The History of Emmanuel Press
Charles Austin Chawner, a linguist and educator from Canada, felt the call of God to reach the Tsonga people of Mozambique with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Political and religious opposition made it impossible to locate in Mozambique at the time.
Hubert Phillips, a civil engineer from England, had been given a little printing set as a boy, which he used to print tracts which he gave out on the streets of Britain.
When these two humble men, who were sold out to God, met in 1927 with a passion for reaching the lost of Africa by any means, they saw the printed word as one great answer. A small hand press had just arrived from a friend in Canada, so when these two great minds met, Emmanuel Press was the result. The press was capable of printing a 6”x4” sheet and immediately was put into service to fulfill their desire for producing Christian literature. Soon pamphlets, booklets, songbooks and tracts were being published. There was much rejoicing even though the print shop was only in a mud hut, where ants ate holes in the paper and the termites chewed the wooden blocks on the cuts.
These two men set the ministry and the vision of the Press on its way. First in Shingwedzi, in Northern Transvaal, (now part of the Kruger National Park), where Chawner was based, and then in Nelspruit, Eastern Transvaal where Hubert and Jean Phillips ministered. In 1947 the actual company was set in order in Nelspruit as a Section 21 company – not for gain.
David and Loreen Newington, from England, who joined the team in 1954, brought into focus a vision for reaching the lost through literature evangelism that is unprecedented in this type of ministry.
Through the years the ministry moved into larger buildings as growth took place. In 1977 new facilities were built in White River, just 20 kilometers away from Nelspruit.
In 1992 the decision was taken to cease printing operations, as modern commercial printers could do it cheaper and more efficiently. Now the concentration is solely on publishing tracts and on the Bible Correspondence Courses for new converts.
The old hand-press stands in a place of pride at Emmanuel Press today – a constant reminder of our humble beginnings and how far the Lord has led and blessed us.