About Us

Kick off at the Cabin

Over 40 years ago a local couple, Dr and Mrs Karrach, began to feel God leading them to open a Christian bookshop in Bedford. 

In May 1975, the day finally came for author Marion Stroud to open The Cabin, which was situated at the bottom of the Karrachs’ garden in Green Lane, Clapham. 

With the help of volunteers, it was open two afternoons and one morning a week.

Pilgrim’s Progress

As the shop grew, the owners dreamed of moving into Bedford and opening full-time. 

This became possible with the offer of premises above an estate agent’s in Bromham Road three years later. 

In November 1978, the shop became a charitable trust under its new name, Pilgrim Christian Bookshop. Joy started working there as the shop’s first full-time manager in early 1979.

Shop on St Loyes Street

Once again, the shop grew and a more central location became feasible. In May 1982, the new premises at 30 St Loyes Street were officially opened by the Bishop of St Albans.

The shops stayed there for many years. In 1987 it became part of Scripture Union, then Wesley Owen and finally Living Oasis. 

Sadly, though, the shop closed in March 2011. This meant that, after all those years, Bedford would no longer have a Christian bookshop.

The Word emerges

Was there a way, we wondered, that this work could continue? With internet competition and the recession, many Christian bookshops have closed in the last few years. Despite knowing this, though, we had a growing sense that God was calling us to buck the trend. We had been equipped with the right skills: Martin is an accountant with wide commercial experience and Joy had run the Pilgrim Bookshop for eight years in the 70s and 80s. 

A plan emerged – to start small and local, train up volunteers and develop sales outside the shop. We began looking at rental properties in the Castle Quarter and at the start of August 2011, we signed the lease on 167 Castle Road. A busy month followed, with the shop being decorated and fitted out, computer systems installed and accounts set up with publishers. Finally, on Thursday September 8th, 2011 we were ready to open. 
We look forward to welcoming you at The Word
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