Souls in the Hands of a Tender God: Stories of the Search for Home and Healing on the Streets

Paul, Rennebohm

Published by Beacon Press, 2008
ISBN 10: 0807000426 / ISBN 13: 9780807000427
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Synopsis: Since 1987, Craig Rennebohm has ministered to people on the streets of Seattle who are homeless and struggling with mental illness. In Souls in the Hands of a Tender God, he tells the evocative stories of persons who desperately need psychiatric, psychological, and spiritual support-like Mary, who surrounds herself with huge trash bags for protection from a threatening world; Jerry, whose fits of rage get him barred from every shelter and meal program in Seattle; and others, abandoned and marginalized by their community, who need care and treatment to find their way back to a life of stability and meaning. As Rennebohm reaches out to each one, their stories become parables that explore mental illness and the spiritual heart of care and recovery, helping us understand what it means to be human, on a pilgrimage together toward wholeness.

As these stories unfold, we encounter Rennebohm's powerful experiences with a God of kindness and compassion, drawn from his own life and the lives of those he has aided in their struggles with homelessness and with mental illness. Souls in the Hands of a Tender God offers a clear understanding of Spirit, faith, soul, and religion that will prove invaluable to individual conversations and to dialogue among congregations about how we can best serve "the least among us."

Souls in the Hands of a Tender God follows the path of healing and the way of companionship to build communities of caring that welcome and include our most fragile and troubled neighbors. With gentleness and grace, solid knowledge and wisdom, Rennebohm lays down the foundations of healing communities in which all may have a home, safely rest, and be well.

About the Author: Craig Rennebohm has worked for twenty years on the streets of Seattle, WA, supporting homeless individuals struggling with mental illness on the journey through the community mental health system to stability in the community. He has worked extensively with families, served as chaplain on the inpatient mental health units at Harborview Medical Center and has worked in partnership with local congregations to develop mental health ministries that include education, spiritual care and support groups, services of healing and encouragement, shelter, drop-in programs and supported housing. He has developed a basic "Companionship Training," which equips laity for ministries of presence and service, and "Relational Outreach," a resource and training for medical, mental health, human service and chemical dependency staff. Craig graduated from Carleton College, the Chicago Theological Seminary and the Pacific School of Religion where he earned a Doctor of Ministry degree specializing in pastoral care. Craig was ordained in Lowell, MA where he served in a community ministry position which included serving as a juvenile court chaplain, campus minister and as a staff member of the Lowell Pastoral Counseling Center. As pastor of Pilgrim Church in Seattle for 11 years he helped create a lively diverse congregation which embodied the message, "All are Welcome, Come as You Are." Craig is a United Church of Christ minister whose greatest delight is his family, Barb, Kelsey, Sam and Max.

David W. Paul is a Seattle-based writer and editorial consultant. He is a former political scientist who taught at Princeton and the University of Washington. He has authored or co-authored six books and many articles ranging from politics and history to film criticism, the Internet, and poetry translations. As a technical writer and editor, he worked on contract with Microsoft, Adobe, Boeing, and other companies in the Puget Sound area. His recognitions include awards from the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and the Seattle Arts Commission. He has been a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, a Fulbright-Hays Fellow, and a scholar-in-residence for the Washington Commission for the Humanities and the Washington State Arts Commission. 

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Title: Souls in the Hands of a Tender God: Stories ...
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication Date: 2008

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