Thanks all of you for your comments. Obviously the Bishop was quite right, and it's well worth blogging even those books you're not sure about: the quality of the debate justifies the time spent reading :-)
Ron wondered what there was about buildings to justify the time and trouble spent on them...I feel quite strongly about the need for an available sacred space in each community, and have covered most of my reasons in an earlier post, "Blessings or millstones". However, I would certainly be in favour of whittling down the ridiculous number of churches there are about the place. Here, we sit neatly in the middle of the old "village" area of Charlton Kings, and the church is literally on the way to many places, so people do drop in for a quiet prayer at odd moments in the day. Equally, in my last parish there was just the one church, open daily, often visited. If I found myself in a situation where there were 2 or 3 Anglican churches within a short walk, not to mention other denominations, then I'm sure I'd see things differently. An ecumenically shared building would be much more appropriate in that context, but it has has HAS to be open. The hospitality of Christian homes is great for those who know about it...but what about the person who just wakes up one morning feeling sad, or prayerful? I'm sure there are ways to ensure they don't slip through the net, but I'd need to know what they are. The much-trumpeted upsurge in numbers of people attending worship in Cathedrals suggests that there are many out there who are ready to risk an encounter with God in anonymous safety. Ringing the doorbell of the man down the road, who hosts a Christian cell in his home, is a very different matter.