In March 2014, the Christian Resource Centre in Radford Road, celebrates 60 years of serving the church and community in Leamington, Warwick and the surrounding district.
Customers regularly compliment us on the range of resources available and say how much they like the shop but the recession and pervasive competition from the internet are putting pressure on high street shops and bookshops in particular, with the potential to change the whole nature of our environment.
The question is, does it matter? The problems of the 'high street' have received extensive publicity in recent times. Old Town has received a 'Portas Pilot' grant. Mary Portas's recent Channel 4 series has shown what can be done but it remains to be seen whether our local team learn from what others have achieved.
But there are other consequences, following the reduction in the number of small and medium sized independent businesses, as a result of multinational pressure.
God never intended that we should be 'small cogs in big machines'. It's not difficult to understand that those who are paid minimal wages in store multiples give apathetic service, with little concern for those that they serve. Not all shop assistants are like that of course but when people buy from independent businesses in Old Town, as well as parts of the centre, they are buying from the business owners directly, who depend on those they speak to for their livelihoods. No one is perfect but this tends to be reflected in the experience customers receive.
Our world is heading full speed down the 'big is beautiful', multinational route, often against the wishes of wider society. There are often savings to be made (while the competition from high streets still exists), but if they succeed in putting us all out of business, such savings will soon disapear and we will be left dealing with problems by email, rather than in person, face to face.
Will it all have been worth it?
Apart from the social dangers, God intended that we have significance, we are the pinnacle of his creation. This significance is found in his son, Jesus Christ and seen in the willingness of Jesus, to submit to crucifixion on our behalf, taking the punishment for our sins, so that nothing can ever separate us from God.
That makes each one of us, highly significant in God's sight, valued far more by Him, than by the 'people in high places' who are slowly but surely absorbing us into their system, for their own ends.