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Radical Welcome: Embracing God, the Other, and the Spirit of Transformation Paperback – August 1, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stephanie Spellers is an Episcopal priest and the Cox Fellow and Minister for Radical Welcome at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston, Massachusetts. Prior to ordination, she was a professional religion journalist.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: CHURCH PUBLISHING INC (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898695201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898695205
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. B. Park on March 11, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stephanie Spellers writes of and helps us plan for congregations who offer hospitality "Jesus' style". Idealism is tempered by truth-telling. Radical Welcome is hard work, but it is necessary to renew and spark growth in churches that find themselves clinging to the past, and dying because of it. Spellers is an Episcopal priest, and the book is targeted for that denomination, however it can be used by anyone in any church who wishes to make their altar/table open to all God's people.
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Format: Paperback
This lively, engaging book is full of practical ways, drawn from a diverse array of local congregations, to make any congregation more welcoming. Spellers helps sort out the unconscious (and deliberate) habits of congregations which keep the doors effectively closed, and which contribute to a lack of spiritual hospitality. The book keeps the goal of welcoming all people to church before us in thoughtful ways. Easy to read in small bites, but the reflections endure.
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I've been at two Episcopal churches going through the clergy selection process this year, and both of them had the same problem of really un-diverse congregations. This book is all about the solution. The answer is so simple that it takes a lot of explaining; people have to be welcomed in to real diversity, not assimilated.

If I have a complaint about this book, it's that I feel too much time is spent on theological justification for needing to welcome people, which just seems stupidly obvious to me. On the other hand, I'm not the audience that needs convincing.
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As a rector of a growing family-sized parish in the suburb, I found this book full of wonderful hope and excellent challenges. Spellers invites us to faithfully leap towards Christ, but she also invites us to let Christ change our hearts, our community and our church in surprising ways. Radical Welcome opens a door into the church that I believe Jesus wants -- a churched transformed and resurrected by the new work the Spirit is bringing.
I love the stories and experiences that this book brings together; it provides a great spoonful of sugar that is so helpful in small groups and vestries. Don't hesitate -- add this to your cart right now!
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Format: Paperback
In general the book is well written and has insightful thoughts. The author studied 8 Episcopal Churches, in urban areas. Three were black and five were white[-European]. All 8 churches suffered from shrinking homogenous membership. The focus of the book is their efforts to recruit membership from Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgendered [GLBT] and surrounding neighborhood. With heavy emphasis on the GLBT market and how to make the LGBT "feel at home."

Thus, the targeted audience is the PC progressive liberal mainline Episcopalians whose metropolitan churches are in decline and desire to attract LGBTs to survive; potential readers should note this is small percentage of the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion has an estimated 85 million members world wide with 34 provinces. The 600,000 active members of the Episcopal Church in the US is about 0.7%. The book cannot be recommended to the other 99.3% of the Anglican Communion, of which the Anglican Church of North America exists. The book was written in 2006 prior to the split, where many aligned themselves non-white[-European] lead Provinces (e.g. Africa, Asia and South America). So, they don't fit the book's leadership, dominant power model of "white[-European] lead."

The five stars is based on how well the book was written and organized, but had I known the target audience I would not have purchased it. So, ye potential readers be advised.
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This is what Church ought to be.
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I thought this was a very provocative book. If the church is going to grow we have to get beyond our inward focus and become connected and welcoming to our community.
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