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Book Now Available on Amazon and Locally in Richmond and Central Texas

Still haven’t purchased a copy of From the Sanctuary to the Streets?  Now you have no excuse!  The book is now listed on Amazon and available through the CARITAS Furniture Bank here in Richmond (1125 E. Commerce Road) and at Stitch America 10X Team in Burnet, Tx (104 West Polk (Hwy 29)) for those of you in central Texas.

Proceeds from books purchased from the CARITAS Furniture bank benefit both Embrace Richmond and CARITAS.  Proceeds from books purchased in Burnet from Stitch America benefit Embrace Richmond.

Thank you to all of you who have already purchased the book.  Your comments, support and encouragement have been invaluable.  I would greatly appreciate having all of you write a review on the Amazon site.  It would really help potential readers get a feel for the book.

If you know of any business or book stores who would be willing to sale the book, please let me know.  I have not had the time to go out to book stores yet and would love any referrals or suggestions you can make.

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Learning a few new tricks

I am very thankful to Stephanie Rice who is trying to help me better communicate using social media.  I now have a very lame twitter account that Stephanie is going to help me develop and just figured out that wordpress appears to have a function that allows you to automatically post blog entries on twitter and facebook.  This post is a test of that feature.  If this appears in on your facebook news feed then there is hope for this technologically challenged old dog to learn a few new tricks.

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A Beautiful Day in our Neighborhoods

I just spent the day in “church”, not the kind with walls and steeples and pews and pulpits, but the kind where the walls have been torn down and the Holy Spirit speaks not through the ordained but the delivered.  From Yolanda’s gift of dance and message of surrender, to Mildred’s worship through her gift of song.  I saw God move.  I saw God in the face of the little child who allowed me to carry her through the fellowship, trusting me a stranger.  I saw God move as people build new friendships across race, class and religious back ground.  I saw God full-filling the vision of Embrace that has consistently guided us for the past five years.  That vision “A city united to embrace all; bridging people of every race, class, and religious background together to care for one another.”

Stephanie Rice is our newest AmeriCorps member captured beautifully the spirit of both the Fairfeild community event in her post One Word: Hope – Fairfield Court Fellowship Event and the Hillside event in her post It Takes a Villiage – Hillside Court Fellowship event which are posted over on the Embrace Richmond website.

I shared over on the Embrace Richmond site that our Board of Directors just approved a change in our mission statement in a post titled Our Mission Revisited: Outcome of our Strategic Planning Process.  Our new missions statement “To strengthen impoverished communities by empowering community-based leaders and engaging people of faith in works of service.” more fully captures the heart beat of embrace which is relational ministry that grows out of a shared mission of empowering communities.

Today was a beautiful picture of what true community empowerment looks like.  I encourage you to check out these recent posts on the Embrace Richmond website and to pray for our community based leaders.  They hold the key to unlocking the full potential of their communities.

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The Lost Art of Dreaming

When I was a little girl, I remember hearing the song “Windy” by The Association.  Obviously, I assumed the song was about me, since my name was Wendy.  I think one of song’s lyrics somehow got implanted in my brain and shaped my personality.  It was the lyric “Windy has wings to fly, above the clouds, above the clouds.”  In my childhood, I was called a “dreamer,” my teen years an “air head” but I prefer the adult version of a “visionary”.  I believe the ability to dream is a gift from God that allows us to survive and thrive in this world but it is a gift that has been beaten out of many people.

In my book, From the Sanctuary to the Streets, I interview Martha Patrick, who was formerly a case manager with CARITAS.  Martha shares with us that “A dream is a luxury our clients think they can’t afford.  However, with a dream comes hope, hope in a future that is better than today’s reality.  A dream is a powerful motivator.”  Martha’s insights are shared by Ruby K. Payne who writes in her book Bridges Out of Poverty, “Individuals leave poverty for one of four reasons: a goal or vision of something they want to be or have; a situation that is so painful that anything would be better; someone who “sponsors” them (an educator, mentor, or role model who shows them a different way or convinces them that they can live differently); or a specific talent or ability that provides an opportunity for them.”

Over the past six years, I have asked the following question to both economically disadvantaged and wealthy individuals who are a part of our ministry: “If you could do anything for God and knew you would not fail, what would you do?”  As I share in my book, it was this question that launched what ultimately became Embrace Richmond and it is this question that has inspired many who had forgotten how to dream, to begin to envision a world different than the one they see.

I believe if we want to change our own lives or the world around us, we have to rediscover the art of dreaming.  In From the Sanctuary to the Streets, I have captured the dreams of both homeless individuals in our city and those with means.  My hope is that in their dreams, you will discover the lost art of dreaming and add your dreams to theirs.

So, if you could do anything for God and knew you would not fail, what would you do?  Please share your dreams with us because “with dreams comes hope” ̶ and we could all use a little more hope.

Still searching for your God-given dream? Consider ordering a copy of my book and allowing God to speak to you through the voices of the homeless in our city.  Embrace has always attracted dreamers and I had the privilege of interviewing 20 such dreamers from all walks of life.  I promise their stories will inspire you.  If you read the book and are still uninspired, then come hang out in the city with us.   I will give you a personal tour of the inner city and introduce you to some of my friends whom I guarantee will make you look at the world in a whole new way.

May all your God-given dreams come true!

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A Tribute to Dr. Cecil Sherman

Albert Mohler writing about the life of Cecil Sherman?  I was too curious not to check it out.  As a graduate of Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, a seminary formed out of the Cooperative Baptist split from the Southern Baptist Convention which Cecil Sherman was an instrumental part of.  I was a bit surprised to see a post titled “This Man was no Moderate: The Legacy of Cecil Sherman” on Albert Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s blog.   Dr. Cecil Sherman passed away at the age of 82 earlier this week.

While I never had the privilege of taking one of Dr. Sherman’s classes while at BTSR and I honestly have never really followed Baptist politics, I wanted to post my response to Dr. Mohler’s post.  It is obvious that Mohler and Sherman are from opposite ends of the theological spectrum.  However, I found it refreshing that Mohler actually sees the voice of Dr. Sherman and all he stood for as having purpose.  For Mohler, the benefit of Dr. Sherman’s fight was to serve as a means of separating the right (conservatives)  from what Mohler calls the left and allowing for the “reclaiming” of the Baptist convention by conservatives.

However, I see the life of Cecil Sherman from quite a different perspective.  Without the Cooperative Baptist voice, I would never have attended a Baptist seminary and I would have completely abandoned the Baptist tradition.  Cecil Sherman fought to give moderate Baptist’s a voice, a place to belong within the Baptist tradition.  He inspired me not to give up on the Baptist tradition and gave me the courage to speak the truth that God has revealed to me even when it is not consistent with the “conservative” right.

Thank you Dr. Sherman for creating a place where Christian’s like myself can discover God’s word, grow in compassion and love toward our neighbors, and seek to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ.  I also want to thank you Dr. Mohler for reminding the world that your voice is not the only voice within the Baptist tradition.

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