Dunstable Christian Bookshop
Dunstable Christian Bookshop (in St Mary’s Gate) celebrated its 25th anniversary on Saturday 5 May with a thanksgiving service at Dunstable Baptist Church.
Over 100 Christians gathered to hear a timely message from Romans 1:8-25 given by Pastor John Benton of Guildford; also a brief history of the bookshop’s literature ministry given by Dr Kenneth Dix and John Snuggs, the present manager.
John Benton gave a sombre
assessment of the decadent state of Britain today. Foolishness pervades our nation; political correctness has restricted public debate. ‘Self-fulfilment’ and ‘personal choice’ are our nation’s main deities. God’s wrath has given us over to our impurity. However, Christians should not despair.
The need for God’s Word remains urgent. God is calling us to proclaim the gospel, wherever and whenever we can, including through giving Christian books.
The bookshop was opened in May 1982 by Dunstable Baptist Church, working with the Blythswood Tract Society. Its first manager was Robin Bird, a founder of Evangelical Press, who moved from Australia to take up the post.
Money was tight in those early days and the shelves were thinly stocked. Douglas Levey, deacon of Dunstable Baptist Church, took over as manager in 1983. Whilst trade gradually increased finances were still difficult, but the Lord provided.
The Baptist church bought the shop from Blythswood in 1987. Douglas retired in 1989 and John Snuggs was appointed manager. The 1990s saw a steady growth. A major extension project was completed in 1992. There were further improvements,
including computerised stock control, a shop web site (www.christianbooks.uk.com) and EPOS (electronic point of sale).
Turnover peaked around 2001/2002. After this, competition from other sources, especially via the internet, has brought in tougher times. But the bookshop is blessed with an excellent location and customers come from a wide area, attracted by the good range of books and their Reformed emphasis.
John Snuggs is helped by his wife, Elaine, with Brian and Margaret Rigby assisting in their absence. Others from the church are loyally committed to help. Over the years we have been able to make book donations to local schools, the public library and various ministerial students. We have also provided financial support for the Roundwood Trust’s Russian Go Teach project.
What impact do our books have? Some 15,000 books are sold annually, including 500 Bibles. We continue to look to the Lord, and to thank him for his goodness and provision over the past 25 years. A fuller account of the shop’s history and John Benton’s message are available from the shop.