Friday, April 12, 2013
Today, I made what will be my last trip to the Cokesbury store in Raleigh. They are closing all of the stores and going internet only. I received a card saying that all of their merchandise was now 50% off, so I drove over to check out their supplies and books. I did not expect to see so many empty shelves and empty walls, nor did I expect to feel sad about it...but I did.
I became a frequent visitor to Cokesbury 13 years ago when I started seminary. Our class books were ordered through their store, and they gave all of the students a small discount. When I was ordained, I went to Cokesbury with my mother and pastor to pick out a robe. You may think that all black robes are the same...but they are not. Mine is made from a soft, breathable fabric that feels like peach fuzz. Because my size was in stock that day, they gave me a discount.
When I began serving as a pastor, I went to Cokesbury for commentaries, preaching material, curriculum, personal devotional books, Advent and Lenten resources, stewardship supplies, and sometimes I went just to check out the newest authors for my own reading. Since I've been at Drew, I've been to Cokesbury for class books and research materials.
Today, Jeanne waited on me - and she has helped me before. She has ordered books for me. Engraved them for me...and just taken care of things. I realize the world is going to the internet, but what the internet won't be able to do, is call me by name - well, ok, maybe the internet can remember my name, but the internet cannot recognize me with eyes. Jeanne can. Molly can. And, the internet cannot give me that personal touch, one on one help when you need a Bible for a pre-teen or when you need some kind of curriculum that might appeal to boys or whatever. And, the internet cannot tell you if you are about to accidentally by some religious hoo-hah.
So, although their selection had started to dwindle by today, I managed to purchase $158 worth of books today - actually, I suppose that is $316 worth since they were all half off. Some of it was pastor's class material, books on the Holy Spirit for an upcoming paper, a bible study book for tweens, and several books that I hope will challenge my own spirit and my prayer life.
I am thankful to have shopped at Cokesbury for these many years, and I will miss them.