May 31, 2012

By Ashley Nash

Sentinel Intern


On Saturday, June 9, the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza will be hosting the book signing of Reverend ‘Chip’ Murray’s “Twice Tested By Fire” and Judge Mablean Ephriam’s “Life Lessons: 52 Tools for Weekly Living.” While the books may differ in format and subject matter, both works feature the advice and testimony of influential, community leaders that have witnessed the commonly-faced battles in life. From the toils of our environments to the relationships in our circles, Reverend Murray and Judge Mablean discuss familiar dilemmas from which we can all benefit.

“Twice Tested by Fire” includes the background (born in South Florida), education and life story of the honorable, Reverend Cecil Murray as well as its parallel with the Civil Rights Movement, his participation in the Air force and pastoral history. In “Life Lessons: 52 Tools for Weekly Living,” Judge Mablean Ephriam discusses the daily tools necessary to develop various relationships ranging from parent-child to husband-wife. According to their synopsis, if you’re a person with relationships or in the slightest need of guidance, both books are definitely worth reading.

When asked what inspired Reverend Murray to write his book, he mentioned that Executive Director and Professor of (the Center of) Religion at the University of Southern California, Donald Miller asked that he write an autobiography, providing the same service and mentorship as displayed amongst his church congregation. Along the same line, Reverend ‘Chip’ Murray stated, “The very subject ‘Twice Tested by Fire’ would examine two pivotal points in my life...that would apply to others.” The explosion of his two-seater Air force jet in 1966 at the Oxnard Airport Space defined his deliverance coupled with the 1992 riots that contributed to his passionate testament. In regards to what Reverend Murray would like for his readers to gather from his work, he mentioned that revelation, along with opportunity are ever-widening. “We are the ones who create the evolution and if within ourselves we can see a tomorrow that tomorrow will come to be.”

In conjunction with his 27 years as F.A.M.E.’s pastor as well as his autobiography, Reverend Murray also undertakes the community necessities of job training, business loans, re-entry programs, gang prevention and intervention via the Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement, ascertaining that the foundation and experiences associated are based upon leaders within the faith-based community.

These stimulating efforts are shared between Reverend Murray and Judge Mablean, portrayed in her “Life Lessons: 52 Tools for Weekly Living.” However, it is through her adjudicative outreach that she achieves these accomplishments. Judge Mablean stated that it was her work as a judge on the television show, “Divorce Court”as well as being a lawyer in the city of Los Angeles (dealing with relationship issues) that inspired her decision to write her book. She declares, “My readers should receive tools for weekly living, to help them have better relationships, learn how to treat and love one another, how to become a better and stronger person in all relationships.”

In alignment with her prolific piece, Judge Ephriam is also the president of the Mablean Ephriam Foundation which she defined as a non-profit organization strengthening families, building better communities through targeting fathers, mentoring students, recognizing graduates, resolving and preventing domestic violence. The foundation not only provides scholarships to high school and continuing college students, but to nursing students as well, all in loving memory of her mother Mable Ephriam. In addition, amongst the many other scholarships and admirable aspects of the foundation, a Haiti Relief Fund remains open for donations. Across the border of the foundation’s website are the terms, “Stronger Families + Educated Minds + Economic Power + Better Commun­ities.” It is through her judicial background that Judge Mablean has and continues to accomplish these goals.

With our current economy, the works of influential community leaders such as Judge Mablean Ephriam and Reverend Cecil “Chip” Murray are most necessary. In congruence, Reverend Murray stated, “This is the most challenging time in the history of our nation and it is the most opportunistic time for those who are dreamers and the best way to make our dreams come true is to wake up and to look up, to grow up and to lift up.”

In this way, Reverend Cecil L. ‘Chip’ Murray’s “Twice Tested By Fire” and Judge Mablean Ephriam’s “Life Lessons: 52 Tools for Weekly Living” are increasing and bettering the opportunities of our community.

Category: Education