Book lovers in San Antonio may want to consider St. Mark’s Episcopal Church as their next stop in their search of a book about poetry, social justice or spirituality in ecology.
On January 3, the downtown church formally opened a new bookstore on campus, offering numerous titles covering subjects that church representatives say could help to meet people’s spiritual, psychological, social, and literary interests.
A press release said St. Mark’s Bookstore features a plethora of works focused on social justice, poetry, the sacredness of the earth, Celtic theology, aging, grief and prayer. The new bookstore also has several titles from women authors, children’s classics, as well several fictional works, gifts, and Episcopal resources, including prayer books, hymnals, and Bibles.
In the release, bookstore manager Carla Pineda said aesthetics and content at St. Mark’s new bookstore recall a similar vibe at the former Viva! Bookstore, an independent shop that contained a popular, curated blend of spiritual and secular books on Broadway north of Alamo Heights from the early 1980s until its closure in 2016. Pineda and fellow former Viva! manager Elizabeth Cauthorn organized St. Mark’s Bookstore.
“This store continues the warm and welcoming feel of Viva!, from the book selection to the comfy chairs and caring staff. Reading material supports literary interests, spiritual needs, and religious learning of the St. Mark’s and wider community,” Pineda said in the release.
The bookstore has another category of particular interest — “Banned Books,” which lies within a display of photos of St. Mark’s parishioners and clergy holding their favorite banned book.
“We wanted to show that we recognize the power of books and reading to make a difference, to encourage critical thought and discussion. Banning a book shuts down an opportunity to grapple with ideas,” Cauthorn said.
Church officials said the new bookstore complements a 12-year old bookstore at St. Mark’s by continuing to offer spiritual guides such as Mary Earle and Philip Newell on Celtic Christianity, Walter Brueggemann on social justice, Abraham Heschel on wisdom, Brené Brown on relationships, C.S. Lewis on theology, Anne Lamott on creativity, Jane Goodall and Wendell Berry on the environment, the novels of Marilynn Robinson on faith, classic children's books on love, and a variety of Biblical commentators.
The church said the bookstore’s hours of operation are 1:30-4:30 pm weekdays, and 8:30-11:15 am on Sundays.