A new Community Interest Company is on course to resurrect a shop and café within St Michael-at-Plea, Redwell Street, Norwich, the church previously occupied by SSG and SPCK, from July 2004 to May 2008.
The Norwich Christian Resource Centre will be managed by Steve Foyster who will be returning to this venue, having left in June last year to set up a new online shop. His four fellow directors come from Anglican and free church backgrounds.
Since the centre finally closed in May the directors have been in direct liaison with the landlords, Norwich Historic Churches Trust, who are delighted that once again the redundant church will be used for the communities of Norwich, Norfolk and beyond.
Virtually all the ex-shop and café staff, most of whom were unable to find other employment, will return, along with the twenty or so volunteers who make the running of the well frequented café possible.
Regrettably nearly all the shop fitments and café equipment have been removed, though thankfully the bookshelving remains as an integral part of the listed building. Very generous donations are helping to buy new or secondhand replacements and several enthusiastic stakeholders are putting up no-interest three year loans to enable the purchase of new stock. Once the centre is open there will be an appeal for donations of second hand books. The new company has already received over £750 in donations following a recent appeal on the Network Norwich site, as well as a fax machine, PC and inkjet cartridges.
I remember all the blood, sweat and tears that went into the planning of this wonderful centre, when I was involved in 2004. It was always very well stocked with the widest breadth of titles, including a wealth of second hand titles, sought after as far afield as Canada and Finland.
It pleased me most that customers couldn’t pin down any particularly dominant theological strand – Karl Barth rubbed shoulders with Rick Joyner and hoodies hung alongside cassocks!
We were able to hold dozens of after hours events ranging from debates between humanists, bishops, MPs and professors, to an evening with Julie Reinger, the ‘Look East’ weather presenter. The team even re-enacted the famous Communication Problem episode within a Fawlty Towers evening. We knew of many people who came through the doors that would not normally set foot in a Christian shop let alone a church.
Although customers can easily move on to other providers, given the wealth of prayer and enthusiasm for the new venture from hundreds and hundreds of supporters, the new team are confident that NCRC will be more than viable.
Steve and the team hope to start trading on Wednesday 1st October.
Events are already being scheduled:
- Thursday 16 October: Bishop David Atkinson will be speaking about his new book on climate change ‘Renewing the Face of the Earth’ – admission free with 10% off the book and other relevant titles.
- Tuesday 21 October: Trafalgar Day supper with guest speaker
- Mid December: an Advent evening with Arian and Bridget Plass
Many sincere and heartfelt thanks to all those who have prayed about this new venture for so long.
Index of Reports from Network Norwich (most recent first)
- Norwich Christian resource centre resurrected
A thriving city centre Christian resource centre, bookshop and cafe is set to re-open in Norwich under new management within the next few weeks after a successful rescue plan…
- Norwich Christian bookshop stripped of stock
A Christian bookshop in Norwich was yesterday (June 19) stripped of all its stock in the latest chapter of the on-going tale of its takeoever and closure…
- Norwich Christian bookshop closes its doors
Norwich’s SSG Bookshop and Resource Centre (formerly SPCK) will close its doors tomorrow (June 14) for the foreseeable future, after its owner filed for a form of bankruptcy in the USA and its Norwich staff were dismissed…
- Norwich SPCK closure goes on as union steps in
The SPCK bookshop in Norwich remains closed over two weeks after it first shut its doors following the sacking of all its staff and today (February 21) the telephone lines have been barred…
- Norwich SPCK sackings e-mail is revealed
More details have emerged of the sacking by e-mail of the staff of Norwich Christian bookshop SPCK last week…
- Rescue plan for Norwich Christian literature
Following the temporary closure of Norwich’s only city centre Christian bookshop and the alleged sacking of its five staff on Tuesday, an alternative plan to preserve the future of Christian literature in Norwich is emerging…
- Staff sacked as Norwich SPCK bookshop closes
The future of Norwich’s only city-centre Christian bookshop is uncertain after it closed its doors yesterday (February 5) and all its staff were sacked…