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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
336 pages
Dec 2003

Grace Matters : A Memoir of Faith, Friendship, and Hope in the Heart of the South

by Chris Rice

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"In 1981 bright eyed and very white, Chris Rice became a short-term volunteer in African American Pastor J. P. Perkin’s Jackson, Mississippi racial reconciliation ministry, Voice of Calvary. Eighteen years later Rice and his family left to move further in his Lord’s work. Grace Matters tells the story of those eighteen turbulent, growth-filled years. With blasting, heart-rending honesty Rice tells of the growth of Voice of Calvary’s ministry and of his partnership with Spencer Perkins, the son of the founder. Although seeking to obey the Lord, Voice of Calvary was not immune to individualism, selfishness, and greed. The members, both black and white, held each other accountable, sometimes devastatingly so. Yet, grace mattered. Out of the racial bonding grew an experiment -- Antioch, a bi-racial Christian community, abiding together in one large house. Spencer and his family, together with Chris, his family, and several others lived, worked, and worshipped in tight, often difficult companionship. Spencer and Chris’ friendship grew, strengthened, was severely tested, and torn, yet the Lord triumphed. Under the light of reality, confession, and truth, Rice does not spare himself or Spencer Perkins. Human frailty abounds, but grace abounds even more.

"In Grace Matters, noted speaker and writer on racial reconciliation Chris Rice intimately shares blood born story. Readers looking for a happy, easy, life skimming biography do not even need to open this book. Those who dare to read will gain greater knowledge in human failure, love for the whosoever, and the depths of Jesus’ grace for all mankind." -- Donna Eggett, Christian Book Previews

Book Jacket:

In Grace Matters, we follow the remarkable journey of Chris Rice, a naive white college student from Vermont, who was transformed into an insightful man of faith who helped form a thriving interracial community in Jackson, Mississippi. Chris Rice's compelling story uncovers the wounds that divide the races and reveals what it takes to bring blacks and whites together, honestly, compassionately, and transcendently. As a young man in 1981, Chris Rice thought he would take a few months off from his college to join the Voice of Calvary ministry. There he met Spencer Perkins— the eldest son of John Perkins, legendary African American evangelist and civil rights movement activist-and was forever changed. Together, Chris and Spencer and an extraordinary group of ordinary people entered into a bold experiment, creating an interracial faith community called Antioch, after the Mediterranean city where the followers of Jesus first became known as "Christians." Pooling their resources, this dedicated group of black and white Christians joined forces to realize the vision of the Sermon on the Mount. In so doing they not only enriched their own lives but also those of their inner-city neighbors.