Monrovia, CA

Get inspired at the Calvary Chapel Monrovia bookstore holiday open house

Don Simkovich

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A community event hosted by Calvary Chapel Monrovia.Photo byCalvary Chapel Monrovia

Enjoy shopping for uplifting Christmas gifts and meet new friends over hot chocolate at the Calvary Chapel Monrovia bookstore open house on Friday, Dec. 2, 12 pm to 7 pm, and Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 am to 3 pm.

The bookstore shares space with the coffee shop inside the church located at 1307 South Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia 91016. Normal operating times are before and after services on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings.

“There are books and gifts for all life stages,” says Maria Takamine, who manages the bookstore as a volunteer.

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The bookstore and coffee shop share space inside Calvary Chapel Monrovia.Photo byDon Simkovich

A Community Resource

The bookstore open house is for the entire community to stop by and find meaningful gifts that meet a variety of spiritual and personal needs.

“We’re a resource,” says Maria who notes that Christian bookstores are now a rarity in the area and only a few general bookstores operate in the San Gabriel Valley.

Items available for purchase span the ages and types of common needs that families of all backgrounds experience:

  • Finding the right type of Bible
  • Parenting resources
  • Books and more for teens dealing with bullying and understanding one’s faith in Christ
  • Marriage and relationship gift ideas
  • Spanish language resources
  • Uplifting products for healthcare workers and first responders
  • Bible games and toys

Maria says there are also gifts for young people who are now “adulting.”

If you know someone who has dealt with loss and grief, anxiety in its various forms, or just wants a fun and welcoming place to visit, then Maria says the open house is also for them and their friends.

Products Selected Based on Needs and Interests

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Gifts for all ages, needs, and in Spanish.Photo byDon Simkovich

Maria thinks through the potential needs of local residents when selecting products through her carefully chosen vendor network. “I’ll have people say they went to Barnes and Noble looking for a Bible, but they didn’t know what to get. It’s not just English. We’re also looking forward to offering more Spanish-language Bibles and gifts.”

Some of the popular book titles shoppers will find are Fan the Flame by Jim Cymbala and Hope in 60 Seconds by Cristina Baker, who was an atheist battling homelessness and drugs and, as she describes on her website, is now "passionate about helping people connect with God through the power of prayer."

Maria says she was in a book club of diverse ages and backgrounds yet Christina Baker’s insights “spoke volumes to everyone."

An Uplifting Time

Other participants in the open house event include Süo, a women's clothing boutique, and currently scheduled, Lettering by Nancy Lingeman who will create custom ornaments.

Beanies with uplifting messages, jewelry, and tote bags complete the gift options, and Maria will offer a limited number of special discounts during the open house.

Maria, who worked in healthcare before retiring, says Calvary Chapel Monrovia would like to expand the bookstore and coffee shop to serve the community more fully. She also teaches kindergarten-age and first-grade students during Sunday school.

Churches that would like to start a store can go on Facebook and look for Christian bookstore networks. Maria prefers working with faith-based vendors who align with the values and vision of the church.

"The jewelry line I use gives 25% of its profits to mission outreaches, and for publishers, I prefer using Tyndale rather than Zondervan. Tyndale is still independent while Zondervan is owned by Harper Collins."

And, if you wonder what the biggest seller is, Maria says there's no question: "The Bible is still the number one selling item."

The personal interaction, notes Maria, brings people back.

Stop by the open house, grab a cup of hot chocolate, browse the selections, and get inspiration for your holiday shopping.

Also, visit the Calvary Chapel Monrovia website for service times and event listings.

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Calvary Chapel Monrovia is just north of the 210 freeway on Myrtle Avenue at Cherry Avenue.Photo byCalvary Chapel Monrovia

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I interview entrepreneurs, and dig into the news around Southern California, giving a voice to business owners, artists and more. I also co-write the thriller novel series Tom Stone Detective Stories.

Pasadena, CA
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