Happy 25th birthday to a book and coffee shop in March that is an ‘oasis in a busy world’

Christian Bookshop in March is celebrating 25 years. From left to right Lily Slade, Ameera Macadam a

Christian Bookshop in March is celebrating 25 years. From left to right Lily Slade, Ameera Macadam and Rosemary Fuller PHOTO: Kath Sansom - Credit: Archant

An oasis of tranquillity in a busy world is how a March book and coffee shop describes itself as it prepares to celebrate a quarter of a century of being in town.

The Christian Bookshop celebrates it 25th birthday on Friday and volunteers say the little corner shop of peace has become a lifeline for many - yet still a lot of people have no idea they are there.

Manager Rosemary Fuller said: “People might come here for a chat as part of their weekly routine, others may come at a time of crisis if they are lonely or going through a difficult time.

“Some have said to us they were worried about coming in because they think we might hit them over the head with a bible and talk religion but actually that is not what we are about.

“This is a safe place people can come to talk, know there is a friendly face and a listening ear and if they want to talk religion that is fine but if they don’t that is fine too.

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“The shop is so much more than just religion.”

Volunteer Lily Slade added: “It’s a friendly setting which is an oasis in a busy world.

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“One woman who suffers anxiety comes every day as it is the only place she feels safe and able to come to.”

Rosemary added: “We feel privileged to be a part of being able to help people, often over something as simple as a cup of tea.”

The shop first opened more than 30 years ago in Nene Parade, now home to Shooters American diner.

Then in 1992 it moved to its current spot on the corner of Station Road and Creek Road where it is open on Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9am to 5pm.

Rosemary said: “We began small and now have around 14 volunteers who help create a warm and friendly welcome.”

The shop sells gifts, books, cards, bibles and music as well as being stocked with local information and advice on things like the local food bank service and the Richmond Fellowship which offers mental health support.

• On Friday 15 they are holding a birthday celebration from 11am to noon with free drinks, music and singing as well as cake. All are welcome.

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