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Book shares stories of Illinois congregation’s members

Each chapter linked to a hymn

January 18, 2013

WOODHULL, Ill.

Members, former members and friends of United Church of Woodhull sing its praises in a new book titled “Everyone Has a Place in God’s Choir.”

The book includes an index of the 105 authors who contributed testimonies for the book.

The Rev. Cheyanna Losey, who edited the book, wrote a forward, noting that through the process of study, prayer and discussions, session members came to the decision to create the book of testimonies, which has become this unique book.

The creation of the book began in 2011 and continued for a year.

The table of contents of 14 chapters is each related to a hymn, such as “Sweet Hour of Prayer” and “Jesus Loves me” along with other congregational, choir and personal favorites.

“This (book) was ultimately in response to a call God had given us to be bold in our testimony,” Losey explained.

The original idea for the book came from the adult Sunday School Class and through fellowship time and out of conversations, with the Session, Pastor Losey explained the initial process began in 2009 after she decided to enter into the experience of the Doctor of Ministry program at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.

“It was a challenge to keep the voice of each individual, do very little editing other than grammatical and spelling,” the pastor said, adding, “Some participants told their story through interview, and I wrote the information and had them approve what I wrote.”

All of the children’s contributions were kept authentic.

The children wrote how they know God loves them and one girl, age 5, wrote: “He made the sky my favorite color; He made the sun to keep me warm; He sends rain to help the plants grow so I have good food to eat; He made puppies and kitties for me to play with.”

“I know so many of the stories and I wanted others to know them the way I do; as pastor ‘secret keeper’ I was unable to share these stories until everyone agreed,” Losey explained, noting, “I’ve fallen in love with the congregation and people’s stories and I’ve shared mine.”

The book was funded by the memorial fund of the church and the books and an accompanying DVD are being handed out, free of charge, to church members and others who want a copy.

“The book is full of hope, life is joyful, so joyful, and I hope each reader finds deep joy in the gift of our good words,” Losey stated.

Members and others who have read the book have been pleased and interested in the contents and it has brought joy among the members who have learned more about their congregation.

“It is awesome,” is a frequently heard comment about the book.

The story about the book will be included in an article in the January/February 2013 issue of Presbyterian Today.

Losey, a doctor of ministry candidate, came to United Church in Woodhull in September 2006. This was her initial calling to serve a church and she was installed as pastor October 2006.

Losey and her husband Matt have two daughters, Mabel and Ruth.

Photos of church groups and special events are included in the book and the cover photo is an original art work by member Larry Lord.

  1. This is a wonderful and creative book. I love how Losey wove together the hymns with the multi-generational stories

    by Kelly Gregory

    August 12, 2013

  2. I love this work! It represents the very best of the Community of faith. One church living, thinking, singing, exploring faith, and praying together. Nothing is better than the real thing. Rev. Ron Hooker

    by Rev. Ron Hooker (Yale Graduate)

    January 22, 2013

  3. Isn't it wonderful to know that the Church is alive and well.

    by Chris McLeod

    January 19, 2013

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