Breathing Space: A Spiritual Journey in the South Bronx [NOOK Book]

Overview

This book is a song of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for the people whose courageous witness has transfigured this community-and this pastor. Thanksgiving for the gift of these stories that cry out to be told and retold because in the midst of death they rise to fill the air with life.

Breathing Space is the story of a young woman, Heidi Neumark, and the Hispanic and African-American Lutheran church-aptly named Transfiguration-that took a chance ...
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Breathing Space: A Spiritual Journey in the South Bronx

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Overview

This book is a song of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for the people whose courageous witness has transfigured this community-and this pastor. Thanksgiving for the gift of these stories that cry out to be told and retold because in the midst of death they rise to fill the air with life.

Breathing Space is the story of a young woman, Heidi Neumark, and the Hispanic and African-American Lutheran church-aptly named Transfiguration-that took a chance calling on a pastor from a starkly different background. Despite living and working in a milieu of overwhelming poverty and violence, Neumark and the congregation encounter even more powerful forces of hope and renewal.

This is the story of a church and a community creating space for new life and breath in a place where children suffer the highest asthma rates in the nation. It's also the story of a young woman-working, raising her children, and struggling for spiritual breathing space. Through poignant, intimate stories, Neumark charts her journey alongside her parishioners as pastor, church, and community grow in wisdom and together experience transformation.
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Editorial Reviews

Bill Wylie-Kellerman
This is a book that takes your breath away and at the same time gives it back. I have every suspicion, and say it with a sigh, that Heidi Neumark has written a classic to be.
Sojourners
Publishers Weekly
In 1984, when Neumark became pastor of Transfiguration Lutheran Church, the South Bronx was groaning under decades of neglect. A 1976 HUD policy called "planned shrinkage" had radically reduced city services, including hospitals and schools, and only people too poor to move elsewhere remained in this area of sewage treatment plants and torched apartment buildings. For 19 years Neumark lived and worked among addicts, pushers, prostitutes, people with AIDS, abused women and children and gang members, without abandoning hope: "I am drawn to a different vision-the walls rebuilt, the land reclaimed, the people who rise up like grass improbably breaking through slabs of stone." A gifted storyteller, she portrays people who, despite personal tragedies and minimal resources, band together to build low-income housing, create first-rate schools, restore their church, plant trees and help each other through crises. People like Burnice, who initially came to church to pick up Christmas gifts, intending to trade them for drugs and then kill herself with an overdose; but who kept coming back, got her GED, found a job and is now a leader in church and community. "Some future pillars of the church arrive in ruins," Neumark wryly notes. With its hard-nosed realism and passion for God, this memoir should appeal to people of faith across the political spectrum. (Oct.) Forecast: Books on social justice rarely grace bestseller lists, but Neumark's perceptive reflections, lyrical writing style and ability to create a sense of place call to mind writers such as Alex Kotlowitz and Jonathan Kozol. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Newly ordained Lutheran minister Neumark, a risk taker who knew Spanish from mission work in Latin America, answered a call from a South Bronx parish in 1984 and has been ministering there ever since. Her memoir, at once funny and searing, spans her 20-year tenure at the Transfiguration Lutheran Church. Neumark revitalized the congregation, which was struggling to survive in a culture of violent revenge, sewage dumping, and bureaucratic neglect. The author tells how she nurtured the leadership gifts of single women in the neighborhood to strengthen programs: support groups, after-school child care, and bilingual education. She also led a community movement to create affordable housing and improve public schools. Neumark admits she has struggled with stress overload, lack of time to spend with her husband and children, and fear of gunshots in the night. Her story will appeal to general readers and to clergy, who will find many inspiring sermon illustrations here. A good choice for most public and seminary libraries.-Joyce Smothers, M.L.S., M.Div. student, Princeton Theological Seminary, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
With its hard-nosed realism and passion for God, this memoir should appeal to people of faith across the political spectrum.—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Surrounded by violence and poverty and threatened by urban renewal, Transfiguration Lutheran Church under pastor Neumark survived and, perhaps miraculously, thrived . . . Her story proves genuinely inspirational as we follow her from despair and frustration to cautious optimism in the face of a still tenuous future." —Booklist

"Breathing Space is a beautifully produced book, and it has a utopian poignancy . . . Yet it is grounded in the virtue of hope."—James S. Torrens, America: The National Catholic Weekly

Winner of a 2004 Wilbur Award

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807095829
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 219,383
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Heidi B. Neumark has served as pastor of Transfiguration Lutheran Church in the South Bronx since 1984. She is a founding member of South Bronx Churches, an ecumenical community organizing group that has trained local leaders, built hundreds of low-cost homes, and established a top-ranked public high school. The Reverend Neumark is also the founder of Transfiguration Community Life Center, Inc., an organization providing after-school and job-training programs for youth, HIV and domestic violence education and support, and other services. She lives with her family in New York City.
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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Church Doors 3
La Casita 3
Planned Shrinkage 5
Reformation 9
Malabarriga 12
Lessons for Jonah 14
Five Weeks 23
2 Neighborhood Doors 31
Visitation 31
Mother's Day at Zarephath 41
Rizpah's Table 54
Longwood Avenue 61
Feast of the Transfiguration 68
People in the Windows 72
3 Parsonage Doors 77
Babies and Breasts 77
Two-Headed Monster 80
Lepers in the Bed 85
Oma 87
Opening Windows 90
4 Soul Doors - Breathing Space 97
These Trees Are Prayers 97
Poppies On and Off Broadway 100
A Writer's Life 104
Conspiracy 106
5 Gathering Resources 115
Potholes 115
Walk-a-thon 118
Table Dancing 121
Feeling Rich 122
6 Summer Construction Reports 127
Theophany, Part One 127
Rise and Shine 128
Gates of Heaven 133
Theophany, Part Two 138
Molech's Throat 141
Boom Chica Boom 153
7 Fall Construction Reports 171
Cracks 171
Rats 101 180
Pillars of the Church 186
Rest on the Flight to Egypt 198
8 Winter Construction Reports 203
Frozen Tears 203
Soon and Very Soon 209
Songlines 214
O Holy Night 222
9 Spring Construction Reports 231
Spring Cleaning with St. Jangama 231
The Fall of Grit 237
Dust to Dust 245
Plumbing Problems 250
And Still We Rise 260
Space for Grace 267
Epilogue 273
Notes 277
Acknowledgments 283
Credits 285
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2003

    Fascinating reading

    This well written book really held my interest, intertwining stories about the daily problems of the residents of the South Bronx neighborhood with events from the author's personal life. Stories of poor women persevering against seemingly insurmountable difficulties are also combined with Biblical stories of struggling women. An uplifting and inspiring book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2003

    Amazing book

    This is a very very good book.... I recomment it to everyone. It is well written and informative. Get this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2009

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    Posted December 5, 2009

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