On Saturday 17 April 2010 Wendy Sheehan kindly unveiled our new name plate, David Philpott gave us a brief history of the Library and Robert Strivens spoke on the subject of reading under the chairmanship of Gary Brady.
We were so glad to see more than a hundred friends and well wishers gathered at our official opening on Saturday afternoon.
We began with a short ceremony outside in the glorious sunshine as Wendy Sheehan kindly unveiled the sign. Wendy is the widow of Bob Sheehan for whom the room where we met later is named.
Upstairs, our acting chairman, Gary Brady, led the meeting in which we first heard from David Philpott, the grandson of Geoffrey Williams who founded the Library. It was useful to have some of the history of how the library was started and then moved to London – first to Gloucester Road then to Chiltern Street for many years before this latest move.
The main speaker was Robert Strivens, Principal of the LTS, who gave a fascinating message on reading. Having underlined that the Bible must be our chief book he went on to speak about why, what and how to read. Reading is a human activity and one that Christians especially should want to be engaged in. We should read in order to edify ourselves, to educate ourselves, to encourage ourselves and for sheer enjoyment. He also called on us to read in order to expand our areas of knowledge and understanding, where our interests lie, being concerned more about quality than quantity. He warned us against simply reading books we know we will agree with, without immersing ourselves in heresy, and to seek balance and variety. He also reminded us of the usefulness of book reviews.
We had excellent quotations throughout. When it comes to this subject it is difficult not to quote Francis Bacon’s famous dictum that “Some books are meant to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” There were principles too – be discerning, be disciplined but let reading be your servant not your master (we were all relieved to have it suggested that not finishing a book is not a sin). We were urged to read with questions, in a prayerful spirit and keeping a brief record of it. There were lots of other good things.
We were very pleased that many gave gifts before leaving. We had a lovely cuppa and cakes to follow and enjoyed further fellowship. It was a great afternoon.