Monday, September 22, 2008

SPCK roundup

Still things happening on on the SPCK front, various things from the last few days, which might have got blogged here but for our clergy conference:

- the preliminary hearing of the employment tribunal for 30 former SPCK employees. The notes on the hearing are here. It seems to be the beginning of a long process. Matt Wills has some thoughts on this at his blog.

- Exeter 'SPCK' has closed down, I can't quite work out the full story on this, some of it is here, and asingleblog seems to know some of the background too. It all seems a bit of a mess, which is the story of many of the bookshops, very sadly. It's good to hear that the former manager of the Salisbury bookshop is to open up a new Christian bookshop in the town, Sarum books.

- nothing further from the US, though Father Christian Troll has, as usual, some helpful advice for all concerned. There are now so many blog posts on 'Houston Bankruptcy' that various automated sites are springing up with some links you might recognise.

things have quietened down on Facebook, though a few new members means the 'We Support Dave Walker' group has 486 members now. 14 more and we get free chocolate, or something. I even met one of the other group officers in the flesh at our clergy conference, didn't realise he was another Bath & Wells vicar. We do get about.....

The spckssg blog remains the place to go for all this, and it makes it a lot simpler for people searching for stories. Even though it feels safer to have several blogs going on this at once, Mark Brewer knows exactly what will happen if he has another go at shutting down Phil's blog. And don't forget this, which is still an offence and a grave injustice.

So, what are the ongoing issues:
- current SSG shops, like Durham, Chichester, and how they are being run. People are still signing the petition to encourage Durham Cathedral to step in at the Durham shop, and there is plenty going on behind the scenes there too.

- the employment tribunals - next stage of this is December/new year, it looks like this will take a while to sort out.

- what will happen over the court sanctions on Mark Brewer/Brewer&Pritchard in the US for - it is alleged - using the US bankruptcy courts system to evade their responsibilities in the UK.

- with 3 companies now running the UK shops in place of the Society of St. Stephen the Great (ENC, and separate companies for Chichester and Durham), there are some sharp questions being asked about stock transfers between the various shops, and what suppliers can do about this. There are hundreds of suppliers who are owed money by SSG and its surrogates, who must be less than impressed at what is going on.

- the fact that the 3 Cease and Desist letters against bloggers have not been withdrawn, with the result that Dave Walker is no longer posting about SPCK, despite having been the mainstay of news, comment and analysis of the bookshops in the last 2 years. Matt Wardman has more thoughts on what a 'cease and desist' letter really means, do read the comments there too.


  1. Thanks David - a helpful roundup, and exactly two months today since DW received his fateful C&D...

  2. "It's good to hear that the former manager of the Salisbury bookshop is to open up a new Christian bookshop in the town, Sarum books."

    David, does this mean that the Brewers bought up Sarum college bookshop too? Because there is an existing spck/ssg shop near to the Cathedral as well...

  3. Matt: from what I know, Sarum College bookshop is run by the college, not SSG, but had seen increased business with the troubles at the SPCK/SSG bookshop. However, the college have decided to downsize the bookshop, and made the manager Mark Clifford redundant a few weeks ago. It sounds like Mark is going to open up in new premises in Salisbury, in the main shopping district rather than the front room of Sarum College. has a bit more about this.

    Phil: thanks. I missed one issue off, which is the mysterious non-payment of pension contributions to SSG employees, and where exactly that money has gone.