Rescuing Britain’s Christian Heritage: Durham Cathedral Bookshop

Today, we launch a formal petition to the Dean and Chapter of Durham Cathedral in a bid to rescue this once outstanding bookshop from the hands of those who have ravaged it, namely Phil and Mark Brewer and their St Stephen the Great Trust.

The Brewers took control of this bookshop, of the entire SPCK Bookshop chain, with fine sounding words, but actions always speak louder than words: Durham Cathedral Bookshop — described by one eminent scholar at an international conference as “the best theological bookshop in the world” — is now but a shadow of its former self. The manager, Carole Burrows — who once organised An Evening Conversation on Jesus and Paul, a conversation between Professor James D G Dunn and the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd N T Wright, as one of many excellent initiatives that helped to keep the shop at the forefront of theological debate — was driven out. Current staff are demoralised.

The time has come to say: enough is enough! The time has come for the Dean and Chapter to take decisive action to rescue the shop from further decimation. Durham Cathedral is a World Heritage Site and an iconic northern shrine, a popular tourist destination and a centre of Britain’s spiritual life — yet it is now marred by association and ill-equipped to serve those who come to it seeking spiritual refreshment and theological enlightenment.

I hereby call upon the Dean and Chapter of Durham Cathedral to step in, as Jesus once stepped in at the Temple in Jerusalem, and to drive out these men who are bringing this unique part of Britain’s Christian Heritage into disrepute. I urge you, please: take back control of your bookshop, of our bookshop.

And I call upon all others who feel similarly outraged — here in the UK, in the USA and throughout the world, and especially upon the residents of Houston, Texas, whose home town’s otherwise good iPetition Penname is similarly marred by this association — to sign this petition and to spread the word to encourage as many others as possible to do the same.

Thank you.

– Phil Groom.

Sign The Petition: Rescuing Durham Cathedral Bookshop

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18 responses to “Rescuing Britain’s Christian Heritage: Durham Cathedral Bookshop

  1. Pingback: Petition to Rescue Durham Cathedral Bookshop « A Blogspotting Anglican Episcopalian

  2. Pingback: Save Durham Cathedral’s Bookshop! « Alan Mann

  3. Yorkshire pride

    I understand the Cathedral shop has recently received the stock from Birmingham shop.
    Surely this is illegal as it is moving stock from one company to another.
    How does the Dean and chapter feel about selling goods that have not been paid for

  4. Thank you for starting this petition.

  5. Left gobsmacked when I saw this post. I’m sure the Dean and Chapter are not very happy about what is happening on their doorstep.

  6. Midnight: less than 24 hours in and we have 70 signatures already. Thank you to all who have signed so far. Please spread the word.

    Later today — or tomorrow, depending on your point of view: I mean Thursday 21/8/2008 — I’ll forward the first batch of signatures to the Cathedral and will forward again on each subsequent multiple of 50…

  7. Pingback: Durham Cathedral Bookshop « UKCBD: The Christian Bookshops Blog

  8. Pingback: Durham Cathedral must take action to Secure SPCK Bookshop Future | The Wardman Wire

  9. Phelim McIntyre

    Have had a message from someone up in Durham that they believe the Cathedral are working towards removing SSG but are going slowly to make sure everything is legal from their side. Hopefully the petition will move things on.

  10. justflyingkites

    Dean and Chapter could have gotten rid of SSG long ago. No breadth of stock, no serving of the people of the Diocese, no new titles, empty shelves, you name it.

  11. Over 100 signatures now, with some very interesting comments to support the Dean et al in whatever action may be required.

    I formally submitted the petition to the Dean by email last night (later than planned but life doesn’t always go according to plan… ) and have copied my letter of submission to selected media contacts.

    Thanks to all those who have signed thus far: please continue to spread the word. The petition remains open until the Brewers are ousted from the Cathedral or there is some other good reason to close the petition: watch this space.

    As for everything remaining legal from the Cathedral’s side… I think there are far more important questions to asked about the legality of things from the Brewers’ side. The issues and questions raised by Unity at Ministry of Truth last month still remain unanswered:
    J Mark Brewer Revisited (Updated)
    Questions For J Mark Brewer

  12. This comment is entirely off the point and entirely inappropriate in this post. I offer my most humble apologies. I don’t know if it’s only me, but I googled thirdspace bookshops.com and it seems to me that the SPCK have finally wrested their SPCK on-line address from the Brewers.

  13. Yes indeed: excellent! spckonline.com has now been reclaimed by SPCK: round of applause for Simon Kingston!!

  14. Back on topic now: anyone needing a shortened URL for the petition (for emails etc) can now use http://tinyurl.com/dcbpetition. Let’s spread the word and keep those signatures coming in…

  15. Pingback: spckonline.com will NOT damage your computer! « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  16. Pingback: Anger in Durham as Dean Snubs Petitioners’ Concerns « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  17. Too many good small businesses are losing their identity to big corporates who do not wish to specialise but limit sales to big profits. The Cathedral Shop should assume its rightful authority

  18. Pingback: The latest on the former SPCK bookshops - Gentle Wisdom

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