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
Posted: 19th August 2019
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 email@example.com 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!
Posted: 6th August 2019
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
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.
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
Posted: 3rd May 2019
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.
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.
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.
Posted: 18th March 2019 by Torch Trust
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Posted: 26th February 2019 by Torch Trust
Our work simply wouldn’t be possible without our wonderful volunteers. We wanted to shine a light on some of their hard work, so we asked Sheila Dunning to share her volunteer story…
‘I’m Sheila Dunning and I volunteer in the audio department at Torch House where I read and record audio books and magazine articles. I also edit and correct books that other people have recorded.
I retired four years ago as a Director of Hothorpe Hall, a large conference centre in Leicestershire. My main responsibility was for the 12 acres of gardens and grounds where I did all sorts, including growing and planting, pruning, digging, and mowing lawns. It was a huge and demanding job and I loved working outside in God’s creation.
I’ve always been an active person, so I knew I would relish some kind of work where I could continue to serve God in the local and wider community. So I offered to volunteer at Torch House and was delighted to be accepted. I spend one day a week in the small studio and feel it is such a blessing and privilege to read Christian books, magazine articles and parts of ‘Every Day With Jesus’, a daily devotional. I always pray before I start for all who will be listening that they will be blessed, encouraged and challenged by what they hear.
I’m aware that when one retires, one can lose one’s sense of identity and worth. I feel that volunteering gives me that purpose and value to my life, and helps me to know that God can use even my small offering in His Kingdom.’
There are lots of different ways to get involved as a Torch volunteer. If you’d like to find out more about volunteering with Torch, just visit our Volunteers section.
Posted: 14th February 2019 by Torch Trust
If you enjoy devotional books, why not read Celtic Lent: 40 days of devotions to Easter. Written by David Cole, this inspirational book takes the reader through the 40 days of Lent to the celebration of Easter through the eyes and beliefs of Celtic Christianity. Drawing on primary sources of pastoral letters, monastic rules and the theological teaching of the Celtic church, the author presents a different perspective on the cross of Christ and draws us to see our own life journeys with a new and transforming vision. Ref: 9032, £8.99. The audio version available in DAISY CD and USB has been recorded for Torch by David, the author.
If lively discussion gets you going, try an always-popular York Course such as Daring To See God Now. This is a five session ecumenical course for discussion groups, written by Bishop Nick Baines. Mark’s Gospel begins with Jesus ‘proclaiming the Good news of God’. But, what is this ‘good news’, and who is it for? This course raises important questions about change, repentance, and how we can become living evidence of the good news. Ref: 9047, £3.10.
Our next book comes very well recommended as it’s the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2019. Reconciliation, by Dr Muthuraj Swamy, issues a vibrant call to the church to support and strengthen relationships amongst church members; to cross borders to build connections with different denominations, and to maintain open attitudes towards our neighbours from other religions and ideologies. Ref: 9048, £9.99. The audio version available in DAISY CD and USB has been recorded for Torch by Ann Barraclough.
All of the books mentioned in this post can be ordered now in braille and large print (17pt, 20pt, 25pt and 30pt). Please call 01858 438260 to order.