Eighth Day Bookstore

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Eighth Day Books' storefront on E. Douglas in Wichita, KS.

Wichita, the largest city in Kansas, is home to a large Lebanese community, and known for its large Orthodox, Pentecostal, and Catholic population. This bookstore, closely affiliated with St. George Orthodox Cathedral but equally receptive of other faiths around Wichita, is a place for networking, thought sharing, and eccuminicism. It is the only brick-and-mortar bookstore in Wichita that caters to a more faithful academic thirst. 

Founding and Objectives:

Eighth Day Books was founded on September 8th, 1988, and has been located primarily at 2838 East Douglas. Warren Farha, the owner of Eighth Day Books, a lifelong resident of Wichita, and a member of St. George Orthodox Cathedral opened the bookstore because he saw a need in Wichita for a bookstore stocking the classics, including authors who have shaped contemporary authors, and authors who were foundational in their given field. Mr. Farha says:

"People come to us for the classics, for the real essence, the essential writers in particular fields, specialized writers. We try to go beyond the familiar names into those writers who influenced the familiar names. So we try to go back to the roots of those great works that have stood out to those more obscure works that may have nourished them...."

The environment of the bookstore is unique visually and aurally. Aurally, the store is always playing a selection of classic music which has been refined through the years, and available for purchase. Visually, the bookstore has a large presence of iconography. Warren says:

"I like the fact that they're unsentimental, that they're not trying to be realistic representations. There's a whole different set of presuppositions by which an iconographer creates his icon, his or her icons... instead of a realistic representation, you're drawn into a representation of life in the kingdom, transformed by life in the kingdom."

The environment of the bookstore helps serve its objective, reintroducing the public to the classics, to the historic practices of Christian traditions, and providing a space for study. The bookstore hosts multiple reading groups that have existed since the store's conception. The bookstore also holds book fairs in local schools, their concentration on the classics extending to categories including children's books which is refined through collaboration with school teachers and librarians.

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Icons hang on beams and walls, are propped on bookshelves, some for sale, visualizing biblical and historical narratives. 

Customer Base and Products:

Customers span the three traditions of Christianity: Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Protestantism, members from other faith traditions, and those who simply appreciate access to the classics. Famous figures have scanned its shelves including the Protestant theologian T.F. Torrance, Orthodox theologian Kallistos Ware, and American poet Scott Karen, most visiting Wichita to attend the Eighth Day Institute symposium. 

Categories of the bookstore includes topics such as: education, languages, film, Byzantine history, homiletics, theology, liturgy, patristic writings, iconography, C.S. Lewis and friends, and much more. Much of the bookstore's product, selected due to it being a classic in its given field, has gone mostly unchanged through its years of operation..

Eighth Day Books also includes Eighth Day Press, a press that publishes books that they claim should never have gone out of publication, classics from history they want to preserve. Other than their own publication marking their 25th anniversary in 2013, their press only publishes what has already existed, not publishing new author's works. 

Listen to an interview with Warren Farha where we discuss his business, his education, and his faith here.

Eighth Day Institute:

The Eighth Day Institute, started in 2008 and run out of Eighth Day Books by a former employee of the bookstore, Erin Doon, exists as a:

"...Christian organization who promotes the cultivation of friendships through conversations about how the faith of our fathers can help us navigate the new dark ages (Eighth Day Institute homepage)."

Bi-weekly meetings are held called the "Hall of Men", and another monthly meeting called "Sisters of Sophia". Meetings are held in The Ladder, a building directly west of the bookstore. Meetings, with a range of faith traditions present, involve a meal, a short liturgy, and a member giving a speech on a prominent figure from either Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism, or a positive figure outside those traditions. Examples include figures like Georges Florovsky and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Eighth Day Institute also holds an Inklings Festival every year, a festival celebrating and learning from a reading group from the University of Oxford in England in the 1930s-50s which included members such as C. S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. This festival involves the whole of the Wichita community, and events are held by different faith groups around Wichita to remember the Inklings through films, talks, and products. Eighth day Institute also holds a yearly symposium which gathers leaders and laity from around the county to discuss topics such as mystery, justification, and baptism. 

Listen to an interview of Pr. Gefforey Boyle, a member of the Eighth Day Institute and a LCMS Lutheran pastor, where we discuss his professional life and affiliation to Eighth Day Bookstore and Institute here

Eighth Day Bookstore