A compassionate chronicle of a Protestant pastor who for decades has ministered to some of Seattle’s most vulnerable people—the homeless
Craig Rennebohm shares the evocative stories of those he has encountered on the street who desperately need psychiatric, psychological, and spiritual support. We meet people who, abandoned and marginalized by their community, need care and treatment to find their way back to a life of stability and meaning. 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.
Rennebohm's powerful experiences, drawn from his own life and the lives of those he has aided in their struggles, show us a God of kindness and compassion. He 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 welcome and include "the least among us"—our most fragile and troubled neighbors.
With gentleness and grace, solid knowledge and wisdom, Rennebohm helps those who are seeking a path of healing and the way of companionship so they may build healing communities of caring that in which all may have a home, safely rest, and be well.
About the Author
Craig Rennebohm is a United Church of Christ minister who worked for over 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. 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 many years he helped create a lively diverse congregation which embodied the message, "All are Welcome, Come as You Are."
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.
As well as a guide to how others can help be healing presences to the mentally ill, this hopeful book is a meditation on faith in a broken world.—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A refreshing look at compassion and caring for Seattle's outcasts . . . touching and not overly preachy."—Louisa Gaylord, Crosscut
"Recommend[ed] to professionals . . . to those who have struggled with mental/emotional problems, and to those who have mentally disturbed family members or friends."—Dean Watt, The Center for Progressive Christianity
"For the past 20 years, the Rev. Craig Rennebohm has spent at least three days a week walking the streets of [Seattle]. His mission? Helping the chronically homeless people everyone else bustles past. He shepherds people with mental illnesses to doctor appointments. He warms folks up with coffee at Starbucks. And, always, this United Church of Christ minister tries to get some of the 2,000-plus people 'sleeping rough' on any given night into housing. It's slow going." —Laura Vanderkam, USA Today
"Souls delivers a multilayered and nuanced discussion of homelessness and mental illness. And, when combined with a theological perspective that emphasizes God's love, Rennebohm's hard-fought-and-won insights into engaging the homeless and creating better systems of care offer refreshing contact points for psychology and religion."—James H. Zahniser, Contemporary Psychology