Salesbury - St Peter


June 2009

Two new books to read...


I’d like to recommend to you two books by the current Bishop of Reading, Stephen Cottrell. It’s probably best if you read them in the order they are described below as the first book will, I think, set you up for the second. The second book for me is especially valuable for all those who are either thinking of taking a managerial or leadership role in the workplace, or who may already be there. The wisdom Cottrell offers is challenging and, perhaps to some, ‘pie-in-the-sky’. Try it, think and reflect on it and if you can, implement just some of the ideas that Cottrell speaks of in both books. It might help you in what can often be a struggle to make sense of our hectic working lives.


Do Nothing to Change Your Life: Discovering What Happens When You Stop

by Stephen Cottrell - Church House Publishing (May 2007)

The quote on the front cover affirms that this book is “A joyous affirmation of life for anyone feeling exhausted, bitter or dismayed by the pace of modern life”. The author encourages his readers to take a step back from the busyness of everyday life in order to take time to become more aware of the inner self and the places where their lives and God’s life might touch. By doing nothing, a person’s experience of life can be changed.


Hit the Ground Kneeling: Seeing Leadership Differently

by Stephen Cottrell - Church House Publishing (Nov 2008)

Stephen Cottrell’s has the ability to express issues simply and in this book he has insights on leadership that are grounded in prayer and contemplation, believing this is not only necessary for Christian leaders but for all. He challenges the modern day thinking of ‘fast is best’ and suggests that we should all slow down in order to make more informed and thereby better decisions. He turns much of our thinking on its head which in reality can be quite difficult to comprehend.

As Christians we are called to be different, to be ‘of this world but not part of it’ and Cottrell facilitates our engagement with these concepts. This is an eminently readable book.


Enjoy the books





Two of the finest spiritual writers I know, both now sadly dead are Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen. Merton was a Carthusian monk and wrote many spiritual books – the first and possibly his most famous is ‘Seven Storey Mountain’. This charts his life from a small boy to his monastic life. I find the first part of the book a little heavy going but the latter part is good and interesting. He has written many more but the one I would definitely recommend is ‘New Seeds of Contemplation’ which is a quite brilliant piece of spiritual reflection.

Both of these can be traced via Amazon and the likes of Abe books - or

For those interested in further research around Merton, then try  a simple Google search and this will produce many more sources and resources as will; and

Henri Nouwen’s book ‘The Wounded Healer’ is recommended. He was an  RC Priest and academic who left academia to work with disabled people and was instrumental in the L’Arche movement. Again, ‘Googling’ Nouwen is productive. Also see

Another easy writer to read is  Gerard Hughes - thankfully still living - see 
He has written books such as 'God of Surprises' and a very intersting book  'In Search of a Way - Two Journeys of  Spiritual Discovery'. In this book, amongst other things he describes his experiences walking from London to Rome - John and Bill take note!!



Merton, T. (2003) New Seeds of Contemplation  London: Burns and Oates

Merton, T. (1948) The Seven Storey Mountain New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company

Merton, T. (1960) The Wisdom of the Desert New York: New Directions

Nouwen, H. (1994) The Wounded Healer London: Darton, Longman and Todd

Nouwen, Henri. J. (1972) Pray to Live – Thomas Merton: Contemplative Critic Notre Dame: Fides/Claretian

Nouwen, H. (1991) The Way of the Heart London: Harper One

Nouwen, H. (1997) The Inner Voice of Love London: Darton, Longman and Todd

Hughes, G.W. (2004) God of Surprises London: Darton Longman Todd

Hughes, G. W. (1986) In Search of a Way London: Darton Longman Todd


'Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?' by Philip Yancey

Published by Zondervan, 2006

ISBN 0310271053, 9780310271055

'This is an excellent book which makes you explore your ideas and perhaps pre-conceptions about prayer. I would recommend you read this if you get chance and it will open new ways not only to see prayer but to engage in it.'



This link to You Tube gives some extracts of Yancey's thoughts on prayer and more information on hima nd his work can be found at