COLUMBIA—South Carolina’s United Methodist newspaper has launched a book publishing arm, and its five latest releases are bringing in a significant portion of its year-end revenue, as well as showcasing new voices in Methodist theology and discipleship.
The Advocate Press, started in 2017 by the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, has been slowly releasing titles each year, and when its books committee found itself with five excellent selections to consider, it decided to proceed with publishing all of them in the same season rather than postpone and roll out one at a time.
“We have been blown away by the strong writing and the need for books like these in the current faith market, so we decided to take a chance and release them all now,” said Jessica Brodie, Advocate editor.
Sales have “exceeded expectations,” Brodie said, which has been a huge help in the nonprofit ministry’s year-end bottom line. The Advocate, founded in 1837 and it currently the oldest Methodist newspaper still in operation, receives less than half its operating costs from the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church; the rest comes from subscriptions, advertising, individual donations—and now books. Part of the proceeds return to the Advocate, which produces the books in-house and foots the costs, and part goes to the authors.
This season’s book lineup is as follows:
- “What I Have Come to Believe,” by the Rev. Arthur Holt. Are you wavering in some of your theological convictions? Have you given faith the boot from your life, believing it has no place in our modern scientific world? Or are you confused about how to reconcile what you read in Scripture with the “love all” model Jesus Christ offers in his own life? From conservative evangelical to theological liberal, the spiritual journey of retired South Carolina United Methodist pastor the Rev. Arthur H. Holt has evolved over the years. Here, Holt explores his theology, reflecting on everything from abortion, science, sexuality, and the End Times to sin, the spirit, and the Bible.
- “Walk With Me: Your Spiritual Esteem Journey,” by Cathy Joens and Toni Taylor. In this book, Joens and Taylor take you on a journey to learn what holds you back from sharing your faith confidently and what keeps you from stepping out of the boat to lead. As holy friends, Cathy and Toni explore spiritual esteem, what tears it down, and why it matters. They walk with you as you discover a deeper, more authentic relationship with God, self, and others. Spiritual esteem is the confidence to absolutely, with conviction, without a doubt, believe in who you are—the same way God believes in you. It gives you the courage to rise above yourself for the sake of others and the Gospel. In this timely and much-needed book, Walk With Me provides you a new faith lens to look inside yourself, love who you are, and share your faith with passion.
- “Faith in Action: Stories of Salkehatchie Summer Service,” by the Rev. John Wesley Culp Sr. Since 1978, Salkehatchie Summer Service has been changing hearts and lives by offering youth and adults an opportunity to draw closer to Christ through service. Teams go directly into communities of chronic poverty and repair the homes of local families there. By immersing them in an intense physical, emotional, and spiritual experience, Salkehatchie aims to make disciples of Christ. After a week of service, many of the volunteers say, “My life changed forever.” In this book, Salkehatchie’s founder, Rev. Culp, gathers stories of those who offered sweat, blood, and tears in grueling heat, some for one summer and some returning summer after summer for decades—today bringing their own children and even grandchildren. Today, these volunteers are teachers, doctors, lawyers, business people, ministers, military personnel, parents, and community members engaged in all walks of life. Their work is a collective witness of the power of Christ’s redeeming and merciful love at work in our lives.
- “From My Heart to Your Eyes: Poems of Faith and Social Justice,” by Stephon C. Void, is a collection of poems on faith and justice from one man’s experiences as he walks with Christ in the world, reflecting on his heritage, what it means to be a minority in America, how it feels to be marginalized by fellow believers, and how his relationship with Jesus keeps him strong. Void, a native of Bowman, South Carolina, is a certified lay servant in the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church and holds a bachelor’s in biology and a master’s in biotechnology from Claflin University. He is the nuclear magnetic resonance technician in Claflin’s Department of Chemistry.
- “Who Am I? A Devotional for a Jesus-Centered School Year,” by Cindy Barrineau Curtis. In the Gospel of John, Jesus clearly tells us who he is—the Great I Am—and helps us to discover who we are in him. But the chaos and rush of the world sometimes drown out that truth. In this student devotional, which follows the school year from August through May, students from sixth to twelfth grade can dive into Jesus’s seven “I Am” statements week by week, helping us navigate our identity in Christ as we navigate the academic season. From “I am the true vine” to “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” uncover the freedom each of us has in the risen savior even as we struggle to figure out what God has planned for our life. Curtis, a master teacher, published author, and motivational speaker whose career spans more than 30 years in education, ministry, writing, and speaking, is currently the youth director at St. Andrews Parish United Methodist Church, Charleston.
Paperbacks and ebooks are available for each. Learn more and purchase online at https://advocatesc.org/books/.
Other titles from the Advocate Press include "More Stories of Racial Awakening," compiled by Brodie; "Preaching in the Midst Of: How Black Preaching Has Changed in the COVID-19 Pandemic," by the Rev. Amiri Hooker; "Called by God: 30 Inspiring Call Stories from South Carolina United Methodists;" "What Would Granny Say? And Other Somewhat Embellished Memories," an essay collection by the Rev. Tony Rowell; "Feed My Sheep: A 40-Day Devotional to Develop a Heart for Hunger Ministry," by Brodie; "More Like Jesus: A Devotional Journey," by Brodie; and "Stories of Racial Awakening: Narratives on Changed Hearts and Lives of South Carolina United Methodists."