Reopened as Living Oasis South Woodford 06/03/2010
82 High Road, South Woodford, London E18 2NA
Phone: 020 8530 4244
Contact: Dominic Stinchcombe
News & Notes (most recent first)
- All East London and West Essex Guardian Series Reports
- East London and West Essex Guardian Series, 03/02/2010, 4.50pm: SOUTH WOODFORD: Christian bookshop finds salvation
- East London and West Essex Guardian Series, 03/02/2010, 1.08pm: SOUTH WOODFORD: Christian bookshop “down but not out”
- East London and West Essex Guardian Series, 18/01/2010: SOUTH WOODFORD: Campaign to save bookshop makes national press:
- From The Times, Saturday 16/01/2010, The call goes out to keep Jesus on the High Street:
An online petition is hoping to save a store in Edinburgh, and in South Woodford, London, pledges of £31,000 have already been received to keep the shop open.
The manager of Wesley Owen in South Woodford, Dominic Stinchcombe, is in no doubt that even if his supporters can find the other £30,000, the trade as a whole faces a bleak future without radical action.
“If it was just keeping the bookshop going I wouldn’t bother,” he says, “but it’s the Christian ministry side of it. Many people use us as a kind of church. We are here Monday to Saturday. It might be new Christians moving into the area, or someone at the end of their tether who doesn’t know where to turn. We listen and pray with them all if they ask for it.”
Stinchcombe’s campaign has been lifted by direct support from the pulpit of local churches. The Rev Steve Clark, vicar of St Andrew’s with All Saints, issued a rallying cry during his Sunday sermon for people to support the “ministry” of the South Woodford shop near by.
“It’s not just a shop,” says Clark. “Often you can walk in and find staff praying with somebody. I wasn’t asking people to feel guilty about not using the bookshop, just asking them if they would like to support the vision. And the next day the first person walked in and laid down £1,000.”
People in the trade talk a lot about their shops as a ministry and a Christian presence on the high street. But the hard facts are that, like every other bookshop, Christian booksellers have been hit by the power of Amazon.
Stinchcombe insists that Christians will soon realise what they are missing: “You might be able to buy your books on the internet, but you can’t buy ministry on the internet.”