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.
"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.”
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
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
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.
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
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,
“A story well told, is a
• 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
• 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
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
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”