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Larry M. James
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A compelling memoir by an urban minister and community development practitioner with more than thirty years of experience in the field. Larry James appeared to be exactly where he was supposed to be--ministering with a large, suburban Dallas church. Then came the intriguing invitation to move his ministry to inner city Dallas among some of the "poorest" people in the community.
As the new director of a food pantry, Larry was quickly overwhelmed. One day when trying to communicate with Spanish-speaking families, he asked a woman named Josefina to help translate. She had come for assistance, but Josefina ended up helping Larry that day, and the next. She came back the next day for nine years.
Since that day Josefina began helping two decades ago, Larry has been asking neighbors to help solve their own problems, and this new way of serving side by side has transformed a small food pantry into one of the largest non-profit food distributors in the world. With a budget of fourteen million dollars annually, the organization--now called CitySquare--also develops housing for the formerly homeless and manages health clinics and community medical outreach in economically depressed and under-served places like East and South Dallas.
This is an organizational success story you expect to see in the Wall Street Journal, and yet it is like no other. The author's own journey provides the platform from which he provides a practical, theological, market-savvy manual written for others who find themselves serving and investing in the work of urban transformation. Using the foundation of Jesus' teaching and love for the poor, the book shows practical and visionary ways Christ's teaching can be made real.
About the Author
LARRY JAMES has provided executive leadership for CitySquare (formerly Central Dallas Ministries) since August 1994. CitySquare, a faith-based, human and community development corporation, serves several inner city neighborhoods in Dallas, Texas, as well as in San Antonio, Austin, Fort Worth, and Houston. James has developed and implemented holistic, justice-focused approaches to community service and outreach throughout his career. CitySquare attacks poverty through its work in four focus areas: housing, hunger relief, health, and the creation of hope. A native of Richardson, Texas, James is married to the former Brenda Erwin and they have two grown daughters and four grandchildren. Since 1999, Larry and Brenda have lived in inner-city Dallas.