On Jan. 25, Southington author Chuck Miceli, along with local musician brothers Gordon and Mark Ellis, will reveal the book, “Wounded Angels,” and the album, “Love Heals.” The co-launch event will be held at First Congregational Church in Southington. Both projects dive deep into some of life’s biggest questions, a search for answers, faith in God and all of the things that make one question that faith.
Gordon Ellis is the former pastor of FCC during the time that Miceli lived in town and attended the church. The pair worked closely on many projects, and shared many conversations about faith and personal goals. When Miceli wrote “Wounded Angels,” he asked Ellis to write the foreword.
“Wounded Angels” illustrates the truth that God does not cause human suffering, as Ellis wrote in the foreword. The story of two women testifies to a God who is actively involved in bringing people into our lives to assist us on life’s journey.
Through conversations together, Miceli and Ellis discussed Ellis’ album, “Love Heals,” and in particular one of the songs “Injured Angels.”
“That was the earlier working title for my book and the lyrics of the song, while dedicated to victims of sexual abuse, applied equally to the theme of my book,” said Miceli. “The result was that I asked if Gordon would like to do a joint launch for his album and my book.”
Miceli said that his book is based on a true life experience. His mother-in-law lost her husband after more than 50 years together, and she became inconsolable. The book is based on her journey.
“None of us who loved her could lift her from her depression,” Miceli said. During this period, he took her out on a series of outings. One day, he asked her about another woman, called “Doris” in the book, and her surprising reaction, the lessons learned from their unusual friendship, and the comparison of their experiences to others became the basis for “Wounded Angels.”
Gordon and Mark Ellis’ album explores tough subjects as the two brothers found their faith in very different manners.
“I came to it more quickly and studied at Yale University Divinity School, eventually becoming a pastor with a 38-year career in the liberal/progressive Christian denomination, the United Church of Christ,” said Gordon. “My brother found faith years later through the more conservative Salvation Army, and eventually received a ministry degree from Liberty University.”
The pair decided to try to write songs of faith together knowing that their different backgrounds and theologies might make that difficult.
“When we got to issues of a more social nature, writing became a little more difficult, as we saw things quite differently,” said Ellis. “So, we worked toward what we could agree on and ultimately transcended our theological differences.”
On “Love Heals,” there are 19 songs of faith addressing topics such as climate change, gun violence, prejudice and abuse. Some songs are strictly praise and prayer songs. The last six songs were written following Ellis’ diagnosis with pancreatic cancer and speak of dealing with illness, pain, hopes for healing and miracles.
“Our primary inspiration came reading from scriptures together and working to see where our interpretations might intersect,” said Ellis. “I think we have given the church, both liberal and conservative, songs that transcend the differences that so often divide us.”
Miceli found a similar message in his own work.
“Too often, discussions about God create a wedge between people of faith rather than a bridge,” he said. “I have made it my life’s mission to help people focus on the beliefs and values owe hold in common rather than what separates us.”
At the launch event on Jan. 25, from 3 to 5 p.m., Miceli will share the “story behind the story” of his book. Ellis will present the background and development of his and his brother’s album. FCC pastor Ron Brown is hosting the event.
FCC is located at 37 Main St., Southington. Visit them online at fccsouthington.org.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.