BLUEFIELD — Before people began to write, they told stories to one another. Storytelling was synonymous with an oral history of the world. In this age of technology and texts, Pastor Brent Brown, of Bluefield, wrote a book of his sermons titled, “Four Seasons of Coffee Talk,” to share his gift of storytelling.
Brent Brown is the minister of Trinity Methodist Church and Bland Street United Methodist Church, both located in Bluefield, W.Va. A native of Craigsville, W.Va. and a 1978 graduate of Bluefield College, Brown was called to ministry in the late 1980s. He graduated from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in 1993.
“My grandmother’s house in Crupperneck in Nicolas County, W.Va. We didn’t have any television or anything like that so the older people like my father and my aunts would tell stories and I listened to the stories,” Brown said. “I heard stories before I began to tell stories.”
Brown said that he has always had a difficult time expressing himself on paper, but he could express himself verbally.
“My father was an awesome storyteller so I started telling stories at a young age. I couldn’t write, but I could tell a good story. When I became a Methodist Minister it made sense to use the art of storytelling in my sermons,” Brown said.
According to a press release, throughout his 30 years of ministry, Brown has become well known for his love of “storytelling” in sermons and for the cup of coffee that he often carries in his hand. To Brent coffee represents his desire for people to slow down and to really talk to each other.
“I am a United Methodist pastor and they appoint you to a church. I hope this is my last appointment, I really like the Bluefield area and I have spent most of my time in this area so we really like it here,” Brown said. “I have two churches, I have Bland Street Methodist Church and Trinity Methodist Church.”
Brown, a long-time coffee lover, said he thinks coffee is a great way to start a conversation, which is why he enjoys it.
“You can look someone in the eye, it is hard for me to talk to someone on the phone. You can see people’s response and look them in the eye,” Brown said. “I have always loved coffee, I have always drank coffee and I just feel that is a good way to start a conversation.”
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic Brown began to broadcast sermons over the web so his two congregations could attend service safely from home. These recordings sparked the idea for “Four Seasons of Coffee Talk.”
“We have been doing that for over a year,” Brown said of his recorded sermons. “We took those recordings and a court stenographer and she typed out those videos and that is how it began.”
“Four Seasons of Coffee Talk” consists of 14 sermons and many more stories throughout.
“When you read this book, it reads almost exactly how I speak. It is Appalachian talk,” Brown said. “This book has really good stories in it, they are all personal stories. My dad told me one time, ‘Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story,’ but all of these stories are true and at the pulpit when I am preaching, if I tell a story that is not true, I will tell the congregation that is not true, but all of the stories in this book are true. They are all personal stories, things that I have experienced, they are my stories. People can share them, but they are stories I have experienced, I have witnessed these things.”
“Four Seasons of Coffee Talk” is a collection of sermon stories that reflect upon Brent’s life experiences and that connect to his journey of faith.
Brent is married to Deborah Martin Brown from Halifax, Va. and they have two sons, Brad and Cody and three grandchildren. When asked why Brent wanted to publish the book, he said, “I wanted to leave a part of me to my children, who could in turn leave it to their children.”
“Four Seasons of Coffee Talk,” is available for $15 each. Shipping is an additional $5. All profits are donated back to the two churches where Brown serves. If you would like to order a copy contact Carolyn Toney via text 304-887-8511 or mail your order to 112 Oakhurst Avenue, Bluefield, West Virginia 24701.
— Contact Emily Rice at firstname.lastname@example.org