Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What a treat!

Our FedEx delivery driver, Leo, is Russian. His English is quite limited. New Years is a big celebration in Russia. Just a few minutes ago Leo delivered two packages to us and was singing a Russian New Year’s song in full voice, more than one verse.
We all loved it! I wish I could have recorded it.
And Leo is out the door on his way without saying any more than Happy New Year.
We just never know who might walk in the door. It is part of the joy of this ministry-which-is-the-store.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Surprising poll results

What a surprise! The poll results were different than I expected.
Every couple of weeks or so I add a question on our website that visitors can use to express their opinions.
The poll question that ended today was, “Whose prayers are heard by God?”
The possible answers to choose from are shown here with their results:

God hears the prayers only of the faithful who have done good works.=  0%
God hears the prayers of all Christians, but only Christians. =  0%
God hears the prayers of Christians, Jews, and Muslims, but not of wiccans, atheists, and agnostics. = 0%
God hears the prayers of each person, every person, including the murderer, the terrorist, the street person, the abuser of family members, druggies, alcoholics, the terrified child, the scared adult, and the person on her/his knees in the pews. = 100%
We had more visitors answer this question that most others. And they all agreed!
I’m delighted that they did as well as surprised.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Episcopal Bookstore Special Announcement

Dear Friend of the Episcopal Bookstore,

After 22 years of service to Episcopalians and other spiritually-minded people as owners of The Episcopal Bookstore, we count our many blessings, give thanks for the many wonderful people we have met along the way, and realize that it is time for us to retire and begin a new chapter in our lives. Now that we’ve made that decision, we’re hoping that you – or someone you know – will want to see The Episcopal Bookstore remain at the core of our faith community.

It has been a joy and an honor to serve you over the years; and it’s only been because of your support that The Episcopal Bookstore has flourished. Even now, in this age of electronic this and digital that, we have not only survived, but are well-positioned to ensure that all of the resources upon which you have come to depend will remain at the forefront of our business.

The key ingredients that will contribute to the success of a new owner are all in place: a loyal customer base, a dedicated, hard-working staff, the technology tools to remain current and relevant, and a stellar reputation that attracts customers from near and far. Besides, we’re willing to stay on for a short while as well, serving in an advisory role to ensure a smooth transition.

All it takes is someone who shares our passion for the bookstore as a personal ministry, someone who genuinely loves people and wants to be of service, and who can lead a team of employees with good judgment and business sense. The reason that we’re contacting you directly is that we appreciate and value you as a customer of The Episcopal Bookstore, and hope that you might know someone – even a family member ready for a change of pace – who would enjoy being the owner of a vibrant and fulfilling business that could easily be relocated to just about any community with a strong Episcopal base.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about the opportunity to become The Episcopal Bookstore’s new owner, please contact our friends and colleagues at the Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates at (904) 277-2664 or by email at They can not only let you know more about our business and its potential, but also can provide you with the necessary training and education to succeed as a bookstore owner.

Thank you so much for your continued patronage and for your interest in seeing The Episcopal Bookstore serve more generations for years to come.

Best regards,
Nancy & John Marshall

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Oops! Wrong author.

It was an interesting event yesterday. In our monthly newsletter that we E-mail to those who have asked to receive it, for one book’s description we included the wrong author who is a popular author with the same first name as the book’s author.

I received messages from a few of our newsletter readers pointing out the error of the author of the book. One of replies was from the author of the book. She reads our newsletters (obviously), and shops our online store. It was not difficult replying to the other writers who pointed out the error, but I took more time and thought falling on my sword in replying to the author whose name was mixed up.

In the end she seemed to take it well.

What can we do after we make a mistake in public? Try to not take it too heavily. Laugh some. Commit to being more vigilant in the future. Humbly share our human feelings with others.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A story from a customer this morning

This gentle customer yesterday purchased the Episcopal Church Lesson Calendar. He sent us this reply to our reply to his order. I find it both somewhat comical and pulling at my heart strings.

Thanks so much for your quick responses and wonderful customer service.  I have ordered about three copies of this calendar this year, but I keep losing them under various circumstances.  The latest involves my stay in hospital for brain surgery.  I have since been released, and now will need a new copy.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Friendship Palms

Readers of this blog may remember the re-post of Fr. David Marshall's reflection on distributing ashes in a local mall in Chula Vista CA on Ash Wednesday. This is a sequel about palms on Palm Sunday 2014.

“Like this palm, God’s love is free,” read the tags on hundreds of palms designed for a free give-away on Palm Sunday. The idea for the give-away started on Ash Wednesday. When the “Ashes on the Go” team was shut down by mall security, a passer-by said not to give up and instead give away our extra palms on Palm Sunday. I thought it was a remarkably good idea.

Palm Sunday is the day on which we remember Jesus’ march into Jerusalem. Throngs of people cut down branches for him to walk over. Others were waving branches in the air. The crowd shouted, “Hosanna in the highest!” as he went by. There is no 21st century equivalent of this event for me. We see tickertape parades when a sports team wins a national championship. But that’s simply not the same. Jesus was about to sacrifice his life on the cross; there were no parades after his death or resurrection.

In a personal sense, a palm branch can be seen as a 21st century friendship bracelet. As the hymn goes, “What a friend we have in Jesus,” a palm is one outward sign of our friendship. So, on Palm Sunday, we passed out free friendship bracelets. Something caught me by surprise during our palm give-away. Crowds did not clamor to get them. Many passed by without much thought of what one of our Saint John’s kids was trying to give them. I was stunned at how easy it is for some people to walk by a cute kid, wearing their Sunday best, enthusiastically holding yard-long palms. Yet, some understood. They saw the palms and walked over for them.


The ultimate friendship bracelet is God’s grace. Like a palm that is given away by a smiling child, God’s grace is found everywhere, even in a mall. The free gift of Grace is that – a gift. One has a choice to receive it or not.

On the original Palm Sunday, not all passers-by chose to worship God by shouting “Hosanna!” when Jesus walked by. The choice of Grace was theirs then as it is ours today.

- Fr. Marshall