Warner, Jun 2003, 22.95, 320 pp.
In 1975 St. Louis, in nine months a special SECOND SUNDAY will mark the centennial birthday of the founding of the Gethesemane Missionary Baptist Church. However, tragedy strikes when Pastor Forbes suddenly dies. Though the fifty something Pastor occupied the pulpit for six years, the congregation is in a tizzy over selecting someone new in time to lead the gala.
Wealthy Deacon Johnson parades a series of candidates that only seems to divide his church peers. The women, tired of male foolishness, turn to estranged member single mother Sheba Cochran to insure that the individual who heads the church has solid morals and beliefs. Anyone else could cause the death of the church. Exposing these losers of Johnson proves easy until she meets George Wilson. He not only believes in God, he believes in love, especially with Sheba. Now he needs to persuade her regardless of who becomes pastor they belong together in the eyes of God.
Though the selection process is the running link throughout the tale, SECOND SUNDAY is a series of shot stories focusing on congregation members as they struggle in life and worry that the place they turn to for solace will soon be gone. As she did with CHURCH FOLK, Michele Andrea Bowen provides a deep look at an urban African-American church that is done with wit and intelligence so that the reader obtains an insightful tale. The cast is a delight as Ms. Bowen avoids easy stereotyping and instead uses vignettes so the characters seem genuine. Though the action is limited, fans will appreciate this astute 1970s based drama.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner