Who we are, why we are here
We are the Anglican mission agency which works through publishing. Our mission is to promote Christian ideas and values; we do this by publishing, and supporting the publishing of, books and resources for people for people of all denominational and faith backgrounds.
This publishing model – working in partnership to bring written content to people who will value it – enables us to be a small team with a disproportionately large impact. We partner with thinkers, writers and creators to identify, invest in and create outstanding products; and with retailers, distributors, technology companies and overseas publishers to make these products widely and affordably available to people who will benefit from them.
We hope that our work will help fulfil our vision of a world where everyone is able to understand the Christian message and live the Christian life to the full. This means reaching not just committed Christians, but people on the edges of or outside of Christianity.
How we operate
SPCK is a charity set up by royal charter as a membership organisation. Since SPCK was founded by Thomas Bray in 1698, we have sought to operate innovatively, sustainably, ethically and globally.
Innovatively, in that we use many methods to suit the times. These have always included printed books. In the past they have also included setting up schools, sending missionaries, and operating bookshops. Now they include websites, apps and ebooks.
Sustainably, in that we plan to be here for another 300 years. We aim to fund our activities mostly through selling our products to people who will pay for them; and sometimes by using raised funds to bring them free to people who cannot.
Ethically, in that as well as complying with all applicable laws we treat our authors, suppliers, funders, members, customers and consumers in a manner which befits our Christian identity. And that we actively seek to minimise the environmental impact of our work.
Globally, not just in that we seek to bring our products to a global market when appropriate, but in that we understand that local needs are usually best met locally and we seek to find ways to facilitate and support publishing initiatives from and in the Global South.
What we do
SPCK is the UK’s leading independent Christian publisher. We are known for our history and theological tradition of supporting the church with works of practical and pastoral benefit. Today we are a recognised market-leader publishing in the areas of theology and Christian spirituality and are developing into other areas. We publish leading authors such as Tom Wright, Rowan Williams, Paula Gooder, Alister McGrath, Janet Morley and Catherine Fox.
The Sheldon Press imprint is a leading publisher of books which help people with their physical or mental health. Although not overtly Christian, the books are in line with Christian principles and we seek to get them recommended by clergy as well as by medical practitioners. The Marylebone House imprint publishes Christian fiction which will bring Christian worldviews to a broad market.
Assemblies.org.uk is the first organic search result if you type ‘assembly’ or ‘assemblies’ into Google. It is free of charge, and is used by the majority of schools in planning collective worship.
SPCK runs a number of UK-based projects aimed at reaching people on or beyond the edges of the Christian faith. The main current project is providing free books to be used in reading groups in prisons.
Worldwide, SPCK seeks to support publishing for the global church, especially where resources are limited. The main current project has been commissioning International Study Guides and sending them free of charge to trainee pastors, but we are moving towards a more sustainable model driven by partners in the Global South. We have shared history and regular communication with APCK in Ireland, ISPCK in India, SPCK USA, and Sparklit in Australia.
We have a Fundraising operation to bring in money for the Assemblies, Diffusion and Worldwide programmes, and to communicate with our supporters.
Where are we going?
As an organisation, our priorities are to have a higher impact, and to do so on a more sustainable basis.
Having a higher impact means providing content that impacts more people in a more meaningful way than we do currently. This is not about publishing more books or making more money. It is about better publishing and communicating that helps more people – including those outside of Christian circles.
Being on a sustainable basis means that we seek for all of our costs to be recouped, either from sales (in the case of our book publishing) or by fundraising (in the case of our other initiatives).