This month our book club feature shines the spotlight on an awesome group of ladies in sunny, Orlando, Florida. The Women of Character Book Club is another group dedicated to reading books that uplift and grow them spiritually. I interviewed the group's president, Jenelle.
Welcome to UCF Blog, Jenelle, tell us about how the Women of Character Book Club Inc. come to be? I was introduced to Christian fiction in 2004 by an angel in disguise, Pamela, who suggested that I read Jamellah Ellis’ book, “That Faith, That Trust, That Love”. This novel was given to me at a time in my life when I was going “THROUGH”, both spiritually and emotionally! It was as if the Lord spoke directly to me through this novel. Soon after, I began reading so much that it had become like oxygen; I needed it to survive. This divine intervention caused a newfound interest in Christian fiction, which was very empowering and inspirational because I was able to see myself in many of the characters with a spiritual lesson being revealed in each one. I believe that because of the seed that was sown into my life, it is now my ministry to share the word of God by blessing others with the opportunity of experiencing God’s love through Christian fiction.
Our mission is to provide women an arena to fellowship, encourage and empower each other by discussing personal experiences as it relates to the Word of God through Christian Fiction. The “Women of Character Book Club” has a sincere desire to be used as a vessel to enable a passionate discovery of each woman’s destiny, to share the Word of God, and to advocate for women with compassion
The Women of Character Book Club is located in Orlando, Florida and was “born” in 2005, with the makings of eight women. The interest and excitement of the group members sort of fueled a reading frenzy and is continually growing by word of mouth. We are a group of women of all ages from different backgrounds, but share a common bond- we love the Lord and enjoy reading Christian Fiction. The fellowship and new friendships that have been formed have really been a blessing.
Romans 1:12- “When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.”
Great history and mission. Tell me, what format do your meetings take place?
We currently meet on the 3rd Saturday every other month at a member’s church. We always open up in prayer for the Lord to lead our discussions. When we have women that are visiting, we discuss our mission statement and review the importance of confidentiality. A designated member will open up with an Ice Breaker. This is a time for them to share a word of inspiration, empowerment and sister-building.
It is through the story lines portrayed in the novels that sometimes hit really close to home, which allows an opportunity for self-discovery in a supportive and compassionate environment. Our discussions are based on real-life experiences as it relates to the word of God.
We have had the opportunity to talk with authors such as Kendra Norman-Bellamy, Stacy Hawkins Adams, Victoria Christopher Murray, Sherri L. Lewis and ReShonda Tate Billingsley via speakerphone. We were blessed to have met Patricia Haley at a book signing for “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie”. We have also been blessed to have Tia Collors visit us as our guest as we discussed “The Truth about Love”.
Women of Character with Author, Tia McCollors.
We have open membership at this time. For more information, please e-mail Jenelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell us about a recent Christian Fiction book that I have recently enjoyed and why? Wow…that is a tough one. I would have to say that I really enjoyed, “Dance into Destiny” written by Sherri L. Lewis. This novel has a little bit of everything; love, how past relationships can affect current ones , finding true friendship, Christian dating and a lot more. The way that Sherri wrote about what it means to build a relationship with God and how she used the characters to explain it was very realistic and inspirational. If you have ever asked yourself,” Why was I created?” or “What is God’s pre-ordained purpose?”, then this novel will definitely get the creative juices flowing.
What would you like to see more and/or less of in Christian Fiction?
We are enjoying the realistic issues. Please continue to keep it real. May God continue to inspire the authors of the Christian Fiction genre. I am sure that whatever the Lord puts on the authors heart to write will be a blessing to someone.
Any aspiring writers in your group?
Yes, there is a couple that I am aware of. Ellena who has started a writing blog called www.blogspot.com/amengirlfriends, she is also in the process of writing a book. There is also Shawn who feels that she will be finished with her book by the end of the year. I can’t wait for the world to see what these ladies have in store.
As you know, book clubs come and go, how does the Women of Character Book Club stand the test of time? I feel our book club has lasted as long as it has mainly because God has always been the center of every decision made .In the beginning the majority of us came together with mostly one thing in common, and that was our love of reading. Over time a bond was formed from the discussions and personal testimonies. So over the years it has become about more than reading a book. We are excited to see each, to encourage, and be encouraged in our daily walk. We are a small intimate group that truly love each other.
The WOC is also a safe haven, a place where members can share their joy’s and sorrow’s, it’s a sisterhood built on faith bound by our desire to go beyond the boundary of books and see what God is speaking into our hearts and minds. It is for this reason that I think we have been able to maintain and grow. WOC has allowed me to experience sisterly fellowship with women who understand that we are all “Water Colored Pearls” (a novel written by Stacy Hawkins Adams that was our 2007 book of the year).
Please share anything else you’d like to know about your book club.
There is something special that I enjoy doing for the women that attend our book club discussions. I make bookmarks to remember the novel that was discussed. These bookmarks have a biblical scripture relating to message in the novel. I also send the author one as well.
The W.O.C. will be participating in our 3rd Annual “Girls Night Out (sleepover).This is time when the members of the Book Club come together for a night of fellowship, food, games, movies and most of all sisterhood. The morning after, we have our book club discussion over breakfast.
In 2007, members of the W.O.C. participated in the first “Crusin For Christ” Cruise hosted by Kendra Norman -Bellamy. This was my first experience on a Cruise, and I must say, the participants were truly blessed.
Since the Faith and Fiction Retreat will be in our hometown next year, the members of the W.O.C. are making plans to participate in this event.
Here we are on the Cruising For Christ trip, doing what we do best!
Jenelle, I enjoyed learning more about you ladies and I look forward to seeing you in Orlando next summer.
Thanks for giving the Women of Character an opportunity to share with you why we love our book club. We ask for your prays and your continued support, and when you need a break…grab a good book, kick back, let go, and let God!!