In this gentle and accessible book, the Archbishop of York takes the reader by the hand to explore big questions of faith, meaning and belonging. In doing so he explores with clarity and insight the changes we face, refreshing both those of us for whom our faith has become perhaps jaded and tired, as well as those of no faith at all. At the same time he invites us all to think again about our purpose and belief - and in so doing provides a route map for our increasingly uncertain future.
A deeply thoughtful exposition of faith's transformative power, Dear England gave me hope, not only for the future of Christianity, but for a changed world too.
Here's a refreshing, candid, unabashed and, mercifully, jargon-free letter to all of us. The faith that Stephen Cottrell shares in this book is not shrink-wrapped in the usual churchy clingfilm, but unwrapped and open, exposed to current events, to politics, to the 'thousand natural shocks' we all feel in our daily living, and the faith he commends here is all the more robust, and all the more approachable for that exposure. Dear England will be helpful not only to the half-attracted, half-repelled enquirers to whom it is addressed, but also to all those believers who would like help in giving an account of the hope that is in them.
Stephen Cottrell writes about Christ as if He were here now. As if redemption were possible for all of us, as if the void that threatens to engulf us all could be filled by a personal relationship with Christ in the present. He is a compelling writer.
It was written partly in response to a question from a barista at Paddington station about why he became a priest, and partly as a letter to a divided and uncertain country that no longer sees the relevance of Christianity.
The Archbishop has written a heartfelt and appealing apologetic. The question that it poses, however (as he freely admits), is whether this letter will reach those to whom it is addressed - which is arguably also the most pressing challenge for a socially distanced Church in its approach to England. We can only hope so, for the sake of both.
But it is very much a tome of our times, with multiple references to Brexit and the Covid pandemic, and how these events should make us rethink our attitudes.