The Great PW Read
Reading is a form of prayer, a guided meditation that briefly makes us believe we’re someone else, disrupting the delusion that we’re permanent and at the center of the universe. Suddenly (we’re saved!) other people are real again, and we’re fond of them,” said writer George Saunders.*
For a pastime that is generally solitary, reading has an amazing power to connect people. Being introduced to (or reminded of) other people’s stories, experiences and ideas can be the spark that ignites our ability to treat others with love . . . or at least a little more understanding than what we began the day with. Particularly in these unprecedented times of social distancing, where we keep ourselves a safe distance away from others, we need that connection with others, that form of prayer that reminds us of all the other people in the world.
We connect to not just those represented in the books or articles, but to other readers. Reading something really inspiring, eye-opening or perspective-shifting makes us want to share it with others (even if that sharing needs to happen over the phone rather than over a table at a restaurant). That enthusiasm for discussing what we read is precisely why you are holding an issue of Horizons dedicated to reading. There are many best-seller lists, knowledge-able librarians and booksellers, but what about a source for books that speak to PW and the PW Purpose? Hence, this issue, “The Great PW Read”!
The contributors to this issue are all enthusiastic readers; they are advocates for reading and embody an approach to reading that is rooted in care, community and growth. Rosalyn McKeown-Ice reflects on how reading and literacy are (and have always been) foundational to Presbyterian ministries, and the urgent need to support children living in poverty. Beth Lyon-Suhring recom-mends books to help parents and caregivers introduce children to matters of faith. Jo Ann Burrell, Joy Durrant, Louise Van Poll and Marilyn Stone highlight ways and reasons to try a PW-based book club. And Julia Flynn Siler reflects on what she learned while writing a book about the beloved institution Presbyterians today call Cameron House.
You’ll find book suggestions throughout this issue. You will likely have many of your own! Share your favorites on Presbyterian Women’s Facebook page, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow the suggestions for starting a book club and use the suggestions as possibilities for the inaugural read of your soon-to-be-started PW book club!
Enjoy the read!
* George Saunders, “What’s on George Saunders’ Bookshelf?” O Magazine, March 16, 2014; www.oprah.com/omagazine/george-saunders-favorite-books/all; accessed April 27, 2020.
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Book Clubs Galore! Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about a Book Club, but Were Afraid to Ask
Louise Van Poll shares insights from a number of PW and church book clubs about best practices and possible pitfalls, and offers suggestions for how to start a book club for your PW group.
Zooming in on Relationships and Shared Learning: PW’s Racial Equity Committee Book Discussion
Jo Ann Burrell and Joy Durrant describe how a book discussion held via videoconference built trust and relationships within a committee on PW’s national board, as well as helped broaden the reach of the committee.
How Writing The White Devil’s Daughters Led Me to Modern-Day Abolitionists
Julia Flynn Siler reflects on what she learned about the women who escaped trafficking in San Francisco’s Chinatown at the start of the 20th century, and the ways that the fight against human trafficking continues today.
Educate a Child, Transform the World
Rosalyn McKeown-Ice examines how poverty creates inequities in education, and how congregations or PW groups can support childhood education and literacy in their mission and justice work.
The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like a Tricky Dog . . . a Runaway Baby . . . a Soup Kitchen: Using Secular Children’s Books to Explore Faith
Beth Lyon-Suhring highlights secular children’s books that are charming and beautiful, and also serve as entry points for discussions with children about God and God’s hopes for us.
Still, We Plant
PW’s Annual Fund
“Would You Like Anything to Read?”
Cecilia Amorocho Hickerson
Unpacking the Theme: Scripture Study
Peace Be with You
Amy Kim Kyremes-Parks
Pages Worth Turning
Stories from the Ages
And So We Read
Hillary Moses Mohaupt
After the Offering
A Growing School and Relationship
News and Information About Presbyterian Women and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Working for Justice and Peace
Reading to Inform Justice Work
Nurtured by Stories
Amy Starr Redwine
Strengthening the PC(USA)
Leamos Por Siempre
Vilmarie Cintrón Olivieri