Synopses & Reviews
Thousands of readers have fallen in love with acclaimed Quaker writer Philip Gulley's Home to Harmony, a charming novel of a small town with a kindly spirit whose endearing and eccentric residents are like old friends. In this new edition with a bonus chapter from its sequel, Just Shy of Harmony, readers will ponder the mysteries and miracles that make Harmony a place worth visiting again and again.
Written in a warm, down-home style, this novel chronicles the moving and humorous world of Quaker pastor Sam Gardner in his first year back in his hometown. Laugh and cry with Sam as he reflects on the quirks of human nature in such memorable vignettes as "The Aluminum Years," in which a bumbling Sam mulls over the proper aluminum item to give his wife for their tenth anniversary. In another unforgettable story, the church quilt mysteriously displays the image of Jesus, drawing throngs of the faithful to the remarkable "Shroud of Harmony." Through it all, Sam's love -- for Billy Bundle, the "World's Shortest Evangelist"; Dale Hinshaw, the narrowminded church elder who "knew just enough Scripture to be annoying, but not enough to be transformed"; and all the others -- shines through in a collection of stories that readers will treasure for years to come.
"Gentle. Nostalgic. Gulley is one of a kind." Booklist
"Harmony hosts the biggest collection of crusty, lovable characters since James Herriot settled in Yorkshire." BookPage
"Filled with grace..." Library Journal
“Occasionally, a simple book feels like home, and its characters become cherished friends…this book is pure joy.” Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
In the fictional small town of Harmony, Indiana, Sam Gardner becomes the pastor of his hometown church, Harmony Friends Meeting. In this delightful, first-person book, Sam describes in a warm, down-home style the moving and humorous adventures he encounters his first year home to Harmony.
About the Author
I was born in February of 1961. My mother went into labor while she and my father were watching Gunsmoke.
My father was taken with that program and wanted to name me for one of the characters. Unfortunately, my cousin was named Matt, which left the name Festus for me. My mother, a Catholic, wanted to name me after her favorite pope, Cletus. They compromised by naming me Philip, the guy in the Bible who became a disciple of Jesus and was never heard from again.
I live in the same town where I was born. I moved away at the age of 19 to work, where I met my wife, Joan Apple. We were married on June 2nd of 1984 at the Quaker meetinghouse in Paoli, Indiana. I began attending Marian College in Indianapolis where I studied theology and sociology. I then enrolled at Christian Theological Seminary where I graduated with honors, to the utter amazement of everyone who knew me.
While in seminary, I became the pastor of Irvington Friends Meeting in Indianapolis. While there, our two sons were born, and I began writing essays for our church's newsletter. One Sunday, Paul Harvey, Jr. and Dina Kinnan attended our meeting for worship and began receiving our newsletter. A few months later, they were approached by a publisher with an offer to write. Already committed to a publisher, they recommended my writing instead. I was invited to send the newsletters I'd written to the publisher, who agreed to publish them. That was my first book, Front Porch Tales. I've been writing ever since.
In 1998, my family and I moved back to my hometown. I took a year off to write, then agreed to become the part-time pastor of Fairfield Friends Meeting, a small Quaker meeting near my home, where I continue to minister.
I write five days a week, usually in the morning. I knock off for lunch and a nap, then am back at it until my boys get home from school. Once a week or so, I travel somewhere to give a speech. This is not nearly as exotic as it sounds. If humanity has invented a more dismal way to travel than the airplane, I'm not aware of it.
I don't work on Saturdays, unless I've goofed off through the week and need to catch up, a not uncommon occurrence. Sundays are spent at Quaker meeting for worship and in my recliner, asleep, with the newspaper in my lap. I have single-handedly raised the Sunday afternoon nap to an art form.
This marriage of pastoring, writing and speaking is one that appeals to me. Each activity complements the other. I once spent a summer during college working for the state highway picking up roadkill. Compared to that, what I do now is a breeze.