ABC takeover to be final June 1

Published May 1, 2007

Augsburg Fortress director Andy Seal is overseeing the takeover of Toronto’s Anglican Book Centre.

Negotiations between the Anglican Church of Canada and Augsburg Fortress Canada have progressed considerably and the Lutheran bookseller is poised to assume full control of the Anglican Book Centre (ABC) on June 1.  

In a written report to staff at the national office in Toronto, the church’s management team said that it had been informed by General Synod treasurer Peter Blachford that “due diligence and legal work” involved in the process had begun; in early April, Augsburg Fortress Canada director Andy Seal assumed management of ABC.  

“This will allow time for Augsburg Fortress to make any changes to the store that they think appropriate,” the report said. One of the goals in the negotiations was “to make the transition as seamless as possible for ABC customers.”  

The arrangement is for a trial period of three years, is renewable and allows ABC’s storefront operation in Toronto to remain open.

Last October, a national committee reviewing the church’s work and budget recommended the closure of the storefront in favour of an Internet and telephone-based retail operation. The recommendation was approved by the Council of General Synod (CoGS), the church’s governing body between meetings of General Synod.  

By year end, however, serious negotiations with Augsburg Fortress began, a move which was endorsed last February by the church’s communications and information resources committee, and in March, by CoGS.  

Mr. Blachford said in an earlier interview that the arrangement was “a real win-win scenario,” since the store will not be forced to close, and the church would receive revenue from Augsburg for rent and the leasing of the name.  

Mr. Seal described ABC as “a tremendous bookstore with a long and storied history.”  
Augsburg Fortress Canada, which has offices in Kitchener, Ont., is a non-profit operation whose mission supports the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, but is not subsidized by the church.


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