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Does it matter if not many people go to church?

Date: 22 October 2012

The Revd Canon Robert Cotton, rector of Guildford's Holy Trinity and St Mary's churches, urges churchgoers to love their local community and recognise a calling to help others in his new book published by SPCK this month.

Reimagining discipleship: loving the local community focuses on various aspects of strengthening community life: valuing volunteers, exercising inclusive leadership, and rejoicing in responsibility as opportunity rather than burden.

Robert, who wrote this book after SPCK, looking for a ‘new voice’, liked his blog on the parish website, uses many observations from his minstry in Guildford to make points that are valid everywhere.

Perhaps his most radical question is: does it matter if not many people go to church? He suggests that maybe it doesn’t, as long as those who do go to church – the disciples - remain faithful and provide an example of Christianity, and believe on behalf of other people.

Churchwarden Mary Alexander said: "Robert encourages the disciples to be active, living their faith, and being an example to others. He knows from his work in Guildford that non-churchgoers appreciate the disciples being there, but don’t necessarily want to join in.

"For him, people are hugely important, and I believe there are insights for everyone in the book. Christians will find inspiration in it, and non-Christians will find a wise and humane description of Christian behaviour and belief: loving the local community."

Everyone is invited to an informal evening of light refreshments to mark the book's launch on Tuesday 23 October, St Mary’s Church, Quarry Street 1730 – 1900h. The event is part of the Guildford Book Festival and copies of the book will be available for a discounted £10 (usual price £12.99).

For a review of the book visit

Reimagining discipleship: loving the local community is published by SPCK, 2012. ISBN 978-0-281-06719-0. For more details contact Parish Office, 5, Trinity Churchyard, Guildford, GU1 3RR, 01483 567716.

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Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2

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