History

 

 

 

 

WE MAKE CHRISTIAN LITERATURE AND RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO ALL NATIONS

 

CLC is an international organization committed to the distribution of the Bible, Christian books and a variety of Christian media.  Our teams are drawn from many nations, denominations and backgrounds. All are dedicated to serving the Lord Jesus Christ and to the task of helping others to know Him better through the materials we distribute.
 
 
 
CLC is established in over 40 countries. It is represented by more than 110 bookshops, 18 distribution warehouses and 18 publishing houses. The CLC work in each country is set up independently. We are united by our common vision, goals and International Constitution.
 
 
 
CLC is more than a chain of bookshops, rather it is our desire to see people's lives changed though making evangelical literature available to all nations so that people may come to faith and maturity in Christ.  It is an established fact that a large percentage of people converting to Christianity do so through the reading of a Christian book.
 
 
 
The organization was founded in England in 1941 and today has its International Headquarters in Sheffield, United Kingdom.
 
 
 

A VISION IS BORN

 
In the early days of World War II, a young couple, Ken and Bessie Adams, heard Jesus' call to" feed my sheep." Together they worked with the Friends Evangelistic Band in England, holding tent meetings and visiting homes.
 
On many of these visits, they found that they had been preceded by others who left literature, especially Jehovah's Witnesses. Ken declared, "I cannot stand by and … not do something about spreading the truths of the Gospel." So he and Bessie visited homes armed with good Christian literature.
 

Fired by his passion for literature distribution, Ken rented some upstairs rooms in Colchester, named "The Evangelical Publishing House.". This took place even when the government was severely limiting publishing and the opening of bookshops in wartime England. 

The Evangelical Publishing House


The Adams felt led to align themselves with the WEC International, with plansto help that organization establish bookshops in England. Norman Grubb of WEC was thrilled with the potential of a string of bookshops. Requests, opportunities, and funding began to present themselves to Ken and Bessie, resulting in the formation of CLC as an autonomous ministry established on 1 November 1941.

 
 
 
By the end of the war, there were six literature centres across England and a work serving German Prisoners of War. Growth continued with God's grace and blessing and today CLC serves in 57 countries where 700 men and women of diverse nationalities are joining hands to feed a world hungry for print.
 

 

 

Ken and Bessie Adams

Ken and Bessie Adams are widely recognized as the founders of CLC International, a global Christian organization dedicated to making Christian literature and resources accessible worldwide. Through their vision and tireless efforts, with the help of many co-workers, they established a network of CLC bookshops and ministries that have impacted countless lives with the message of Jesus Christ.
 
Early Life and Marriage
Ken Adams was born on October 11, 1914, in London, England, while Bessie Adams (née Miners) was born on February 5, 1908, in Porthleven, Cornwall, England. The couple met when Ken traveled to Cornwall to participate in a revival movement taking place in the Falmouth- Penzance area. They were married on September 14, 1938 and soon joined an organization called the Friends Evangelistic Band. They shared a deep passion for evangelism and a desire to spread the Gospel beyond traditional means. Prior to moving to Cornwall, Ken had owned his own Christian bookstore and attended bible college in Scotland.
 
Establishment of CLC International
In 1941, Ken and Bessie Adams founded CLC (Christian Literature Crusade) in a small rented space in Colchester, UK. It was initially established as an autonomous arm of WEC International, a global evangelistic organization founded by C.T. Studd. The organization's primary goal was to distribute Christian literature to individuals and churches across the United Kingdom. The Adams believed in the transformative power of Christian literature and its ability to shape lives. They worked diligently to build relationships with churches, publishers, and the Christian public to expand the reach of their ministry. Their commitment to sacrificial living and their partnership with WEC fostered quick growth in the UK and caught the attention of WEC’s global workers.
 
Global Expansion and Impact
Driven by a growing vision to bring Christian literature to people around the world, Ken and Bessie Adams initiated the global expansion of CLC. Through the pioneering efforts of their colleague, John Davey, the first overseas CLC bookshop opened on the island of Dominica in 1947. Together with a dedicated group of overseas workers, they continued to establish bookshops in various countries throughout the world. Their dedication to providing quality Christian resources in different languages contributed to the growth of the organization. In 1948, Ken and Bessie moved to North America to establish a new CLC headquarters and ended up settling in the Philadelphia area where they lived for most of the rest of their lives. The Adams leadership and passion inspired countless individuals to join the CLC ministry. The organization expanded its reach by partnering with local churches, hosting book exhibitions, and engaging in evangelistic campaigns. Through these initiatives, CLC International played a significant role in introducing people to the Christian faith and nurturing the spiritual growth of believers worldwide.
 
Legacy and Continuing Work
Ken Adams passed away on December 18, 1985, and Bessie passed away the following year. By that time CLC had grown to have operations in over 30 countries of the world. It had become an independent organization with headquarters in the UK. Today, CLC International operates in more than 45 countries, with many bookshops, publishing ventures, and ministries - all dedicated to distributing Christian literature and resources. The organization remains committed to Ken and Bessie Adams' original vision of making Christian literature accessible to all, serving as a valuable resource for individuals, churches, and communities worldwide.