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Church Folk

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  893 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Mississippi, 1963. Essie Lee Lane is a small-town girl who doesn't take "stuff" from nobody. Yet even she isn't ready for the Reverend Theophilus Simmons, one of the South's most fiery and respected young preachers. Down-to-earth, caring, and oh-so-fine, he's everything Essie never thought she'd find in a man, and he realizes she is everything a pastor needs in a wife. But ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Walk Worthy Press (first published 2001)
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Aug 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Church Folk is the first installment in a two book series, which is centered within African American Baptist churches, and tells the story of an up and coming young male pastor, Theophilus Simmons, and his journey to finding love, as well as a notable place within the arduous members of his denomination.

The time period is 1960, and the prologue introduces readers to the main character, the deliciously tall, dark and handsome Theophilus Simmons, as he struggles with his main weakness, women. As
Mar 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
This novel is about a preacher, a young, handsome African Amercan Preacher in the south who is just starting out. He meets a young woman who is a cook in a "jook joint", a place where they serve wonderful spicy food and feature spicy entertainment such as blues singing. Church Folk spans a few years beginning in 1960 (that's the year I was born), Theophilus (handsome young preacher) and Essie (down to earth, fiery-tempered woman) are the two main characters. One of the strongest secondary charac ...more
Jack Hansen
Michele Andrea Bowen's writing captures the era and the culture beautifully while Denise Burse narrates the unfolding events with the style and flavor of an American Southern town during the story's timeline.

The story puts the reader in Mississippi among people who may remind them of those with whom they grew up, interacted, or worked. If it does not, this reader can attest to the feelings of authenticity and charm these people bring to the story.

Church Folk is an enjoyable read/listen about a
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
I almost stopped reading this book at first. The behavior of the main character was not appropriate for a preacher and I was really surprised and shocked. However, I kept reading and it turned out to be a great book. The behavior of men who are supposed to be Godly is shameful but that is reflective of the time and of the reality that people don't always act like they are supposed to. The characters are great and I enjoyed the redemption of Saphronia. The book is also hilarious and I know I laug ...more
Apr 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved book from beginning to end. Essie and Theophilus showed how a pastor and wife can exhibit true love and be themselved inside the church and outside the church doors. I loved their relationship b/c they didn't pretend to be uppity and presitigious even though they both were highly regarded in the church. To be blunt...they kept it real!!! Essie was a jook joint cook, and her personality drew this preacher man in the first time he laid eyes on her. Essie wasn't the choice folks of the church ...more
Feb 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Learned of this book from a comment on FB by Tausha Walker.

Highly amusing ... it's not just the "black" church that acts this way!
Dec 16, 2010 rated it did not like it
This book was dry and I couldn't even bring myself to continue reading it.
Joana Scholtz
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very funny. You will fall in love with the characters in the story. This is a great book for anyone who enjoys funny fiction. I love the mixture of spicy dialogue, which was so true that I can almost hear the voices, with biblical verses that strengthen your ability to suspend reality as you joined in the story.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cute story that will have you laughing and reminiscing on your own "church folk". Loved it...
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the few books I have read multiple times. For those who have family in church leadership you realize just how spot on this book is.
Jasmine Walker
May 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Churck folk
Recommended to Jasmine by: My mom
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
BONDing over BOOKS
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Set in Mississippi in the 1960s, this hilariously entertaining book takes a peek into the world of the sanctimonious politics of church life in the African-American community. We are introduced to The Rev. Theophilus Henry Simmons and Essie Lee Lane and follow them through their courtship and eventual marriage.

Rev. Simmons has aspirations of leading his own congregation and along the way we read about the colorful antics, schemes, and ploys of some unscrupulous individuals. While Rev. Simmons a
Sep 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can I Get An Amen?!!

First-time novelist, Michelle Andrea Bowen, gives us an entertaining and soul-stirring story titled Church Folk. "Church Folk" is the latest release from Walk Worthy Press and lives up to the tradition that has made this publishing company successful…novels of real people rediscovering His plan as they confront their most difficult challenges—and face the biggest decisions of their lives.~~~~~~~The setting is the 60's in the midst of the civil rights movement in which the bla
Jun 25, 2008 rated it liked it
This one was a bit of surprise, though I am not sure why, because I don't know what I expected. I bought it because Amazon kept poking it at me. They do a profile on what you've bought and what you've looked at and they make recommendations. This one kept leading the list and I kept passing it over. I make it a practice to pick up an extra book to get my total over $25 so I can get free shipping, and this book eventually bacame one of those and sat on my "to read" shelf for awhile.

It is a novel
Angelia Poole
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious and Encouraging!!!

The politics of church is the backdrop for this action-packed saga which reveals the real men behind the clergy collars. Some are good people who have experienced bad things, while others are bad people who position others to be bad for their own personal benefits. The most unlikely and unexpected things happen as this story unfolds, and a developing romance between the up and coming Reverend Theophilus Simmons and a bold young lady named Essie ties it all together. F
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Young, handsome Theophilus Simmons is learning the ropes of being a black clergyman in the 1960s. He's also regretting his affair with the hot-to-trot Glodean, who's pleased numerous pastors with her sex-capades. After Simmons marries "jook joint" cook Essie Lee Lane, the couple settles into pastoral life at Greater Hope Gospel United Church where Glodean is a member. There's trouble brewing. It's not long before they discover that the church leadership is actually running a call-girl service ou ...more
Aug 30, 2010 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book about members of an African-American church during the early 1960s. It was an interesting exploration of the politics and infighting that could go on, when really every member of the church should have been working together for issues of civil rights. I thought this line put it well, when a character named Mother Harold was trying to show that she was superior to some of the other church members:

"Women like Mother Harold could draw all the lines they wanted to between who wa
Someone recommended this read; so far, it is just an okay read. I am not sure why I am not as engaged as others. I read nearly halfway and had to move onto another book. Essie was taking a bit too long and stubborn to give Pastor Simmons a chance, which became rather annoying. A good woman sometimes doesn't know when a decent man with some flirtation is in front of them! Some of the church scenes were a bit too much for me...reminds me of another author's writing...but I finished that one.

*I ma
Mar 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am really into Christian fiction and I thought this book was excellent. I also read another of the author's book which takes place in the present day, I don't have it in front of me and can't remember the title (will add it when I remember) and it was also excellent. The way some Church folk behave is terrible, and although I know every person who goes to church - especially black churches - ain't saved, this book really highlighted how some folk act and how hard it could be for some not to ei ...more
Danyelle Scroggins
Feb 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed Church Folk! That Essie Simmons was a hoot and I like the fact that it shows that clergymen do not have to marry women folks think they should but instead whom God choses for them. I really thought it shined a light on the mischief of clergymen who are in it for the wrong reasons. But it also shows that no matter how long it seems that the devil has schemed and cause God's people to stray, when God gets tired, he will pull the covers from over undercover operations. Thanks again ...more
Dec 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very slow starter but demanded more of my attention as it progressed. I'm on to the next one.......Second Sunday. Yes, Michele Andrea Bowen has captivated me with this "chutch" thing. She does an amazing job portraying the southern African American church culture. No, not every African American church has this culture but as Essie would say, "Lawd but a good many of 'em do!"

It was comforting to read a review by an older Caucasian woman that said, "'s not just the "black" church t
Ronald Wise
This book came to my list via the reading list "African-American Fiction for the New Millennium" at the Seattle Public Library. I had been afraid it would be too religious for my taste, but instead found it to be an entertaining good-vs.-evil drama within a Black church. The hero — a principled preacher — and his First Lady had an active sex life which was described in some of the best-written sex scenes I've ever read. The disagreements within the congregation regarding propriety took me back t ...more
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book as I could completely relate to the various characters and settings of church life and events. This is a good read for those who have an understanding of the Christian African-American culture. The book is written from a perspective that the reader can already relate. I could, so it was fascinating!
Feb 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
this was one of the first christian novels i ever read, i was really skeptical about christian fiction, but the books are just as if not even more satisfiying than none christian novels, the characters in the church are people you can relate to and the things that christians do, it was hilarious, i really enjoyed this book. and when she wrote another one, i immediately read it.
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Theophilus Simmons' sermon about valuing the passion between women and men as vital to health of marriage and community, and church
sets the tone for this series.

Fun to read. Fashion described
michele k. edwards
Felt like i was there the whole time reading!

Excellent, this book takes me back to my own experiences in church, both good and bad. I'm hooked, now on to the sequel......"More Church Folks"
Aj Webb
Oct 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
I do like this book but on the other hand there are some part that I don't like because I'm "Church of God in Christ" and there is a higher standard in living a certain chritian way. Other than that it is a really good book.
In all honestly I think the author took to long to get the point/plot of the story. I thought the first 3/4th of the book was very boring and poorly written; therefore, making it very hard to finish the book.
Kay  Williams
Funny and a good read

This book was funny, my husband and I read together and we both enjoyed it. The characters were well developed. I was not to thrilled about the ending but the book did what it set out to do...entertain
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