written by The Love, Life and Hope Writers Collective
This is an invitation to a journey into love, life and hope.
We begin by acknowledging that for many, this journey begins in suffering. Suffering is an experience that we all share. Trauma inflicted through abuse of power, meanness, neglect, abandonment, or violent oppression is especially difficult for the human spirit to bear.
Yet, the stories of our scriptures and traditions strive to help us make sense of pain and persecution and connect us to the powerful threads of love, hope and renewal that flow out of our connection with God and with each other—the riotous roots that give us life.
So, we set out to write a book, a Barefoot Guide, that would be a resource to help ourselves and faith communities to better see, share and connect to their own resourcefulness, their God-granted resilience and practices around theology, congregational and community life.
A wise friend who happened to run the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention once said that “You don’t have to know where you are to be there. But if you want to go anywhere else, the very first thing you need is clarity about where you are.” This is not just the place you happen to be, but the path. For most of us, the next steps are just extensions of the path we were already walking. This book has taken its authors away from where we were and onto some new paths.
We thought we’d come together for a task—to write helpfully about other people’s congregations and mental health.
Instead, we became our own congregation and found ourselves helping each other find our own stories. Our steps led us out of our normal path and into a deep, transparent relationship. The stories in this book are personal and particular, emerging out of our dialogue over months. But they may be the kind of stories alive among the people you gather with already. Not everyone is ready at the same time, so you may consider inviting some part of your congregation that may receive your invitation to dialogue as good news. They may be surprised to learn that their presence might be part of the healing of another. In creating healing space for others, we find space for our own healing.
WHAT HAVE OTHERS SAID ABOUT THE bAREFOOT gUIDES...
The Barefoot Guides have been the key influences in my life and work… my constant companions in my community and organisational development work. Marie Corcoran-tindill, Trainer, Facilitator of community and group processes, Dublin
The Barefoot initiative is itself an exciting expression of social change. Inez Hackenberg, Utrecht University
As a trained action learning facilitator their guides have helped me work with grassroots communities in Myanmar and Thailand. Kevina Maddick, Program Manager at Right To Play, Bangkok
The Barefoot Guide's transformative process… shows us the way to transcend borders, sectors, limits, to break the silos! Vincent Stevaux, ITECO, Bruxelles
Barefoot Guide has been creating phenomenal content for the critical process of experiential reflection at both individual and organizational levels. Jesse Chen, Changemakers, Washington
…a wonderful contribution to open access knowledge, grounded on a great depth of experience and horizontal learning from across the world. Samantha Button, East Africa Program Head, Maliasili
…the Barefoot Guide collection is having a great influence, especially the lives of field workers and communities. Muta Wakilu Tamasco, Ghana
The Barefoot Guide Connection has a unique and truly transformational approach to collaboration, learning and facilitating social, transformational change across borders. Tobias Troll Director, EDGE Europe at EDGE Funders Alliance, Bruxelles
This unusual and exceptional volume (and series) is hugely accessible yet deeply rooted in solid theory and extensive practice across a wide range of contexts and fields. Expect from it something truly unique in its combination of insight, reflection, experience and highly usable mixed text/visual presentation. It is not "dumbed down." I have seen it bite as deeply at high academic and professional level as at grassroots community leadership level, an astonishing achievement worth honouring. Professor Jim Cochrane Cape Town