Shop Openings by the busload – and Day of Prayer gathers momentum

Updated 09/03/2010: Added Living Oasis Manchester; updated details for Living Oasis Harrow and Sutton
Updated 08/03/2010: Added Living Oasis Weston Opening Day poster (pdf, 504kb)
Snowdrops in Moggerhanger Park

Spring has sprung - snowdrops in Moggerhanger Park, Bedfordshire

… and you’d have to take a fast bus or fly to keep up with them all! After such a long time of hearing of shops closing down, it’s wonderfully encouraging and energising to hear of so many shops opening: spring has sprung in the Christian book trade! Here’s my attempt at a timeline — congratulations to all concerned:

13th Feb: Living Oasis, Harrogate: Official opening with Adrian Plass

25th Feb: The Hub, Walsall: Official opening with Phatfish

1st March: Durham Cathedral Shop reopened — and Adrian Beney, Lay Chapter member, promises it’s going to get “bigger and better”: if you’re in the Durham area, get over there and give them some support!

6th March: Living Oasis, South Woodford: Official opening with Keith White, the man, so I understand, behind the original South Woodford Christian bookshop, Dove Books, before Wesley Owen came along. Local news reports

13th March: Living Oasis stores due to open in:

  • Chester: with Lady Grace Sheppard.
  • Harrow: 2pm, with Fiona Castle
  • Inverness: 1pm, with the Revd Professor Andrew McGowan. Refreshments will be provided. Attending? RSVP on facebook!
  • Leeds: 1pm, with Paul Blakey MBE, founder of Street Angels Halifax, followed by live music at 3pm with “Voices of Praise” Gospel Choir from the New Testament Church of God.
  • Sutton: 11.30am, with MOBO award winning artist Victizzle (best Gospel artist 2009) and prayers from local church leaders. Discounts, special offers, refreshments, balloons. Attending? RSVP on facebook!

20th March: Living Oasis, Manchester: Official opening at 3pm with the Bishop of Bolton. Watch the Friends of Wesley Owen Manchester facebook group for updates…

Living Oasis Weston: Opening Day Poster Preview

Living Oasis Weston: Opening Day Poster (pdf, 504kb)

20th March: Living Oasis, Weston-Super-Mare: Official opening at 11:30am with Dave Hopwood, author of The Bloke’s Bible amongst other books. Refreshments will be served. Opening day offer: 10% off all purchases.

UKCBD Updates
I’m still working my way through the UKCBD entries for the current and former Wesley Owen stores: my apologies in the meantime for any inconvenience caused to anyone for any out of date info. If anyone out there would care to sponsor the project to enable me to give it more time, please get in touch.

Day of Prayer
And finally, for now: momentum is gathering for the Day of Prayer, 26th March, with meetings planned all over the country: from as far afield as Motherwell up in North Lanarkshire to Battle down in East Sussex, from Belfast in the West to London in the South East. If you plan to take part, please feel free to leave a note on the Day of Prayer page saying when and where.

4 thoughts on “Shop Openings by the busload – and Day of Prayer gathers momentum

  1. It’s all wonderful news. Fewer empty shops and unemployed staff than at first feared. A huge contrast to the SPCK/SSG fiasco. How many former SPCK shops are still standing empty and unused because of the legal knots still not being unravelled? And a pity that it was SSG in 2006, not Koorong or Nationwide Christian Trust, organisations that will try hard to make things work.

  2. Carole,
    It is so much better than thought, and praise be indeed for that, my prayers go with them that they will all prosper and go onto to see good fruits.

    However let’s not forget or overlook that in the wake of SSG there were at least 7 or more re-opens and/or independent take ups and opens in the wake of the SSG shop closures too.
    I think we really need to remember this and give thanks for this as well at this time, especially seeing as these opened and have traded through such dramatic times as the credit crunch, when everyone knows the hardest time for any new business is it’s first 2 years anyway!

    So let’s really give praise to any that took up the mantle of the demised SSG/SPCK shops and not overlook or forget that too, or indeed any new Christian Bookshop or endeavour that has taken the risk to undertake the mission of being a presence in our shopping area’s in these hard times to date.

    Personally I have to say that I see little difference between the SSG saga and the IBS-STL UK saga in many, many ways – indeed the similiarities boggle my brain really. Both were and are fiasco’s especially when it comes to damage to the christian book trade on the whole and to real peoples livelihoods and lives.

    I also think that we have to acknowledge that had it not been for the sheer horror of what happened with SSG/SPCK Bookshops then I don’t think the response in the wake of the WO closures would have been nearly as great as it has been.
    Some stepped in and stepped up back then – the indies as mentioned, St Pauls Bookshops in one instance etc, but had we not already faced the great loss we did with the ssg/spck closures then I think this bigger loss would have just happened without so many stepping in, indeed didn’t CLC allude to this(

    So thanks Phil et al for campaigning over SSG/SPCK and again with WO/IBS-STL because without that then this would have indeed been a much bigger loss than it has been.

    One final thought:
    You know maybe God’s plan really is much bigger than we think it is and Job’s lessons should never be overlooked.
    I especially think that in this season of Lent, which is when the SSG saga hit hardest 2 years ago now, that we should remember the journey of hardship leads to the season of freedom, we journey through trials and testings to resurrection, and the journey of mourning eventually leads to a time of acceptance and peace.

  3. Indeed, Melanie, and you and others had to walk away from SSG and startup again from scratch – premises, shelving, equipment, everything (having been there I know how hard that is), so all credit to you and others for showing the faith to do it and to survive.

  4. Lol – thanks for that Carole, but to be honest I wasn’t looking for praise for me as much as for the others that did it.

    I have to admit that in many ways (despite a few issues with the council on a’christian’ bookshop mandate) I found it a relatively easy move and decision to make, though yes not at all a financially easy one.

    However given all going on by then with the ssg/spck shops it was a blessed relief to be able to do real bookselling again in what I think is a more open, balanced & ethical manner :0)

    However a lot of the others had a harder row to hoe to get there I think, and to remain here and it is to them I am personally thinking of.

    I also hope that despite the good news on the ones we know of in these instances and at this time, that others might still respond to the call that I think is out there in area’s where there really are no christian bookshops within a decent radius of travel, and that these will be places of balances and outreach across the denominations and styles of churchmanship.

    That’s my prayer and hope in these times, and will certainly be my intercession on the 26 & 28th when we gather together in thought, action and deed on the National Day of Prayer for the UK Christian Book & Media Trade.

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