Born in Cape Town, as the youngest of a lively family, Julia-Beth’s first role was that of observer. Crafting this attentiveness into a lifelong practice of writing and documenting ultimately led to a study in creative writing at the International Writer’s Collective in Amsterdam, where she’s now based. With a background in Graphic and Fashion Design, her words embody a visual, multi-layered quality, which brings the everyday anecdote to life.

As a seasoned bed and breakfast owner, Julia-Beth’s enthusiasm for stories from varied backgrounds meets her passion for writing in bespoke ghostwriting services

Sunday Service

I remember those childhood Sundays in church as family time. With two pastors for parents the Holy Spirit sat up front with us. After the service I would stand by my mother’s side as she shook hands with each congregant on their way out. Sister Carol drifted over to us on a cloud of perfume mixed with sweat. She gripped my mother’s hand, saying,

“Sister, behind every powerful pastor is a God fearing woman,”

Out of the many confidences, whispered in my mother’s ear, this one was her favourite. Something about the syntax of God, Fear and Woman, in exactly that order had a special kind of music to her. Despite Sister Carol’s best intentions the correction from mother came swiftly,

“Indeed, Sister, that’s why we are both pastors. My husband is Pastor Charles, and you may call me Pastor Charmaine.”

This she would say earnestly – her glossy pink lips and fake pearls gleaming.   

At home, to my two older sisters and I, they were just Mummy and Daddy. Dad would spend most of his time in the study, writing sermons – while Mummy would be on the front lines with us – laying down the law. She would line us up in the kitchen, a battalion of three. The mission – ‘Operation Sunday Lunch’ – prepped on a Saturday evening, much to the stifled despair of my teenage sisters.

As the eldest, Janice was on potato duty, seasoning them with salt and rosemary to cure overnight. Edwina did the vegetables – sliced carrots and smothered sprouts anointed with oil and spices. This was the secret to ‘Pastor Charmaine’s famous Sunday Roast’.  The delicious rumors of which wafted down the pews of the upper echelon elders. Us kids called it the ‘Green Aisle’, because God kept calling them home from that row. After each send off Mummy would announce, from the pulpit, the availability of a seat at our Sunday afternoon lunch table.  Pearly gates anxiety approaching, the elders would start tithing liberally, initialing their envelopes so we’d know exactly who is most faithful. The highest bidder won Mummy’s deepest sympathy and an invitation to our home after the service. With a direct line to the most high, the elders banked on the joint prayers of the pastors to ensure a place in the hereafter. Frill-trimmed apron tightly bound, Mummy made sure the Sunday birds were royally stuffed and the elders well buttered.