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Churches unite to transform communities: building belonging amid the housing crisis

The Rev. Dr. John Cleghorn’s new book from Westminster John Knox Press will be available in October

by Westminster John Knox Press | Special to Presbyterian News Service

A book set for publication this fall invites us to join the church movement reshaping our neighborhoods — embracing love and creating community to house our neighbors and recognize our shared humanity.

In many neighborhoods, soaring housing costs have created an alarming wave of instability, leaving congregations situated at the heart of communities grappling with housing insecurity. Simultaneously, societal divisions across ideologies, racial lines, class disparities, and diverse perspectives have eroded the fabric of these communities, leaving a void in shared connections.

Churches, amid declining membership and dwindling engagement, have an opportunity to provide a key role in these changing landscapes. In “Building Belonging: The Church’s Call to Create Community and House Our Neighbors,” the Rev. Dr. John Cleghorn, a Presbyterian pastor from Charlotte, North Carolina — a city where prosperity and poverty uncomfortably coexist — shows how numerous congregations across the United States are leading the charge, embracing innovative approaches to ministry that leverage their resources to become havens of both welcome and shelter.

By examining the theological and sociological dimensions propelling congregations toward a radical transformation of their material and relational landscapes, this book weaves together narratives, insights, and experiences from diverse congregations at the forefront of this movement. Readers will be inspired to look at the unfolding narrative of unaffordable housing in a new way and be inspired to shape their ministry to harness all available resources to foster access and justice by housing neighbors.

The Rev. Dr. John Cleghorn

Written from the heart of a pastor who is deeply engaged in a church’s yearslong housing journey, this book does not stop at simply showing these challenges. Cleghorn also provides a roadmap for communities to initiate transformative processes, leveraging their unique abilities and resources to tackle significant local issues.

Read an article recounting Cleghorn’s 2022 appearance on “Leading Theologically” here.

For more information about Cleghorn’s new book, contact Natalie Smith,

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