Shalom Sistas Launch Week
Last week, Osheta’s first book, Shalom Sistas: Living Wholeheartedly in a Brokenhearted World, was released by Herald Press and is now available wherever you get your books. This is a huge milestone for Osheta in her journey as a writer. It wasn’t that long ago that she began blogging, thinking that her appeal and reach would be limited. Oh how wrong she was! Her voice on issues affecting women and people of color has been heard and appreciated by a very wide audience, and amplified by many of the writers she and I look up to most. It has been amazing to see her shine, while teaching and encouraging people, and doing something that makes her come alive. I couldn’t be more proud of her.
Last Saturday, we celebrated the release of her book with a launch party called “A Night of Shalom” at a wonderful venue here in LA called Holy Grounds. It’s a beautiful cafe themed with Mexican American artwork and Roman Catholic iconography. Osheta was particularly interested in gathering in that space because of how it celebrates and embodies a very specific aspect of Los Angeles culture. This fits with Shalom Sistas in that Osheta’s goal is that women (and men) who read the book will learn how to celebrate and embody shalom as “the culture of the kingdom of God.”
The night was wonderful. It was so good to see good friends and meet new people who came out to support Osheta and her book. Kim Johnson, of Homeboy Industries, emceed the night, and Osheta was very intentional about giving attendees some practical shalom steps about how they can continue to live out shalom in their everyday lives. So, she made space for Kim to tell the gathering more about Homeboy along with our friend and urban missionary, Amanda Flickner, who shared about InnerChange LA, and our friend Pastor Mariann Reardon, shared about the Full Circle Thrift Shop, started by Pasadena Mennonite Church (where we’ve been attending for the past few months). Of course, Osheta also read some from the book, and answered questions Kim facilitated. And, there was a time for dancing to Janet Jackson, along with shalom cupcakes and red beans and rice. It was an really fun night! Here are some photos. (Huge shout out to Ryan Murray, who is such a humble yet incredibly talented photographer, and his lovely wife Nora. You guys are such precious friends! If you’re in the LA area and need photography, Ryan is the best!)
Then, yesterday, Osheta spoke at Pasadena Mennonite Church on a theme from her book: Subversive Joy, and stuck around after service to sign copies of the book. We have been so encouraged by our time with our Anabaptist sistas and brothas at PMC. This hasn’t been an easy season for us, since I resigned from my former ministry role. But, getting to know Tim and Mariann Reardon, along with several others from PMC has been so life-giving. Huge shout out to that beautiful congregation!