Letters of Blessing, by Joan McDowell

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5 Dec, 2023

We are privileged this month to share another creative outpouring from one of our BUS members, Joan McDowell. Joan has served as a key part of Adelaide Place Baptist church, along with her family, for many years, as well as serving on the Board of Scottish Baptist College, and working as a Senior lecturer at University of Glasgow.

“I have always enjoyed writing and one of my goals on retirement was to take up this hobby. I was fortunate to join the Renfrewshire and Beyond Christian Writer’s Group and through its awesome members I have learned so much about writing and publishing.

Being unsure where to start writing, I reflected that I frequently write letters to friends and family. Around this time, two people had commented to me that letters I had written to them had been particularly meaningful. This was the seed that resulted in me deciding to write a book on various letters to friends.

Topics came to me at different times and I decided to focus on 31 letters only, to give the book a size. Subject matters are grouped around the areas of Christian growth (four letters), life stages (17 letters), work (four letters) and six different themes. The book concludes with a general blessing. Letters are written to hypothetical friends although each subject matter arose from personal experience. Each letter has one main Bible verse and several others to support its content.

The ‘friend’ to whom letters are addressed is a woman but equally it could be a man. The author of the letters is un-named but is a woman. Each letter ends with an X, which in Egypt denotes Christ but it also is frequently identified as a kiss. It therefore seems appropriate to sign off each letter with an X.

My hopes for the book is that readers would be encouraged in their daily Christian walk and directed to the Bible to give them answers to their various questions. We are all works in progress and so we need support and cheer-leaders to spur us on when we know ourselves to be failing or falling.

The book is aimed for a readership of late teens into adult life. Some of the letters could be used as a template for people who want to write to someone about a particular subject but do not know where to start. I see it as a coffee table book to be dipped into, as and when, various situations arise in people’s lives.”

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