Sometime back I was asked to write an endorsement of a book written by a United Methodist pastor about her ministry with the homeless in Charleston, WV. I'd like to share that brief word of endorsement and recommend to you this book from Energion Publications, which I must add has published several of my own books.
In The Vicar of Tent Town the Rev. Shauna Hyde tells the story of her calling to what most would consider a rather unusual ministry. Newly called to a Charleston, WV United Methodist church, she is introduced by members of her own congregation to a homeless encampment, and in the course of the story she becomes its Vicar – the pastor for the homeless, even as she served a traditional congregation. In the course of this insightful book Shauna Hyde we are drawn into her ministry, getting to know both members of her congregation who encouraged her in this ministry and who shared in it with her. We also get to know the residents of this community, discovering that there are many reasons why people end up homeless and why they stay homeless. You might be surprised at what you learn. This is not only a book that informs; it inspires one to new visions of ministry. In a time when religion is seen as irrelevant to life, Shauna Hyde offers evidence to the contrary.
Shauna currently serves as the pastor of First United Methodist Church of Ravenswood, WV. Her book is a powerful meditation on ministry with persons who live on the fringe of our society. I highly recommend it, especially congregations wrestling with becoming more involved in ministries touching the community's most vulnerable persons.