Proceeds benefit Embrace Richmond

Now available at:

Wipf and Stock Publishing

Cokesbury @ UPSEM

From the Sanctuary to the Streets:

How the Dreams of One City’s Homeless Sparked a Faith Revolution That Transformed a Community

By Wendy McCaig

Available Materials:

Free Group Discussion Packet

Electronic Press Kit

Meet the “Characters”

Overview of From the Sanctuary to the Streets

Many Christians find themselves at a crossroads. Cultural shifts and growing ethnic and religious diversity are causing Christians to question the essence of the Christian faith. Is it an hour on Sunday spent inside a building with people who look, think, and act much as we do, or is it something more incarnational that seeks out those who are different, the ones living in the margins?

In 2004, I felt called to venture outside the church walls and into the world. Through a series of encounters with homeless, impoverished, and incarcerated individuals, I experienced the mysterious power of Christian hospitality that turns strangers into family. My encounter with a young homeless mother led to the formation of a ministry that mobilizes wealthy and impoverished neighbors to care for one another.

Though Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you,” in our world the poor and the wealthy are often separated by circumstance and intention. In a city divided by racial tension and economic injustice, Embrace Richmond’s unique ministry is a counter-cultural experiment in the practice of Christian hospitality– hospitality that not only recognizes and responds to the needs of the stranger, but also accepts the gifts the stranger bears.

For centuries Christians have gotten it backwards; we have presumed that we are to take the gospel to the poor. Instead, I invite you to receive the gospel from the poor. These true stories of the least, the lost, and the forgotten will bring you face to face with the Good News in the midst of poverty and injustice in a way that inspires you to join the fight for justice.

With our eyes opened to the needs and gifts of our impoverished neighbors, we can begin to dream God-sized dreams for a hurting world and make them reality. And as we pray “thy kingdom come on earth,” we can live in such a way as to make it happen in our own neighborhoods.

Join me on this journey of discovery to the intersection of poverty and prosperity where God’s desires meet the needs and callings of God’s people.

Endorsements for From the Sanctuary to the Streets

“From the Sanctuary to the Streets is the story of how one person began to help others—the broken of our world—dream and realize those dreams. She invites us into her world and introduces us to her friends. It is through this eye-opening account of Wendy’s story and the individual stories of her friends that we get a glimpse of God’s power to heal and mend the broken and transform them into a community of dreamers.”
—Eric Swanson
Co-author of The Externally Focused Church

“McCaig’s vision of Christian hospitality involves opening ourselves to the most vulnerable-the abused wife, the drug addict, the ex-felon, the abandoned elderly-and discovering there the presence of God. Friendships with those close at home-family and neighbors-as well as with those across racial and class lines illustrate how ‘God never works alone.’ This beautifully written book is a call to all of us to embrace our dreams, whether large and small, and in so doing respond to God’s call to be Christ’s body for the world.”
—Elizabeth Newman
Author of Untamed Hospitality: Welcoming God and Other Strangers

“This is one of the best, most challenging, and hope-filled books I’ve read in a long time. What makes From the Sanctuary to the Streets so different from other books on the subject is it’s narrative quality—it reads like a novel, chalk-full of personal stories and wisdom born of experience. McCaig has captured qualities of holiness and hope that blossom in some of the most desolate corners of the inner city.”
—Stephen Brachlow
Professor of Spirituality at Baptist Theological Seminary

“Years ago, God gave Joseph an unpopular but ultimately redemptive dream that altered the course of his nation. Today, God has spoken a dream of the same fabric to my friend and courageous leader Wendy McCaig. Those who are wise enough to listen to this dreamer will become a part of a movement of the Church Distributed and will touch their communities with grace and hope.”
—John P. Chandler
Author of Courageous Church Leadership: Conversations with Effective Practitioners

18 responses to “Book

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  11. anewcreation

    I am really inspired by your testimony and have just purchased your book “From the Sanctuary to the Streets”. My husband and I started an initiative two years ago to collect food for the homeless. We started as a small group but now have 70 families in our village (UK) involved and donating food monthly. We then take it down to the local branch of the Salvation Army who give it out during their drop-in days.

    As a result of this initiative a few people have also become volunteers at the drop-in and have regular contact with the homeless.

    This for me is where true church begins, and I have in the last 8 years of being part of a local church found nothing which moves me and stirs the spirit of Christ in me as much as this does. I know God has more for me to do in this ministry and am excited but at the same time scared of leaving institutional church behind. Perhaps you would care to read some more of about my journey through my blog.

    All I know is that I can totally relate to your journey and that there are similarities so your testimony gives me great hope on a day when I have many doubts and fears to step out in faith.

    God bless you


  12. wmccaig

    Hi Mercedes,

    Please let me know what you think of the book once you read it. I would also love to share ideas about what is working in your context and how you are seeing people move beyond the sanctuary into the community. Thanks for your comment. I hope we can stay in touch.

    • anewcreation

      Yes, would love to stay in touch.

      In terms of sharing ideas, I reckon it will be more a case of me getting inspiration from you. We have only just started to develop this ministry and it is on a much smaller scale than what you do. The average number of people attendig the drop-in here is 35, although the Community Worker at the Salvation Army regularly visits lots of families in the area to take food to them that our initiative provides. At the moment, they are looking to start a soup kitchen one evening a week apart from the drop-in two afternoons a week where they also get some food and take away a food parcel made up here at our house with all the monthly donations from families in our village.

      They are looking at giving them advice as to how to best move forward in their situations and begin to step out of homelessness. The drop-in is a place where they know they can come and be safe, be loved by the volunteers and be heard and guided. So without patronising them or preaching to them they can witness for themselves the love of Christ in action. I want to get more involved with the actual drop-in rather than the giving of food, but right now my kids are young and they need me at home at that time, so is a bit difficult.


  13. wmccaig

    It sounds like a great plan. I would encourage you not to focus on numbers but instead focus on the quality of the relationships. If you really want to make a difference in the lives of people, invest your time in a real friendship with one or two verses putting your time into programs that “serve” dozens. Over the years, I have seen more life change come through relationships than programs. Programs are usually where you start in building relationships but if you don’t go beyond feeding and shelter, lives generally don’t change very much. The issues are far deeper than the surface needs. I love this part of your ministry ” they come to be loved by the volunteers and be heard and guided.” That is the core of our call to be Christ in the world.

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