ONALASKA – The operators of the new Redemption Bookstore in Onalaska’s Center 90 shopping center hope area residents of all Christian denominations will become involved in their efforts.
“Our mission is to demonstrate Christ’s love and serve the community by helping restore individuals and families to God’s plan and purpose,” said Bonice Sipley, manager of the new Christian bookstore that opened Feb. 20. She also is president of the nonprofit Redemption Ministries Inc., which was established last April and which owns and operates the store.
Sipley has 18 years of experience working in and managing Shepherd’s Voice Christian Bookstore and Living Word Christian Bookstore, both of which formerly operated in Onalaska.
“God’s the reason we’re doing this,” added Mark Rabe, the nonprofit corporation’s treasurer, who also works at Redemption Bookstore.
The store, which will celebrate its grand opening April 2, sells faith-based books, Bibles, gifts, artwork, posters, automobile emblems, jewelry, coffee mugs, greeting cards, music, videos, teaching CDs and other Christian-themed merchandise.
And it gives away all used Bibles that are donated.
While its other merchandise is new, “We are taking (donated) gently used Christian books, both fiction and nonfiction, and Bibles,” Sipley said. Proceeds from the sale of the used books go to help support the ministries of Redemption Ministries.
“The used Bibles that are donated will be given away either here at the store or given to missionaries who will distribute them to other countries,” Sipley said. The store will accept donations of used Bibles regardless of their condition.
Rooms are available at the store for use by groups or individuals for Bible studies, prayer, meetings, book clubs, game nights or just sitting around to talk, Sipley said. There also are several informal seating areas.
Two book clubs have begun holdings meetings at the store.
A faith-based group for women who are recovering from alcohol or drug abuse will begin meeting in the conference room this month, and the Redemption organization hopes to offer a similar group for men in the near future.
It also plans to partner with Holmen’s Hope and area churches and other organizations to open a food pantry in Holmen. “We plan to open it later this year,” Rabe said.
The Redemption organization also is looking into opening a resale store in Holmen.
It also has long-term goals of establishing faith-based mentoring, life skills and job training programs, and establishing services to help support people who are reentering society after being incarcerated.
“The whole idea (of Redemption Ministries) is to drop the denominational differences and pool resources and talents to have a larger kingdom impact on the community,” Sipley said. “It’s that working-together concept of focusing on things that we share, to have a bigger impact.”
One way the bookstore will support and partner with area churches is its new Highlights of La Crosse Area Churches bulletin board in the Center 90 hallway, just outside the store. “People and churches are invited to drop off fliers or posters for upcoming events at their church and we will post it on the bulletin board,” Sipley said. “That way people can find out what is going on in the area and build a sense of community.”
“We are taking (donated) gently used Christian books, both fiction and nonfiction, and Bibles.” Bonice Sipley, store manager