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For information contact: Irving Hexham 403-241-1059 E-mail: hexham@ucalgary.ca Or Zondervan Publishing House, 1-800-727-1309 News Release March, 2001

Christian travel guides fill an important niche
CALGARY, AB

Zondervan, North America's largest religious publishing house, is introducing a new series of guidebooks aimed at the burgeoning Christian travel market, a niche largely ignored until now.

The first four books in the Christian Travelers Guide series focus on Italy, France, Germany and Great Britain and were compiled by a noted Canadian religious studies professor who has traveled widely.

"Christians and other religious travelers are handicapped when they visit Europe because traditional guidebooks pay scant attention to religious sites other than major cathedrals and the occasional graveyard," says Irving Hexham, the series general editor and professor at the University of Calgary, a major Canadian university with 25,000 students.

"We want to fill that void and offer travelers an opportunity to easily enjoy the rich and bountiful religious history and heritage of England and Europe," said Hexham, a native of Manchester, England who studied in Germany

Moreover, Hexham says the guidebooks, which arrived in bookstores in April, break new ground for the Christian Church, the publishing industry and the travel industry worldwide:

Almost all Christian guidebooks focus on the Holy Land. But with turmoil in Israel, the books offer Christian pilgrims an opportunity to travel elsewhere and do it knowledgeably.

No one disputes the increased secularization of North American society. Travel to noteworthy Christian historic sites provides another tool for cultural evangelization.

The majority of the millions of people who visit England and Europe annually are either Christian or have a Christian heritage. Just as Christian fiction has broken through the mainstream bestseller lists, there's no doubt Christian travel is on the increase as people seek to either fortify their faith or to answer important questions about humanity's spiritual roots and traditions.

The pocket-size guides, which sell for $16.99 US ($25 in Canada) can supplement any standard guidebook, said Hexham, who recruited a team of Canadian professors to write the cultural guides and has written seven books and edited 12 others.

Each 250-page guide contains a wealth of valuable information including a general history of each country, along with information about the country's art, music, literature, and architecture. There's a guide about how to visit a traditional European church, a list of the top 10 Christian sites in each country and a glossary of important religious terms. Finally, along with maps and illustrations, there's a city, town and village site-by-site tour through history showing how people and events influenced Christendom throughout the past two millennia.

Thumb through any guide and you'll come upon all sorts of fascinating and little known information. Visit Bedford, England and spend time walking the streets and visiting the church frequented by John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progess. In Halle, East Germany learn about the enormous influence of Halle Pietism during the 17th century. In Spoleto, Italy visit San Domenico, a 13th century church where a silver reliquary encases a nail, reputedly from the True Cross.

Scholars and travelers across North American and Europe welcome this new addition to Christian literature. "Excellent, we can all learn from these books . . . ," says Terry Muck, professor at Asbury Seminary and former editor-in-chief of Christianity Today.

For more information visit the Christian Travel Guides and Christian Travelers website:
/index.html

Copies of the Christian Travelers Guides may be ordered by calling customer service at Zondervan Publishing House at: 1-800-727-1309. Members of the press and other news media are invited to request review copies. Now take a looks at some sample pages from the Christian Travelers Guides series: France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy.

This Website was created by IRVING HEXHAM, assisted by Jeremy Hexham. All text and graphics are protected by copyright 1999. Permission to reproduce material found on this Web Site must be obtained from the appropriate copyright owner.

 

Copyright Irving Hexham 2000