Full Article About the Christian Writer's Group From the Daily Courier


EDITH DECKER/Daily Courier

Dave Wright, a member of the Grants Pass Christian writers group, who published his memoirs recently, reads at January's group meeting. From left are group members Judy Berlind, Bruce Dunn and Janet Wright.

By Edith Decker of the Daily Courier Just over a year ago, two local writers, Kim Simmons and Kathy Vebora, advertised the first meeting of a group for Christian writers.

The pair lined up speakers for the first few meetings, which are still held monthly at All the World Christian Center, where Simmons' husband Gene is pastor and where she organizes church functions and co-writes the annual vacation Bible school curriculum.

As a new year began, the regulars gathered to read a little of their own work and encourage one another, a break from the guest speakers who talk about their work and process in writing to inspire the group.

"Sometimes we literally had to pull out every chair we have," Simmons said of the previous year's meetings.

Members write poetry, short stories, fiction and non-fiction.

Dave Wright, for example, recently published "Not Enough Tears," his memoir of his time in Vietnam, where he received the Bronze and Silver Stars for his service, and recovering from that service after he returned home.

Wright was scheduled to speak at a church in Medford and was getting encouragement all around.

This time out, though, he read a letter he'd written to his sister for her 50th anniversary.

His wife Janet is also a member of the group.

Simmons talked about beginning her journal for the year and also shared a writing exercise she'd picked up at a writing workshop for teachers that she'd attended at Oregon State University — and one of her resulting short stories.

Group member Bruce Dunn shared a new poem, "What Kids Learn in School Isn't True."

And Doug Rasmussen read his latest draft of the testimonial he's been writing to share at his church and print for his family. "It's been about a year of monkeying around with this thing," he admitted.

It includes his biography and how he became a professional drummer, where his lifestyle was bad for his body and soul. He says leaving the band due to an illness "saved my life." Now he plays in his church praise band and is "playing for Him."

It was Simmons who convinced Rasmussen to write the testimonial, which includes his favorite scriptures, and begin attending the group.

"Words are important to God," she told the group. "As writers' words are important to us."

She also suggested the idea "that God is writing our stories as we're writing ours ... With his help and guidance, it will finish exactly the way he wants it to be."

In all, nine of the regulars were at January's meeting. But they hope even more will attend Feb. 13 for another round of readings. The meeting is at noon at the church's annex, 237 S.E. G St. Use the door between All the World Christian Center and the cleaners.

Meetings of the Christian Writers Support Group are on the second Tuesday of the month. For more, contact 541-441-2955 or writerkate@mail.com.