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A Letter from our Chairperson - Marilyn Baker

Posted: 7th December 2019

A letter from our Chairperson, Marilyn Baker

‘As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ Joshua 1:5b.

This wonderful promise was given to Joshua when he was facing a very big change in his life. His beloved mentor Moses had died. Would God work just as powerfully through him as He had through Moses?

God reassured him: ‘As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.’ He doesn’t have favourites and wants to work through all His children. He was with Israel in this new season and is with us in Torch too.

This year we celebrated 60 years of the Lord’s amazing work through Torch and we now need to lean on Him as we move into a new phase of partnering in His work.

Sight Loss Friendly Church is our key initiative where we long to see people with sight loss more connected than ever before to their local spiritual communities; truly becoming part of church life, valued, and using their gifts to enrich the body of Christ. Please pray for us that Torch can make strong relationships with churches, so they too can catch this vision.

Our Holiday and Retreat Centre will close at the end of December, and we thank God with all our hearts for the wonderful work that has been done there, and for the many lives changed. So many people have found faith and restoration in their lives and discovered the joy of belonging and acceptance. We are actively seeking a new way forward for HRC. We pray that God’s purpose for HRC will be fulfilled. We don’t know what this will look like yet, so please pray that God will show us His perfect plans. Pray for the remaining holidays this year, including the Christmas and pre-Christmas holidays, that they will be full of joy, and for our wonderful staff and volunteers who have served us so faithfully that God will guide them into the new works He has for them and will look after their every need.

Thinking of Christmas, I am excited to share that I’ve just released a new Christmas album: Hallelujah Christmas, jazzing up some traditional carols and adding some of my own. Here are some words from my song Rescue Plan to give you an idea:

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, we can find this love again;

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, finding God as Father and Friend.

And He’s here today with His arms outstretched

He can fill you with His love.

Open up your hearts to this mighty power from above.

Drink in the hope of the Christmas story, knowing that Jesus loves us so much that He left Heaven’s glory to be with us in all our struggles and frailty. He knows what it is to be poor and He willingly carries our sorrows and shame. Through Him we can truly know not just that God will be with us in our own lives but will guide and bless the work of Torch too.

The Lord has promised to lead us as we continually seek Him, and we so much value your love and prayers at this time. We look forward to seeing you in future fellowship events we will arrange, so do watch this space for news and keep in touch.

May you know the joy and peace of Emmanuel, God with us, this Christmas, Marilyn.


Torch Alternative Black Friday Guide

Posted: 27th November 2019

Torch Alternative Black Friday Guide Picture

Whilst many people are thinking about the commercial and material aspects of Christmas, we are delighted to offer you some FREE alternatives to fill your heart rather than empty your wallet.

Pray

A conversation with God is never a waste of time. Sometimes setting out a deliberate prayer slot in your diary can really help that connection. Torch has a Daily Prayer guide as well as our Prayer Diary Resource 

Why not visit our website every day to be inspired in your daily prayers?

Connect with your Bible

Connect with your Bible is a fresh way – have you ever used Bible notes to support you? – Torch offers 4 different types in various media. Also try using our daily Bible reading resource which offers a daily verse to inspire you. 

Give your time

Volunteer for Torch – we are so thrilled to have some dedicated and treasured volunteers. If you are local to Market Harborough and would like to be involved, then please do get in touch.

If you live further afield you could start with your own church, visit sightlossfriendlychurch.org.uk and find out how you can ensure anyone with sight loss can enjoy fellowship at your church.

Listen

Listen to our free Torch Radio show! We produce a weekly radio programme called Reflections. Aired on both Premier Radio and RNIB Connect Radio, the show has features on faith and disability in today’s world and is also available as a weekly podcast, featuring all episodes from that month. 


God’s new plans for Torch

Posted: 23rd September 2019

Dear Torch friends

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

We are writing to you to share some important news about how we are developing the future ministry of Torch.  We have been so blessed to celebrate 60 years of Torch’s ministry, serving God through our relationship with blind and partially sighted people.  In that time Torch Trust has regularly heard God’s call and has faithfully responded to God’s leading in numerous ways, in different places for his purposes. 

It began 60 years ago when The Heath’s welcomed young blind people into their home and through meeting them understood their need for life changing accessible Christian literature. Blind and partially sighted people alongside others worked, lived and prayed together.  Eventually the Torch family grew to such a size that Mr and Mrs Heath championed the ‘big move’ to Hallaton.

Over 15 years ago Torch Trust entered a new season when it became a charitable company. As the ministry requirements grew, trustees followed God’s leading. Hallaton Hall was sold and the new, purpose-built Torch House enabled Torch to support even more people. 

In the last two years God has again very clearly got our attention, and we are entering into another new season with exciting developments. We have been challenged to review all our services, assess all the resources that God has so generously supplied, and refocus the ministry to reach and serve even more of those with sight loss for God.

Trustees met recently to look carefully at every area of our ministry, to reflect on the changing needs of those with sight loss and make decisions about how Torch continues to serve our existing and new clients.

Following this prayerful consideration, it became apparent that God was clearly calling us to continue to grow and develop our Accessible Christian Literature and also to actively support our partnership with churches.

In reviewing our holiday service over this past year, we have become aware that we need to make changes. Rather than limit the opportunity for spiritual refreshment at one location, we wish to create opportunities for more and in different parts of the UK. Furthermore the cost to Torch of running our centre has become increasingly difficult to afford, making our holiday service unviable alongside our other services. 

As the ending of holidays at our own centre marks the closing of a season, there is a new beginning. We are excited as we prepare a new offer for Torch friends old and new, the chance to get together in Christian friendship at different locations around the country. We hope to encourage volunteers and supporters to be involved in this new service in 2020 and look forward to sharing more details.

Friends, we ask you to pray with us for the all the people affected by this new direction.  Particularly the staff, volunteers, supporters and friends of HRC.  We know so many people have been blessed by their time at HRC and give thanks especially for those who have come to faith through the experience of love and friendship there.  Over the years we have had such faithful service from staff and volunteers based at HRC which has touched the lives of many of us.  We invite you to keep all of these special people in your prayers.

Every five seconds someone in the world goes blind, leaving them isolated and fearful about the future. The work of Torch is more important than ever before. This change in our ministry better serves the future work of Torch so that we can continue to offer accessible Christian literature, advice and guidance to Churches, and Christian friendship to blind and partially sighted people.

Trustees have every faith that God is leading us together into a new and exciting season for Torch. Thank you for putting your faith into action by joining Torch in prayer and supporting our work. Together we can enable people with sight loss to have fulfilling Christian lives.

With every blessing and thanks for your continued prayerful support of the ministry of Torch Trust.

Julia and Marilyn


Sight Loss Friendly Church

Posted: 19th August 2019

The Launch of Sight Loss Friendly Church (SLFC)

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Celebrating a Century

As cricket is played across the breadth and depth of the UK this summertime, at Torch Trust we are delighted to celebrate our own century, as we reach our first 100 churches who have made the pledge to join us on the journey to become Sight Loss Friendly.
The map at Torch House is being added to as each church signs up, demonstrating across our great country that the needs of those living with sight loss are being recognised; with church leadership teams who want to know more about how they can play their part to enable each person to play theirs.

Visit our website sightlossfriendlychurch.org.uk and sign up so every one can find your church too.  


The SLFC team are busy meeting people, visiting and working with strategic and significant contacts to pursue this ministry and our ambitious aim to see all 50,000+ churches in the UK include and involve those with sight loss. From Keswick Convention, New Wine, Sight Village and in preparation for events in the Autumn, Torch are shining the light in communities across the UK to reach those living with sight loss where they are; to support churches to make an impact so everyone can play their part and feel valued in Christian communities.

If you are a SLFC or want to know more, or you know of a church who would like our help, we offer training, advice, resources and transcription service and we would be delighted to be in touch. For more info visit www.sightlossfriendlychurch.org.uk. If you know of an individual with sight loss please do encourage them to contact us on 01858 438260 or email info@torchtrust.org and our Client Services team would be delighted to talk to them about our accessible formats of Christian literature and daily Bible guides to support them on the journey of faith and discipleship. We receive so many encouraging letters from people who lives are changed this way, your action today may just hit the right wicket!


Celebrations at Torch House and Torch HRC - June 22nd.

Posted: 6th August 2019

TT-60th Anniversary logo_blue backgound_web.pngThis year Torch is delighted to be celebrating 60 years of ministry, reaching and enabling people with sight loss to have fulfilling Christian lives. We would like to offer our thanks to all of our supporters and clients, for however long you have been on the journey with us, in whatever way. We praise God for his wonderful provision in terms of the amazing people he has led to us. As ever, we remain: Christ Centred, People focussed, Open and Creative.
 
On June 22nd celebrations were held at both Torch House and Torch Holiday and Retreat Centre. Two of the many events that we know are being held, and yet to be planned this coming year, to celebrate this wonderful milestone. Celebrating the rich heritage of Torch Trust ministry.
 
The morning set a wonderful tone for the day’s celebrations with coffee and cake, a time of worship, sharing of stories, giving thanks and praying into the years ahead. Julia Hyde CEO led the celebrations, joined by many of the Torch team, friends old and new.
With the most glorious sunny afternoon, overlooking the South Downs, Torch HRC were blessed to share afternoon tea on the lawn. Led by Chair of Trustees, Marilyn Baker, guests were delighted by music, with singing and songs from Marilyn's new album, the Joy of my heart. As with the morning celebrations, participation in a time of prayer and thanksgiving for all that is past, and all yet to come, united guests to seek God’s continued blessing on Torch Trust. Local church representatives, friends old and new and the staff team had a great time.
You can find 'live' streaming from the morning event, and video and photos from HRC on the Torch Trust Facebook page.
What will you do where you are? Coffee morning, church event, open garden, sponsored event? The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. If you would like one of our celebration packs, please contact Client Services on 01858 438260.
 
We would love to encourage others by hearing your stories of Torch, however significant. We would love to hear from you, whatever you do, to celebrate in this 60th year.

60th celebrations in Banbridge, Northern Ireland

Posted: 5th July 2019

The Torch Fellowship Group based in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, celebrated the 60th Anniversary of Torch Trust at the beginning of June. A wonderful evening was held with a meal shared at the Belmont Hotel in Banbridge, followed by a programme of singing, poems, and a short talk about Sight Loss Friendly Church with some teaching from the Bible on the theme of ‘I am’.

Over 40 people joined together and a beautiful cake was made for the occasion.  The pictures show Leonard Campbell (Torch Area Development Officer) and one of the founding members of the group, Jill Hanna, cutting the cake. Picture two has Malcolm Mclean playing the accordion and the third is a picture of six tables full of guests enjoying the time together.

‘It was so encouraging to see how passionate the leaders are of this group to promote Torch’

This celebration is one of many organised to commemorate the anniversary.

We are delighted to hear of another in Northern Ireland planned for 17th August


 

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Torch Trust Celebrates 60 years of Ministry in 2019

Posted: 14th June 2019

Wherever you live in the UK or abroad, we invite you to celebrate our 60th Year. Groups and individuals all over the country are planning and arranging ways to celebrate this amazing milestone. Torch 60th Anniversary logo

We are excited as we approach the 60th year of Torch's ministry. We want to do our very best to help you to join with us, wherever you are in the UK; to celebrate and let the light of Torch shine in your local area. We hope to encourage and inspire you to give thanks and commemorate the past 60 years of Torch Trust’s ministry, preparing our hearts and hands for the years ahead as we ask God to lead and guide us.

Let's be open and creative – Celebration ideas

With the Torch values of Christ-centred, People-focussed, Open and Creative, we really want you to celebrate the 60th year and take the opportunity to be open to invite people who know little of the work of Torch and to invite your local churches to know more of the work of Torch. We would love you to be as creative as possible in the ways you choose to celebrate; from a coffee morning, to special prayer hour, fellowship meeting, open garden, barbeque, sponsored bungie jump or walking the Great Wall of China!  Any event that celebrates, raises awareness and, if you wish, provides an opportunity to fundraise would be a perfect combination.

Please join us and pray


Thank you for your generosity! - Torch Malawi Appeal

Posted: 3rd May 2019

Thank you for your generosity! - Torch Malawi Appeal Picture

Stanley Moyo (Torch Malawi administrator) and Rose Chaponda (Torch Malawi Trustee Chairperson) have been in touch to thank Torch faithful supporters for their generosity with financial gifts and prayers.  Following our Malawi appeal over £5,000 has been raised and sent directly to Torch Malawi, our partnership organisation.

The local trustees and staff of Torch Malawi carefully planned to buy 626 (10kg) bags of maize flour, cooking oil and soya pieces to distribute to blind and partially sighted people affected by the flooding in Malawi. 

We praise God that the grain milling company in Malawi were able to provide 1,098 bags of maize flour for the same price.  This means that over 1,000 blind and partially sighted people in the Chikwawa district of Malawi, have received emergency supplies at this most desperate time.

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Both Rose and Stanley praise God for the faithfulness of Torch supporters.  Every financial gift has contributed directly to a blind or partially sighted person in Malawi who may otherwise have not received any support. 

The situation in Malawi is still severe. Roads and bridges have been washed way, thousands of people have lost their homes and seek shelter in buildings like schools. This year crop has been totally destroyed.  It will take years for the country to recover from the devastation and so we continue to ask for prayer and financial support for Malawi.

People with sight loss are extremely vulnerable, relying totally on the help of others for safety.  Sadly, it is also true that in Malawi individuals with disability have a low social status and may not receive the aid which is being distributed in towns and villages.  Through our international partners Torch Malawi we can ensure that the vital supplies will reach those most in need.  Items for aid are purchased and distributed by the Malawian staff and local Malawian volunteers.

If you would like to offer financial support to blind and partially sighted people in Malawi then please contact Client Services on 01858 438260 (Mon – Thurs, 10am – 4pm) or visit our website for more information on different ways to donate.


Stop Press Malawi Appeal - March 2019

Posted: 26th March 2019 by Torch Trust

As you may be aware Malawi has been devastated by recent weather events. This has caused wide spread flooding and disruption. Infrastructure of roads and bridges have been swept away. Thousands of people have lost their homes and many their lives. The worst affected areas are the Lower Shire, Chikwawa and Nsanje.

We have been contacted by our partners in Torch Malawi asking for help and support at this time of emergency.

Torch Malawi would like to be able to reach blind and partially sighted people with emergency supplies. These will be sourced in Malawi and taken to the people in most need.

We appeal to our supporters of Torch, to ask for your prayers for this situation. We are gratefully accepting donations for Torch Malawi’s emergency fund and would be delighted to send your financial gifts to Torch House Malawi. If you would like to offer financial support then please contact Client Services on 01858 438260 (Mon - Thurs 10 am - 4 pm) or visit our website for more information on different ways to donate.

Please refer to 'Malawi appeal' when offering your donation.

Thank you for your prayerful support at this time.


The week that changed the world!

Posted: 18th March 2019 by Torch Trust

Torch Trust is delighted to offer our free Easter gift to you.  

The week that changed the world is our free Torch publication with samples of seven days of Bible reading notes available in different accessible formats.  

Daily Bible Reading Notes are an ideal way to focus your devotional time and engage with God's word as part of your Christian life.

We invite you to make your order of 'The week that changed the world' in audio, large print or braille.  Talk to client services on 01858 438260 or email us on info@torchtrust.org

We offer this to you as our gift and encourage you to use or pass this on to anyone who might benefit from Torch's accessible Christian literature.  


 
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