Stephen Cottrell has written more than 20 books on subjects of evangelism, spirituality and discipleship as well as books for children.  

All the books below are available through bookshops or online retailers, including Church House Bookshop.   

A significant number are published by Church House Publishing, the official publisher of the Church of England. 

Illustrated country scene in blue hues with P is for Pilgrim in gold lettering

P is for Pilgrim

As you explore the Christian faith, you will soon encounter some challenging words: Trinity, Sacrament, Reconciliation, Sin, Incarnation, even the word ‘Christ’ itself. It isn’t Jesus’s surname! It is a title with a meaning and history. Sooner, or later, these words, and the ideas behind them, must be addressed and understood. It is simply not possible to be a Christian, without understanding sin and forgiveness, knowing what a sacrament is, or accepting Jesus as the Christ.

This book is here to help. It explores and explains most of the key concepts and ideas that underpin the Christian faith.

Painting of Jesus on the cross with pink and red backdrop


A series of reflections written for Lent and Holy Week ponders the significance of Jesus' last words on the cross - ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?‘ which is the Aramaic for ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

What does it mean for Jesus to have quoted them, at the very end of his life? What do those words mean for us? A beautiful and compelling exploration of the dark, suffering side of the Passion – and how Jesus’ words lead us to the greatest hope of all.

blue cover of book with gold writing and a gold outline of an envelope

Dear England

Inspired by a conversation with a barista who asked him why he became a priest, this is the Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell's extended answer to that question - as well as the letter he'd like to write to a divided country that no longer sees the relevance or value of the Christian narrative. 

Glass jar with tealight in it alongside title of book

Prayer - Where to start and how to keep going

It's the simplest thing in the world, yet it can seem so difficult. It's as natural as breathing, yet it's hard to find the right words. Just how do you learn to pray? This practical, illustrated guide considers ten basic questions about prayer and offers simple helps for making prayer a part of everyday life. This guide is adapted from a larger book first published as Praying Through Life and reissued as How to Pray.

Deck chair with opened book alongside it

Do Nothing to Change Your Life 2nd edition

Most of us live at break-neck speed, cramming work, family, friends and endless tasks into every relentless day. We barely give ourselves enough time to sleep, let alone to stop and take stock. In this generous, life-affirming book Stephen Cottrell shows what we are missing when we listen to that inner voice that keeps driving us on.

A comfy chair by a Christmas Tree

Let It Slow - An Advent Calendar with a Difference

This understanding and uplifting book offers another way to approach Christmas and to discover how its joys and promises can restore our lives, not add to their burdens. You are invited to take a few minutes each day during December to join in a conversation with the bestselling author, Stephen Cottrell, who offers simple reflections and practical suggestions for making your Christmas the celebration it is meant to be. Previously published as Do Nothing Christmas is Coming.

Bread and chalice with book title underneath it

On Priesthood

Messenger, sentinel, steward ... these three words have been used to describe the work of a priest in the Church of England since Cranmer wrote the original ordination rite in 1550. Two more, servant and shepherd, were added in 1980. Taken together, these five metaphors provide a rich and resonant set of ideas through which to explore the nature of Christian ministry.

In this short, lyrical book, Bishop Stephen Cottrell explores each one; based on actual addresses given to ordinands on the night before their ordination, it is refreshing, challenging and accessible.

Front cover of book Come and See

Come and See

Reprinted in November 2020, the book features 28 readings offering lessons for growing Christians from the story of the apostle Peter. Helping readers to develop a pattern of Bible reading, reflection and prayer, this title includes questions for personal response, which can also be used for group discussion.


Blue cover of book with raised image of camino symbol

Striking Out

Sharing his pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago, Stephen Cottrell uses poems and stories to tell messages of spiritual journeying and growth.


Drawing of blue sky and purple mountains with a boy asleep in the foreground

The Sleepy Shepherd

The Sleepy Shepherd is so dozy he completely misses the visit of the angels . . . and the chance to greet the Christ-child in Bethlehem. But one crucial night, years later, he makes an important decision – to be a real shepherd to a man whose friends have all fallen asleep . . . Utterly enchanting, The Sleepy Shepherd glows with colour, with each spread featuring a luminous mixed-media collage by Brighton-based illustrator Chris Hagan. 

Image of cross with sun shining behind it

The Pilgrim Way

Co-authored with Steven Croft, Paula Gooder and Robert Atwell this short booklet provides a contemporary summary of the essentials of the Christian faith for enquirers, new Christians and baptism and confirmation candidates. Written by the authors of the popular Pilgrim course, it follows the pattern of one of the most ancient teaching traditions of the Church: catechism. Originally a form of baptism preparation in the early Church, it explores Christian belief through a series of questions and answers - the way that Christians across the centuries have learned and taken to heart the core truths of Christianity.

The Pilgrim Way in full is currently available on the Church of England website

Green palm leaves with book title in white

The Things He Did

Jesus stands in the prophetic tradition of those who embody what they teach. The things he did were carefully planned. And in this book, Stephen Cottrell draws out their political and religious significance as Jesus moves towards his greatest and final act – his death and resurrection.

Purple cover with a symbol of a person kneeling

Hit the Ground Kneeling

This book takes common statements about leadership - statements that we often take for granted - and questions them in the light of Christian faith and Christian perspectives on leadership.


A drawing of a red leaved tree, a woman holding a baby, handing them to a kneeling man

Walking Backwards to Christmas 

Using the brilliant, deceptively simple device of telling the Christmas story backwards, Bishop Stephen helps us encounter Christmas as if for the first time. He introduces us to the faithful, yet strong-willed young Mary, whose delight in God foreshadows the light of life that will be kindled inside her.


Painting of Jesus lying on the ground looking at a hen and her chicks

Christ in the Wilderness

In this attractive illustrated book, Stephen Cottrell reflects on five of the Christ in the Wilderness paintings, and reveals them to be a rich source of spiritual wisdom and nourishment. He invites us to slow down and enter into the stillness of Stanley Spencer’s vision. 


A nail whose shadow is a cross

The Nail

The Nail offers imaginative reflections on Christ’s crucifixion, which could be used during Lent. Each of the seven chapters is focused on a different key character, who describes his or her experience of the Passion. There is a Biblical passage, a meditative hymn and a reflection from the point of view of the character.


Green book cover with a white hand

How to pray

This book is a basic primer on prayer. It will get us started, keep us going and uses every stage of life and its varied events to renew and expand our understanding of being alive to God through prayer. Completely honest about the struggles and difficulties everyone encounters, it will help us discover how natural prayer is, even when we least feel like it.

Montage of photos of icons

The Things He Said

In this revelatory book of surprising reflections, Stephen Cottrell’s retelling of the Easter story encourages us to slow down and hear it properly – perhaps for the very first time.


Montage of 4 pictures of tools

The Things He Carried

The narrative of Holy Week is powerful and painful but, because we know how the story ends, it's easy to gloss over the difficult details and stay in the comfort zone of our understanding. Stephen Cottrell brings home, vividly and poignantly, the physical reality of the passion story. 


Painting of pink mountain with man on cross in the foreground

I Thirst

Bishop Stephen follows the passion story in John's Gospel, penetrating the deep mystery of a God who loves humanity no matter the cost. Each layer of meaning in the simple cry 'I thirst' is an invitation to consider our own lives and think again about what it means to be a follower of Christ in the modern world.

Blue book cover with a question mark in yellow that looks like a foot

How to Live

This book is a personal companion for your journey of faith. Whether you are a new Christian setting out, or a weary traveller in need of refreshment, it offers an inspiring guide to the essentials of the Christian life. Co-authored with Steven Croft.