Margie Briggs grew up in Windsor. She has always been an active lay person in the United Methodist Church. Her book, Can You Just Get Them Through Until Christmas? The Turn Around Story of One Lay Minister and Two Small Rural Churches, was published by the Cass Community Publishing House this spring.
Why did you write this book?
I wanted to encourage small churches, letting them know they could have a huge impact on the larger church. I also wanted laypersons in the church to realize they could be a real change agent in keeping the small/rural church healthy. With Kay Kotan’s knowledge to bring together key concepts and thought provoking questions, I believe my book can be used as a tool to bring the small/rural churches to being healthy and strong once again.
What was your writing process?
I have always kept a journal as a part of my spiritual discipline. My former District Superintendent Cody Collier advised me to write a book about my journey and those of my two churches I serve, Calhoun and Drake’s Chapel UMC. Author and church coach Kay Kotan helped me to see how my stories could turn into a book. A good friend, Rev. Faith Fowler, asked me to send her some of my stories, which led to publication. My book is a book of stories of my two churches. Some of these are success stories and some are when things did not work out so well, but how we did not let those stop us. Some stories were written at the time of the happening, and others I looked back on and wrote as a reflection.
What books have been most influential to you?
I have found most of Bishop Robert Schnase’s books and Bishop Bob Farr’s books to be helpful. All one has to do is scale it down for your size of church and do some thinking on how to make it work where you are.
Have you had any feedback on the book?
One person said they read my book in one sitting and called it “riveting.” I never thought I’d write anything riveting. My first grade teacher said, “After going through your book last night, I see that you truly made good use of all those good qualities I saw in you the first grade.” What I remember about first grade was I was in reading, and no doubt not paying attention, and was called on to read. I didn’t want anyone to know I was not paying attention and thought I could pull a fast one, “I don’t know that word,” I said calmly. The word was “I,” and I got sat outside the circle. How devastating that I can remember all these 63 years later. I guess perhaps that is one of the reason I have always wanted to draw a huge circle and include everyone, and I really try to pay close attention to what I am supposed to be doing!
Can You Just Get Them Through Until Christmas is available at www.ccpublishinghouse.org.