December 1, 2019

Christian Books, a Children’s Corner, and a Veggie Sandwich

Phillip E. L. Castell, Jamaica Union Conference

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica celebrated the reopening of its Inter-American Division Publishing Association (IADPA) Bookstore in Kingston during a special ceremony on November 7, 2019.

The renovated IADPA Bookstore now includes a vegetarian deli and a children’s reading corner to better serve the immediate surrounding community and the wider society as part of its new marketing strategy.

Inter-American Division (IAD) president Elie Henry, who officially opened the store, said he was pleased with the progress being made in the publishing ministry of the church through the IADPA bookstores.

“As I travel from place to place, it is good to see the support and progress that the publishing ministry has received and is making throughout the IAD,” Henry said. “Sometimes, we love to remember that our church started strong with publishing, and the books that are being made available to the public through our bookstores are helping to spread the gospel to the world.”

Henry pointed out that sometimes, as church members face challenges, they may think that the work is losing ground in publishing. “That is why I am so happy to come to these inaugurations, and coming here in Kingston is for me reaffirmation that we as Seventh-day Adventists believe in the publishing work.”

Everett Brown, president of the church in Jamaica, said that the renovated store fits into the overall mission and focus of the Adventist Church in the country.

“Our focus is to impact the lives of the people we serve, so we hope that by retrofitting this store, we will be able to better serve the members of the church and the wider community which the church serves,” Brown said.

“The IADPA Bookstore provides all the reading materials that the members of the church and the community at large would want to access to become healthier and more aware,” he added.

The new store serves an Adventist community of more than 65,000 church members and a population of more than 500,000 across several parishes in Kingston.

Clara Spengler, IADPA Bookstores regional director, said an Adventist bookstore is a light wherever it is. “It is a place where people have the printed pages that they read to know Jesus. It’s the place where you can take care of yourself and change your life forever.”

Spengler noted that November was being recognized in Jamaica as diabetes prevention month, cancer prevention month as well as a drug awareness month. It was an opportunity to point out, she said, that “we have so many books that will help you to deal with those things that Jamaica is trying to prevent.”

The newly renovated bookstore’s deli will provide sandwiches, shakes, burgers, wraps, and vegetarian pizzas. The children’s reading area has a section for indoor playing. Customers will have the choice of dining indoors or outdoors.

“What we are doing is to bring the health books to life by creating healthy foods from their pages,” said Bebbie McLean, national manager of the IADPA Bookstore. “It is not just about selling a book, but when someone comes to our store, it must be a healthy experience, which is the ambiance, the product, and the people. We aim to impact the landscape of Jamaica one person at a time.”

Inter-American Division Publishing Association (IADPA) president Saul Ortiz said he is pleased with the work being done in Jamaica. The IADPA Bookstore in Kingston is the fifth of its kind in that country to have undergone retrofitting. It is located on Constant Spring Road, which is also home to the East Jamaica Conference office. The four other stores are located in some of the major cities of Jamaica, including Mandeville, Ocho Rios, Spanish Town, and Montego Bay.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.