Chief Executive’s Prayer Letter

TORCH TRUST, Torch House, Torch Way, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 9HL, U.K.
Telephone: +44(0)1858 438260, Fax: +44(0)1858 438275, email:
The Torch Trust for the Blind, registered charity number 1095904.

December 2016

Dear Prayer Partner

I would like to invite you as a prayer partner and supporter of Torch Trust to take the time to read this letter through thoughtfully and prayerfully ...

First of all I want to thank you for your support of Torch through the year whether by volunteering your time and skills, by giving financially or, most important of all, by praying for the work of the mission.

It was when I was getting ready to speak at our Annual Thanksgiving Celebration that it dawned on me that it has been my enormous privilege to have led Torch Trust for a quarter of its existence. Torch Trust as we know it today has operated for 57 years. I have served as CEO for over 14 years.

After such a long time one might think there could be a danger of things becoming routine. Far from it! Our continuing adventure of faith brings as many surprises and challenges as ever. And the need we are addressing is becoming ever more acute – impacting a growing number of people and their families.

Sight loss is comprehensively disabling and too often presents a real barrier to continuing participation in church life, damaging the well-being of longstanding Christians – even to the point of eroding their faith. For those who have never found faith in Jesus it gets in their way of discovering the love of God at the very time they most need to know it.

Torch’s vision is that no-one should face sight loss alone and that Christian help should be at hand for everyone impacted by this challenge. It should come naturally to us who follow Jesus’ example.

Encouragements this year have come from many directions and especially from some of the newer aspects of our work that engage directly with people who are losing sight or living with sight loss.

Journeying With, our Christian befriending scheme for those needing support in coping with their loss of sight, has now helped over 50 people. The telephone friendship groups we call TorchTalk are currently bringing regular Christian fellowship to around 100 people.

At the same time there have been signs of fresh vigour in the national network of long-established Torch Groups. The sad news of the death of Peter Jackson (known by many as PJ) has refreshed our memories of his astonishing pioneering work that led to the founding of many Fellowship Groups right across the UK. We give thanks to God, and the faithful volunteers who sustain them, for the fact that many of these groups are still running and meeting a need some forty years on.

All these activities are part of Torch’s Presence initiative, activities that directly reach out to people impacted by sight loss with the love of Jesus. Torch Holidays are another important component of our Presence ministry and it has been wonderful to see God draw together a gifted and motivated team to develop the holidays that make such a difference to all-too-often lonely and isolated blind and partially sighted people.

Presence, being there for those who need us most, is now our priority. Our Resources work – providing Christian reading from Bibles and hymn books to Christian life courses and Christian books, as well as magazines of all sorts – continues to be of great importance but with the arrival of new ways by which people with sight loss can access Christian reading, our focus is on streamlining this aspect of Torch’s work. Using new technology that allows us to be more responsive, we are seeking to meet reading needs in a more targeted way and at a lower cost, allowing us to apply more of the donations we receive to growing our nationwide Presence.

All of this is greatly encouraging. We sense God’s blessing on our work in a way that confirms to us that we are indeed working in tune with his will and purpose. But at the same time we are living in the most acute and prolonged financial challenge of my memory.

Torch doesn’t make appeals for funds and I’m not going to change that pattern just because the pressure is on. But with you who have supported and prayed for the work over the years I do feel I should share our situation quite openly.

Torch has no reserves and is presently drawing on a bank overdraft facility that we had hoped never to use. We know of some money from a generous legacy that will come to us from a house sale but that sale has now fallen through twice. With the slackening of donation income over recent months we have no margin left and we are more keenly aware than ever of our dependency upon God. This has driven us to our knees in prayer and through this letter I would like to mobilise a chorus of prayer for his generous and timely provision.

From its beginnings the founders trusted God to meet the needs of the work and Torch has known God’s provision for all these years. Hudson Taylor famously said ‘God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply’.

This quote trips easily off the tongue but living the reality is not so easy. God’s ways are not ours and God’s timing is a mystery. This much is clear: it is his desire that in our dependency we come to him in prayer. Please join our chorus of prayer.

With heightened awareness of the importance of our work, and the growing need to which we find ourselves challenged to respond, we need your help in widening our support. So I’ve attached both a PDF and a Word file of the text of our new Torch information booklet that describes our work and the values and vision that drive and shape it. Please read it and reflect on what it says. Then I ask you to pass it to someone you know to whom it might be relevant or of interest so that they may be inspired and engaged by God’s work in Torch.

I and all those with me in the work of Torch wish you a very happy Christmas and a New Year in which you will once again experience God’s blessing.

Gordon Temple
Chief Executive

To be removed from future email editions of this publication please reply and put UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line.