New Covenant Bookstore: A local shop for local Catholics
WINSTON-SALEM — For Mary Jo Kahl, owning and operating a Catholic bookstore has been a long-standing dream. Crucifixes, rosaries, prayer aids, religious medals, first Communion commemorative items, Bibles and books – she loved the idea of sharing the faith and providing these wonderful gifts. But working full-time at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and raising a family kept her dream on the back burner for many years.
New Covenant Bookstore has been in Winston for more than 30 years, Kahl explains. She had known the owners and had often bought many of her own family's gifts from the store.
Eight years ago, when owner Patty Dameron decided to retire and sell the business, which is the only Catholic bookstore in Winston-Salem, the timing couldn't have been more providential: The shop went up for sale soon after Kahl retired from her job at the medical center.
"I went right from retirement into owning my own business," Kahl says. "Books were always Patty's mainstay, but I have concentrated more on religious articles, gifts, prayer aids."
She does, however, work with new Catholic authors when possible. She carries their books and gives them space for book signings in New Covenant's booth at the Eucharistic Congress in Charlotte each year.
One such author is Holy Family's Dr. William J. Casey, who has written a three-part Bible series called "Mining the Bible For Faith" (online at miningthebibleforfaith.com). The books are perfect for teen and adult faith formation or RCIA classes.
Looking for something a little more contemplative? "Love's Desires" by local author Melinda Chiou contains spiritual poetry in English and Chinese. It's a beautiful companion to an afternoon of prayer and reflection. These books and many others are available at New Covenant Bookstore.
The biggest benefit of having a local Catholic bookstore is, by far, the personal service and attention one gets when walking in the door.
New Covenant Bookstore will special order any item that is not available in the store at 304 Upton St., and Kahl's practical knowledge of Catholicism and relationships with vendors allows her to help find just the right gift. Rosary repair is also available.
In past years New Covenant Bookstore has also held apologetics classes. Though there are none scheduled for this summer, check in with the store for possible classes coming in the fall. In the meantime, New Covenant can provide any books and study materials that parish formation teams might need.
"I have loved owning this book store," Kahl says. "I have met the most interesting people and had the best conversations! But I've had people come in and say they had no idea we were here – the best-kept secret in Winston-Salem."
— Annette Tenny, correspondent