What’s New
from Torch Trust

The accessible Christian reading and services magazine from Torch Trust

2021 – Issue 2

Published by
Torch Trust
Torch House, Torch Way
Market Harborough
Leicestershire
LE16 9HL
w: torchtrust.org
t: 01858 438260

© Torch Trust 2021. Reg. Charity number 1095904

Views expressed in the features are not necessarily those of Torch Trust. What’s New from Torch Trust is available in the following formats: email, DAISY and audio CD, braille, and large print (17, 20, 25 and 30 point). It can also be viewed on the Torch website.

Contents

Welcome

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22–23)

Dear Friends,

In the last edition of What’s New, Mandy Blow introduced herself to you as the new Head of Services at Torch. It’s now my turn to introduce myself to you: I am Keren Mallinson and I am the new Client Services and Resources Team Leader. It is a real pleasure to be joining Torch and ‘the Torch family’ and I have already appreciated the warm welcome that I have received from everyone I’ve met and spoken to so far.

In preparing this edition of What’s New, I have asked myself “What is new?” The answer which seemed to jump out at me was “God’s love”. The verses from Lamentations chapter 3 seem particularly apt for all of us as we live through these uncertain times. Whatever the context of our lives, however much some of us may be lamenting, we have a faithful God who loves us deeply. Praise Him!

Your Feedback

Thank you all for your responses to the last edition of What’s New and for sharing your thoughts on what Torch offers our clients. It was so encouraging to hear how much you appreciate the ministry of Torch. It’s not possible to feedback on every comment here, but we hope this gives you a flavour of what was said and how we are responding.

You appreciate What’s New and like receiving it quarterly. You suggested What’s New included some richer content such as sung worship, poetry and theology. We hope that in some future editions we will be able to go deeper together.

Some of you suggested ways in which the website could be improved, making it easier for you to use and to contribute to the work of Torch. We know that our website needs improving and we are working on this. It is too early to give firm commitments and dates but we will update you further in the next edition of What’s New.

There were many comments of appreciation of our library service, especially during a time of ‘lockdown’ when many regular activities have stopped.

We also had some comments on Bible reading notes. There is a separate section further on in the magazine particularly about Every Day With Jesus Bible reading notes.

Thank you if you responded by volunteering to become involved in the work of Torch. We really appreciate the huge contribution made by Torch volunteers. Please do not be disheartened if there is not an opening in the area that you are interested in at this time. One area of current need is for male readers to transcribe books to audio. If you would like to find out more, please do get in touch.

Please carry on giving us your feedback, the things you like and the things we could be doing better. We do want to listen, learn and improve the services we offer. Also, please get in touch if you would like to volunteer with Torch.

Please email info@torchtrust.org or give us a call on 01858 438260. Our new phone opening times are Monday 9.30 am – 4.00 pm, Tuesday and Wednesday 9.00 am – 4.00 pm, and Thursday 10.00 am – 4.00 pm.

Torch Community Prayer

We have launched a new opportunity for the Torch Community to come together in prayer for Torch and the needs of the community.

These times of prayer started on 1 April and are running on Thursdays from 1:55 pm to 2:40 pm. They will run for a three month trial period and will then be reviewed. It would be lovely if you are able to join us for one or many of these prayer times. It is definitely not too late to be involved and you will be warmly welcomed. If you would like to be part of this prayer time, please contact Client Services who will give you the online joining details or explain how you can join in by phone.

Torch Together

The ongoing uncertainty regarding coronavirus guidance means that we have unfortunately had to cancel the Torch Together events which were to be held in Stone and Corrymeela in September 2021. However, we now have dates for our Torch Together events in 2022: the Corrymeela holiday will be from 16th to 18th September 2022 and the Stone holiday from 26th to 30th September 2022. We are not taking bookings yet and so please just put these dates in your diary if you are interested in coming along and we will let you know when you are able to book in a future edition of What’s New.

Torch Fellowship Groups and more

Although many fellowship groups have not met since March 2020, some of them have re-established themselves as online groups which are open to people outside of their area. We have been encouraged to hear from one person who had felt an online group was a real answer to prayer even though they had been sceptical before attending. If you would like to be part of a group that meets online or by phone, please contact Client Services for further details.

We know that some of you may not want, or be able, to be part of a regular group, but there are other ways of fellowshipping together. One such way is our Digital Cafe Facebook group. This is a safe space for people living with sight loss to connect with other members of Torch Trust online. It is a place for conversation and encouragement.

The group is not new to Torch, but we would love to have more members join. Please note that it is a closed group for Torch Clients only.

To join the Facebook group:

From your News Feed click Groups in the left menu

In the search bar at the top, enter Torch Trust Digital Cafe

Select the group then request Join Group

You will be prompted to answer 3 short questions.

You will then need to wait for a group admin to approve your request.

We look forward to meeting you there!

Befriending

During the past 8 years, a team of volunteer Torch befrienders in Northern Ireland has been befriending local people losing their sight. Much of the befriending is currently taking place by phone because of Covid. Currently we have spare capacity so, until things start to get back to normal, we are expanding this service to any Torch clients who are feeling isolated or those who just want someone to talk to, regardless of your location in the UK. Trained volunteers can provide support, encouragement and a listening ear from a Christian perspective. The befriending takes place over the phone on a regular basis over a period of 6 months. If you are interested to receive a befriender or find out more about the service, please contact Client Services.

SLFC Update

It’s been a busy few months for Matthew Horspool and Becky Davies as they continue to provide advice and support to our Sight Loss Friendly Churches, of which there are now nearly 300. Our taster, training and catch up sessions which we told you about in the last issue of What’s New are continuing to go well, with new signups coming in at a steady pace.

In June, we’ll be launching a new series of training sessions called “Focus On...”, which will complement our existing training offer. In these new sessions, we’ll be taking a particular aspect of sight loss and talking about it in detail. For instance, we’re planning a session for church administrators about how to create documents in alternative formats, and a session for welcome teams on how to guide people with sight loss safely. These sessions will only be available to registered Sight Loss Friendly Churches – so if your church isn’t signed up, but you think they would benefit from this training, please encourage them to get in touch with us.

We’re also working on a really exciting event in the autumn which we’re calling “Sight Loss Sunday”. There’ll be more information about this in the next issue of What’s New, but the idea is that churches will be encouraged to set aside this day to celebrate the unique gifts and talents that are offered by the people with sight loss in their congregations.

To make it as relevant to the wider world as possible, it will take place in the same week as World Sight Day – so please put Sunday 17th October in the diary, and ask your church to do the same!

Reflections

Did you know that RNIB Connect radio is packed with information and interviews of interest to blind and partially sighted people and their families? Not to be outdone, Torch Trust has its own slot, focussing on faith and sight loss. If you haven’t tried it yet, why not catch us at 9:00 am on Sundays? RNIB Connect radio is on Freeview, channel 730, on smart speakers like Amazon and Google or online through phones, tablets and other special online players like the Bumblebee or Sonata from Wireless for the Blind or the Victor Stream with Wifi. We hope you can join us, Sunday mornings at nine, and let us know what you think.

Thy Kingdom Come

Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray for more people to come to know Jesus. It started within the Church of England but has grown hugely since its start in 2016 to involve many denominations and believers in well over 150 countries. Thy Kingdom Come runs from Ascension to Pentecost, 13th May to 23rd May.

Thy Kingdom Come provides resources to support prayer. This year, for the first time, we will be producing a braille version of the popular Prayer Journal. If you would like to receive a copy, please contact Client Services. It is free of charge. If you would like to find out more about Thy Kingdom Come, including details of how to order audio and large print versions of the Prayer Journal, please go to their website: thykingdomcome.global

Bible Reading Notes – Every Day With Jesus

In January this year Waverley Abbey Resources (formerly CWR) changed the format and style of Every Day with Jesus and introduced a new writer, Dr Micha Jazz. Thank you to everyone who provided us with feedback about the new-style notes. Starting with the May edition, we are anticipating there will be more reference to the Bible with some suggested further Scriptures to study. We are also really encouraged that Micha will now be recording each day’s notes and we will be using his audio in our DAISY and USB versions of Every Day with Jesus. If you have stopped using Every Day with Jesus, or have never started, this may be the moment to try it out.

Every Day with Jesus podcasts are being made available on some home hubs. If you have an Alexa, you need to say “Play Every Day with Jesus from Apple Podcasts” and for Google Home it’s “Play Every Day with Jesus Podcast from Waverley Abbey Resources”.

The Bible – NIV

We recently told you that we had transcribed the New International Reader’s Version of the Bible (NIrV) into large print, available in different print sizes. We are pleased to announce that we can now offer the New International Version (NIV) 2011 edition as well. Here are the details:

Large Print 20 point

The whole Bible comes in 28 volumes and costs £42.00.

The complete Old Testament comes in 22 volumes and costs £33.00.

The complete New Testament comes in 6 volumes and costs £9.00.

Large Print 25 point

The whole Bible comes in 37 volumes and costs £55.50.

The complete Old Testament comes in 28 volumes and costs £42.00.

The complete New Testament comes in 9 volumes and costs £13.50.

Large Print 30 point

The whole Bible comes in 55 volumes and costs £82.50.

The complete Old Testament comes in 42 volumes and costs £63.00.

The complete New Testament comes in 13 volumes and costs £19.50.

Individual volumes

Individual volumes can also be bought, at £1.50 each, so you can have the sections you want or build up your Bible collection gradually. Please contact Client Services to place your order.

Listening to Accessible Christian Literature on your Smart Speaker

We get asked about this a lot at Torch, and we’re working hard behind the scenes to make our content available. As a starting point, we’re delighted that RealSam, makers of the popular “In Your Pocket” device, have recently made their platform available via Google Assistant, with Amazon Alexa support to follow very soon – and the entire Torch audio library is part of that offering.

In addition, many mainstream publishers are embracing smart speakers as a way of reaching new audiences. Did you know, for example, that you can already listen to five different translations of the Bible, including David Suchet’s excellent reading of the New International Version, completely free of charge on your Alexa or Google Home? Even better, you can start in whatever book, chapter and verse you like with just a few simple voice commands.

To help you get started, we’ve recently published a free guide to accessing Christian audio content on smart speakers. It’s available in braille, large print and audio – and, as a bonus, the audio version includes live demonstrations of the smart speakers in action, so you can really get a feel for how it all works. You may want to share it with family members and friends.

To order your free copy, please call Client Services.

New Books to purchase from Torch

All of the following books are available for you to purchase immediately in braille and large print (font sizes 17pt, 20pt, 25pt and 30pt). They are also available in audio TTS (text to speech), made to order. Please call Client Services on 01858 438260 for more details, requests for human narration, or to place an order.

We have over 1,000 other accessible books for you to buy and these are all listed on our online resources catalogue at torchtrust.org. If you need any assistance, our Client Services team is always ready to help you find what you want.

Autobiographies

Now I See

by Bill Skipworth, Steel City Press. Ref. 9653, £6.99. Bill Skipworth had everything he wanted in life: a career, a home, a wife and new family – until he went completely blind. Now I See is the story of how Bill lost his sight before partially regaining the ability to see.

The Well Overflows

by John Flanner MBE. Ref. 9654, £9.99. During the 2020 pandemic, John Flanner was challenged by a friend to write uplifting and inspiring articles for social media. They have since been collated into this one keepsake book which he shares From My Heart to Yours.

Recent popular purchases

All of the following books are available for you to purchase immediately in braille and large print (font sizes 17pt, 20pt, 25pt and 30pt). They are also available in audio TTS (text to speech), made to order. Please call Client Services on 01858 438260 for more details, requests for human narration, or to place an order.

Apologetics

Where was God when that happened?

by Christopher Ash, The Good Book Company. Ref. 8674, £3.99. When a disaster happens; when personal tragedy strikes; when we are perplexed by world events, Christians begin to doubt that God is truly good or truly in control. Christopher Ash’s book addresses questions about God’s goodness, power and the way he works in the world.

Christian Living

The Jesus Lifestyle: Practical guidelines for living out Jesus’ teachings

by Nicky Gumbel, Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. Ref. 9244, £9.99. What does living as a Christian really look like? What changes do I need to make? The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ teaching on how to conduct our lives. While his original audience was 1st Century Jews, his words are astutely relevant to 21st Century living.

The Parenting Book

by Nicky & Sila Lee, Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. Ref. 9250, £10.99. Nicky and Sila Lee bring fresh insights and time-tested values to the task of parenting. Full of valuable advice and practical tips. The parenting book is a resource for parents to come back to again and again.

Tracy Williamson’s books from Torch

In our last issue of What’s New we included some reviews about the book A Beautiful Tapestry by Tracy Williamson. This must have encouraged many of you to purchase your own copy as it became our monthly best-seller! If you missed out last time, here are the details:

A Beautiful Tapestry by Tracy Williamson, Authentic Media. Braille, large print and DAISY CD. Ref. 9375, £9.97. Inspiring stories of a blind singer and deaf teacher bringing God’s hope and healing.

If you enjoyed A Beautiful Tapestry book and Tracy’s work is new to you, then you may enjoy the other books by her which are available to purchase or borrow from Torch. Here are some details of them. We have added in a recent review from a client of one of the books, A Desert Transformed:

“We all prefer mountain top experiences rather than feeling down in the wilderness of fear, doubt, loss and loneliness. In her 40 day devotional Tracy reassures us that God is always with us and we can come through such times knowing more of God’s presence, love and power to transform our lives. This book guided me through Lent 2020, but I would read it at any time of the year. God really spoke to me through Tracy’s words.” (Torch client)

Tracy’s Books

A Desert Transformed

Media: braille, large print and DAISY CD. Ref. 9237, £8.99. Available for loan on DAISY and USB.

The Father’s Kiss

Media: braille, large print and DAISY CD. Ref. 8993, £9.99. Available for loan in braille, giant print and on DAISY CD and USB. An honest and sensitive blend of biblical teaching and personal testimony which helps people experience the reality of God the Father’s love for them in a deep way.

The Voice Of The Father

Media: DAISY CD Ref. 3857, £7.99. Available for loan on DAISY CD and USB. Does God speak to ordinary people today? Tracy believes He does. Her book reveals how we can develop the skills of listening to God through creation, everyday situations, His word, and by conversing with Him directly.

Encountering God

Media: DAISY CD. Ref 6445, £5.99. Available for loan in braille, giant print and on DAISY CD and USB. This book is a fellow traveller’s guide to the joy of discovering God afresh. The teaching in every chapter focuses on a key aspect of our relationship with God and shows how we can develop life-changing encounters with him.

Expecting God To Speak To You!

Media: braille and giant print. Ref 5666, £5.99. Available for loan in braille, giant print and on DAISY CD and USB. With many illustrations, personal stories and practical suggestions, Tracy Williamson helps us to tune in to God’s voice of love and hear Him speaking in a variety of ways and circumstances.

Letting God Speak Through You

Media: braille, giant print and DAISY CD. Ref 5773, £5.99. Available for loan in braille, giant print and on DAISY CD and USB. With great wisdom and sensitivity Tracy Williamson explains how to receive and handle prophetic words, or words of knowledge, and helps the reader to avoid common pitfalls when sharing these words with others.

New Books to borrow from Torch

Torch operates a free postal lending library with over 2,800 books available to borrow in a variety of accessible media. Please ring Client Services on 01858 438260 to find out more. The titles below are a selection from those most recently added to the library. Each book has the media it is available in and its library reference number listed in the description.

Many of the books listed here are also offered for purchase – please check with Client Services.

Study

50 World Changing Events in Christian History

by Earl M. Blackburn, Christian Focus Publications Ltd. DAISY and USB D3510. The increase in terrorism, the push for gender fluidity, the eradicating of Christianity from schools – During these worrying times, Earl Blackburn shows that learning about our history can be one of the best tools for encouraging us in our faith.

King’s Cross

by Timothy Keller, Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. DAISY and USB D3512. The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus. Dr Timothy Keller looks at the story of Jesus, showing how it is cosmic, historical and personal.

The Lord’s Prayer (Life Builder)

by Douglas Connelly, Inter-Varsity Press. Braille B3343 and GP G2769. Often spoken yet rarely understood, discover the affirming truths in the guide which unpacks all that can be found within the world-famous prayer.

Christian Living

Beard Theology

by The Church Mouse, Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. DAISY and USB D3514. Quirky church history on all things you never knew about beards and the religious significance behind them!

A Good Old Age

by Derek Prime, 10Publishing. DAISY and USB D3513. Old age often gets a bad press, associated with grumpiness, aches and pains, loneliness, and isolation. This is a book to dip into, meditate on and read prayerfully as you let the truths it contains gently transform the way you live your old age.

Our Precious Lives

by Steve Morris, Authentic Media. DAISY and USB D3466. Jesus came to save us – not to save an idea. Jesus was the master storyteller, powerfully relating accessible stories to convey the good news, & Steve Morris calls us to reclaim the art of storytelling in the church today.

Unshakeable Confidence

by Jennifer Baker, CWR. DAISY and USB D3460. Guided by the truth and strength of God’s Word and the power of his unwavering love for each one of us and with vulnerable transparency Jen Baker walks us through her own journey from debilitating fear to unshakeable confidence.

Where Is God in a Coronavirus World?

by John C. Lennox, The Good Book Company. DAISY and USB D3502, large print G2768 and Braille B3342. Oxford mathematics professor John Lennox examines the coronavirus in light of various belief systems and shows how the Christian worldview not only helps us to make sense of it, but also offers us a sure and certain hope to cling to.

Devotional

These 3 things

by Mick Brooks, CWR. DAISY and USB D3446. Let’s go back to the plan: who God is, and who we are; where it all went wrong, and how we find our way back; what it is we’re looking for, and how and where to find it; all while daring to ask the questions: Who am I? Do I matter? What’s the point?

Biography & Autobiography

Imagining Mission with John V. Taylor (TTS)

by Cathy Ross, S C M Press Ltd. DAISY and USB D3518. The impact that John Taylor had on our contemporary understanding of mission is vast – his determination that mission should mean engagement across cultural boundaries has deep resonance today. [This audio book is produced in Text to Speech]

Fiction

An Echo in the Darkness

by Francine Rivers, Tyndale House Publishers. DAISY and USB D3210. Turning away from the opulence of Rome, Marcus is led by a whispering voice from the past into a journey that could set him free from the darkness of his soul.

As Sure as the Dawn

by Francine Rivers, Tyndale House Publishers. DAISY and USB D3211. Atretes. German warrior. Revered gladiator. He won his freedom through his fierceness... but his life is about to change forever.

An Echo in the Darkness and As Sure as the Dawn are books 2 and 3 in the Mark of the Lion Series. The first book, A Voice in the Wind, is also available from the library.

Springtime at Hope Hall

by Pam Rhodes, Lion Hudson Ltd. Braille B3341. Springtime at Hope Hall is the first book in a delightful new trilogy of stories by Pam Rhodes centred on a Victorian church hall, the like of which can be found at the heart of life in so many towns across England.

Book Review

We’ll finish this section on books with a review of How to Pray by Pete Greig. It is a book which I really enjoyed reading last year. It is reviewed here by our Chief Executive, Tim Jeffery.

What? Another book on prayer? Surely there’s nothing new to be written about prayer? In his Foreword to this book, Mr Alpha – also known as Nicky Gumbel – comments that “prayer is the most important activity in our lives. It is the way we develop a relationship with our Father in heaven”. Nicky goes on to say “For many years, I have been hoping that someone would write a simple but comprehensive book on how to pray... [this] book is everything I longed for and more”. Now that is a pretty strong recommendation!

Pete Greig founded the 24-7 prayer movement and has dedicated his life to learning how to pray and stimulating prayer in others. This book draws together all those years of wisdom and experience and gives us a hugely helpful insight into how we can develop our prayer lives and our relationship with God, whatever stage of the journey we are at.

The book is built around two frameworks. Firstly he uses the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples when they asked him “teach us to pray” – that is the Lord’s prayer. Secondly, he uses the really simple but profoundly helpful acronym P.R.A.Y. which stands for Pause, Rejoice, Ask, Yield. I love the way that the author brings in the importance of Pausing at the start of prayer. He comments: “to start we must stop. To move forward we must pause”. In our busy world with so many distractions the call to Pause as we come to pray is so vital, helping us not to make prayer another stream of noise. And then at the end, he encourages us to Yield, to surrender ourselves afresh to God, asking that His will not ours be done.

This is not an academic book on the theory of prayer. It is really well written, easy to absorb, has some great stories and really helpful and practical ideas of how to enhance our prayer lives. Whether you are fairly new to prayer or have been at it for decades, this book is a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to keep journeying towards God.

How to Pray

Media: braille and large print and DAISY CD. Ref. 9135, £13.99. Available for loan in DAISY, USB, braille and giant print.

Your Support

Torch is a community and we are so grateful for the financial, prayer and volunteering support of those of you who have been led and are able to support our ministry in these ways. Details of how to support us prayerfully, financially or through volunteering your time can be found on the Support Torch page of our website: torchtrust.org or please contact Client Services who will be able to help you.

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