One of the last Christian bookstores in Stockholm fears closure

16-01-2023

Northern Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

"If someone comes in and asks for the Bible in another bookstore, they refer them to us." Photo Proklama

One of Stockholm's last Christian bookstores may soon be forced to close. An announced rent increase might end the 50-year existence of the Proklama bookstore.

"If someone comes in and asks for the Bible in another bookstore, they refer them to us", says Margareta Sundbom to the Swedish Christian daily Dagen. Her bookstore has almost all Swedish Bible translations. To add to that, there are also Bibles in Greek and Hebrew available. It is one of the last Christian bookstores in the Swedish capital. There still is a Catholic bookstore, but that is it.

However, that might soon be over. The store is under threat of closure. "According to the landlord, our rent is too low", explains Sundbom. The current 29,000 Kroner a month (2500 euros) will soon be raised to 50,000 (4400 euros). "That is a little too much for us. We are trying to find solutions, but we must decide before the end of February."

Mission

Margareta Sundbom has been involved in the bookstore since its start in the 1970s. "We were some young people", Sundbom said in an interview with the Christian newspaper Världen Idag in 2020. "We had all been out on various missions around the world, most of them with Operation Mission (OM). I had been a teacher at a school for missionary children in the Congo for three years."

When all these people returned home, they discovered that most books they used were unavailable in Sweden. Those that were available were expensive.

This started the youngsters to start Proklama, which is Swedish for 'proclaim'. Within OM, it was important to proclaim the message of Jesus - hence the bookstore's name.

Gospel

In Dagen, Sundbom states that she does not see the bookstore primarily as a business activity but as a way to spread the gospel. "Every day, there are exciting conversations in the decorated cafe corner inside the store, where you can sit down and have a cup of coffee, where the conversations that are held are often about God."

Margareta Sundbom argues that a physical Christian bookstore like this one fulfils an important function, among other things, because only some people want to buy their books online, but some want to come in and feel the book before they decide. "We also think it is important that it is seen that there is Christian literature, that there are Bibles. An online store cannot replace this."

Sundbom and the association behind the bookstore have now a month to think about the bookstore's future. "My attitude is that I want this to continue", says Sundbom. "We believe sales can increase and many more will find their way here and see the opportunity to spread the gospel with Christian books. I also believe that people in this city are interested in continuing this business."

Chain

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