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Deacon Alfred Mitchell
Home 404-288-7804
Office 404-885-7407
Fax 404-978-2778
Email: dcnalfred875@bellsouth.net
Website: www.deaconalfred.com

African-American Stories, Storytelling Instruction and Seminars, Biblical Stories; Retreats for Deacons and Wives, Parish Retreats and Days of Reflection; Workshops for Lectors and catechumens; Homiletics, Stories in Preaching, Schools.

INTRODUCTION
"I have loved stories for as long as I can remember. As a young boy I spent many hours listening to stories told by my grandmother. Many of the stories she told were about family members and residents of the small town in which we lived. Her stories were often humorous and usually contained a moral or a lesson of some kind. I tend to tell the same kinds of stories.
I believe strongly in the power of stories. They have a way of putting people at ease.They also help us to answer three very important questions: Who Am I? Where do I come from? and Where am I going? Listen to a person‘s stories, and you’ll come away with the answers to these questions.
Towards the end of my service as a Federal Civil Service employee, in 1987, I was ordained as a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. I am now employed by the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta as the Director of Deacon Personnel. That has been my occupation since October, 1990. Prior to that I was an unpaid director for 2_ years.
As a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church I use stories in my ministry of preaching, teaching and reaching out to others. I have been telling stories all my life, though I didn’t become professionally involved in storytelling until after my ordination to the Diaconate. I saw storytelling and storytelling techniques as a way of bringing my homilies alive and making them more meaningful to the congregation.

“A good story is like good wine, it gets better with age.”

STORYTELLING
For five summers I conducted ten-hour seminars in storytelling at the University of Notre Dame in its Retreats International Summer Institute. Seminars ranged in size from five to about twenty persons. This course has also been presented to The Pastoral Ministry Formation program of the Department of Religious Education, Archdiocese of Atlanta.

The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with storytelling. The course is intended for anyone wishing to become acquainted with the storytelling art. It also contains lessons for the beginning and intermediate teller.

Material covered includes telling your own story, telling the family story, characteristics and laws of storytelling, the voice as the primary storytelling tool, sacred and biblical stories.
Another ten-hour seminar in storytelling is entitled “African and African-American Storytelling” presented at the School of Sacred Storytelling’s winter session in 2002 and Retreats International at Notre Dame in the summer of 2003.

This seminar is an overview of African and African-American Storytelling from biblical times to the present. The course is designed for educators of Black children, Black children, presenters of programs for Black History Month, Black storytellers and all others who are interested in African and African-American storytelling.

Subjects covered include Blacks in biblical literature, the African griots and griottes, African storytelling and its characteristics, Afro-Caribbean storytelling and modern day storytelling in the Black community.
I have also conducted seminars in storytelling techniques for preachers, for Dominican priests, and for deacons in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Birmingham, AL, Columbus, Ohio and the deacons of Episcopal Region 7. Again, during the course of these seminars I tell several stories.

RETREATS
I regularly lead retreats and days of reflections in the Atlanta area and in other places around the country, particularly for Diaconate Programs. I have given retreats for Diaconate programs in Nashville, Tennessee; Grand Rapids and Lansing, Michigan; Columbus, Ohio; Boise, Idaho, Davenport, Iowa a nd Baton Rouge, LA. Storytelling is an integral part of these retreats and days of reflections.

The retreat format generally consists of an opening prayer or hymn for each talk. This is followed by a passage from scripture, a story(ies), short lecture and reflection. Time is allowed for the participants to reflect on what has been said. The number of talks per day is flexible. Retreats can also be tailored to fit the needs of individual groups.

Some retreat titles are: “Jesus the Light Giver,” “Praying with the Saints,” “A Walk with Jesus: From the Desert to Emmaus,” “God’s Amazing Grace - It Blooms Everywhere,” “Faith,” and “Hope."

Not all of my storytelling is church-related. I’ve told stories at the festival gathering of the Network of Biblical Storytellers (NOBS), the National Association of Black Storytellers (NABS), Southern Order of Storytellers (SOS), the Colloquy of Sacred Storytellers, and at the annual convention of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature.

Other professional work includes an article on telling the Saga of Joseph and His Brothers, the biblical story from the book of Genesis. The article appeared in a publication by the School of Sacred Storytelling: The Art of Biblical Storytelling: A Manual of Tools and Stories for the Journey, September 2000, Jemez Springs, NM.

“A story well told, is a lesson well-taught.”

FAVORITE STORIES
Mrs. Pearl’s Dress: A humorous temptation story illustrating what can happen when we place ourselves in those “near occasions of sin.” 7-8 minutes.
Reds: A childhood story about the love of two young boys for a pet rooster who thought he was a dog. 8-10 minutes.
Uncle David’s Coat: An adaptation of an old story that has been around for many years. Another childhood story involving a favorite aunt and a very improbable “friend.” 10 -12 minutes.
• From St. Luke’s Gospel:

  • “The Good Samaritan” - 5 minutes
  • “The Prodigal Son” - 10 minutes.
  • “Jesus’ visit to Martha and Mary.” - 3 minutes
MEMBERSHIPS
National Association of Black Storytellers (NABS)
Kuumba Georgia Storytellers
Colloquy of Sacred Storytelling
Network of Biblical Storytellers (NOBS)
National Storytelling Network
Southern Order of Storytellers (SOS)
Atlanta Storytelling Guild

AVAILABILITY
I will tell to all groups, but prefer adults and young children. I am available for workshops, seminars, and retreats anywhere in the United States, particularly on weekends.
“A story untold, is a journey not taken”
 
©2014 Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia