Signs of Change in Salisbury?

Phil Groom writes:

Received the message below from a contact in Salisbury this afternoon. Wonder what else Trading Standards are looking into? Hopefully more than just the signage! I’m guessing this is a result of SPCK’s legal bods pushing the name licensing issue, but it might equally well be following up a private complaint; whichever, it’s a step in the right direction:

I understand that the Salisbury shop has been visited by Trading Standards and has been given a number of weeks in which to remove all SPCK signage and replace it with SSG information. As of this morning, the SPCK lettering on the fascia board has been taken down. 

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28 responses to “Signs of Change in Salisbury?

  1. Hopefully this is SPCK clamping down on them. On the other hand Phil Brewer might just be into some re-decorating stuff. Newcastle has a new sign and some red paint. Shouldn’t he be re-decorating churches?

  2. Hasn`t anyone told him that red paint in Newcastle is like a red-and-white rag to a Magpie? Tell him Newcastle prefer black and white. Oh, well, the Brewers have never understood local customs. They just think we`re an American colony.

  3. With some of the things sent over from America, like soaps and lotions, Trading Standards could have a lot too look at.

  4. Does the Brewers’ brand of Orthodoxy have special ceremonial hand-washing traditions or something, is that what the soaps and lotions are about? A certain Roman Governor who asked, “What is truth?” comes to mind…

  5. The soaps and lotions had no sell by date. They smelled funny. Some were given away for free, some were sold for a pound. Some soaps are still available – any offers?

  6. The Soaps & lotions were reported to TS in the interim period between Xmas and New year just after they arrived in 2006, that was one part of a reason a certain manager was like to leave.
    I believe it caused some consternation and there were memo’s sent to get shops to address the issue of dates, weights etc on lotions early in 2007.

  7. Also, the soaps and lotions had no weights and measures on them (ingredients not listed in order of amount used – greatest first) and arrived with no vat paid so shops had to find the money to pay HM Customs and Excise. The same happened on the beeswax candles and icons that came during the same time. Cost us over £100 a time – oh yes and we had to pay delivery costs.

  8. Passed the Salisbury shop today. Whereas the shop facias have been blacked out the SPCK sign is still there (probably didn’t have the right sort of ladder).

    I still won’t shop there.

  9. This is strange. I spoke to somebody from Salisbury today. She said that she can’t find anything useful in the Salisbury shop. She also complained about the other Christian bookshop in Salisbury saying that it was too academic for her. It was just a casual conversation. Other than holding a microphone and saying, “can you repeat that” please believe me.

  10. I’m not surprised about the ‘academic’ comment – if she’s talking about the bookshop in Sarum college, it’s main customer base will be folk doing courses, theological training etc.

  11. David, I know absolutely nothing about Sarum college. I just find it sad that one person struggles to find something worthwhile to read in Salisbury.

  12. At the moment there are two Christian bookshops in Salisbury, and they’re both caught up in controversy — the ex-SPCK ex-SSG presumably-ENC shop, and Sarum College Bookshop, which you can read all about here:
    1. Sarum College Bookshop in Meltdown
    2. Sarum College Remains Upbeat about Bookshop Future

    And yes, Sarum College Bookshop is very much an academic theology specialist outlet.

    However, the good news is that a third shop is due to open anytime soon: Sarum Books: watch this space, as they say!

  13. I hope that the people in Salisbury will soon be able to find an outlet that suits their needs.

  14. I was passing past SSG to go to Sarum Bookshop. I personally consider it one of the best theological/Christian bookshops in the country. It has a complete range of stock from Catholic to Evangelical. It is constantly updating its stock. It’s staff are friendly, informed and interested (unlike the person behind the counter in SSG Winchester). I am generally able to find what I need there, and more, without fail.
    I also do not believe that it has suffered since the summer ‘schism’ (now that’s an emotive word for an Anglican). In my experience there are always more than one side to any story.
    If I have a criticism of the store it is that I have yet to work out how it lays out its stock.
    If we are not to lose resources such as the Sarum College Bookshop, or have them taken over by chalatans such as the Brewers (I would love to use stronger language but it would upset many users of this site) then we need to get over our insular approach to these bookshops and use them. I am positive that the staff in Sarum Bookshop will order in anything that asingleblog’s friend could want.

  15. Believe me, RevEv, much stronger language than ‘Charlatans’ has been used about the Brewers behind the scenes here, and publicly elsewhere!

  16. Sorry, it sounds as if ‘very much an academic theology specialist outlet’ is being used as a derogatory term. But there isn’t enough deep, cutting edge, challenging ‘academic’ theology on the shelves of most Christian bookshops, especially not when it comes to biblical studies. That’s one of the legacies of the Brewers who emasculated then sacrificed and cannibalised shops such as the SPCKs in Bristol, Durham, London and Winchester, to name but a few. Now it is up to the rest of the Christian shops around not to be ashamed to stock quality theology. Stuff that challenges the little grey cells rather than appealing to the lowest common denominator. Personally, I’ve always found Sarum College Bookshop a breathe of fresh air for the quality and range of stock. Pity they’ve just advertised for a deputy manager at a salary that is not a living wage.

  17. Pax there is nothing derogatory about academic theology specialist outlets. On the other hand, the person I spoke to should not feel that he was looking for Christian literature apppealing to the lowest common denominator. He went to SSG in Salisbury and found nothing. He then went to Sarum College and found only academic stuff. Should he have gone to Amazon or Eden?

  18. Pax: “Sorry, it sounds as if ‘very much an academic theology specialist outlet’ is being used as a derogatory term.”

    Absolutely not! I manage the bookshop at London School of Theology, which is another shop that specialises in academic theology. Like Sarum College Bookshop, ours is an on campus operation: it necessarily focuses on the needs of the LST community, and rightly so.

    I’m also proud to have a dedicated Islamic Studies section in which I stock the Qur’an in Arabic alongside three English editions; and the Bhagavad Gita, though only in English (no, not in the Islamic Studies section, before anyone gets excited).

    There is, however, a real need for Christian retailers that sell more down to earth stuff than some of our more esoteric works on Hermeneutical Spirals, Pneumatology, Christology and Eschatology which most people — even some LST students — look at with gobsmacked expressions on their faces. Titles like Justification and Variegated Nomism simply do not connect with our occasional visitor who wonders in from a local church looking for something inspirational.

    I’m not saying shops should fill their shelves with the sort of happy clappy garbage that emerges from Destiny Image; but a shop on the high street does need a broader range of stock than places like LST or Sarum College; and for the most part, in my experience, the former SPCK shops did manage to achieve that quite well.

  19. OK, one person’s ‘academic theology’ is another person’s stimulating reading. But too many Christian books are like comfort food. They fill you with wind and not the Spirit. The Eucharist is not supposed to be a comfortable meal and churches should not be comfortable places (ditch the pews, throw out the carpet, inhabit sacred space, don’t squat in it). So Christian writers should challenge, challenge, challenge the comfort of the age, sometimes bringing comfort to the uncomforted but, always bringing the edginess of Scripture back into our concsiousness and our actions.

    I’m not saying that ‘popular’ Christian writers can’t and don’t do this – the best do (Yancey, ‘What’s so amazing about Grace?’; Nouwen, ‘Adam’ ; Lacey ‘The Word on the Street’) but some of the academic writers can take you to a different place and a deeper level, if you give them a chance (Beckford ‘Jesus is Dread’; Volf ‘Exclusion and Embrace; Duffy ‘The Stripping of the Altars’) and I would say that more of what we tend to term ‘academic theology’ is testing and pushing boundaries than the popular paperback side.

    But let’s get back to biblical studies – which shops on the high street have a good range of in depth commentaries? Not just a handful of the (excellent) Interpretation series to make up the numbers, but the Anchor Bible, the Word Biblical Commentaries, Sacra Pagina or even Blackwells new ‘Through the Centuries’ series, for example. Deep, considered contemplation of Scripture is still unfashionable. It doesn’t necessarily need books, but the insights of different authors should be a key component.
    Rant over. For now.

  20. Valiant for Truth

    Agreed – sometimes these days when you hear sermons you wonder where the theology is. Sarum College shop must have changed a lot since I last saw it, (in Robert Webb’s day) as at that time SPCK Salisbury was seriously concerned about direct competition as Sarum College shop was even stocking candles.

  21. As someone with friends who write for Destiny Image and have talked with them in the past about a possible book I will ignore Phil’s comment about Destiny Image.

    But for those who do not get Christian Marketplace, Mark Clifford of Christian Booksellers Association, is openning a shop is Salisbury. The article can be read here: http://www.christianmarketplace.org.uk/engine.cfm?i=43&cma=2045

    • Very gracious of you, Phelim: thank you. Don’t worry, it’s not just Destiny Image I don’t have much time for: it’s that entire sector of Christian publishing with it’s emphasis on health and wealth and “God has wonderful plan for your life”. Charisma House are another one.

      But they most likely think a raving liberal like me who believes that God’s an atheist has lost the plot at the other end of the scale: we probably cancel one another out in the long run…

  22. Actually Phil I am in contact with Charisma House (part of Strang Communications) about a book for the US Market. But as a raving Charismatic I have less problems with them than some – they would porbably see you as a staid Conservative ; )

  23. Just an update on the Salisbury SSG.

    Seems they have found a ladder to take down the SPCK sign.

    I’m wondering how long it will be until this shop goes the same way as another store just down the road – Woolies.

  24. Or sold like Exeter where the present lease has gone for £40 000 a year for five years.

  25. Pingback: New Christian Bookshop launched in Salisbury by Mark Clifford: Sarum Books « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  26. Pingback: Brewers Still Faking It In Salisbury « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

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