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Crayons for the City: Reneighboring Communities of Faith to Rebuild Neighborhoods of Hope Paperback – November 9, 2017
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By Lisa Jarnot
Crayons for the City: Reneighboring Communities of Faith to Rebuild Neighborhoods of Hope by Kevin R. Yoho. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2017. 276 pages. $33.
In the mid-1990s, when consigned to what looked like a termination mission for an underpopulated church in a low-income neighborhood, Pastor Kevin Yoho found instead an opportunity to reflect upon the possibilities for remodeling urban ministry. Crayons for the City is the record of his journey with his church and its surrounding public spaces, and a guide to pastoral leadership and community transformation. This book provides a comprehensive blueprint for a holistic approach to church organizing. It takes into consideration the complex socio-political and emotional factors that intersect to make a community...in Kensington, Philadelphia and the larger neighborhood around it, serve as the landscape for this deep study of what Yoho calls "reneighboring"--discerning and encouraging natural connections between people and organizations, and enabling young people to transform the trauma of social injustice through an identification with Christ.
The book's title alludes to a part of the youth ministry developed... that allowed local children to testify to their experiences with a simple hands-on program of art therapy or "drawing intervention," arriving at what Yoho calls "the power of a crayon to remove stigma." This is but one of the seeds of a larger project that unfolds through the pages of Crayons for the City. The book gives deep accounts of a complex web of creative missional initiatives developed in the reneighboring of Kensington over the span of a decade. Sports programs, storytelling, summer camps excursions, and collective cross-generational responses to immediate family emergencies all formed the foundation out of which a community found grace in the midst of suffering.
Crayons for the City is encyclopedic in its weave of photographs, drawings, bibliographic references, and study questions. It is also meticulous in anecdotal, scriptural, historical, and sociological reflection, providing pastors, teachers, community organizers, and mental health professionals with a wealth of hands-on information and spiritual inspiration. A thoughtful and insightful vision of mission emerges, reminding faith leaders that success cannot be measured simply in church planting and church building but also in the way in which we support communities in transition--especially those struggling with urban decline, cultural dislocation, and environmental crises...
...The book is an archival gift of a moment of ministry, but it is also a complete user's manual for faith and activism in the 21 st Century. In a time when urban churches and church neighborhoods can so often feel like entirely separate entities, Crayons for the City offers faith leaders a blueprint for critical mission outreach and "reneighboring" possibilities. Yoho writes that "learning how to use the tools we developed in Kensington, the reader can embrace their history and neighborhood seriously and experience transformation, too. What we discovered in Philadelphia was that even closed and isolated fortresslike churches could become accessible, street-present, hope-bearing communities of faith blessing the entire community at large." This in itself makes the book essential reading. Toward the end of Crayons for the City, but very much at its emotional center, are a series of chapters supplying the reader with a picture of the nuts and bolts of the Wilkey Memorial Church project. ... Given its range of implications for ministry, this book is worth circulating throughout the administration of any church.
About the author: Lisa Jarnot, MDiv, is the author of several books of poetry as well as a biography of the San Francisco poet Robert Duncan published by University of California Press in 2012. Copyright ©2019 by The Living Pulpit,
From the Author
- Paperback : 276 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1498230872
- Product dimensions : 6 x 0.69 x 9 inches
- Item Weight : 13.6 ounces
- Publisher : Cascade Books (November 9, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,795,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Knowing what I know of Kevin, I am impressed that he has been able to piece together a wide variety of learnings, experiences, scholarship and wisdom to his book. It really covers quite a wide field, which is appropriate considering the Kensington section of Philadelphia has a wide range of history, struggle and opportunity. Kevin was always great at finding an illustration that he would bring to a meeting and help a group think more broadly about mission and work. Here is a book filled with them. It is a blessing to read having spent some time in the places that are mentioned, allowing me to pray for those who continue to present gospel light to important places in our world. Kensington is an important place in God’s world.
My favorite story in the book is of Wendy, whom Kevin had met through his contacts at Temple University. The congregation Kevin served was hosting a successful basketball program, and now had opportunity to reach younger children, and decided to form a cheerleading squad. Wendy just happened to have twenty uniforms that she was about to get rid of, because she knew of no use. They happened to have the word “Spirit” printed on the front. God’s good work is beautiful, as is this story.
The book presents many of these stories, along with important case work questions, biblical thinking, tools, thoughtful care and creative vision for what God is doing in Philadelphia, and in cities throughout the world, and throughout the Lord’s kingdom. I am glad I own this book.