Steve Jeynes, RIP

Steve Jeynes, former manager of SPCK/SSG Worcester, has been found dead, apparently having taken his own life. Doug Chaplin, a local parish priest, wrote as follows at 5.30pm today:

Many people have been following (especially with the help of Dave Walker) the slowly unfurling disaster of the destruction of the former SPCK Bookshop chain. (See an earlier post of mine here)

Here in Worcester things have now taken a tragic turn. The local branch manager Steve Jeynes has now been found dead, apparently by his own hand. He was made redundant two weeks ago, after having survived many staff purges and highly dubious pressures to accept a new contract. 

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No words can express the dismay that I (Phil Groom writing) feel at this tragic turn of events. Steve, though I never knew you, may you now rest in peace, and may your family and friends somehow find the grace and strength they need in the difficult times they now face.

Any who may wish to do so are welcome to use the comments section of this post as a Memorial Book for Steve…

Update, 3/7/2008
Peter Davies says:

Steve Jeynes’ Thanksgiving Service has been moved from All Saints’ Church to the Cathedral at 3.30pm on Monday 7th July followed by refreshments at Worcestershire County Cricket Club.

33 responses to “Steve Jeynes, RIP

  1. One moment I was making fun of the Brewers and the next I was left weeping.

  2. annette anderson

    My Deepest Sympathy to all of Steve’s Family, and to all who knew him and had the pleasure of working with him . R.I.P. Steve

    Annette Anderson

  3. May Steve rest in peace.. and I will add his family and friends to my prayers.

  4. I knew Steve, as Worcester is our nearest large City, and as a retired SPCK Manager always called in. I am finding it hard to take in this tragic news.
    My thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those customers who knew him through his service at the shop. I pray that he has found peace.

  5. Alan Williams

    It would be so easy to lay the blame at the feet of the Brewers for the events leading up to the tragic loss of a wonderful guy, who had the interests of his staff at heart. It is also very hard not to blame them, and I do.

    It is intensely dehumanising to be laid off, and to be a loyal servant to SPCK Bookshops, then taken over by people who did not seem to care, and who have ruined a good chain of shops, even more so.

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family, and with Steve’s former colleagues who will mourn his loss. Requiescat in Pace.

  6. Thank you so much for all your prayers and concern for Stephen. We have been following Dave Walker’s SPCK/SSG blog for some time now, but I never thought I would be reading about my own husband in this way. Steve saw his work at the bookshop more than just a job, and he had huge compassion for ordinary people. He longed to see a Christian Centre in Worcester and he persevered with the Brewers, hoping that things would change. He was deeply saddened when his staff were sacked without pay, as others had been, and he took his own dismissal very badly. However, no-one anticipated this. Please continue to pray for God’s work in Worcester.
    Joy Jeynes

  7. All of Worcester and beyond (all who knew him) will be shocked by this tragic news. He was a wonder guy who was always ready to help and offered support and friendship to so many. We had known him for over 30 yrs. Our prayers are with his wife and family. God bless you Steve. Mike & Jan Cammack

  8. Pingback: Joy Jeynes: Please continue to pray for God’s work in Worcester « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  9. Trevor Gibb. Steve will be saddly Missed

    Steve was one of the first people I knew in Worcester when I moved here in 1989. As the manager of Icthus Christian Bookshop he was a lively, loving man with a passion for Christ and a heart for the lost. Steve did not just work in the Icthus bookshop he served in it. He saw his work as ministry and was used by God to pray for and witness to many, many people.

    He took this zeal with him to the SPCK shop and saw his role there in the same way as as he saw his role at the Icthus shop, serving God by praying and witnessing. This was Steves passion. I am in no doubt that Steve is with the Lord he loved so much in his earthly journey.

    Steve Supported ALL the ministries in Worcester and was also committed to supporting the local churches.

    Steve will be sadly missed by those who knew him. And he would be glad to know that so many are supporting Joy and the Children in prayer and concern.

    Rest in peace mate your brother and fellow worker in Christ
    Trevor Gibb
    Director Worcester City Mission

  10. As a manager at SPCK I worked with Steve on a number of occasions and remember spending many hours talking with him at his first SPCK Managers conference shortly after he started working for SPCK. He was a warm and friendly man with many questions – at the last managers conference SPCK held we spent time together in a number of work groups and he had a lot to say with some interesting insights and points of view.
    We also spoke on the phone quite a lot whenever he had technical issues etc – he was always an unfailingly polite and friendly person.
    I am shocked by this turn of events, but could tell from a posting he made on Daves site just after his dismissal that he was deeply injured and distraught by his and the staffs treatment, it is something many people can understand but that it should have been in anyway instrumental in this is just heartbreaking and I grieve that this should be the result.
    My prayers and thoughts go out to Steve’s family and friends – be assured that Steve will be fondly remembered for the good person he was.

  11. I want to thank Steve for being such an example in so many ways. His commitment to the gospel message and his sheer hard work in both Christian shops that he managed were an inspiration to us all. Whenever we went into his shops we were assured of a welcome and a listening ear; he always had time for us. We shall miss the conversations and the fellowship that we had. It was always based around Jesus and his kingdom. He was so good at selling that I always left the shop with a book or CD that I had not intended to buy. I will always be grateful to Steve for putting the coffee machine and armchairs upstairs – for it was there that I met my future wife, it was to that place that we went to get engaged and Steve joined us in our rejoicing that day. In one of our last conversations he asked how the wedding had gone – showing genuine interest. A great organiser who managed his staff supremely well. He had a pleasant friendly warm manner – it was a privilege to have known him since 1983. He and Joy once had our two toddlers so we could have a break for the weekend. We will miss his smile. Our love and prayers are with Joy and the children, I look forward to seeing Steve in the future.
    Derek Long

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  13. I am deeply saddened by the turn of events that left Steve so distressed and unable to face the future. All who have been associated with SPCK bookshops have suffered heartbreak as the bookshops chain has been devalued and decimated especially in the very short time since SSG took over the chain. Staff of the former SPCK believed passionately in the cause for which they worked, namely spreading the word of God. Steve worked untiringly for this cause and that will be his epitaph.

  14. I would just like to say that my prayers are with Steve’s family and friends at the very sad time. I didn’t know Steve, I only spoke to him on the phone a couple of times but i recognised him to be a caring and loyal person. Rest in Peace Steve.

    Isla Short

  15. Dilys Aberdeen

    I am so sorry to learn of Steve”s death. I only knew him from being a customer at the SPCK bookshop. I know how well he treated his own staff, and how devastated he was when the email came through, sacking all of them. I was there at the same time. I also know how highly regarded Steve was in Worcester and he certainly didn’t deserve the treatment he got from the new owners. He was a lovely Christian man, very helpful in the bookshop but had to work single handedly for many months without a break so I am not surprised that something had to give. Unfortunately, this was Steve’s life. My thoughts an prayers are with Steve’s family and friends of whom I am sure there are many. God Bless you Steve. Dilys Aberdeen.

  16. I am Steve’s nephew and to be honest I did not see Steve or his family that often just at big family gatherings.

    What I will say is that every time I spoke with Steve over the last 30 years I found him to be one of the most self less and honourable men I have ever known who always wanted to know how I was and what I was up to.

    A smile a chuckle and I always felt better when I walked away, he had that great calming effect.

    When my father became very ill and I worked away it was Steve who almost on a daily basis checked he was ok and if he needed anything made sure it was always there.

    I never really thanked him for doing that, I wish I had, it meant such allot to me at the time knowing my Dad had Steve watching over him

    I don’t know many people like that and the world would be a better place if I did.

    Steve will be missed and it’s a shame that what ever happened, happened, I personally wish him luck on his new journey and support to his family,

    Hold your heads up high and be proud, I am.

  17. Oh my dear old friend and Brother in Christ. May you rest in the arms of our loving heavenly Father and may He now wipe every tear from your eyes, place a smile on your face and a song of joyous praise on your lips as you sing with the Saints in glory.

    I first met Steve just over 31years ago whilst looking for some trendy clothes to wear (he was the manager of a men’s wear shop in Worcester). He always had a smile or grin on his face and, no mater what the circumstances, always had a word of encouragement. Later, when at the Icthus Christian Bookshop he was just the same and although I only saw him infrequently, after having moved from Worcester, I would sometimes bump into him and, as always, he would listen, empathize and then his face would begin to shine and then beam as he uttered a few salient words of encouragement. He was never judgmental and like others I always felt better for having spent time in his presence.

    God Bless you Steve, I look forward to the time when I bump into you again and recognize you by your smile. I know that when that happens my own smile will for once, match yours.

    Joy, please accept my sincere condolences and know that you and the family will be our prayers.

  18. Steve was a lovely, humble, caring, helpful servant of the Lord, whose work was not just a job, but a ministry to all with whom he came into contact. He will be sorely missed by us all. May you, Joy, and your family know the Lord’s eternal arms around you at this sad time, and His strength to face the coming days.

    Janet Fuller

  19. Dear Joy, Katie, Rachel, Andrew & Emily
    Sending you our love and prayers, and thinking of you all. We are so sorry to hear the news about Steve.
    So many memories over so many years – from the days at St Stepehen’s through times at Northwick, and the Monday Youth Fellowship sooo many years ago, and chats (and carrier bags!!) at SMC, working at Ichthus, so many events over the years, and in recent more years catching up on our visits to Worcester.
    So very sorry that we are unable to be with you on Monday, but we will be thinking of you & praying for you, whilst remembering Steve, and thanking God for him.
    with love from Anne, Alan, Laura, Alice & Beth xx (Bradford Family)

  20. Jean Simmonds

    I am so genuinely sorry to hear such sad news about Stephen. Please take comfort in the fact that he will be remembered with fondness, always such a happy, smiley person, always waving to me on my way to school as my sisters and I passed the bookshop.
    I know there are few words that will lessen the sorrow you feel. I send my love to you all, God bless.
    Jean Simmonds, Arthur’s granddaughter.

  21. Steve was a lovely kind hearted man who always had a good word to say about everyone he came across. He often asked me about my family and about our Church. He was always encouraging about everything I talked to him about and very supportive of all the work being done in Worcester for God. He was also a good salesman and rarely would I come from his shops without something. My prayers and thoughts are with you. God bless

  22. I have only just heard. What a shock. What a loss.
    Steve’s death is a great loss to all who knew him. I have maintained a friendship with Steve through the years since he began as the Manager at Ichthus. Most weeks I called in to see him and have a chat.
    He never failed to greet me whith a characteristic “Hello Ewan!”, and would not only draw my attention to a book or three, but would invariably introduce me to anyone else who happenned to be in the shop. He had a real interest in people which led to him knowing everybody’s name, where they were from, and what church they went to.
    I , who knew him only in passing, will miss him a lot. My deepest sympathy and compassion go out to the family and those who were closer than I.
    The Christian community of the City of Worcester will be much the poorer for his absence.
    We talked often of the ongoing difficulties he was having with the St Stephen the Great “charity”, and his dilemmas regarding whether to continue working with them as their behaviour towards SPCK and the staff seemed increasingly unethical and unchristian. This was balanced against his own sense of mission to the people of Worcester.
    He showed me several of the e-mails he had received, and I had been shocked at their inhumane attitudes, and had formed a very low opinion of them and their ways. I personally hold them partially responsible for bringing Steve to the position where his life ended.
    I pray that some good will come out of this situation and that in remembering Steve in the future, it will allways be with a grin, rather than with any bitterness towards those who added to his burrdens in life. I take confidence in the truth that God is the Judge, and that Steve’s reception into Glory will be an honourable one.

    • Am I right in assuming that Ewan Gear is the same person as worked with me in the 1980/90 in the edauation of Mental Health Nurses if so I would like to hear from him

  23. Laura Boswell

    I am still in shock at the news of Steve’s death. I remember seeing Steve in the Ichthus bookshop years ago, when I would go in with my parents. He was always very friendly and I would usually leave with a sticker.

    More recently, I have been greatly encouraged by Steve’s presence in SPCK. He was very keen to ask how I was and showed great interest in my Christian Radio Show and family. God has also used SPCK as the setting for meeting people I would otherwise not have met.

    The shop also had a real sense of God’s presence and it always refreshed my spirit to go in there. I will miss that greatly.

    Steve will be missed by many many people.

    I will continue to pray for God’s peace and strength for Steve’s family.

  24. Pingback: Steve Jeynes: A Life Remembered « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  25. Steve had a wonderful gift of meeting people where they are, and not where others thought they should be. He was open and his honesty simply shone through – truly a brother in Christ who enriched our lives and encouraged us when we were struggling. A special man with a special wife.

  26. I just wanted to say that I am sorry not to be able to be there in Worcester today to pay my respects to Stephen. We started as Managers at our respective shops (Birmingham in my case) at the same time and were present at our first managers conference as “newbies” so we had a certain solidarity. Stephen stayed in touch after that conference, I would often get a phone call to see how I was getting on and offering moral support. I was always struck by his complete commitment to his work and his time for other people. He was a sweet guy, thoughtful, creative and warm. He was naturally interested in and concerned for other people in a way that I have only ever tried to be – Gifts close to the heart of God. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and colleagues today.

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