As we entered 2018, my book tour gained momentum, featuring events with increasing frequency, from frigid New Hampshire to balmy Miami.
The new year began with at the Soul Cafe, at North Church in Portsmouth. There, I shared the stage with Alathea, an Appalachian folk duo from Tennessee. As the thermometer dipped to -15 below wind chill on that snowy night (cool, very cool!), the inspiring music of Alathea wove with the themes in Beyond the Comma to generate a warmth of light and life. Rev. Frank Newsome, newly installed pastor at North Church, said, “We were lucky to have Bob Chase and the musical duo Alathea for an Epiphany event. Bob’s readings and his engaging the crowd in discussion that intersected with our everyday existence was definitely an epiphanous experience. Catch life beyond the comma if you can.”
The scene shifted to the Florida leg of my book tour where the weather averaged a balmy 70 degrees. I have been generously hosted by Rev. Laurie Hafner and the Coral Gables UCC. Laurie, my former pastor in Cleveland, graciously organized several events in churches and synagogues in the greater Miami area. We also engaged audiences on Florida’s West Coast.
I preached at SunCoast Cathedral MCC where my cousin, Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, is co-pastor. You can see how themes in Beyond the Comma were woven into the sermon I preached at SunCoast, here.
In Tampa, at First United UCC, music once again became integral to my presentation (hot, very hot!). I was able to share the stage with gifted performer, dear friend (see page 150 of Beyond the Comma) and former Intersections colleague, Fred (Farid) Johnson. The program, “Social Justice
in Song and Spoken Word,” was live streamed and archived on the church’s website. You can see it here (open the link and scroll down to the post with Rev. Bernice Powell Jackson opening the evening; the time signature records January 24, 7:06 p.m.). We’ll be at St. Andrew UCC in Sarasota this Sunday, then home and on to California early next month for events there, followed by a swing through the middle of the country in late winter and early spring. I’ll keep you posted.