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A Gathering in Hope: A Novel

A Gathering in Hope: A Novel

4.7 3
by Philip Gulley

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Bestselling author Philip Gulley offers humorous, small-town storytelling as he follows the foibles and follies of Pastor Sam Gardner.

Thanks to an unexpected windfall, Sam Gardner's congregation (with the exception of a few malcontents) is eager to expand their meetinghouse. But before building can commence, the County Environmental Board and the Department


Bestselling author Philip Gulley offers humorous, small-town storytelling as he follows the foibles and follies of Pastor Sam Gardner.

Thanks to an unexpected windfall, Sam Gardner's congregation (with the exception of a few malcontents) is eager to expand their meetinghouse. But before building can commence, the County Environmental Board and the Department of Natural Resources put the quietus on the plan.

A colony of endangered Indiana bats have made the tree beside the meetinghouse, and the meetinghouse attic, their place of hanging, mating, and living, which poses a big problem for the congregation. Aside from the fact that their fanged visitors are engaging in sinful acts on church property, until these bats leave for hibernation, Hope Friends Meeting is left without a gathering place. And when an over-zealous Leonard Fink takes matters into his own hands, he may even land himself--and Sam--in jail.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Gulley's many fans will enjoy renewing acquaintance with Sam [Gardner], wince at his struggles, and grin at his triumphs, and eagerly turn pages as he makes his way through a maze of decisions and inner turmoil....A worthy and anticipated follow-up to the Harmony series."—Publishers Weekly on A Place Called Hope

"Gentle and humorous."—Book Page on A Place Called Hope

"Philip Gulley is a Quaker pastor from Indiana with a charming sense of small-town life-and a shrewd sense of life in general...A self-deprecating narrator...he knows how to exaggerate in a witty way."—The Wall Street Journal

"The biggest collection of crusty, lovable characters since James Herriot settled in Yorkshire."—Booklist on The Harmony series

"Gulley's work is comparable to Gail Godwin's fiction, Garrison Keillor's storytelling, and Christopher Guest's filmmaking...in a league with Jan Karon's Mitford series."—Publishers Weekly

"Philip Gulley is a beautiful writer."—Charles Osgood, CBS Sunday Morning

"Gulley's stories get at the heart of the simple joys, stranger-than-fiction humor, and day-to-day drama of small-town life."—American Profile Magazine

Product Details

Center Street
Publication date:
Hope Series , #3
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.62(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

PHILIP GULLEY, a Quaker pastor, has become the voice of small-town American life. Along with writing Front Porch Tales, Hometown Tales, and For Everything a Season, he is the author of the Harmony series of novels. Gulley lives in Indiana with his wife, Joan, and their sons.

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A Gathering in Hope: A Novel 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous 26 days ago
This is a laugh out loud read. Comedic misdirection mingles with gracefilled moments to create a "place called Hope." Believers and non-believers mix it up to provide a spectrum of goodness that gently delivers a Quaker perspective.
Dmaxtownsend 7 months ago
First off, I must apologize for somehow losing sight of Phillip Gulley and his sweet Harmony and Hope series. When I discovered A Gathering in Hope at our library recently, I was thrilled! Another series with our friend Sam Gardner and Barbara and his parents and old Harmony worshippers and a new cast of characters in Hope! Such is bliss! Our Quaker hero was dismissed from his Harmony Meeting after inadvertently presiding over a lesbian marriage. He finally finds a new home in Hope, two hours away from Harmony, where we find another eccentric group of members awaiting him. These books are laugh-out-loud funny. In Gathering, the group is deciding what to do with an unexpected inheritance when one member decides to move forward on a building project. They run afoul of the local conservation officer when protected bats are discovered in the attic and nearby trees. Church members not in the know about the bats take it upon themselves to kill them, only to brag about it on national TV. Poor Sam. He just wants to keep his job and grow membership but must deal with his own frustrations as the tiny congregation runs amuck. Barbara has a new job, his mother thinks he’s an alcoholic after he drinks 3 glasses of wine, only to herself accidently take too many pain pills, and Dad is cajoling Sam to help him renovate their fixer upper. This funny, warm, clever saga is a joy. I quickly got the earlier two books and devoured them, kind of like Ruby’s pies. Here in the States, the election period has been enormously unsettling, but there is Hope, a lovely antidote for what ails us.
Heart2Heart 11 months ago
There is nothing funny about a bunch of bats living in the attic of the meeting house. While the committee members continue to struggle about the best use of the financial windfall they have inherited by the recent passing of a former member of their church, it seems unlikely that the building of the addition to the church is going to happen. At least not under the watchful eyes of the Department of Natural Resources who have declared that the bat colony taking up residence is under federal protection of the species and can not be disturbed for at least three months possibly more. While the pastor of the church, Sam Gardner, couldn't be more pleased, things are about to get interesting as one series of events will lead to a chain reaction that will have everyone questioning one another's real motives. The Fink couple who manage to wind up in the middle of everything is the catalyst. Sam doesn't care for them because it seems like they are just waiting for him to mess something up with running the church so he can be removed. So while it may feel like walking on eggshells that is nothing compared to what is coming. It can only be described by the reader as downright comical in the scheme of things, but to those who it is happening to, it is catastrophic as assumptions are made, rumors spread and everyone is questioning everyone's true motives over what they would rather believe is true. Who would have ever thought that a colony of Indiana bats could stir up the congregation and cause such outright division about the community but also within its members and even right into the core of one's family. When someone kills all the bats without knowing they have been declared protected, pretty soon rumors spread that the bat bodies found in the trash bag by the local trash company is just the beginning of a Satanic cult begin lead first by the pastor himself but then fingers are pointed that it really began with the wife and the pastor is just an innocent bystander. Will they ever get things sorted out so they can reestablish the community of believers and finally decide on how best to spend the inherited money? Be prepared for the ride of your life! I received A Gathering in Hope by Philip Gulley compliments of Center Street Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Groups for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation aside for a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion. This series is really all about the quirky personalities that make up a small town community church and how each of them interacts with one another. From the church busybodies who want to know everything that is really going on, to Sam's mother who in her old age, believes that she can still bike ride about town like she did when she was a girl until she is hit by a teen while texting and driving. In her confusion, she knows she is prescribed one pain pill for her injury but thinks if one is good, two can be better, and then again why not double that. Rumors fly when her doctors think she has a prescription drug problem and soon everything is off and running again. I thoroughly enjoyed this book better than the previous one in this series and this one truly makes up for it doubly so! Well worth 4 out of 5 stars.