December Bookshelf

December 6, 2021 | | Bookshelf, GNJ News

This month we are hoping for peace on earth for all our neighbors. Discover the varied selection of books below, including a children’s book written by GNJ’s Rev. Geralda Aldajuste. We invite you to read these on your own or consider using one for a book club small group.

Finding Sanctuary in the Midst of Alzheimer’s: A Spiritual Guide for Families Facing Dementia

(2021, Morgan James Faith) By Elizabeth Shulman

Just released in September, Finding Sanctuary in the Midst of Alzheimer’s is currently the only Bible study available that addresses common challenges for dementia caregivers using both scripture and personal narratives. Because each section is self-contained, Finding Sanctuary in the Midst of Alzheimer’s is not just for churches; it can also be used for personal spiritual exploration or for individual groups such as senior centers, assisted living facilities, or support groups looking to integrate a spiritual component. With special sections that address the unique caregiving challenges for spouses, adult children and the community surrounding caregivers, this book offers comfort and hope to caregivers while giving others the opportunity to walk in their shoes and experience the struggles unique to dementia caregiving.

Elizabeth Shulman, D.Min., STNA has over 30 years of experience in both parish and healthcare ministry. Her devotions for caregivers have appeared in Guideposts’ Strength and Grace, and she frequently speaks to churches, retirement communities, and other community groups on dementia and caregiving. A spousal caregiver for 8 years, she now trains congregations to be more comfortable and confident in ministering to families impacted by dementia. Elizabeth’s presentations, Mary and Martha Caregiving and A New Pair of Glasses, inform audience members on the challenges of caregiving and offers hope to caregivers by providing new ways to reframe their experience. She and her husband, Leo, share 7 wonderful daughters and live near Cleveland, Ohio. To find out more, please visit her website:

Knowing God from A-Z

(2021, Vine Publishing) By Geralda Aldajuste

Knowing God from A-Z, which was released on Dec. 5, teaches children the alphabet while they also learn about God. It introduces the youngest of children to the character of God. Start your child’s faith journey at an early age so that they will become the person who God has called them to be.

Geralda Aldajuste is the pastor at St. Paul UMC in Willingboro. She is also a professor, a Licensed Funeral Director licensed in both NY & NJ, a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, Notary Public and Life Insurance Agent. She is also a former Hospice Volunteer, Clinical Pastoral Education Chaplain (CPE), Medical Death Investigator and Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Bereavement Counselor.

One Thousand Wells: How an Audacious Goal Taught Me to Love the World Instead of Save It

(2016, ) By Jena Lee Nardella

One Thousand Wells is the story of the nonprofit, Blood:Water. Working throughout 11 countries in Africa, Blood:Water has provided healthcare for over 62,000 people in HIV-affected areas and has partnered with communities to provide clean water for more than one million people in Africa. The book chronicles the difficult path along the way, challenges that tested her faith. Jena Lee Nardella discovered true change comes only when you stop trying to save the world and allow yourself to love it, even when it breaks your heart.

Jena Lee Nardella is the cofounder of Blood:Water, which she started 10 years ago at the age of 22 with the band Jars of Clay. Following her vision and leadership, the organization has brought clean water access to more than one million people in Africa and provided healthcare for more than 62,000 people in HIV-affected areas. In 2012, Jena was invited by President Obama to pray for the nation in front of a TV audience of 20 million. She has been honored as an Epoch Award Winner and as one of Christianity Today‘s 33 under 33 Christian leaders shaping the next generation of faith. She serves on the core team for Praxis, a venture group helping entrepreneurs build high-impact organizations and served on the board for Equitas Group, a philanthropic organization focused on ending child exploitation in Haiti and Southeast Asia. Jena and her husband, James, and their son, Jude live in Nashville and East Africa.

Midnight Library

(2020, Viking) By Matt Haig

Midnight Library is a novel that tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better? We have noticed that this book has been used by some of our churches as part of their book clubs.

Matt Haig is the number one bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive, Notes on a Nervous Planet and six highly acclaimed novels for adults, including How to Stop Time, The Humans and The Radleys. He also writes award-winning books for children, including A Boy Called Christmas.

No Cure for Being Human

(2021, Random House) By Kate Bowler

No Cure for Being Human is one woman’s search for a way forward after being diagnosed with cancer. The book chronicles her journey as she grapples with her diagnosis, her ambition and her faith in an attempt to come to terms with her limitations in a culture that says anything is possible.

Kate Bowler, Ph.D. is a New York Times bestselling author, podcast host and a professor at Duke University. She studies the cultural stories we tell ourselves about success, suffering and whether (or not) we’re capable of change. In her twenties, she became obsessed with writing the first history of the movement called the “prosperity gospel”—which promises that God will reward you with health and wealth if you have the right kind of faith. She researched and traveled across Canada and the United States interviewing megachurch leaders and televangelists and everyday believers about how they make spiritual meaning out of the good and bad in their lives.

Overflow: Increase Worship Attendance & Bear More Fruit

(2013, Abingdon Press) By Lovett H. Weems Jr. and Tom Berlin

Overflow offers practical research-based insights and tactical ideas that result in improved worship attendance and in fruitful congregations. The authors identify practices that lead to increased attendance. They offer clear instruction, showing church leaders the areas where we must pay attention throughout the year, and demonstrating new ways to approach worship planning.

Lovett H. Weems Jr. is distinguished professor of church leadership and director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. He came to this position in 2003 after 18 years as president of Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, MO. A native of Mississippi, Dr. Weems is a graduate of Millsaps College, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University and Wesley Theological Seminary. The author of several books published by Abingdon Press, his most recent includes a revised edition of his classic, Church Leadership: Vision, Team, Culture, and Integrity. He co-edits the online newsletter “Leading Ideas,” available free at

Tom Berlin is Lead Pastor of Floris UMC in Herndon, VA. A graduate of Virginia Tech and Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Berlin is author of Defying Gravity: Break Free from the Culture of More, 6 Decisions That Will Change Your Life, 6 Things We Should Know About God, and 6 Ways We Encounter God.

Wholehearted Faith

(2021, HarperOne) By Rachel Held Evans

Wholehearted Faith is a collection of writings from Rachel Held Evans written before her untimely death in 2019 with the help of her close friend and author, Jeff Chu. The book has been woven together with some of her other unpublished writings into a rich collection of essays that ask candid questions about the stories we’ve been told—and the stories we tell—about our faith, our selves, and our world.

Rachel Held Evans was the New York Times bestselling author of Inspired, Searching for Sunday, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, and Faith Unraveled. Her words about faith, doubt and life were featured not only on her own blog but also in numerous publications, including the Washington Post, The Guardian, and the Huffington Post. She appeared on NPR, BBC, the Today show and The View. She served on President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Jeff Chu is co-curator of Evolving Faith, alongside Sarah Bessey, who founded the gathering with Rachel Held Evans. He is also the author of Does Jesus Really Love Me? and an editor-at-large at Travel+Leisure. He, his husband, Tristan, and their dog, Fozzie, live in Grand Rapids, MI.

You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience

(2021, Random House Audio) By Tarana Burke and Brené Brown

You Are Your Best Thing is a collection of writings from a dynamic group of Black writers, organizers, artists, academics and cultural figures to discuss vulnerability and shame resilience. Together, they create a space to recognize and process the trauma of white supremacy, a space to be vulnerable and affirm the fullness of black love and black life.

For nearly three decades, activist and advocate Tarana J. Burke has worked at the intersection of racial justice, arts and culture, anti-violence and gender equity. Fueled by commitments to interrupt sexual violence and other systemic inequalities disproportionately impacting marginalized people, particularly Black women and girls, Burke has created, led and participated in various campaigns focused on increasing access to resources and support for impacted communities, including the ‘me too.’ movement, which to date has galvanized millions of survivors and allies around the world.

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work.  Also a visiting professor in management at The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business, Brown is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers and is the host of the weekly Spotify Original podcasts Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead.