The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 9:51 am Thursday, September 19, 2019

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By Stephanie Williams Dean


It was where I first put to use my God-given talents of voice and music when singing in the choir every Sunday morning at the early service and playing handbells.

It was where I donned a choir robe every service and majestically entered the sanctuary with such grandeur to magnificent sounds coming from a pipe organ.

It was where I learned to recite by heart various collects, confessions, calls to worship, doxologies, and affirmations of faith and creeds such as the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed, and where I learned to pray the Lord’s Prayer.

It was where I attended church school every Sunday morning and enjoyed dinner on many Sunday nights.

It was where I showed up for choir practice on Saturday afternoons.

It was where I participated in Methodist Youth Group every Wednesday night.

It was where I was baptized as an infant.

It was where my religious foundation was laid.

But, at that time, it wasn’t where I came to fully understand the Gospel story or where my faith was ignited.


It was at St. Paul’s Episcopal, where I raised my child who also sang in the choir and was an acolyte.

It was at Centenary Methodist, where I relived those glorious processionals I had always loved and was witness to gorgeous musicals at the holidays.

It was at Calvary Baptist, where I waited to hear the next inspiring sermon preached from the pulpit by Dr. Chapman.

It was at Union Baptist on Trade Street where I was greeted so warmly by a black congregation, and mesmerized by the message delivered by Sir Walter Mack, and moved by the gospel choir.

It was at Mt. Tabor Methodist, where I attended Bible Study Fellowship in search of God’s word.

It was at Knollwood Baptist, where I attended Community Bible Study which sparked the desire for more in-depth study of His word.

It was through in-home Beth Moore studies and attending her regional conferences where I was moved to tears.

It was at Rescue House with Pastor Matt Hudson where I always looked forward to hearing a passionate delivery of the Biblically inspired message.

It was through classes and musical events at Billy Grahams’ Cove, where I met others inspired and ignited by God’s word.

I began to think, surely, there must be something wonderful that awaits me. There was.


It was where I attended graduate classes in ministry and gained more profound wisdom.

It was where scripture and the Gospel story came alive for me.

It was where my soul was ignited and set ablaze by His glory and magnificence.

It was where I was changed forever.

The gospel of Matthew 7:7-9 reads, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you, for everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

If you are not affiliated with a church but want to learn more about the Gospel, find a church, and attend this Sunday. If you seek, you will find.

“Men I Remember”

By Gaye Hoots

My first memories are of my grandfather and father. We lived with my grandparents when I was born. They had a farmhouse situated on a hill overlooking the Yadkin River, with acres of farmland, cows, pigs, goats, dogs, guineas, turkeys, sheep, and any other critter that caught Dad’s eye. My father was a large man with a hearty laugh, an infectious sense of humor, and a temper.

      My grandfather was also tall, but not as large as Dad. He was more serious-minded than Dad but had dry humor. Both these men got up early seven days a week and worked hard on the farm. Dad worked the fields using the larger farm equipment and oversaw the dairy. Grandpa looked after the pigs, chickens, and dogs. He had an orchard, a garden, grapevines, and a strawberry patch to tend. Grandfather made and managed fish traps and rabbit gums also.

     Both men had strong, muscular hands that I believed could handle anything. That accounted for a bias of mine. When I shook hands with a man, I noticed the strong, muscular hands, and tended to trust them more easily.

     I had no aunts but had seven uncles living. One of my mother’s brothers died in France in WW11. I was born on his birthday a year after his death. Four of my male cousins were close to my age, and I preferred spending time with them verses the younger girl cousins.

     There were various farmhands and people who visited or bought farm animals from time to time. Many of these contributed to my view of men. Many were rough-cut, but all treated me well.

     When I started school, Mr. Parker, our school principal, made a good impression on me. He was honest, fair, and ran a tight ship. When I was seven years old, I had jumped, landing on a stick and breaking part of the stick off into my heel. It hurt, and I knew it would hurt more when Daddy pulled it out. I was limping, but I tried not to let him see me limp. Several days later an infection developed, and the pain intensified. Mr. Parker noticed and sat me down to look at my heel. He swabbed it with alcohol and pulled it out with a pair of pliers.

     When I started sixth grade, I became interested in basketball. Mr. Potts was the teacher who coached both boys and girls basketball teams at Shady Grove School. He also ran a tight ship. Mr. Potts demanded respect but gave a suit to everyone who worked hard. He also transported players to and from practice and ballgames, if their parents couldn’t. He won both boys and girls county championships thirteen years consecutively if my memory serves me correctly.

     We had a TV set from the time I was nine years old, and I loved to watch the cowboy shows. I never idolized TV stars. My heroes were the men who worked hard to raise, feed, and protect their families, and the ones who tried to educate and teach skills that would serve a lifetime.

     The lessons I learned on the farm, to nurture families, animals, and crops, to work with others, and to care for others have served me well in life. The education and ability to work with a team helped immensely too. There were also many strong female role models, too, but that is another story.

“2020 Vision”

By Marie Craig

     It’s been a long time since I had perfect vision.  I’ve worn glasses since the seventh grade.  It would be really great to be able to see without glasses, but it’s not a big deal.  Hundreds of years ago there was not the product of eye glasses or the petty cash to buy them.  My glasses are my friend, and I am very happy to have them.

     The 2020 Vision I’m interested in relates to my hopes for next year.  We’ll all be a year older, the economy will still go up and down as it has for centuries, and we will have important elections.  This is not an endorsement for a person or a party, just a wish that all will be well as we struggle along trying to choose the next leadership for state and nation.

     Hopefully, people will mellow, and road rage on the road and on social media and on the homefront will calm down.  People need to breathe and appreciate and take their time deliberately helping to create a world in which we can all be happy and polite and compassionate.  I guess that’s too much to hope for.

     Our entertainment world has become so brutal and negative that it has influenced our personalities in terrible ways.  Our United States way of enjoying the good life has made us spoiled and unappreciative of the wonderful lives we lead.  Issues and preferences cause great stress for many people.  Compromise seems out of the question sometimes.

       We feel sympathy and concern for those folks we see on television who are victims of war, storm, and crime.  It’s a fleeting feeling put aside for our daily lives.

     What will be the character of next year?

RWG Literary Corner

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