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Churches and Communities: An Approach to Development in the Local Church

George Lovell and Catherine Widdicombe
(Search Press 1978 and 1986)


This book describes how clergy and laity of sixteen churches of seven denominations in Ronsey (a pseudonym), helped by the ecumenical team of Project 70-75, learnt about the non-directive approach to working with people. They tried it out on a wide range of church and community work and found the experience of working in this way deeply satisfying and highly productive. The book contains a collection of case studies of development work with individuals, groups, ecumenical organisations and churches. It describes how local people evaluated what had happened, and their concern that what they had learnt should be widely known for the sake of the church as well as the community. It also describes how key people in all major denominations were involved in discussions about the project from beginning to end, and what they thought about it.


"It is refreshing to read a book which, so far from dismissing churches as irrelevant and effete, finds in them great potential and unique resources for revitalizing community."

G. Thackray Eddy in 'Expository Times'

"This book brilliantly explores the implications for the churches of becoming involved in community development through the non-directive approach and confirms that it is compatible with Christian Mission."

Wendy Godfrey in 'Epworth Review'


"This book is a most welcome and simple exposition of the principles of community work which are sometimes discussed in such technical jargon that, paradoxically, community development is made to appear to be the realm of specialists, just the opposite in fact of what it is."

Pauline Webb in 'The Methodist Recorder'