St Botolph's Library supporting local people's Everyday Faith

A church in Shepshed has seen a project to create a community library in its building finally come to fruition, after more than 18 months in the making.

A team of like-minded church members and an ordinand helped bring the library to life at St Botolph's Church, with the support and inspiration from the wider community in the Charnwood town.

Kathryn Lewis, has been instrumental in establishing this exciting resource, and describes the planning and process to where they are now as “a beautiful witness of service, love, hope and faith.”

She says: “The aim is that these resources will help to nurture and support people in their journey to Christ, and to deepen our relationships with Christ.”

What started out as a vision to share God’s love with the people of Oaks and Charnwood at a PCC meeting in August 2019, has slowly transformed into a project of great generosity and community spirit.  

“The response was just incredible,” explains Kathryn. “We had people buying books, three shopping bags-full donated, and more than £200 in cash pledged.

“In hope and faith, we have seen a wonderful coming together of our church family and community, including people who have previously had nothing to do with the church, but wanted to be involved and help make this work.”   

A generous donation of £100 was even pledged by a community in Abercynon, Wales, with whom Kathryn has personal links.

Keeping in mind the steps St Botolph's are making in becoming an Eco Church, they have resourced as many good quality, second-hand books are they can. Equally, knowing the hardship Christian book shops faced during the pandemic, they are also supporting their local stores, and have purchased most of their new books from the diocesan Christian Resources at St Martin’s House, and some other titles from Good News in Loughborough.

The library is categorised into sections, including Advent, Children and Youth, Common Worship and Prayer, Pastoral Care, Holy Week and Easter, Festivals and Saints, Ministry, courses such as Pilgrim and Journey in Faith (JIF), Authors, DVDs and Music.

“Our main focus is to support the mission and outreach of our church and community,” says Kathryn.

“We teach a number of courses, and want to plant the seeds for people to take that next step and discover other faith related material that they may be interested in. 

“We also recognise that our community might not be able to access this literature for a number of reasons, including financial circumstances. We want to remove those barriers.

“It’s important that people know they are beautiful, loved, children of God, to whom no-one is out reach.”     

For church communities that might be considering starting a library, or have been inspired by this story, Kathryn says perseverance is key.

“Keep going. If we are able to reach out to one person with hope and encouragement, then it is absolutely worth it. We want to help people draw closer to God and be able to find support through these resources. We hope that it will have a ripple effect through the community and take on its own form.”    




First published on: 11th June 2021
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