CONGRATULATIONS to Petra Nemansky and the team at CLC London on their recent thanksgiving celebration for 66 years of Christian bookselling in the nation’s capital: a remarkable achievement, made all the more remarkable by the fact that they’re still there, doing it, when so many other Christian bookshops are falling by the wayside:
Not only ‘still there’ in fact, but — as reported last year — relocated to a prime spot just a stone’s throw from St Paul’s Cathedral, hence the party; and with some 70 people packed into the shop, with singing led by Chris Magee, Director of CLC Wholesale UK, Petra herself speaking about the shop’s history, and Phil Burnham, CLC UK Director, delivering a speech about CLC’s mission — to list just a few highlights — it was definitely a party to write home about.
Outlining the shop’s history and the reason for celebrating, Petra said,
The celebration of our new place coincides with the 66th year of CLC’s ministry in London. The first shop at Ludgate Hill was set up in 1946, just after WWII. After that we had a shop in front of St Paul’s Tube station. Twenty years ago we moved to Holborn Viaduct where we had a shop with two trading floors. It’s great to find a place so close to St Paul’s Cathedral again.
CLC London is but one small part of the much larger global picture: across the world, CLC International operate more than 180 bookshops in 58 countries. Emphasising CLC’s status as a missionary organisation, Phil Burnham explained why the shops matter:
In some of these countries we are the only Christian bookshop. It’s not easy to be a Christian in these nations. CLC is a registered charity. With the profit we make, we can support the ministry in countries where it is not yet self-sustaining. We believe that God works through Christian Literature, here in UK and all over the world.
Addressing the UK situation, Phil went on to acknowledge the challenges of survival in the current marketplace:
Nowadays people buy more from the internet. We do have a CLC internet shop, but there’s a lot of competition and people are not always aware that with CLC they are buying from a charity.
Guests departed with goody bags containing a selection of free books courtesy of Christian Focus, Joining the Dots and Kingsway.