Helped by prayers, Pat Kelley made a fortuitous decision, which eventually led her to work at Christian Book and Gift, where she celebrated 30 years of service on Monday.
Kelley was first employed in January 1992 by Jan White, who then owned the bookstore with her husband, Greg. At the time, she was a cashier at the store, which has moved three times since its first day.
“I was informed of the possibility of an opening by a very dear friend, Faye Reddish. I made contact with Jan and an interview was scheduled. On the day of the interview, I met Jan and Doug Knight, and before the interview we prayed together. That’s when I knew I had found the job I had been praying for. Jan called me the day after the interview to tell me that I could start working on January 17. Little did I know that 30 years later I would be working with the same company. I am so grateful,” Kelley said.
She appreciates the moments that have an impact on her life with the customers of the bookstore. “I had the great privilege of introducing people to the Lord. We prayed together, cried together, laughed together and became a family together. The long-term relationships I have built over the years are most appreciated.
Kelley hit the 30th anniversary milestone at the store on Monday. She believes that time is an important milestone at the Christian Service Center Book and Gift.
“It is a testimony of God’s faithfulness. He has blessed me to be involved in his work all these years. I am humbled to serve Him and those I have met.
Although there have been many changes over the years, the bookstore’s mission has remained the same. “We have changed owners, but our mission is to provide spiritual material that will nourish the souls of all who enter. One of the most profound impacts has been the advent of the digital age. We’ve moved from cassettes to CDs to MP3s and now burn music and books on demand,” Kelley said.
She has many duties as the current manager of the bookstore and has no target for how many years she wants to reach. “My primary responsibilities are to keep the store well stocked with items that help our customers with anything they may want or need. I also strive to provide the best customer service possible. I don’t know how long I will continue to work for the Christian Service Center Book and Gift, but I pray and hope that it will be many years in the future.
Working in the establishment for 30 years and having everyone’s support throughout its journey means a lot.
“I feel very fortunate to have had the privilege of working in a ‘God-centered’ environment for 30 years. It’s a place many said they liked to come “just to let the weight of the day melt away”. I would like to say that I had the chance to work with some of the best people I have ever met. Greg and Jan White, thank you for allowing this journey to begin with you. Sonny and Sally Steele, thank you for your friendship and all you have done for my family over the years. Dewayne and Rita Scroggins and Tabitha Stacks, thank you for all your kindness, leadership and love over the years. You all paved the way to where I am today. I love you all,” Kelley said.
She now works with Otis Corbitt, Byram Lambert and Robin Smith. “I look forward to spending many years with you all. To all of my many colleagues over the years, I love you all. Thank you, Robin, for you are a godsend, and I appreciate all of your hard work.
Christian Service Center Book and Gift is located in the Covington Baptist Association building at 18350 US Highway 84 in Sanford. For more information, call 334-222-3711.