IT’S BEEN ANOTHER REMARKABLE MONTH in the world of Christian bookselling, with news emerging of shops and businesses struggling or closing down on the one hand, rescues, signs & wonders on the other, and somewhere in between, Christian author Stephen Sizer has his back to the wall as he faces further accusations of antisemitism. Let’s weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice, pray that truth, honesty and justice may prevail (ideally along with a little common sense), and live in hope of April showers driving footfall into those stores that need it…
- Acorn Direct feeling the pinch
- CLC Stamford closing down
- EMW’s Cardiff Christian Bookshop stock redistributed
- Norwich Christian Resource Centre facing threat of closure
- Spirit Chester: Free Miracles also available
- Stephen Sizer accused of antisemitism (again)
- Wesley Owen Coleraine is dead: long live Faith Mission!
Acorn Direct feeling the pinch
ACORN DIRECT — the Christian music mail order specialist once based in the Channel Islands but now operating c/o Footprints, Darlington — are feeling the pinch and have announced changes to their payment processing procedures in an effort to cut costs:
From their weekly newsletter 31 Mar 2012 #359:
The strains of the economic downturn has caught up with AcornDirect and we need to make some changes over the coming weeks.
With immediate effect we are reducing our payment options to Paypal alone. Paypal accept all forms of credit card payment and you do not have to have a Paypal account.
To use payment without a Paypal account select the “I don’t have a Paypal account” option.
In the next 3 – 4 weeks we will be changing our shopping cart and this may present a few problems. Please bear with us as we make these important changes.
Why change? The internet is a very competitive place to operate in – gone are the halcyon days of the late 90’s when we first traded and we were the only UK Christian Music site. Now there are a few of us all struggling for the same business. Our desire has always been to give the best price and to continue to this we must cut costs. Please pray for us as we introduce these changes.
CLC Stamford closing down
NEWS OF CLC STAMFORD’S CLOSURE was announced via facebook on March 13th but staff remain upbeat as they look ahead to moving to Birmingham:
Dear Valued Friend and Customer,
Our season as your local Christian bookshop in Stamford is drawing to a close. It has been a pleasure and a joy to have been able to serve you as a local christian ministry and bookshop in this community.
We, as a team have enjoyed the immense privilege of serving you and we have been blessed how God has enabled us and provided ministry opportunities along the journey.
As with life, there are seasons and what worked 10 years ago does not work today. Reasons for closing include the tough economic climate, battle for internet sales, the generational change in the importance of the local high street and the presence of E-books.
It is with sadness but excitement about the future that Kayleigh and I will be moving to Birmingham in early May to help build the team there. We have met many friends through the bookshop here in Stamford and we hope to keep in contact with as many as possible.
The building that houses the bookshop is owned by a christian trust and it is hoped that the trustees will work with local churches to maintain a christian witness in this spot. CLC will do all it can to support this.
If anyone is interested in running a church bookstall, CLC will also do all it can to support this. Please contact us for more information.
CLC Bookshop, Stamford will close at Easter, the exact date is still to be confirmed.
With Every Blessing.
The date of the closure has since been confirmed as next weekend, Saturday 7th April, doors closing at 5pm: tea and cake will be available all day and all are welcome. In the meantime the closing down sale is underway and the message is, “Come and grab a bargain while you can!”
- New store Adorn Accessories opens but CLC Christian Bookshop to close: Stamford Mercury, 23/3/2012
EMW’s Cardiff Christian Bookshop stock redistributed
STOCK FROM the EMW Cardiff Christian Bookshop, which closed in January, has now been redistributed amongst their other shops, with clearance titles available for only £1. From the latest EMW Bookshops newsletter:
Closing the Cardiff Christian Bookshop
For me it was a great sadness to stand at the door of the Christian Bookshop in Cardiff and attempt to explain to a woman on a mobility scooter where she could buy a Bible in the city centre.
All of the remaining stock from the Cardiff shop has been distributed around our remaining shops. It does mean that if you can make it into one of our shops over the next few weeks you will find a shelf of books for £1, including Pilgrim’s Progress
Norwich Christian Resource Centre facing threat of closure
FORMER SPCK BOOKSHOP Norwich Christian Resource Centre is struggling to balance the books and if footfall and purchasing do not show significant improvements soon, the shop may reach the point of no return. The difficulties were first reported by Network Norwich, Norwich’s online Christian news portal, then subsequently picked up by the Norwich Evening News:
- Norwich Christian Centre faces closure threat: Network Norwich, 22/3/2012
- Calls to support struggling Norwich Christian Resource Centre: Norwich Evening News, 28/3/2012
Commenting on the store’s trading deficit, shop manager Steve Foyster is cited:
If this continues, even in the short term, it is almost inevitable that the centre will close. All the paid staff are braced for another cut in hours and we have been destocking books and CDs by up to 40% via our sale and returning for credit to suppliers.
A sponsored walk around the city centre and along the river has been planned for Sunday 29th April to help raise some of the much-needed funds for the Centre’s survival. The walk starts at 3pm from the Centre (St Michael-at-Plea Church, Redwell Street), covers a distance of 3 miles and ends at the Forget-me-Not Café with complimentary refreshments for everyone taking part. More details and sponsorship forms are available from the Centre or online: Norwich Christian centre’s April Amble.
Spirit Chester: Free Miracles also available
IN CHESTER, a different and more positive story is emerging:
Stephen Sizer accused of antisemitism (again)
CHRISTIAN AUTHOR and speaker Stephen Sizer, who campaigns on behalf of Palestinian Christians struggling under Israel’s security restrictions, has come under scrutiny from the Council of Christians and Jews, who have lodged complaints to his Bishop and alleged charges of antisemitism and incitement to racial hatred against him with Surrey police.
Stephen has faced such accusations before and has found himself at the wrong end of long-running hate and defamation campaigns from the pro-Zionist movement, some details of which may be found on his blog: Seismic Shock: One Year On (18 Sept 2009).
Whatever your particular views of the current Middle East situation and Israeli-Palestinian relations in particular, one thing is clear: attempting to silence criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians simply by slapping the label ‘antisemitism’ onto those who speak out do not address the issue. Please pray for wisdom, grace, tolerance and understanding on all sides. More information, links to reports elsewhere and some discussion are available on my personal blog: Jeremiah’s Underpants and a Link Too Far: CCJ, Stephen Sizer and The Ugly Truth (16 Mar 2012).
- Review: Christian Zionism (4 Jan 2009)
Wesley Owen Coleraine is dead: long live Faith Mission!
At the time of posting, Wesley Owen have yet to update their branches index. The transfer of the Coleraine branch to FM Bookshops leaves the company with only three branches, in Birmingham, Glasgow and York.