What first began as a funny way for Pastor Dave Nerdig to preach the gospel has now been published as a book.
"Letters from Pleasant View Lutheran Church" tells the stories of the fictional church's parishioners over 15 Christmases. The book takes a humorous tone from the start, saying, "There is a rumor that Marguerite Oland wandered out onto the prairie one December evening, stomped her foot, pointed at the ground, and refused to move until they came and built the church around her. It's not the truth of course, but Marguerite has never been one to let the truth get in the way of her saintly reputation."
More passages from the book will be read on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Kendall Young Library. Nerdig will read several excerpts and sign copies of the book which will be available for purchase.
Nerdig, pastor at Bethesda Lutheran Church in Jewell, said he first started writing these letters in 1985 as stories for his congregations. He wrote the letters through 1999 and they would eventually be compiled into his first published book.
While humorous in nature, Nerdig says the letters offered lessons about faith to his congregations and will continue to do so to readers.
"The gospel is best presented when people overhear the gospel because it kind of comes in through a side door," Nerdig said. "Stories are one way people can overhear the gospel. They hear stories about other people, they think about other people, and then are able to apply it to themselves."
Nerdig, who has experience as a playwright, writing dramas, short stories and poetry, rewrote the original stories given to his congregations for the book. They were first presented orally, and had to be copied over and transitioned to a format more friendly for readers.
When he started writing the stories, Nerdig was a pastor for about five years. He said the experiences of Michael Wilson, the pastor in his story, reflect his own as he continued to grow into his position.
"You learn which battles are worth fighting and which personal battles can get in the way of sharing the gospel," Nerdig said.
For more information on the book and how to purchase the book online, visit lettersfrompleasantview.com