Artist's family publishes book of his Christian poetry

March 04, 2011|BY CHRIS COPLEY |
  • Craig Kercheval of Hagestown is an artist who wrote a series of inspirational poems as a teenager. His parents contracted with Xlibris to publish them in a book.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

Craig Kercheval is an artist. His apartment in Hagerstown is lined with his drawings of superheroes, some copies of favorite comic book characters, some original heroes and villains Kercheval came up with.

But once, as a struggling, Christian teenager in Smithsburg, Kercheval turned to another creative outlet. He wrote a batch of inspirational poems as he worked through a troubling time in his life. Those poems are now available in a book, "They That Wait Upon The Lord ..."

Kercheval is still a little surprised at what he produced three decades ago.

"I wrote those between 10th grade and 11th grade," he said. "The thing that inspired me to write this was 'Jesus of Nazareth.' It was a TV movie that portrayed Jesus as a gentle person, not as an authority figure. That was the first time I saw Jesus in that way."

Kercheval wrote 76 poems, most 12 to 20 lines long, and most with rhythm and rhyme. He hired a neighbor to type them up, and he gave a copy to the typist and a copy to his mother. Then he moved on, focusing his creativity on drawing. Eventually, everyone forgot about his poems.

Until his mother, Nancy Kercheval, rediscovered them in 2004.

"I was going through my desk one day and I found this book of poems he wrote when he was 17. I said, 'These are good,'" she said.

She and her husband, the Rev. William C. Kercheval, contracted with Xlibris to publish the book.

To accompany the poems, they used landscape photographs taken by her daughter-in-law, Joanie Kercheval.

The colorful, poem-and-picture pages are beautiful and uplifting. The Kerchevals presented the published book as a gift to their son.

Craig Kercheval said his Christian values have changed over time. He still believes in God, but he has problems with religious institutions. But he said hoped the book would reach people who are struggling.

"I have reread it five times. I don't remember writing those words, but it has helped me," he said. "Christianity supports anybody who wants to start over. God really does want you to change your life."

Here's a poem from "They That Wait Upon The Lord."

"This Family"

Lord, how could I deserve

That family I did not reserve?

Must have been your love.

Lord, sometimes I take them for granted

But I pray I've also planted

Some of your love.

This family of mine

Is truly a treasure divine

Given from above!

About the book

Craig Kercheval of Hagerstown

Title: "They That Wait Upon The Lord ..."

Description: Photos and inspirational poetry, 44 pages, $18, paperback


Available locally at: Dru's Books & Things, 1511 E. Main St., Waynesboro, Pa.; and online at and at

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