Some Gleanings from a Christian Publishing/Retailing/Suppliers Gathering

I’m back from two wonderful but intense days at Christian Resources Together, a gathering for people in the Christian publishing, supplying, and retailing industry – and yes, that includes content creators such as writers. I’ve been in the Christian resources biz for over twenty years, nearly 18 of those in the UK. So for me it’s a rare time to see, greet, and hug familiar faces from the past (a few mates were playing STL Bingo during the award ceremony, which hints at their affection and humor, and will only mean anything for those in my industry).

This year was special because I moved officially from “publisher” to “author.” I’ve loved being an editor, launching all of those wonderful Christian books out into the world to be ambassadors for God’s good news. And I grateful now to be one of those authors too, with her baby arriving in the world. For Finding Myself in Britain was shipped directly from the printer to the conference centre, as the official launch doesn’t arrive until the first of October. In fact, my publisher, Steve Mitchell, saw it first there. For me, the feeling was surreal to walk into my room in Swanwick and to see my book there on the bed, complete with chocolate for the participants to savor and enjoy.

Fuzzy photo of The Book greeting me. Surreal! Wonderful! Yes, a ghastly bedspread!

Fuzzy photo of The Book greeting me. Surreal! Wonderful! Yes, a ghastly bedspread!

I was captivated by Bishop John Pritchard’s talk in particular. Here are some of his quotes, worth pondering:

“God doesn’t know how to be absent.”

I agree, but many people feel the absence of God when they go through tough times. Do you find this a challenging or encouraging statement, or somewhere in between?

“In the Bible, water is always dangerous to the Jewish mind.”

I never knew this, and want to do some biblical investigation. What about Proverbs 25:25, “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land”?

“Pray, but not as though God is an outsider. He’s here.”

Yes, I love this, and sense the influence of Tom Wright.

I also learned that Thomas Hardy became disgusted at the reaction to his novels so he gave up writing them and turned to writing a poem a day. Many are pedestrian, but some are brilliant. Hmm; maybe I should try to write a poem every day. I did that during Advent last year, and loved it. I learned other things too, but those nuggets seem worth sharing.

Lawrie Stenhouse, Authentic Media's fab sales guy.

Lawrie Stenhouse, Authentic Media’s fab sales guy.

I came away exhausted but encouraged. What heartened me the most was the family-like atmosphere, with the organizers Mandy and Steve Briars called the “grandparents” of the group. How wonderful that we can laugh together and enjoy one another’s company, especially when times in the Christian resources business have been so tough.

If you went to CRT, what were your impressions?

4 Responses

  1. I was there Amy and sorry not to have caught up with you! Like you it was a first time for us as a publisher having spent 21 years with Authentic Media. We were struck too my the family atmosphere, friendly banter with old and some new friends, as well as being encouraged by the steely determination of many retailers who return year after year despite facing difficult trading conditions. The time just whizzed by and if anything we could have done with longer on the stand to see everyone but overall think the balance of exhibition time and seminars/worship time was about right. Looking forward to next year!

    1. I know Malc I was so sorry to be so limited on time in walking about the exhibition area and missing you. It was amazing the atmosphere that was there and such a testament to God’s continuing grace during hard times. I loved the buoyancy. So glad it was a success for you as a publisher!

  2. Oh, yes, Amy, I too loved the whole event: the family atmosphere, the hugs and laughter with friends, and all that the Bishop had to say.

    I particularly found his point about God doesn’t know how to be absent relevant to my life. With divorce, my daughter’s heroin addiction and her death behind me, things have been hard for me for many years. But through my writing, God has encouraged me to share with others the comfort I have received. This past twelve months has been particularly hard, but I know his presence still.

    I do wish you well with your book. Perhaps we could have you come and speak at my church, Upton Vale Baptist Church one day? Or would that be a step too far for an Anglican Vicar’s Wife 🙂 Only joking.

    1. Mel I so resonated with his statement about God not being able to be absent in our lives, especially as I start this master’s in Christian spirituality. A friend has done the same course, and he said I might find the readings about God being absent the hardest – for can God BE absent, or is that our limited outlook? I’m glad you know he is there, through the many hardships you’ve endured and the comfort you’ve received.
      And I’d love to come to speak to your church – that would be great fun, and it would be lovely to be able to picture your digs and your people. 🙂

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