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 Feed the Minds

Cover Page

'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).

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.

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. 

For a week’s Daily Bible Readings for Lent (Holy Week especially) based on these lectures see Daily Bible Readings.

Twentieth Century Baptists

The result of an invitation from the Baptist Historical Society to address the Society's 2019 Summer School, looking at 20th Century Baptists (People, Places and Principles). The remit was not a history but 'something personal, something scholarly, based on a varied ministry over 60 years in view of the decisive role played in the life of the denomination, chairing key Union Committees, matters of publishing and relationships with Baptists in Eastern Europe. Beginning with the appointment of John Howard Shakespeare as General Secretary in 1898 we identify his mission and vision in relation to the Structures of the Union, Ecumenism and the underlying theology and ecclesiology as it evolved over the years.


© Alec Gilmore 2021