As of April 11th 2019 the Guild of Church Braillists has formally closed.
In our final Annual Report our chairperson, Rev Helen Patten, wrote:
Do you remember every sermon you’ve ever heard? No, of course you don’t, and neither do I. But there are a few which have remained firmly fixed in my memory, including one over thirty years ago on the unlikely verse : “When David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep” (Acts 13.36). Both Barry and Celia in their reports have looked back over the history of the Guild and paid eloquent tribute to those who have done just that. They have faithfully served God for as long as they could, and now they have gone to be with Him. None of them was as famous as David, and most of them were people we never knew. But God knows each one of them intimately and would have rewarded them with those uplifting words : “Well done, good and faithful servant”. In many cases the books they have so patiently and carefully transcribed are still in the Library, but even those which have come to the end of their shelf-life will have given encouragement and uplift to those who read them.
As most of you know, huge advances in technology have made manual transcription of much more limited value, though it surely still has a role in some areas. Some of you will be carrying on this work and continuing this worthwhile contribution to the Library stock for some time to come. Barry has also touched upon the future of our existing funds and we hope to divide this money between two or three charities which are working (as we have been) to support people with severe sight problems both in this country and overseas. So as you see, we are reaching out into the future in as positive a way as we can.
Returning to our rather unusual text in Acts 13, we find that Paul, having referred to King David’s achievements, adds the rather sobering comment “… he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed”. But he then goes on to the ringing declaration : “But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see the decay”. Christ, our risen and eternal Lord, calls us all to work for Him in different ways, in different generations, so as we thank Him for all that the Guild has done, may He give each one of us grace to discover what are the next tasks that He will challenge us to perform.
Albeit the Guild has formally closed, current transcribers may continue our work, on an informal basis, with the retiring Secretary co-ordinating continued collaboration with RNIB and HMP Garth braille unit.
We may still be able to accomnodate requests for modest, private transcriptions and therefore it might be useful for you to note down, now, our contact details because the website will be taken down at the end of September 2019. See Contact Us.