Public Offerings: Stories from the Front Lines of Community Ministry

by Linda-Marie Delloff. The Alban Institute, 2002.

'Public Offerings' offers readers a chance to get intimately involved in the initial vision, hard work, and life-changing impact of community ministries around the United States. Rather than a ‘how-to’ guide, this book offers stories of great community ministries—and most importantly, the people, process, and transforming power behind them. As witness to these stories, Delloff has discovered some universal truths about successful public ministry. Congregations can develop the capacity to build up and manage their public ministries by leading with passion, taking risks, and encouraging success. One such story of successful community ministry is the Dugan Alternative High School in Chicago. Father Bruce recognized the dangerous and devastating effect gangs were having on families and the high school drop-out rate. The members of his parish at Holy Cross/Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church were afraid that inviting the gang members onto church grounds for an after school program would present an even greater danger for their own children. Father Bruce organized and facilitated not only educational sessions on the power of stereotypes and fear, but also invited the youth to meet the members. Today, parishioners encourage the alternative school regularly through their fund-raising efforts, Christmas parties and field trips. The Dugan Alternative High School ministry—as well as the other ministries illustrated in this book—is a wellspring of hope and transformation in the lives of God’s children.