Monday, October 05, 2009

Former area journalist's book to premier at Keansburg library

KEANSBURG -- Journalist-turned Baptist Minister Jim Purcell will be reading excerpts from his new book, "Faith Outside the City," at the Keansburg Waterfront Public Library, 55 Shore Blvd. on Sat., Oct. 24th. The reading will take place between noon and 2 p.m.

Purcell will be joined at the reading by "World Takes" author Tim Waldron, who is an editor at Word Riot Press, based in Middletown. Waldron will also be reading excerpts from his book, which has been in print for several months and has been featured in such publications as NJ Monthly Magazine.

Purcell, who formerly published The Courier weekly newspaper for Bayshore Press before it closed in April, said he wrote most of the 177-page work last summer. "I think there was this need within me to talk about everyday Christianity, and some of those things that hold people and communities back from finding real peace in faith," Purcell said.

Purcell began attending the New York Theological Seminary, in Manhattan, during 2006. He is scheduled to graduate from the seminary in May, 2010 with a Master's of Professional Studies. Yet, he credits his renewed interest in faith to his coverage of the World Trade Center attack, in Lower Manhattan, during September 2001. Purcell covered the efforts of Keansburg volunteers at Ground Zero, and consequently chose the borough as the place to premier his book. It was at Ground Zero, Purcell said, that his witness to the courage and devastation of the attack sparked his call to ministry after a long absence from his Baptist faith.

"There is a political element to the book, I suppose," Purcell said, "because it talks about those who are marginalized in American communities of faith: homosexuals, the poor, women, immigrants, those of faiths other than Christianity, and minority groups, among others." Inspired by Christian theologians like Cornel West, Obery Hendricks and Dale Irvin, Purcell said he found his voice in print after coming to the realization that much of what separates communities of faith usually has something to do with human agendas. "So much of the pain, guilt and division that plagues us as communities and peoples of faith is this idea that there are some groups that love God or humanity more than others. Walls get put up to people and groups, shutting them out and it is these walls that weaken, not strengthen, our individual and collective beliefs in God and salvation," he said.

Purcell said he would specifically be reading excerpts from his book regarding borough volunteers' efforts at Ground Zero during this upcoming reading. Purcell noted he is also honored to be joined by Waldron, whose work the author said he is a fan of. "Tim Waldron is one of the most talented young writers out there, in my opinion," Purcell said. "He has an amazing amount of talent and I have heard him read his work several times, in venues from Rhode Island to Manhattan, and keep finding new ways to appreciate his work." Purcell also thanked Keansburg Librarian Darlene Franklin for scheduling the reading at the popular borough library. He noted that, when contemplating where he would launch the new book, "It couldn't be anywhere else other than the borough. It is like a second home and a place that has been and is very important to me."

"Faith Outside the City," which is Purcell's first book, is being published by Word Riot Press. The book sells for $14.95 per edition, and will be available for purchase online at Amazon and at selected local bookstores by mid-October. As well as in print, Purcell said "Faith Outside the City" will be available in a Kindle format.

For more information about the reading, call the library at (732) 787-0636..

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