If you have seen the movie, you will want to read the book to get the rest of the story. If you have not seen the movie, you will want to read the book to get the whole story.
The movie was a moving experience, but the book provides so much more detail that the reader quickly realizes that the story is much more important than that found on the big screen. Rev. Michael Spurlock is appointed to a dead end church in Smyrna, TN. The church had gone through a very difficult church split and had a mortgage that far exceeded the remaining congregation's ability to care for themselves. The decision had been made by the local church and the denominational representatives to sell the property and move to a smaller location that could be had for the cost of rent while they began the rebuilding of the church.
God had other ideas.
Into their midst walked a small group of refugees - sent to check out the local Episcopal Church. On the surface, it would appear that the refugees would bring more drain on the resources of the church than they could possibly add. But, to quote myself, "God had other ideas."
What happened was the transformation of lives - both the American church members who stayed with the church and the Karenese refugees that joined them in worship. But the transformed lives did not stop there - it would include, over time, members of the Smyrna community, both its general population and its officials (police, government, etc.). Pastor Spurlock, the church, and the Karen would need to learn to trust God if the church was going to survive. Throughout the story we see unexpected answers to prayer - from the heavens, in the form of needed rain; people, who brought skills at the right time; and equipment, like the "1000 gallon water tank with a pump mounted on a trailer."
The story introduces us to the pain that the church felt when Rev. Spurlock chose after four years to take a position in New York, but the reader also celebrates with the church as they realized that God had sent the next pastor that they needed on their spiritual journey.
At one level, All Saints is the story of a church. But it is also the story of changed lives - lives unexpectedly touched by the Grace of God.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.