What’s New
from Torch Trust

The accessible Christian reading and services magazine from Torch Trust

2021 – Issue 3

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

Dear Friends,

I introduced the last edition of What’s New with two verses from the book of Lamentations:

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)

A lot may have happened in your lives since you received your last copy of What’s New or things now may be much the same as they were then. Whatever your circumstances, the truths expressed in these verses are unchanging. So, before you rush into reading this magazine, I would like to encourage you to spend some time focussing on the Lord. Here is a suggestion for how you might like to do that.

Our featured book last time was How to Pray by Pete Greig. It suggests that when praying, we Pause, Rejoice, Ask and Yield. Like Pete Greig, you may find the words of the Lord’s prayer helpful as you do so:

Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
Amen.

As you now dive into this edition of What’s New, I hope that you find much within it to encourage you as we walk together, supporting each other, as we serve and follow Jesus.

Keren Mallinson, Resources and Client Services Team Manager

Sharing the News

We want Torch to be welcoming to everyone, whether you have been involved for many years, have only just registered with us or we are welcoming you back into the Torch community.

Here, Suzie James, our new Supporter Development Coordinator, talks of her return to Torch and encourages all of us to tell our friends about Torch.

“I was delighted to be able to return to the Torch staff team part-time at the beginning of June. I’ll be looking after our supporters. Speaking with people on the phone over the last few weeks, it has been great to hear how people have become involved with Torch over the decades from those who came along to Torch holidays, were invited to Torch Fellowship Groups and heard about our work from friends. It has been a reminder of how important it is that we make relationships. It is through our personal connections that we can reach more people with the Good News and ensure that more people receive the amazing services Torch can provide to help people grow in their faith.

Our God is a relational God; he calls us not just to himself but into the fellowship of the Church, a new family. So, I want to encourage each of you to be talking to people about Torch! Whether at the bus stop, in the hospital waiting room, at your church or, if you are tech savvy, on your social media accounts.

As individuals with sight loss, your voice is all the more powerful in telling churches of the need to be accessible and sign up to our Sight Loss Friendly Church initiative.

As library borrowers, you are the ones who can let others know about this incredible free resource that is available in a variety of accessible media.

As those who access Torch Services, your stories are key to helping others see the need to support Torch in prayer, in volunteering and in giving.

One of the couples I have had the chance to speak to was Timothy and Mary. When I thanked them for their monthly gifts to Torch they said: “We both feel we have benefited greatly from Torch’s ministry and it is a way of saying thank you.”

I am humbled by the way people give regularly and sacrificially to the ministry of Torch and it is a privilege to be part of the ministry. If you feel you want to get involved in supporting Torch by promoting our services, in sharing your stories or by giving financially, please do get in touch.”

If you would like to get in touch, 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 Together Holidays and Meetings

Each year we like to provide opportunities for our clients to meet and holiday together. We are sorry that we weren’t able to run any Torch Together holidays in 2021, but we are busy planning our holiday programme for 2022. Our plans have developed since the last edition of What’s New and we are now intending to run four Torch Together holidays next year. Here are the dates and holiday locations:

4th–8th April 2022: Torch Together Scarborough, Cober Hill, Scarborough, North Yorkshire

13th–17th June 2022: Torch Together Dorset, The Greenhouse Christian Centre, Poole, Dorset

16th–18th September 2022: Torch Together Corrymeela, Corrymeela Centre, Ballycastle, Northern Ireland

26th–30th September 2022: Torch Together Stone, Shallowfield House, Stone, Staffordshire

Please put these dates in your diaries and we will let you know when you are able to book a place. Whether you have enjoyed many of our holidays in the past or will be a first-timer, it will be lovely to meet with you after the pause to our holiday programme because of Coronavirus.

Torch Fellowship Groups

Fellowship Groups consist of blind and partially sighted people meeting along with sighted people. They provide a relaxed environment to explore the Christian faith and build friendships with others. Each group is independent but works in partnership with Torch to offer encouragement and support to its members.

In recent times, groups have continued to meet together by phone and Zoom. We have heard how meeting virtually has enriched their meetings in new ways. People have got to know each other better, and others have been able to join from outside the local area. Groups that haven’t met in person have also been active in contacting their members by phone and showing practical concern during this difficult period we have been living through. We have been encouraged to hear that some groups are beginning to plan to meet together again in person.

For more information about Torch Groups please email groups@torchtrust.org or call Client Services.

Sight Loss Friendly Church Update

We’ve made it to 300 churches! In fact, as this magazine goes to print, we have slightly over 300 churches registered as being Sight Loss Friendly. There was a real sense of celebration at Torch when the 300th church signed up, and we’re really thrilled to be working with so many churches to make them more inclusive of people with sight loss.

Our Sight Loss Friendly Church team’s “Focus On...” training which we wrote about last time has been really well-received. In our first session on “Making your Documents Accessible” in June, we took a typical church newsletter and made it accessible there and then on Zoom, allowing church administrators to see first-hand exactly what they need to do. In July, in “Before and After your Service”, we talked about how to give a warm welcome to someone with sight loss and how to offer help in ways which will be well-received.

Our next session, in August, will concentrate on the wider sight loss sector, explain Torch’s relationship with other sight loss organisations at a local, regional and national level and encourage churches to develop their own relationships with these organisations.

Although these sessions are only available to registered Sight Loss Friendly Churches, they are being recorded – so if your church isn’t an SLFC but would benefit from some of the training we’ve already offered, encourage them to sign up and we’ll let them know where to find it.

Finally, don’t forget that we’re continuing to run free Taster sessions for churches to find out more about Sight Loss Friendly Church, and Catch Up sessions for our existing Sight Loss Friendly Churches. Our July Catch Up was particularly inspiring this quarter, where we heard first hand some of the challenges of a Christian who is DeafBlind. We’d be more than happy to talk to your church about becoming sight loss friendly, so do please share our initiative with them if you haven’t already. For more information email slfc@torchtrust.org or call Client Services.

Torch Thanksgiving

Each year, we love to take the opportunity to give thanks to God for his faithfulness to us and for the lives that have been changed through encountering God through Torch.

This year’s Thanksgiving event will be an online and phone event on Saturday 25th September from 2 p.m.

To join online, you will need to have the Zoom App installed on your device.

To join the meeting online on your device, select the option to ‘join a meeting’ via the zoom website zoom.us or in your Zoom app. Then enter Meeting ID: 85641163967 and Passcode: 904610. If you would like to receive a quick link to the meeting in an email, please email info@torchtrust.org.

To join by phone, ring 0203 481 5237. Enter the Meeting ID: 85641163967 followed by a #. If requested, press # again to continue as a participant. You will be asked to enter the Passcode 904610 followed by a # to enter the waiting room.

If you are unfamiliar with using Zoom and would like to test using it in advance or need any technical support when joining, please email info@torchtrust.org or phone client services on 01858 438260 to receive assistance.

Sight Loss Sunday

We’re encouraging churches to set aside Sunday 17 October to celebrate the unique gifts and talents that are offered by the people with sight loss in their congregations. As we said in the last issue of What’s New, we chose this date because it’s the Sunday nearest to World Sight Day (Thursday 14 October this year).

To help churches, we’ve prepared a handy document, listing things they can consider – anything from asking someone with sight loss to lead one of the songs, to inviting someone with sight loss to preach a sermon. We’re making it especially easy for people with sight loss to read passages of Scripture that day by recommending some readings and making them available in large print and braille. These will be available through Client Services. We’ve also put together some prayer points.

For church leaders, we’ll be publishing sermon notes and service materials to make it easy for them to incorporate the themes of Sight Loss Sunday into their acts of worship. We’ll also have materials available for children’s groups, and some videos of blind and partially sighted people talking about their church life. All of these resources will be made available free of charge through a dedicated page on the Sight Loss Friendly Church website: www.sightlossfriendlychurch.org.uk/slsunday We hope they will encourage your church to celebrate Sight Loss Sunday – if they do, please let us know!

Torch Website

We are working hard behind the scenes on improving Torch’s website. The website address will be staying as www.torchtrust.org. We hope that you will like the new website and that it will help you to access Torch’s services more easily. We will be testing it out on a range of people with sight loss as well as sighted people before we make it available publicly. We do not have a firm date for launching the improved site, but we hope that it will be before you receive your next copy of What’s New. We would love it if, from time to time, you went online to see if the site has changed and let us have your feedback.

Accessible Christian Content and Technology

There is so much wonderful Christian content available through modern technology. But figuring out how to access it can seem bewildering. So, to help, we’ve recently published a guide to accessing Christian audio content on smart speakers. The guide is 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.

“I can’t thank you enough” and “absolutely brilliant” are the responses of two clients who have already received the guide.

If you would like to receive your free copy, please call Client Services.

Once you have got going, why not tell your friends that they too can listen to David Suchet’s excellent reading of the New International Version, completely free of charge on their Alexa or Google Home? You and they can start in any book, chapter and verse with just a few simple voice commands!

We are also trying to make more of our own Torch content available through new technology. Our “Sight Loss 101” series is available on Alexa and Google Home – simply say “Alexa, play the podcast Sight Loss 101” or “Hey Google, play the podcast Sight Loss 101”. In the next article we’ll tell you about a range of ways to enjoy our Reflections radio show.

More ways to listen to Reflections

Reflections has joined Spotify! That’s right, there is now another brand new way to catch the show from Torch which brings you great Christian content and fascinating real-life stories. Just search Reflections Radio Show from Torch Trust on Spotify, or anywhere you get your podcasts! You can also catch us every Sunday at 9am on RNIB Connect Radio. RNIB Connect is available online, on Freeview channel 730 and through smart speakers including Alexa and Google Home. Don’t forget, you can also sign up to receive the monthly ‘Reflections Highlights’ CD, featuring all the best bits of the show, completely free of charge. Just contact our Client Services team.

The Big Church Read

If you like a good read, then we have some exciting news for you. Torch is working with the organisers of the Big Church Read.

The Big Church read is an UK-wide initiative to encourage the church to be reading good Christian books, alone or with others. We will be making the Big Church Read’s recommended books available in all accessible formats.

The next National Big Church Read event starts on 8th September 2021. The featured book will be Bouncing Forwards by Patrick Regan. Our Chief Executive, Tim Jeffery, was very keen to read and review this book. His review is in the next section.

If you would like a copy of the book to buy or to borrow from our library, please contact Client Services. Also, if you would like to read the book at the same time as others, why not suggest it to your church or Torch Fellowship Group leaders.

Bouncing Forwards by Patrick Regan

Book Review by Tim Jeffery, Torch’s CEO

“As soon as I saw the title of this book I knew I wanted to read it. Written during the pandemic, the author recognises the need after a crisis not simply to ‘bounce back’ to the ways things were before but to use the crisis to bounce forwards. That’s such a helpful and simple concept isn’t it? But the book is not about the pandemic but rather about how as human beings and particularly as Christians, we respond to and move on from the crises we face.

The book is a very realistic and down to earth look from several helpful angles at resilience, courage and change when we face mental or physical health challenges, traumas or the loss of dreams.

Patrick recognises that these times in our lives can teach us so much when we avoid the temptation to just wait for the day when all will be well and face up honestly and vulnerably to our troubles.

The author encourages us to accept our circumstances, but not in a defeatist way. He writes: “As Christians, we are not called to be perfect. We are called to be who we are, with all our cracks and imperfections, knowing that God’s glory will shine through those cracks into the world around us”.

For me one of the highlights of the book is that the author not only uses his own journey of dealing with anxiety and other significant challenges but intersperses between the chapters some very moving stories. For me, these stories alone were worth the price of the book!”

Bouncing Forwards: Notes on Resilience, Courage and Change by Patrick Regan, Waverley Abbey Resources. Available to buy: Ref. 9663, £8.99. Available soon from the library.

Recommended by You

We receive many book recommendations and requests for Christian books from our clients each month. If the book is still in print, we will do our best to produce it in accessible formats. If we are selling it, we will always do so at no more than the Retailer’s Recommended Price whatever the cost of production. That is our firm commitment to you.

In future editions of What’s New, we would love to feature some book reviews from our clients. If you would like to write a review, please get in touch.

Here are details of new books as well as some recent popular purchases.

New Books to Purchase from Torch

Most 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.

Fiction

Summer’s Out at Hope Hall – highly recommended by a client

By Pam Rhodes, Monarch Books. Ref. 9661, £9.99. The latest book in the popular Hope Hall series by Pam Rhodes is a Summertime story which celebrates the power of hope.

Many of you thoroughly enjoyed the earlier book in this series, Springtime at Hope Hall and one of our clients contacted us to highly recommend this second book. We are hoping that the final book in the trilogy, Christmas in Hope Hall, will be available before this Christmas. We will update you about that in the next What’s New.

Christian Living

Bouncing Forwards: Notes on Resilience, Courage and Change

By Patrick Regan, Waverley Abbey Resources. Ref. 9663, £8.99. In Bouncing Forwards, Patrick draws on his own journey of making peace with his on-going anxiety, to look honestly and vulnerably at the temptation to wait for the day when all will be well whilst missing out on what’s happening in the here and now.

As featured in this edition’s book review.

The Bible - NIV

This is a reminder that we now offer the New International Version (NIV) 2011 in large print. 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.

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.

Study & Courses

Habakkuk: Choosing God’s Way (TTS audio only)

By Steve Bishop, Waverley Abbey Resources. Ref. 9660 (DAISY only), £3.99. A rich resource for group or personal study of the book of Habakkuk, exploring what it really means to put our trust in God.

Mark For Everyone

By Tom Wright, SPCK. Ref. 5841, £9.99. Tom Wright’s perceptive comments on the gospel and what it might mean for us are combined, passage by passage, with his own fresh and involving translation.

The Message of Discipleship

By Peter Morden, Inter-Varsity Press. Ref. 9173, £12.99. Soon after Jesus began his public ministry, he called his first ‘disciples’. He would teach and train them and then, after his death and resurrection, commission and empower them to go to the nations to make more ‘followers’.

Daily Devotional

Read, Mark, Learn: Bible Reading Notes for Those Beginning the Christian Life

By John Blanchard, Movement for World Evangelisation. Ref. 1874, £3.99. St. Mark’s Gospel in 45 daily readings for new Christians, to assist in understanding the Word of God.

God’s Word for Messy People: 31 Bible readings and reflections

By Lucy Moore, The Bible Reading Fellowship. Ref. 9229, £3.99. Containing 31 short Bible passages, with a reflection on each passage by Messy Church founder Lucy Moore, exploring the core values of Messy Church and reinforcing the creativity, hospitality, joy, inclusivity and character of Jesus.

Christian Living

A Book of Sparks: A Study in Christian Mindfullness

By Shaun Lambert, Instant Apostle. Ref. 8873, £8.99. Shaun Lambert offers an introduction into the universal human capacity for attention and awareness, known in the world of psychology as ‘mindfulness.’ He shows how biblical awareness and attention overlaps with secular mindfulness and has distinctives.

Confessions of a Toxic Perfectionist and God’s Antidote

By George Verwer, OM Publishing. Ref. 9655, £4.96. Honest personal reflections by the founder of Operation Mobilisation, Dr George Verwer, of the dangers of perfectionism and the wonders of God’s ongoing grace.

If Only: Finding joyful contentment in the face of lack and longing

By Jennie Pollock, The Good Book Company. Ref. 9659, £7.99. A beautiful and brave book by Jennie Pollock about finding contentment when life lets you down.

In the Beginning There was Darkness: A Blind Person’s Conversations with the Bible

By John Hull, S C M Press Ltd. Ref. 7581 (DAISY only), £19.99. John Hull became blind in middle age. This book brings fresh insights into the Bible and in examining some of the best known instances of blindness in the biblical stories; the author brings anecdotes from his own life and experience to bear on these.

Biography & Autobiography

Eric Liddell, Finish the Race

By John W. Keddie, Christian Focus Publications Ltd. Ref. 8927, £5.99. Eric’s life brought him to boarding school in England, university in Edinburgh and the fame of Olympic Stardom in Paris. But with that fame came trouble as he fought to stand up for his Christian faith.

She Went Ahead: A Mother’s Story

By Ruth Gatting, Faithbuilders Publishing. Ref. 9207, £8.99. The true, moving story of a Christian family’s journey through loss, grief & renewal. Ruth, Dave and their 3 children were a contented family. In 1987 they sensed God telling them they needed to trust Him more deeply because of what was ahead of them.

The Well Overflows: From My Heart to Yours: Timeless Truths in a Global Crisis

By John Flanner. 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’.

Fiction

Zion Covenant Series

By Bodie and Brock Thoene

Opening in 1936, the Zion Covenant series tells the courageous and compelling stories of those who risk everything to stand against the growing tide of Nazi terrorism that is sweeping through central Europe under the dangerous and deceitful guise of Hitler’s Third Reich.

The books in the series available from Torch in DAISY format are:

Vienna Prelude: Book 1 Ref. 2536, £9.99

Prague Counterpoint: Book 2 Ref. 2687, £9.99

Munich Signature: Book 3 Ref. 2637, £9.99

Jerusalem Interlude: Book 4 Ref. 2638, £9.99

Danzig Passage: Book 5 Ref. 2688, £9.99

Warsaw Requiem: Book 6 Ref. 3278, £9.99

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

The Bible: A book like no other

By John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press. Braille B3344, Giant Print G2770, DAISY and USB D3511. Scripture has brought us light in darkness, strength in weakness, comfort in sadness. Here we focus on the urgent need to continue in, respond to, interpret and expound God’s Word.

James for Everyone (TTS)

By Tom Wright, SPCK. DAISY and USB D3522. A Bible study guide by Tom Wright to help us understand the book of James in fresh ways

Christian Living

Bouncing Forwards: Notes on Resilience, Courage and Change

By Patrick Regan, Waverley Abbey Resources. Available shortly in all formats. In Bouncing Forwards, Patrick draws on his own journey of making peace with his on-going anxiety, to look honestly and vulnerably at the temptation to wait for the day when all will be well whilst missing out on what’s happening in the here and now.

As featured in this edition’s book review.

Irrepressible: 12 Principles for a courageous, resilient and fulfilling life

By Cathy Madavan, SPCK. DAISY and USB D3525. Some people seem to seize every opportunity and bounce back from every setback. Cathy Madavan refers to her own life and the journey of her minister husband as he loses his sight and identifies twelve ways we can become irrepressible. These principles are your tools for building a courageous, resilient and fulfilling life.

Biography & Autobiography

Through a Glass Darkly: Journeys through Science, Faith and Doubt - a Memoir

By Alister E. McGrath, Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. DAISY and USB D3515. A personal story of how Alister McGrath travelled from a youthful certainty of atheism, across troubled intellectual seas, to arrive on an island of faith where he learned to be at peace with uncertainty.

Eric Liddell, Finish the Race

By John W. Keddie, Christian Focus Publications Ltd. Giant Print G2771. Eric’s life brought him to boarding school in England, university in Edinburgh and the fame of Olympic Stardom in Paris. But with that fame came trouble as he fought to stand up for his Christian faith.

Now I See

By Bill Skipworth, Steel City Press. DAISY and USB D3527. 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.

Contact Us

If you want to contact us with a book order, or anything else in this edition of What’s New, please email info@torchtrust.org or call Client Services 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.

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