guess) for what will, I imagine, be a half hour programme. I think my bit will be the bit that gets cut out.
Whilst blogging in about 2005 I mentioned Citizens Required, another Danny Wallace programme. Here is the video of the ‘How to Start Your Own Country’ song. It still gives me an immense sense of inner wellbeing even after all these (three) years. I hope it does the same for you.
I have added an extra category to the blog entitled ‘going out to things’. It will be a category for occasional use.
After 5 days CartoonChurch and the Cartoon Blog are back online, although some turbulence may continue. The problem was caused by a fire at the data centre where the site is hosted which meant that all of the electricity had to be turned off. For some reason it took a long time to turn it on and make the servers work again – my web host’s support page will, I am assured, explain things shortly.
As some of you discovered I ran a backup site with a few high resolution cartoons for subscribers whilst this site was down, but letting people know about it proved difficult. The backup site will remain online at http://cartoonchurch.wordpress.com/ in case there are any problems today or indeed at any time in the future.
Many apologies for the inconvenience and confusion that this all will have caused. I know that many e-mails sent to me bounced – I’m hoping none have been lost, but I don’t know that for sure. E-mail is trickling into my CartoonChurch address again now, but it might be safer to send e-mail to dave at wibsite.com owing to the delays.
I’ll post one of the posts (about SPCK/SSG) that I posted on the backup site here on the Cartoon Blog shortly. Please forgive the duplication.