Friday 5 June 2009

Beautiful Books (1): Aboard the Logos Hope

Logos Hope,
The Operation Mobilisation (OM) ship,
incorporating the world's largest floating book fair,
Cardiff Bay, June 2009

It was an unusually balmy evening on Tuesday 2 June 2009 as we clambered up the gangplank of the Logos Hope in Cardiff Bay. The ship's mooring was barely a stone's throw from the Senedd, the Norwegian Sailors' Church and the Millennium Centre. Logos Hope belongs to the missionary organization, Operation Mobilisation (OM): it is a ship that will sail around many parts of the world. The warm weather had brought everybody on to the streets, and there was an atmosphere of excitement in the air: people were keen to come aboard to explore the ship and to enjoy a snack in the international café. We were joined by the Mayor of Cardiff. UK supporters had travelled from England and wide-ranging parts of Wales to be there.

The ship's motto is 'Bringing knowledge, Help and Hope', and during the course of our evening on board, we enjoyed a presentation about aspects of this unique ministry. One of the main thrusts of the work comprises the 'world's largest floating book fair', which carries an incredible 6000 titles. We had a most enjoyable browse. There were Bibles in many languages, commentaries (including an Archaeologist's Guide to the Bible!), familiar names like C.S. Lewis and Tolkien - and a huge selection of children's books, Christian and secular titles including hymn books, hobby books and cookery books. You could also buy CDs, diaries, notebooks, travel journals, polo shirts and all manner of items. It was a good opportunity to purchase some early Christmas presents.

The 400+ crew members, representing 50 nationalities, seek to promote 'education and international understanding through relief work, the floating book fair and cultural exchange programmes.' The Logos Hope had its 'Official Opening' in Denmark. Since then it has sailed to Cardiff from Edinburgh via Belfast. It will soon be departing for London and then for Saint Vincent in the Caribbean.

The ship is 'open' from 12.30 to 20.30 pm on Tuesdays to Fridays and from 10.00 to 22.00 pm on Saturdays. If you are in Cardiff Bay tomorrow (Saturday 6 June), do climb aboard to see this remarkable project for yourself. The ship will not be open on Sunday 7 June. It sails for London after the weekend.

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