Manna Christian Centre - The End of an Era
Part 1 - An Announcement made at Streatham Baptist Church on Sunday 26th Feb 2023
Part 2 - Recollections of Manna by Peggy Moughtin, SBC Member
I want to share with you some news about Manna Christian Centre, the
twice award-winning Christian bookshop in Streatham High Road,
opposite St Leonards church, which began in 1980 and birthed by this
church under the leadership of the then Rev Douglas McBain, with a
vision for an open door in the high street. At times over the years operating as a bookshop, a counselling service, a safe space, hot meal provision and a coffee shop.
This morning I bring sad news.
I have come to inform you that Manna is closing after 43 years of serving
Christ in this community.
15 years ago, after the last recession we were told we should close.
God had other thoughts and plans, and Manna house was born upstairs
at Manna in 2014 to welcome and feed the homeless and other
vulnerable individuals and against all odds survived and by God’s good
grace, we saw miraculous healings and individuals' lives transformed.
Unfortunately, after the covid pandemic, we haven't seen the customers
return, with people obviously continuing to choose the Internet over retail
Last October after much prayer, the trustees were considering the future
of Manna when an opportunity arose for a manager’s role at our
neighbours Oasis in Wallington, who we get on very well with. We
encouraged our award-winning Manager, David Lock to apply, and
praise be to the Lord he got the job. This was so important because
David has served faithfully on a modest salary for 36 years and a great
consideration of ours was the fact that his home related to him working
full time for the Lord. We were delighted when he got the job.
And then totally out of the blue we were made aware that the site
occupied by Manna was going to be redeveloped and we would have
been asked to leave anyway. The Lord was ahead of the game and
Dave’s future was secure.
So, although this is in some ways a very sad time for us, we can see the Lord’s hand in it.
On 2nd July 2023 the leadership of SBC have kindly agreed to hold a
thanksgiving service for Manna, here at Streatham Baptist Church. Everyone is welcome to attend, especially those that have been involved in the ministry over the years.
Chair of Trustees
Manna Christian Centre
About forty odd years ago, Lewin was buzzing with ideas and the Holy Spirit was encouraging us to do new things. Prayer was important and as a result people were looking for premises in Streatham High Street perhaps to start a coffee shop where people would chat, meet and be introduced to the Gospel. We prayer and looked for a long time without success and some thought that we had the wrong idea. Then, one day, Brian Moughtin (a leader, elder) part time paid pastor went shopping for paint as we were decorating our home in Oakendale Road.
He wore his old painting clothes and flat cap and saw this advert in a window - "Lease Property for Rent, near traffic lights on the High Road" - the people in the dress shop looked rather suprised at this shabbily dressed man inquiring for details of the shop that was to be the beginning of Manna - extra premises with rooms upstairs soon were painted and the coffee shop opened, praise the Lord! The coffee was good, the cakes homemade and it was a success. Counselling was also run upstairs - begun by Jeannie Kendall. Eventually a bookshop was started and the coffee shop gradually became redundant. There were various managers over the years: Duncan Pratt, Karen Mallard and then for a long time our own David Lock. In it's early days, Dave Hooper - Brian's son-in-law, had hoped to open in the evening but this wasn't possible.
Manna has been a light on the hill and it will be sad to see it's demise, but God doesn't sit still & there are other needs which He will reveal in his timing. The Holy Spirit will lead us into pastures new if we are open to new ideas. We want to thank all the people who have been involved with Manna over the years: from the managers, the ladies who cooked homemade cakes, to the volunteers who have made it possible for Manna to be open every day.
As a side note, thank you to all the people who pray for Brian - he has now been in St Mary's Care Home (opposite St Leonard's Church) for over 8 years with vascula dementia. He is now bedbound but can still recognise music and receives good care. Please continue to pray for him.
Peggy Moughtin - SBC Member