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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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Book Review
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

Zechariah 8:5 was the vision for writing my new book, Crayons for the City: Reneighboring Communities of Faith to Rebuild Neighborhoods of Hope from Wipf and Stock Publishers. Zechariah's vision of community wellness, "children playing safely in the streets," continues to be my motivation for inviting community leaders to read Crayons and apply its framework in their own context.

Product details

  • 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
  • Customer Reviews:
    5.0 out of 5 stars 1 rating

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