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Redeemer University Bookstore Hopes to Serve All of Hamilton

With enrollment at an all time high, Ancaster’s Redeemer University (formerly Redeemer University College) has re-branded their campus bookstore and hopes to be able offer services to the broader Christian community of greater Hamilton.

The store is named 21Five, which is “a reference to Revelation 21:5: “He who is seated at the throne said, ‘I am making all things new.’””

In a story in Resound, the university’s quarterly magazine, store manager Kristel Forcier said,

As a university store, we’re the place to find textbooks but also items such as apparel, diploma frames and giftware. At the same time, we’re also a Christian bookstore where our customers can purchase Bibles, Bible studies, devotionals, books on Christian living and Christian storybooks for children. This will help us build relationships with local churches and schools by giving them a place to buy books and other products for their students and congregants.

That would be an ideal worth pursuing, especially after Hamilton’s only remaining Christian bookstore, a Gospel Lighthouse store, closed a few years ago, and the much larger Family Christian store in Burlington closed more recently.

However, having visited many times before the renovation, space is limited and school supplies, campus branded merchandise and course textbooks will always dominate.

Would remaining space intended to appeal to the broader Christian market resonate with all of them? The interim president, Dr. David Zietsma, is quite clear on this: “At a university anchored in the Reformed Christian tradition, 21Five will reflect the depth and riches of Reformed Christian theology and philosophy as well as scholarship from a Reformed Christian perspective across many disciplines…”

To this end, in a separate story, it was also announced the store would feature a shelving section dedicated to past and current faculty.

A look at the store website points to a selection with a bent toward scholarly and academic titles.

Over time, the store will need to evolve policies and procedures determining its willingness to serve the broader Christian populace, especially when special order requests are born out of a desire to support the school, or avoid purchasing from large corporations.

With over 1,000 students current registered, and factoring in friends and family, the store’s long-term success is assured at a time when other Christian retailers are struggling.


based on articles originally reported by

Bill Reimer on the Regent College Bookstore

If he shall not lose his reward who gives a cup of cold water to his thirsty neighbor, what will not be the reward of those who by putting good books into the hands of those neighbours, open to them the fountains of eternal life? – Thomas a Kempis

Earlier this year, at a celebration of Bill Reimer’s 65th birthday, Loren Wilkinson noted,

“For over a quarter of a century, Bill has done his best to make available, to a steadily growing public, books that explore every facet of the Christian belief that the incarnation of the Creator God in Jesus is an essential guide to living in and understanding our increasingly complex world.”

A former Regent College student sent us this article which appeared in the Regent College Bookstore Blog. I’ve shortened it slightly on the one hand, but on the other, I’ve reiterated the quotation which appears above since it deserves to be posted somewhere in all our stores. (Under the circumstances, we had to steal the picture as well!)

Click the title below to read in its entirety:

Theology’s Last (book)Stand?

For 29 years I have worked in the back corner at my desk on the floor of the Regent College Bookstore, surrounded by volumes of biblical studies and commentaries. We have 272 linear feet devoted to biblical studies and 120 feet to theology. Additional footage is devoted to a broad range of Christian studies: poetry, literature, history, biography and of course a good selection of bibles; even 40 feet for CS Lewis and friends. If you have traveled this continent or been abroad then you know that there are literally only a handful of theological bookstores that remain…

How has bookselling changed people often ask me? I once wrote a blog about this … Since then the world of bookselling has changed forever. In some ways books have become more accessible in remote places. But much has been lost.

Here are a few of few of my observations from back in 2005:

  • Regent Bookstore remains one of the few stores in the world, on a public university campus, that sells a wide selection of books in the area of Christian Studies.
  • Regent Bookstore is non-profit and is owned and operated by Regent College. All proceeds go towards the operation of Regent College programs.
  • Regent Bookstore is an employment centre for Regent students and their spouses.
  • Regent Bookstore sponsors lectures by authors and speakers.

All of these observations still apply to Regent Bookstore in 2018. We remain on the UBC campus and have regular customers who are agnostics or atheists but they tend to like this place even though as a religious institution there is an invisible barrier around it in the eyes of many…

The store began in the early 1970s. The 1960s and 1970s saw a renaissance of Christian book publishing.

It is not surprising that Regent College sprang up during this time. Klaus Bockmuehl, late professor of theology at Regent, writing out of this period commented:

The printed word remains also today an ideal tool of Christian proclamation facing a powerful spirit of secularism and Godlessness: it may well again prove a sling of David for a giant doomed to destruction.

Maybe this sounds a bit grandiose today but those were the days when there was a battle for “truth.” Klaus ended his essay on books by retrieving the words of Thomas a Kempis, written 700 years before:

If he shall not lose his reward who gives a cup of cold water to his thirsty neighbor, what will not be the reward of those who by putting good books into the hands of those neighbours, open to them the fountains of eternal life?

This is a collective challenge to the Church. Many bookstores have survived by “crowd sourcing”. Thus far Regent Bookstore has not needed a fundraising campaign in order to continue on. You enable us to exist by buying books for your edification. Consider buying a book, reading it, and then passing it on to a friend. Finally, if you live afield then consider supporting us by purchasing downloads of Regent lectures at regentaudio.com. **

 


*Quotation source: Celebrating Bill Reimer, Regent website.
**Now through November 30th the site is offering free audio in honour of Eugene Peterson.