THE MAKING OF A BOOK
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PART 45 MY PLACE
Rod and I knew it was time to leave our church, but we did not know where to go. I made a list of churches to visit. We decided to visit each church and attend services for a month before we made a decision about staying.
The first church on the list satisfied the practical purpose to be near my mother’s home, but it also held precious memories. God had answered my prayer to find people who knew God as I did when I walked into this church decades earlier. The dreams were explained in part and confirmed. I attended until I graduated from high school. Later, Rod and I were married in the church.
The pastor of the church where God revealed himself to me, had purchased the building from the Assemblies of God and reopened it as an independent church. Unfortunately, the small congregation had few children, and a children’s teacher who did not need help. The lack of children made it a bad fit for Rod, and I decided my attraction to the church was emotional created by past experiences.
Before we left to try another church, the Pastor’s sister made a request that led to us staying.
“Can you start a writer’s group on the Westbank?”
“The problem with starting a writer’s group is having a place to meet that we don’t have to pay for?” I replied.
“You can meet at the church.”
“I will have to discuss that with the pastor and get back to you.” I did not want to deal with another pastor and planned to postpone that meeting forever.
Before the sun set, the pastor called me. “Your writing group can meet at the church.”
Rod and I had already decided to consider other churches, so I made an appointment to let him know we had not decided to stay. And what would happen to the writing group if we left? By the end of the meeting, Rod had agreed to teach a class for children on Wednesday night, and I agreed to hold three writer’s meetings at the church to see if there was enough interest to start a group.
The first meeting had fifteen in attendance, a large group for a writers meeting. We rarely had more than ten at the Northshore meetings. I expected the attendance to drop but it remained the same. My commitment to God to start a writing group if there was enough interest left me no choice. I planned a formal launch January of the following year.
The pastor had asked me to teach a class about writing at the church’s Bible College. His wife invited me to join them when they went to the Gospel Bookstore to promote the upcoming semester. I brought a flyer about the formation of a writing group and asked the manager if I could post it on the door. He already knew about Southern Christian Writers Guild and invited the writer’s group to meet in his store.
The limited meeting area in the store might inhibit growth, but the pros far outweighed the cons. The location of the store near the Greater New Orleans Bridge could draw attendees from New Orleans and the Westbank. Meeting in a neutral place would attract people from different denominations. There were benefits for both the store and our group. Our meetings would attract people to the store, who might make purchases before they leave. Our presence in the store gave us free advertising to our target market.
Exactly one year after Wanda told me “The Lord has a place for you and it will open soon,” I choose a board and we wrote bylaws for a nonprofit. I wanted to establish the group as a chapter of Southern Christian Writers Guild. The Chair of that group wanted the groups to be independent. I dropped “Guild” and we became Southern Christian Writers.
TO BE CONTINUED…