Petition Now Closed: please see Chichester Shop Reopening (Dec 10, 2009) and Chichester Bookshop Reopens (Dec 17, 2009).

Reports Elsewhere (most recent first)

On 11th December 2008 we followed up our petition to rescue the Durham Cathedral Shop from the Brewers with a petition to the Bishop and Diocese of Chichester, asking them to take urgent and decisive action to rescue the Chichester shop:

The Bishop acknowledged the petition by forwarding it to several members of his staff team and to the Dean of Chichester Cathedral with a request for further information.

Like the Durham petition, this petition will remain open until the Brewers are no longer in control of the shop. It will be re-presented to the Bishop at each multiple of 50 signatures.

Please take a few minutes to read through the petition — full text copied below — and, if you share the concerns raised, please sign it. The petition includes space to leave your own comments on the situation: please do make use of that opportunity — comments left on the petition will be forwarded to the Bishop whenever the petition is re-presented to him.

Thank you.

Petition Text

We, the undersigned, call upon the Bishop of Chichester and the Diocese of Chichester to rescue this once outstanding bookshop, previously part of the SPCK chain, from the control of Philip and Mark Brewer and their changing series of organisations (St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust / St Stephen the Great Limited and now Chichester Shop Management Co).

The Brewers took control of this bookshop, of the entire SPCK Bookshop chain, with fine sounding words, but actions always speak louder than words: the former Chichester SPCK Bookshop is now but a shadow of its former self. Due to the failure of the Brewers to honour invoices for goods received, suppliers have been left high and dry at a time of recession; and the shelves stood empty until recently when stock was brought in from the former SPCK shop in Norwich, which has now been rescued by the local community in Norwich.

St Olave’s in Chichester has a claim to be the oldest building in the city, yet is in a desperate state of repair. It was set up through covenant to provide information for the community, yet advertising anything that Philip Brewer considers contrary to the so-called ‘Orthodox’ aims of the charity is banned. Mark Brewer has claimed ownership of St Olave’s Church and has announced plans to turn it into an Orthodox place of worship. These men have abused staff, treated covenants and UK employment law with contempt, disregarded debts to their suppliers, fabricated a bankruptcy filing in the USA Courts and blatantly bullied anyone who has stood in their way: it ill-behoves the Diocese of Chichester to play host to them and their presence here casts a shadow over the mission of the wider church.

Enough is enough: we urge you to take decisive action now to rescue this shop and St Olave’s Church from further depredation. We call upon you to step in, and to remove these men who are bringing Chichester’s Christian heritage into disarray and disrepute. We urge you, please: take back control of this building. It would be better for the shop to be closed than allowed to carry on in its current state. Then, as we see happening elsewhere around the country, people will be free to work together to create something new and bring light to this community.

17 responses to “Chichester

  1. Pingback: Pages Rearranged « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  2. I would like to thank the Bishop of Chichester for acknowledging this petition. I would ask him to liase with the staff at the bookshop to find the best way forward. Another way would be for the staff to have a meeting with the Bishop. They need to talk.

  3. Pingback: Chichester, Durham, Third Space Books: Updating UKCBD Entries « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  4. Please save the oldest church in CHICHESTER,it is such abeautiful building.

  5. Pingback: Response to Durham Cathedral expulsion of Shop Lessee from Durham Cathedral Shop | The Wardman Wire

  6. An independent trust, St Olav Trust, has been established to operate a Christian bookshop in Chichester, with a stocking policy similar to that of SPCK. Trustees represent a broad range of Christian churches in the area. There are a number of hoops that remain to jump through, but notwithstanding these, it is anticipated that the shop will re-open on Saturday 12 December 2009, 10:00 am. The previous manager is an active participant in these preparations. Please support the trust!

  7. Yippee!!! Some really good news.

  8. Valiant for Truth

    Every blessing to all trustees and to Bradley in this endeavour and hopes and prayers for a successful re-opening and outcome.

  9. What lovely news ,congratulations to all .

  10. Pingback: The Future Shape of Christian Bookselling « UKCBD: The Christian Bookshops Blog

  11. Will go down next week to pass on my (our) best wishes and take photos for the site.

    This story is a sign of hope that our keeping this in the headlines, the campaigning of so many others such as USDAW and the commitment of the staff who have stayed to fight as reistance workers has born fruit.

  12. The shop name: St Olav Christian Bookshop. More details at

  13. Interview with Bradley Smith on BBC Radio Sussex ‘Listen Again’: books discussion starts at 1:11:20 into the programme: (I’m on there too but you don’t need to listen to that bit).

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