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Any Day a Beautiful Change: A Story of Faith and Family (The Young Clergy Women Project) Paperback – March 31, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: The Young Clergy Women Project
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Chalice Press (March 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0827200293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0827200296
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,364,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The struggles Pershey reveals, both in becoming a mother and in repairing a marriage, could come off as sensational, but instead are the backdrop for a good story about God acting in people's lives. It's not a tell-all book. It's not a confession. It's testimony." - Fidelia's Sisters

"When I open a book that some endorser has labeled as Lamott-esque, I am almost inevitably disappointed, so the last thing I expected to write about Pershey's engaging tidbit of a spiritual memoir is that it reminds me of Lamott's work... But it does." - Englewood Review of Books

"It is lovely and real and funny and warm and wise.  Because we all struggle and we all rejoice, often at the same time." - Litchick

"One could judge this book by how many chuckles it evokes. It is good in that department. One could also judge the book by its clever and at times provocative turns of phrases. It does well on that score, too. Both criteria would ignore the deeper narrative of this memoir by a young writer, wife, mother and pastor who grows in her acceptance of herself, including her body, as she matures in these roles. Pershey lets us see her vulnerabilities: her doubts about God, her anxieties, her (at one point) shaky marriage, her sense of inadequacy as a mother and pastor. Yet there s never TMI (too much information). Through it all shines the probing spirit of a real-world practical theologian. Judge this book by whether you wish its author were your pastor." ---The Christian Century, June 13, 2012 edition

From the Back Cover

"I expect a good memoir to be wise and funny. A good pastoral memoir should bear witness to God's goodness. I don't normally expect one chapter to force me to read another, or to care so passionately about characters. The glory of this one, in particular, is its incarnationally-shaped bodiliness. We have a new writer to whom we must pay attention."
Jason Byassee, author of The Gifts of the Small Church, senior pastor of Boone United Methodist Church, and Fellow in Theology & Leadership, Duke Divinity School.  

"Pershey writes beautifully about hard things. This is not so much a book about ministry as it is about life. She examines her motherhood, her marriage and her ministry as they are all unfolding, in their tender beginnings, all three, works in progress. Despite being a memoir of faith, this honest book is a sanctimony-free zone."
Lillian Daniel, author of This Odd and Wondrous Calling and senior pastor of First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn. 

"The experiences of women as ministers are relatively new in the 2,000 years of Christian history. In Any Day A Beautiful Change, Pershey shows us with candor and grace how motherhood, the chaos and delights of family, marriage, and our bodies enrich our interpretations of ministry, scripture and liturgy. I'm especially grateful for this memoir as a woman who has experienced pregnancy in the pulpit, but it is a gift for anyone who longs to reflect deeply on life and the church. It's funny and honest and wise."
Debbie Blue, author of Sensual Orthodoxy and From Stone to Living Word and founding pastor, House of Mercy

"Katherine Willis Pershey walks alongside all of us who delight in Eat, Pray, Love, but yearn for a reflection on a different sort of path. With theological depth and insight, Pershey struggles with the passions of life, the heartbreaks of relationship, the worries of parenting, and the truths of vocation. Through all the twists and turns of her emerging marriage, ministry, and motherhood, she leads us to glimpses of reconciliation and wholeness."
Carol Howard Merritt, author of
Tribal Church and Reframing Hope and a pastor at Western Presbyterian Church

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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A wonderful read that is inspiring with a touch of humor.
Jeanette L. Eckeard
It will bless you with the beauty of ordinary things made extraordinary, leaving you with many things to ponder in your own heart.
Sarah
Pershey seamlessly weaves the beauty and the pain together into a tapestry of lovely words that tell her story.
Lee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. Hurley on July 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was absorbed in this book from page 1 of the introduction, "Juliette just had a temper tantrum. This morning I let her watch a shamefully long sting of PBS Kids shows...". What mom can't relate to this?! Many parts of the book affected me in such a way - I could relate to so many of the author's experiences that it made my own struggles feel less isolated. The book moves along at such a pace where I'd catch myself rushing along to see what happens next...then going back a few pages to re-absorb the richness of the detail with which the author writes. 114 pages packed full with laughs, tears and moments to hold your breath with worry. A book you'll be sorry to see end. Happy reading!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Fila on July 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is such a sweet book... not saccharine sweet, but touching and moving. I find myself thinking about it long after having read it. I think about what it means to be a mom; the joy, the pain, and the discovery. I think about what it means to be part of a relationship; the give, the take, and the journey. And I think of what it means to have faith; the wonder, the knowing, and the sweet peace that it brings. Change happens whether we want it or not... but it can be beautiful even when unintended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Suzie Lind on June 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I absolutely adored this book on so many levels. Katherine speaks to the heart of a wife, a mother and a pastor in the way few people can. Her authentic and vulnerable story telling inspires readers to think about the way faith, love and community have given shape to life. I laughed, I cried and was encouraged through almost every page.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chad Thomas Johnston on April 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
The best memoirs seem to spring from the fingers of writers who have an excess of something-or-rather in their lives. This excess begs to overflow the confines of their hearts and minds, and spills onto blank pages in the form of words that feel undeniably alive.

Anne Lamott, in writing the transcendent "Traveling Mercies, overflowed with rugged grace. Jeannette Walls, in writing "The Glass Castle," overflowed with hard-won wit as she unraveled the tangled narratives of her family's dysfunction. Jennifer Luitwieler, in writing "The Accidental Runner and the Power of Poo," overflowed with unexpected determination as she took up running in an effort to train her dog to "doo" his business outside of her house.

It may seem that we writers do what we do because we are too timid to live--that we prefer the comfort and safety of the written word to the living of life. But I would argue that we write because our cups tend to overflow. We are human bottles of champagne that have come uncorked, and we are exploding with life in every direction.

Katherine Willis Pershey`s memoir, "Any Day a Beautiful Change," released in March through Chalice Press, is the work of a writer who has an excess of meaning to glean from her own life as a wife, mother, and pastor. She uncorks her life in these pages, and does so in slow motion so we can savor the celebratory spray.

Pershey's prose is a mix of elegant and colloquial at the same time, and this approach keeps her pastoral musings earthy and intelligible for the layperson. Throughout the book, she proves herself to be a grounded pastor whose beliefs find traction in everyday life. She is not in the business of inflating theological hot-air balloons and floating away on abstract, academic voyages.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Leigh Kramer on December 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
I've wanted to read my friend Katherine's memoir since it came out and so I finally did. I could barely put it down. I found Katherine's account to be mesmerizing, authentic, and often poignant in ways I didn't expect. Even though there's a fair amount related to parenting, I didn't care. This isn't a mama memoir and yet it is. More than that, it's a tale of a marriage restored, as well as a glimpse into the life of a woman who happens to preach. I loved the connections she made.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ellen P Dollar on July 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
(From my review for the Englewood Review of Books):
Among a certain subset of Christians, it has become trendy to praise spiritual memoirists by comparing them to Anne Lamott. I no longer trust such comparisons. Lamott’s voice is so unique—sharply focused yet charmingly disheveled, fiercely critical, yet hospitably humble. And of course, she is funnier than all of the rest of us earnest spiritual memoirists combined. When I open a book that some endorser has labeled as Lamott-esque, I am almost inevitably disappointed.

So the last thing I expected to write about Katherine Willis Pershey’s engaging tidbit of a spiritual memoir, Any Day a Beautiful Change is that it reminds me of Lamott’s work, specifically Traveling Mercies—a book Pershey mentions as a dog-eared favorite. But it does.
Pershey’s voice is more measured and certainly less political than Lamott’s, her humor more understated and her intimate revelations more circumspect. But like Traveling Mercies and Lamott’s other nonfiction work, Any Day a Beautiful Change is not so much a memoir as it is a series of linked essays that explore spiritual truths, relying on loosely chronological events in the author’s life as inspiration.

Ordained in the Disciples of Christ, Pershey writes as priest, wife, and mother, focusing in these pages (a mere 115 of them—her writing is beautifully efficient) on the two-year period following the birth of her daughter Juliette. At the same time, she was pastoring a congregation and working with husband Benjamin to heal a marriage marred by the lobbing of “inexcusable insults,” followed by uneasy truces purchased at the cost of her husband’s increasing “self-loathing.
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More About the Author

Katherine Willis Pershey is the Associate Pastor of the First Congregational Church in Western Springs, Illinois. A graduate of Claremont School of Theology, Katherine previously served as the solo pastor of South Bay Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Redondo Beach, California. She was one of the founding editorial board members of Fidelia's Sisters, a publication of The Young Clergy Women Project. In addition to writing a personal blog, she is a contributor to the Christian Century. She and her husband, Benjamin, have two daughters.