By Carmen M. Woodson-Wray, Gary Crusader
Rev. Sieon Roberts, pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church has launched Gary’s first book club for men. It’s called The Men’s A.R.C. of Northwest Indiana.
The Men’s A.R.C. of Northwest Indiana is strategically designed to transition participants into Authors, Readers and Critical Thinkers.
During the debut session there were 10 men ranging in ages from 16 to 59 who attended last weekend at Denny’s Restaurant to discuss the first three chapters of the book “Healing the Orphan Spirit” by Leif Hetland. According to Rev. Roberts the book is part of a “sonship” that helps men strengthen self-identity using a spiritual perspective.
Rev. Roberts is the author of two books himself. His first book is an autobiography about how he went from an abused child to becoming a pastor of a church titled “Panting After His Presence” written in 2006. The second is titled “Teen Rocks” written in 2014, which is a study guide for teenagers.
He said the hope for the group is that some of the men will become authors and begin to read books. He said, “That’s why I named them what I expect them to be– authors.”
Rev. Roberts said he decided to start a book club because a book club is something you see women doing predominately. “The age-old adage is if you want to hide something from us put it in a book. My thought process was that if you can get men, especially African American men, in a book club it would inspire them and give them incentive to read, empower themselves and change a culture,” he said.
Most of the books the group will be reading will be spiritual, but not all of them. He said he told the group hopefully they can find positive books that are not necessarily spiritual all the time, but he wanted to set the foundation by starting off with spiritual reading.
Rev. Roberts said he hopes to gain from this group of men who will want to be empowered, not only by reading books, but by discussing them more, get perspectives from other men which would be a tremendous help, support them in continuing to read, gain knowledge and be inspired to write their own books so much so that it helps us with our critical thinking and decision making.
The group meets every two weeks at various locations. As more men join, their names will be put on a list and receive correspondence about each meeting. The next meeting will be on April 23 at 9 a.m. at either the Genesis Center or at one of the Gary libraries.