The Vision Begins…
In the early days of World War II, a young couple, Ken and Bessie Adams, heard Jesus’ call to” feed my sheep.” Together they had worked with the Friends Evangelistic Band in England, holding tent meetings and visiting homes. On many of these visits, they found that they had been preceded by others who left literature, especially the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Ken declared, “I cannot stand by and watch the spread of so much dangerous propaganda and not do something about spreading the truths of the Gospel.” So he and Bessie visited homes armed with good Christian literature and Bibles.
Fired by his passion for literature distribution, Ken rented some upstairs rooms in Colchester, England, and named his new work “The Evangelical Publishing House.” This took place even though the government was severely limiting publishing and the opening of bookshops in wartime England.
The Adams next felt led to align themselves with the Worldwide Evangelization Crusade (now WEC International), with plans to help that organization establish regional book centers in England. Norman Grubb of WEC was thrilled with the potential of a string of bookshops and remarked, “We could begin scattering ‘spiritual Woolworths’ around the country and then worldwide.” Requests, opportunities, and funding began to come to Ken and Bessie, resulting in the formation of CLC as an autonomous ministry incorporated Nov. 1, 1941.
CLC Ministries offered a literature ministry to all branches of the church. “We will not let doctrinal differences hinder us from serving all denominations with their literature needs,” affirmed Ken. “But our position is to be uncompromisingly evangelical so that purchasers feel quite sure that all they see and buy will build up readers or point the unconverted to the Savior. Each book center should be first and foremost a spiritual powerhouse–workers out to win souls and help fellow Christians, this being more important than the sale of books. Branches of Christ’s church in the town should be made to feel that the shop belongs to all and is their service.”
The Vision Continues…
By the end of the war, there were six literature centers across England and that growth continued over the coming years with God’s grace and blessing. Today CLC serves in 47 countries where 700 men and women of diverse nationalities are joining hands to distribute God’s Word and Christian literature to a world hungry for hope and peace.