Christian Year Publications (CYP) started as a very small part-time publishing enterprise in 1990. The initial objective was to publish a diary for Christians which put the Lord’s Day as the first day of each week. There were two types of diary and these were published for about three years. Firstly, there was a small Pocket Diary, and secondly, a Desk Diary. While these were reasonably successful not enough of them were sold in order to make the publication viable. Part of the attraction of the diaries for those who did purchase them was that each day had a specific Bible text and there was also an annual Bible reading plan.
The second objective was to preserve for posterity a number of the hymn books that were in use in assemblies in the United Kingdom as these were no longer being published by their original owners. These included such titles as Hymns of Faith, Golden Bells and Hymns of Light and Love. CYP bought the publishing rights of these hymn books, and some others, from the copyright owners.
Today CYP publishes a variety of hymn books, commentaries and assembly address books. Some of the hymn books are old favourites, like those above, and others are new compilations such as Hymns for Worship and Remembrance, Songs and Choruses for young people and the Senior Citizens’ Song Book, which is a large print edition for use in services in retirement homes. Another hymn book is entitled Hymns for Christian Worship and Service. This book was originally published in Bristol in 1866, and it has been revised eliminating some of the specialist hymns, and replacing those with other hymns more suitable for use at the Lord’s Supper. The commentaries include books by authors from the south of England and these include Professor Alan Linton, Tom Ratcliffe and W. E. Vine, and also from New Zealand, Godfrey Bowen. Occasionally, books are produced by CYP for authors who wish to self-publish their books and this seems to work particularly well cost wise as printing and binding can be arranged through CYP’s contacts both in the UK and China. All the books published by CYP are distributed by John Ritchie Ltd, Kilmarnock and in North America by Gospel Folio Press in Port Colborne, Canada.
CYP also helps in the production of Precious Seed magazine, and Precious Seed Publications by being the print broker. Some of the books are now printed in China at greatly reduced costs.
Another three publications by CYP that are of general interest to believers in assembly fellowship are the Assembly Address Books for North America, Europe and the United Kingdom. The first two of these are bought in from their publishers, Walterick in Kansas City, and Christliche Bucherstuben in Germany. The UK Assemblies Address Book is a story in its own right. These address books are of particular interest and value to believers who travel abroad or domestically on business, or are going on holiday or having to go away for education. They enable them to find companies of like-minded believers for fellowship and support as well as for the opportunity of remembering the Lord Jesus Christ in the Breaking of Bread in His own appointed way.
The first known List of Assemblies was compiled and published in 1886 by G. A. Sprague of London. It was revised the following year and a list of corrections was published in 1889. J. W. Jordan of Greenwich compiled and published the 1897 list which was grandly entitled List of Some Meetings in the British Isles and Regions Beyond where Believers professedly gather in the Name of the Lord Jesus for Worship and Breaking of Bread in Remembrance of Him, upon the First Day of the Week. He compiled another list in 1904 and this was published by H. A. Raymond, the London Agent for Echoes of Service. The first Pickering and Inglis List was compiled and published in 1921 and subsequent editions appeared in 1927, 1933, 1951, 1959, 1968, 1970, 1975 and 1983. The First CYP List was published in 1990. The lists produced by Pickering and Inglis had, by the 1950’s, up to some 1800 assemblies throughout United Kingdom detailed in them.
Around twenty years ago the publication of the Address Book ceased, and there was clearly a need in the market for another to replace it. Encouraged by David Restall of Echoes of Service, I undertook to publish a new listing and to include in it not only assembly addresses, but also meeting times and contact telephone numbers. Additionally, addresses of assembly publishers, guesthouses and residential homes became an important part of the new book. The first edition of 1991 was based on the list of addresses held by Echoes of service. Since then, there have been another four editions. The present book includes assembly announcements and Christian business advertisements and these have helped to pay the costs of compilation and production.
As each new edition is compiled I write to all the 1100+ assemblies listed in United Kingdom for an update of theirl information. Regrettably, less than half reply! This means more time and expense has to be spent in writing again, and then after further no replies many hours on the telephone trying to ensure that the information is as accurate as possible. This is essential for the Lord’s people who travel and use the book as a guide.
The book does not claim to be exhaustive or exclusive but to be a guide and a help to those that use it. Sometimes, the task of compilation is made much easier by interested brethren, who inform me of changes as they happen, or of their own experiences as they travel around. Where information is received that in a brother’s view such a place is no longer functioning as an assembly, I will contact the assembly to verify the report before any decision as whether to include it or exclude in the next edition is made. This decision is mine and mine alone and may be right or it may be wrong!
This work can be severely hampered by some assembly correspondents who don’t seem able to correspond. Some others believe that ‘their’ assembly should not be listed, and can write ‘fearful’ letters or even become abusive on the telephone. Sadly in some cases this can be to unsaved temporary staff, which does not help the testimony. Others object to their telephone number being shown, even though it may be publicly available and listed elsewhere. Others wish to have the assembly deleted from the list as their gathering would no longer claim to be an assembly, the distinctives having now all but disappeared from their practice. Yet others complain that their meeting place is not listed when they feel it should be. One particular brother complained loudly to me in public that the assemblies listed for a particular country were ‘nonsense’. Investigation, however, showed that the list had actually come from him! Another wrote to complain that we had no right to include an announcement regarding his assembly only to discover that he had actually been the person to send it in! And so we could go on.
It is made clear in the book that it is not set out as some kind of an ‘approved list’ and the fact that it is published by an individual rather than an organization seems to make it more acceptable. Altogether the task is rather a daunting one, often frustrating, and sometimes hugely disappointing. So, why bother? Many letters of appreciation are received in connection with the book, and it is clearly of great value to those of the Lord’s people who use it. The information that used to be included regarding assemblies abroad can now be found in much more detail in the Wegweiser (Europe) and in Some Assemblies of Christians (N. America). A new edition for the UK should be available for Christmas 2005 – if all goes according to plan. Another recent project is the publication of high-quality, four-page, four-colour tracts of local interest to the Chew Valley area, near Bristol. The series is entitled ‘Something to Chew Over’ and is published under the banner of the Chew Valley Evangelical Witness. The idea is to get people sufficiently interested in the quality of the production and in the subject to encourage them to read right through to the end. The first one is based on a brief history of the Pensford Lock-up and gives details of the history of this listed building. It includes a note on prisons in United Kingdom, Bible prison ‘escape’ stories, the gospel application of captivity to sin and Satan, and one’s own possible release from such bondage. Sources of further information are suggested and how these can be accessed either in the Bible, locally published books or in the Internet. Other titles planned include The Pensford Viaduct, and The Pensford Flood and all are for free and regular distribution in the local area. They are not cheap to produce costing about 20 pence per copy for 1000 copies. Preparation involves time researching and taking photos but the end product does look very attractive. This is deemed increasingly necessary in a world where quality printing is the norm. Christian publications should not look shoddy but be worthy of the Lord. Samples of these tracts are available for any who may be interested to see them from CYP, The Glebe House, Stanton Drew, Bristol BS39 4EH, or email [email protected]
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