Day of prayer for Christian products industry in U.K. Print
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Thursday, 18 March 2010 02:52 PM America/New_York

Retailers and suppliers in the U.K. have a focus on prayer as the industry seems to be bouncing back from what some feared might be a major blow.

Bookstores across the country are taking part in a second national day of prayer for their mission, March 26, with an appeal for churches to pray for their local Christian retail outlets during Palm Sunday services two days later. There are also separate plans for a two-day retreat May 4-5 for industry leaders.

The moves come as efforts continue to save stores that were feared likely to be lost in the wake of the December 2009 sale of Wesley Owen, then the biggest chain in the U.K. A total of 14 of the prime locations were bought by CLC International (UK) and Australia's Koorong chain as Wesley Owen was sold off by IBS-STL along with its distribution and publishing interests.

There were fears that most of the remaining 26 stores would go out of business, but many of the operations may continue as Living Oasis ministries of the Nationwide Christian Trust. The charity has launched a campaign to see that each of the locations remains open as a coffee shop and outreach to the local community combined with sales of Christian resources.

Organizers said that the March 26 Day of Prayer is "for all parts of the Christian media industry, retailers, suppliers, distributors and customers."

"Stronger Together, Weaker Apart" is the name of the May 4-5 Retailers and Suppliers Retreat being organized by Christian Resources Together, launched in January in the wake of the IBS-STL sale to unite members of the industry.

"Possibly like never before the Christian retail trade is having to come to terms with change," said coordinator Stephen Briars. "Despite the challenges, the need for Christian retail stores in our towns and cities has never been more essential. Now is not the time to give up, but rather embrace the challenge."