Author, Author!: Edna Ellison

12 Oct

A Passion for Purpose encourages women to live for God’s mission in all aspects of life, regardless of life situation—single, married, mother with children, widow, professional, or retired.

These missional thoughts, drawn from the five authors’ lives, challenge women to consider their communion with God, understanding of Scripture, worldview, relationships across cultures, the way they communicate Christ through their actions and words, their ministry, and their influence.

While at the ICRS in Atlanta last July, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Edna Ellison, author, speaker and Guru of Christian mentoring.  She has recently contributed to the devotional work, A Passion For Purpose.  Here are the highlights of our talk.

BTB:  How did you get started writing devotional works?

Edna:  Soon after the death of my husband, a friend of mine asked me to attend a writer’s conference at Ridgecrest.  She was an author, but I didn’t have any interest in that.  I just wanted to get away and get a tan!  I also didn’t know how I would possibly pay for such a trip, since I was a widow with limited resources and two children to raise.  I prayed about the trip and while cleaning out a foot locker my husband had owned I found an envelope labeled vacation with the exact amount of money I needed.  So I went!  When I arrived at Ridgecrest, I still was intent on getting my tan.   So for the first two days I sunned by the pool and didn’t attend any of the workshops.  On the third day, the gate to the pool was padlocked, so I just picked a workshop that seemed the most interesting.  I was in a class with other writers assigned to write a brief devotional based upon a news clipping.  As an English teacher and the advisor to the yearbook staff, I had been writing and editing short pieces for years, so the assignment came easily for me.  Following the class, the teacher asked me to write devotionals for her — she was an editor for Standard Publishing a big name in those days.  And so my career began.

BTB:  Where did your career go from there?

Edna:  I continued to write devotionals and the collection was published in a 365 day devotional book.  I had also met a man at the conference who mentioned my name to a woman who was looking for an editor for the Royal Service magazine (the magazine of the WMU).  She contacted me for an interview after my file kept flipping open!  I began work for the magazine and then went on to head California’s WMU.

BTB:  Tell me about A Passion For Purpose.

Edna:  While working in California, I was approached by a young woman who wanted me to mentor her.  She was very persistent and would not take no for an answer.  Tricia Scribner and I, along with 3 other women, eventually formed a group that has spoken to women’s groups around the country.  While we were in Myrtle Beach, we each shared the dream of writing a book together.  A Passion For Purpose grew out of that.

BTB:  Why mentoring?

Edna:  Everyone needs someone to help her to reach her goals.  I have a passion for mentoring and helping others establish mentoring relationships.

Edna had so many stories of God’s intervention in her life that raised chill bumps and brought tears to my eyes.  A big thank you to this wonderfully gracious woman for taking time to speak to me.

Edna Ellison is a well-known author and speaker from Spartanburg, South Carolina. Dr. Ellison has been a keynote speaker in London, England; Frankfort, Germany; and cities in Panama and Honduras. She has spoken in Hawaii and Alaska, as well as most of our continental States.

Edna lives with her daughter, Patsy, and her husband, Tim Farmer. She also has a son, Jack, who lives with his wife, Wendy, and their daughter, Blakely, in Birmingham, Alabama.

Her life was featured in a Focus on the Family magazine, where she has also been published. After being widowed at a young age, Edna has been a national magazine editor, served as Executive Director of Women’s Ministries/Missions for the state of California, and has taught in seminaries and secular universities.

Known as “the guru of Christian mentoring,” Edna loves to lead prayer retreats and speak at women’s conferences. She has written two books on mentoring: Woman to Woman: Preparing Yourself to Mentor, and Seeking Wisdom, which are printed in English and Spanish. She wrote these Tricia Scribner, whom she mentored in writing. She has written Friendships of Faith (Hebrews), and Friendships of Purpose(Ephesians), along with her latest release, Deeper Still: A Women’s Study to a Deeper Walk with God. Edna’s latest books are available at Wal-Mart and your local book stores: Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul 2 (Edna’s story is the first in the book), and Chicken Soup for the Christian Sister’s Soul. Also at Wal-Mart are two small gift books: Soul Matters for Women and Hugs of Sunshine for Women.


(I received a copy of A Passion For Purpose from New Hope Publishers.)

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