Bishop Bob dedicates Sidmouth’s Mustard Seed

Transformation of Sidmouth’s Christian cafe and bookshop is “a miracle” says trustee chairman

THE transformation of Sidmouth’s Christian caf� and bookshop has been described as “a miracle”.

Canon Dennis Gurney, chairman of the Mustard Seed’s trustees, described the opportunity to buy an adjoining All Saints Road flat and refurbish and enlarge the Christian centre as “a great achievement, a miracle in these days to have raised about �230,000 in two years.”

Bishop Bob Evens, bishop of Crediton, dedicated the new-look premises on Saturday, and nearly 100 people attended, made up of customers, supporters and people who had made donations.

“We had fantastic support and all the comments were complimentary,” said Canon Gurney. “It was a real squash but they all talked to each other. It is out of this world.

“Bishop Bob was, as always, delightful and said the right thing. He talked to everyone individually, as did I. He loves people and it comes out.”

Trustee Annie Clark said punch and nibbles were served around noon and the bishop spoke about fellowship over meals and the importance of having a meeting place like the Mustard Seed, which offers affordable meals as well as a good range of Christian books.

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She added: “Everything is up and running. We will soon be putting out our Christmas stock and still have a few bookshelves to put up.”

Canon Gurney said the trustees had “one small grant” of �2,000 from the Christian Ministries Trust and the rest of the money was raised through individual donations “mainly of small amounts”.

It was in 2005 that trustees had the vision to extend the shop into the adjoining three-room ground floor flat, to create improved access, a bigger eating area and space for merchandise.

They also wanted to enlarge the cramped kitchen, provide an indoor toilet and space for confidential conversations as well as much needed storage.

Altogether the project cost �260,000 and loans were taken out to cover the shortfall.

Building work started just after Easter and the cafe re-opened in time for FolkWeek at the end of July, with the sale of books and cards following later.

The charity’s website asks for people’s continued “prayerful, financial and other appropriate support” to enable replayment of the loans and thanks volunteers who help man the shop.