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'Afghanistan needs Books not Guns’. So read a newspaper headline in the autumn of 2017 unwittingly reflecting the spirit which in 1698 led to the creation of SPCK and in 1799 the Religious Tract Society, the roots of FEED THE MINDS in the early 60s, when the focus was on the Caribbean, Africa, India and South-east Asia. The spirit is still alive, overall the principles have not changed, though the emphasis has varied according to time and circumstance. The Story of Feed the Minds recounts the origins, leading up to the Campaign in the early 60s and the re-formation of the Movement over the first 50 years of its new life.

Motivated by the need for education the pioneers focused on literacy and the provision of books for basic education and new readers, alongside a programme of supplying specialist biblical and theological books for overseas clergy and the creation of libraries. By the middle of the 20th century the emphasis changed from supplying books to enabling churches overseas to create their own. Now in the 21st century with core values of partnership, creativity, diversity and integrity, programmes aim to improve the material and spiritual lives of communities with an emphasis on education, especially adult literacy. (www.feedtheminds.org).

Minor Prophets with a Major Message

Bible Studies written for Bible Reading Fellowship Guidelines (1997-2009) in the original format with a minimum of revision and the addition of some prayers. Designed for private daily devotion or Group Study to combine contemporary scholarship with a  devotional approach to scripture to provide a variety of viewpoints for further exploration.

Life in the Wilderness

More Guidelines examining Wilderness in terms of personal experiences, the land, wild places and the environment, and the importance of God’s creation and our response in understanding the world we live in as a means of enriching our lives today. http://www.gilco.org.uk/lwd/

Genesis 12-34  

More Guidelines, exploring the world of the Patriarchs as human beings with human problems not unlike our own, related very much after the fashion of Soap Opera, with a view to identifying with them, reflecting on what they did, why they did it and what it says to us about our life and our understanding of God in the light of their experience. 

Exodus 25-34  

More Guidelines, exploring the Creation of Community. Exodus is one book with two major sources, one going back to the wilderness years the other originating in the 5th-6th century BCE when the Jews were returning from Babylon and seeking to establish a new community, inextricably linked with the old but appropriate for the new. Here they are putting down markers: Focal Points of Faith. In a similar situation what might be our Focal Points of Faith?

Lenten Laughter 

An invitation from the Lewes Deanery in 2005 to deliver three lectures in their annual Holy Week services led me to look again at the biblical texts in the light of the medieval Feast of Fools and recent thinking on the place of laughter and fun, fantasy and festivity in Christian Festivals. The result was a mix of biblical scholarship, traditional hymns and contemporary readings, bringing a fresh approach to a traditional Festival, raising questions, leading to prayer, worship and commitment.

Essays on Steinbeck 

An extended visit to California gave me the opportunity to explore Steinbeck territory beginning with the Steinbeck Center in Salinas and continuing with more persistent research at Stamford and San José Universities, resulting in a series of essays on a variety of themes focusing on Steinbeck’s biblical images, his approach to religion in general and his excursions into the meaning and purpose of life.


© Alec Gilmore 2017