Western has become a partner organization of The Big Read – Holland Area this year. The Big Read builds literacy by bringing a community together around one book and the shared experience of reading and discussion. Although this is Western’s first year as a partner, it is the third year of the Big Read in Holland, and over 7,000 people participated in Big Read activities in the Holland area last year. The Big Read’s primary sponsor is Hope College, with assistance from local libraries, the Holland Museum, and several other community organizations.

This year’s Big Read book,
Brother, I’m Dying, by award-winning author Edwidge Danticat, is a multi-generational story of one family’s life in Haiti and the United States. The book serves as a rich celebration of Haitian culture and history and also raises questions about how people with different backgrounds interact with each other in today’s world. One reviewer called it a “warm-hearted tragedy,” and it is rich with stories of familial bonds and love along with injustice and pain.  



Immigration Workshop at WTS

There are over a dozen Big Read activities planned for the first weeks of November in the Holland area. As part of this, Western is hosting an interactive Immigration Workshop at 7:00pm on Monday, November 14, led by the Christian Reformed Church Office of Social Justice and sponsored by Fellowship Reformed Church. The workshop looks at immigration and refugee resettlement in the United States and explores how Christians may engage in these processes. All are invited. 

All Big Read Events:

Nov. 1, 7:00pm – Kick-off at Knickerbocker Theatre. TED-talks on the historical and cultural context of the book.

Nov. 2, 1:00pm – Panel discussion on refugees, resettlement and integration at Herrick District Library.

Nov. 3, 5:00 pm & 7:00pm – Haitian cuisine at Cook Dining Hall w/ Olga Benoit. $15 adults, $10 students.

Nov. 4, 7:30pm – Geraud Dimanche concert of music and dancing, Jack H. Miller Center for the Musical Arts

Nov. 5, 11:00am – Story time with children’s author Anne Sibley O’Brien, Herrick District Library

Nov. 5, 2:00pm – Hands-on Art Workshop at CultureWorks (710 Chicago Dr. Ste 200, Holland)

Nov. 7, 7:00pm – La Belle Vie at the Knickerbocker Theatre followed by Q&A with directors.

Nov. 9, 7:00pm – Lecture by immigration lawyer Sarah Yore-Van Oosterhout at the Howard Miller Library in Zeeland.

Nov. 10, 7:00pm – Poverty, Inc. screening with Q&A by Haitian entrepreneur Daniel Jean Louis.

Nov. 11, 7:00pm – Book discussion at Holland Museum

Nov. 12, 10:00am – Memoir writing workshop with Rhoda Janzen at Herrick District Library.

Nov. 14, 7:00pm – Interactive Immigration Workshop at Western Theological Seminary, Mulder Chapel.

Nov. 15, 7:00pm – Keynote address by Edwidge Danticat in Dimnent Chapel, Hope College. Booksigning afterward.

Nov. 17, 7:00pm – Student exhibition at the Holland Armory