ABOVE PHOTO: First lady of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church Dr. Ellyn Jo Waller, left, shares a laugh with
By Arlene Edmonds
Behind every book there is usually a backstory about why the author chose to pen their work.
This was certainly the case at the “An Afternoon with the Authors” event hosted by Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church at the East Campus’s Family Life Center in Mount Airy. The church was converted into a “meet the author” bookstore-style venue where every writer willingly shared what is special about their respective books.
“5 Powerful Tips for Motivating Youths”
Among those who shopped and interacted with the authors was Maria Rowe of Mount Airy, a longtime Enon member. Rowe commented that as a middle school teacher, she is always looking for publications that will inspire her students, so she chose to purchase motivational speaker Kirk Berry’s “5 Powerful Tips for Motivating Youths” at the event.
“I know this is going to give me ideas that has been proven to work with young people,” Rowe said. “This is just going to be a good resource for connecting with my students who range in age from about 11 to 14. Just talking to Kirk Berry gave me tips, and the book will have more.”
Berry said that he wrote the book he wished he had access to when growing up in the Norristown area. He said he found that most motivational books are not geared towards youngsters, nor do the authors understand the inner-city experience.
“I wanted to offer them something that was not generic and was geared toward the struggling student that I was. Even if you struggle you can succeed,” Berry said.
“Eva the Afro Latina”
Elaine Johnson said that she was proud of her 8-year old daughter, Eva, who penned the book “Eva the Afro-Latina.” Johnson, who is Puerto Rican and married to an African-American, said many are interested in the lives of youngsters who have cross-cultural backgrounds.
“The book just came out and we have sold over 200 copies. I am just glad that the enthusiasm for the book in here at my home church,” she said.
“Sunshine and David: Seeking Grace
in Lost Motherhood”
“Sunshine and David: Seeking Grace in Lost Motherhood” is a book penned by Kim Paris Upshaw. She said that after she lost her two children she learned that she could still mother other children through being involved in various Enon ministries. In the book, she also shares how she lost her children to abortion and premature labor.
“This book [helps] those women who may have lost a child. Through this book they can turn to the Bible to find themselves in Eve, Mary, and many others who lost a child and then find joy in helping others,” she said.
Aronya Waller, cousin of Enon’s senior pastor, Rev. Dr. Alyn E. Waller, had a full-size poster and paraphernalia for her book “Mama.” The young protagonist in the book, Zara Walker, has to learn how to heal from her father’s death and then deal with the rage after her mother is murdered by a Philadelphia police officer.
“We do have Philadelphia teenagers whose lives are turned upside down,” Waller said. “Yet this is something few fiction books address. Often when you hear about the tragedy you might not know the names of the children who were affected. Sometimes it is hard to talk to family.
“Then there is the rage. I wanted to show who women can (advocate) for change and there are ways to achieve social justice. I hope this book will just allow young people to dialogue. I wrote it for those in high school as well as those who are younger,” Waller said.
Waller mentioned that the book brings up memories of some of the larger issues that often appear on social media but are not addressed elsewhere. She pointed to the example of Sandra Bland as well as the missing girls in Washington, D.C. that the mainstream media virtually ignored.
“I started it in the end of 2016 and finally completed it last June. This was the time for women and girls to discuss these issues,” Waller said.
“Pocket Guide for Young Men Without Fathers: Important Life Lessons”
Licensed therapist John Taylor said that when he was an angry young man, he wished he had a book of instructions to advise him of ways to handle certain situations. He also realized that many of his young male clients were growing up without fathers, so they didn’t learn the things that fathers teach their sons. This includes things like how to tie a necktie or fix a flat tire.
“This is [a] book many boys and young men need,” said Taylor of his book “Pocket Guide for Young Men Without Fathers: Important Life Lessons.”
“When I counsel young men, I find over and over that there are certain things that they just do not know,” Taylor said. “They often do not have anyone to share this with. They have a deep anger about their life (circumstances), but also do not know some of the little things that you need to be a successful young man. This is the book for them. It is under $10 and they can carry it in their pocket.”
Organist Marlene Cooper said that church musicians are often called upon to do devotionals for choir rehearsals. Sometimes they may have to offer up the opening prayer, find musical selections that revolve around certain themes or recurring church events, like Advent or Christmas. If they work for more than one church of different denominations or ages within the choir, sometimes they have to be flexible.
“Sometimes rather than focusing on the music, directors spend time finding reflections and songs,” said Cooper, the author of “Grace Notes.” She said she found that some songs and prayers could be used by many different Christian churches. So, she put together a book to help choir directors.
“There are some songs that are universal,” said Cooper as she flipped the pages of her book. “In each category under specific topics like joy, I list songs that are Negro Spirituals, anthems, hymns, contemporary or generic church music. There is a 5-minute devotional on the topic that is already written.
“For instance, this is the Advent season, and the third Sunday of Advent is joy in most churches. So, if you turn to that page you have a joy reflection, a joy devotion and four joyful songs like “Joy to the World,” “Joyful Joyful”, Edwin Hawkins’ “Joy, Joy!” and “The Lord is My Strength.” This makes rehearsals much easier and enables the choir director to spend more time on the music.”