Literary lecture series invites feedback in Milton

Local author’s book on son’s death to be topic at BUMC Aug. 29

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MILTON, Ga. – “Return to the Water” is the very personal memoir of Milton resident John Stephens about his literary journey to cope with the death of his son in an automobile accident. Stephens is also co-founder with Byron Foster of The Spoken Word.

The Spoken Word is both a community arts program and an outreach ministry of the Birmingham United Methodist Church in Milton. At the quarterly meetings, there is an author/speaker and a roundtable discussion of the book, poem, film or play.

Stephens said he will speak about another tragedy in the book other than his son’s death that will be topical and poignant. BUMC minister the Rev. Dave Benson will lead the discussion after.

“This plays into a vision we have for this church to be the sanctuary of Birmingham,” Benson said. “It’s a place where broken people can come.”

BUMC sits on 100 acres of unspoiled woodlands and does offer a place of solace and peace both indoors and outdoors.

“This church wants to be a place of reflection where you can check your problems at the door,” he said. “We all have issues, and it’s OK to talk about them. In fact, that is a good thing.

“In John’s book, he is both raw and vulnerable. It is a good case study of looking at yourself and your life squarely.”

One author in the series was a wounded warrior, a veteran who was invited to talk about his experiences.

Also speaking at The Spoken Word will be Georgia Tech poet in residence Tom Lux. He is a Guggenheim fellow and a three-time recipient from the National Endowment of the Arts. Lux has been a mentor for Stephens and encouraged him to write “Return to the River.”

For more information about Stephens and his book, see the article on northfulton.com by going to the link http://www.northfulton.com/Articles-COMMUNITY-NEWS-c-2013-07-02-199590.114126-sub-Fathers-memoir-more-than-reflection-on-lost-son.html.