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Synopsis

The message given in Pilgrim Center healing retreats for survivors of genocide and war is: “The world has not forgotten or abandoned you. The Church of the world views you as its brothers and sisters, and we have come from them, to stand with you, and to love you on their behalf.”

In this book, The Rev. Dr. Arthur A. Rouner, Jr., a parish minister for 40 years, lays out a theology for ministry through presence, based on the ministry of Jesus. It is a simple, practical, effective approach for reaching people who are difficult to reach, who are often withdrawn, silently suffering, and probably at the edges of Church life. Brokenness, Dr. Rouner says, is a condition of the soul of people high and low. It is a condition of the rich as well as the poor. It is a state of the heart. The broken can be found in all sorts of places, he says. The Church, as the Shepherd of the sheep, is called to find them, and heal their hearts.

Dr. Rouner challenges church ministers and congregants to expand their thinking about ministry, and to go to people, in their brokenness and isolation, in their places of physical and spiritual hiding, whether in Africa or down the block or at a coffee shop, to show care and love and compassion. He suggests that the Church needs to minister beyond its walls, at the edges of society, at the four corners of the world, in the middle of nowhere and everywhere, being present in unexpected places and in unexpected ways.

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