Beyond the Books reading guide

June 7, 2021

"Beyond the Books" is a diverse reading group established by the former Pastor of Marshville  United Methodist Church, Reverend Cindy Lunsford in 2016. 
Beyond-the-Books is a Dinner and Discussion Reading Group where members explore a wide range of racial and social issues with an agenda to further their personal understanding. Our exploration occurs through the reading of books, watching movies, and our own personal experiences. Our goal is to understand issues better and then represent the body of Christ in our homes, our churches, and our communities. We also support where we can with community-driven projects as well as adopting our local schools as a staple place for us to advocate. Beyond the Books, current members are a diverse group of believers from Marshville United Methodist, First Baptist Marshville, and Christ Bible Discipleship Worship Center. We meet each  Tuesday from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. Our menu, subject matter, and location vary but our goal is constant: We want to work with others to be a light in our community.  

Our History: 

  • 2016: September 2016, we read the book The Color of Water, a Black Man’s Tribute to  His White Mother by James McBride. We also read Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the  American City by Matthew Desmond and CHASE THE LION: If you Dream Doesn’t  Scare You, It’s Too Small by Mark Batterson.  
  • 2017: We read Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric  Dyson. We also watched and discussed the movies: 12 Angry Men, Little Boy, Crash, Look Who's Coming to Dinner, and The Case for Christ.  
  • 2018: We took on more studies to help with our personal relationship with Christ by doing the following studies: The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer, The Study of Mark, and Discovering our Spiritual Gifts by Lakeysha Medlin. We read America's Original Sin by Jim Wallis. We went to see the movie, The Hate You Give, as a group.  
  • 2019: We did our first Give Back Project as a group at Forest Hills High School by providing the meal for one of their staff meetings. We also participated in the reading buddy program at Marshville Elementary. Also as a group, we attended Marshville’s  National Night Out and handed out invites to the book club. We read and completed the study on the Birmingham Letter by Dr. Martin Luther King  Jr. as well as Lifeway’s Six Week Session: Counter-Cultural Bible Study. We read and discussed Heal Us Emmanuel: A Call for Racial Reconciliation,  Representation and the Unity in the Church by Doug Serven, Hearts of Fire: Eight  Women in the Underground Church and Their Stories of Costly Faith by The Voice of the Martyrs. We read the article Richard Rohr on White Privilege written by Richard  Rohr. We watched and discussed the Netflix Series, The Family. 
  • 2020 
    • January - We attended the MLK Annual Prayer Breakfast sponsored by the MLK Committee and held at Wingate University.  
    • February - We were discussing and making plans for a community project called  Encouraging East Union. However, due to the Corona Virus, this project was put on hold.  
    • April - We stopped meeting in person, and we started meeting virtually due to Covid-19. However, we read the books Yada Yada Prayer Group, Book 1 and 2  by Neta Jackson. 
    • June 5, 2020: We partnered with Be the Village Community Advocate Group and hosted a Graduation Parade Celebration for the graduating 8th Grade Class of East Union.  
    • June 23, 2020: We met in person and we had a heart to heart conversation about the tragic recent events: The killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Black  Lives Matter, the removal of racist statues/monuments, and how we wanted to be a resource in our community to continue these conversations as well as continue to make impactful changes in our homes, our churches and our communities.
    • June 30, 2020: We discussed the Netflix show, 13th.  
    • July 14, 2020: We started monthly meetings with the Town Council and Police  Department of Marshville.  
    • August 25, 2020: We held a Candlelight Vigil Prayer Walk around the center of the Town of Marshville.  
    • September 29, 2020: We Celebrated our 4th Year Anniversary. 
    • October 2020: We read and discussed the book, Be the Bridge by Latasha  Morrison. 
    • December 1, 2020: Annual Christmas Party 
  • 2021 
    • January- We are still meeting virtually because of Covid-19. We watched and discussed the movie, Best of Enemies. 
    • February - We discussed local Black History, particularly Monroe’s Kissing Case. Also in February, we got the wonderful opportunity to partner with the Town of  Marshville to plan and host their first-ever Juneteenth Celebration.
    • March - April - We finally decided to meet in person in March, we took necessary  Covid-19 precautions and we read and discussed the Book, Holding Up Your  Corner by F. Willis Johnson.
    • May - We read the book, Conversations with Daughter About Racism by local author, Sandy Reid. May 18th, she along with her daughter to whom the book was written about was our guest and we were able to discuss and ask questions. 

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