On April 24 in Morningside Heights near the Columbia campus, the second floor of Book Culture was packed with a standing-room only audience there for a unique book reading. One by one, four formerly homeless people featured in Sacred Shelter: Thirteen Journeys of Homeless and Healing, edited by Susan Celia Greenfield, read selections from their life stories. Edna Humphrey, Heidi Nissen, Lisa Sperber and Sophia Worrell shared traumas from their youth, the devastation of homelessness, and the healing they discovered through community and faith. The audience was riveted; people gasped and some cried.
All the readers are graduates of an interfaith life skills empowerment program, founded in 1989 by George Horton of New York Catholic Charities and Marc Greenberg of the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing. The evening’s speakers also included Dawn Ravella, director of a life skills program for the Reformed Church of Bronxville, and Ira Ben-Wiseman, a program mentor. Said Marc Greenberg, executive director of the Interfaith Assembly: “Homelessness does not need to exist in our society.”
“While Sacred Shelter does not tackle the socioeconomic conditions and inequities that cause homelessness, it provides a voice for a demographic group that continues to suffer from systemic injustice and marginalization. In powerful, narrative form, it expresses the resilience of individuals who have experienced homelessness and the hope and community they have found. By listening to their stories, we are urged to confront our own woundedness and uncover our desire for human connection, a sacred shelter on the other side of suffering.”
Congratulations to Professor Greenfield on this remarkable achievement. Sacred Shelter is available wherever you buy books. For more information, and to purchase a copy, click here: