Transforming Communities: How People Like You are Healing Their Neighborhood
By Sandhya Rani Jha
The world around us is a wreck. When there’s so much conflict around the country and around the corner, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, powerless, and helpless. What can one person do to make a difference?
Here’s the good news. Millions of everyday people are ready to step into their power to transform their communities -- and you are one of them. Take heart and be inspired by real stories of ordinary people who took action and changed their corner of the world, one block at a time. Equal parts inspiration, education, and Do-It-Yourself, Transforming Communities by veteran community activist Sandhya Jha will open your eyes to the world-healing potential within you, and give you the vision, the tools, and the encouragement to start transforming your neighborhood.
Editions available on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and your favorite e-reader--see your regular vendor.
A Missio Alliance Essential Reading List of 2017 selection
"Sandhya Rani Jha: Learn how to make a difference in your neighborhood and the world," a Q&A with the author in Faith & Leadership, published by Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School
"A tiny congregation with a big building is resurrected as a center for peace," Oakland Peace Center profile featuring Sandhya Rani Jha, Faith & Leadership
"An inspiring vision of how people are affecting community reform and renewal."―Spirituality & Practice, 04/17/18
".....This is an insightful book that can inspire local congregations to look both at themselves and at their communities, and discern ways that they can engage. The concept of being missional has been popular in recent years. Sandhya doesn’t refer to this movement, but the stories told here are illustrative of what it means to be missional. The kinds of projects discussed are rooted in the life of a congregation. They reflect values and gifts. While many of the projects and efforts discussed here can be replicated elsewhere, the possibilities for congregational mission are endless and not limited to those discussed here. She recognizes that every community is different, with unique needs and different required responses. But, she has enough experience with these kinds of efforts to give us wisdom that can help empower efforts of transformation. Sandhya Jha is first and foremost a story-teller, and that gift is well used here. While the book is not difficult to read, it will challenge readers. That’s why this book can be a great catalyst for conversation within faith-communities that are ready to hear and see the concerns of their communities and then get involved. The key, of course, is to remember that this reflects the community’s sense of divine call. In other words, the church is not simply another service organization. It is a community of faith and what it does in the community is a reflection of its communion with God. That is why I believe this is a book for our times."― Bob Cornwall, "Ponderings on a Faith Journey," 12/29/17, excerpted (read the entire review)
"The stories in this book reminded me of songs by Woody Guthrie and art by Marc Chagall: rays of hope lighting up a dark landscape. This is a book to be cherished."―Eboo Patel, author of Interfaith Leadership: A Primer
“In this practical and inspiring guide, Sandhya Jha teaches us how to lean on the arc of the moral universe so that it bends towards justice. In our exhaustion and desperation, Jha infuses hope into every page.”―Carol Howard Merritt, pastor and author of Healing Spiritual Wounds
“My South African friend Episcopal priest Rene August, says that the difference between a marathon and a sprint is how you breathe. Many of us are finding ourselves in a marathon at this historic moment and we need books that make us take a deep breath. Transforming Communities is such a book; it draws our attention to the good news happening in communities around us in a way that strengthens our faith―while providing us with practical advice designed to encourage and equip.” ―Alexia Salvatierra, coauthor of Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World
“Jha pulls no punches in this enlivening report from the front lines of social justice activism and our common life together: ‘Protests aren’t enough. And experts can’t fix communities from the outside.’ If you're looking for hope amidst the turmoil of our times alongside practical strategies to enhance your own work, read each chapter and take notes in the margins. From innovative prison programs and new church models like Gordon Cosby's Church of the Saviour, you'll find inspiration.”― Rob Wilson-Black, CEO, Sojourners
“Describing the convicted, creative, courageous initiatives of people in our own communities, Sandhya Jha focuses a narrative beam of light on the moral arc of the universe as it bends toward justice. Thank you, Sandhya, for helping us lift our eyes to see possibility and hope—and a pathway to our own involvement.”― Sharon E. Watkins, author of Whole: A Call to Unity in Our Fragmented World
“Sandhya’s stated goal―which she ably achieves here―is simple yet arduous: to get us out of our stifling cynicism so that we may see deeply, listen intently, act justly, and love radically. To break down our world-weariness and its consequent inactivity, she beautifully fuses the enduring wisdom of faith and justice movements with the raw tactility and wounded victories of on-the-ground work, in ways that both disarm and charm. To be sure, her scholarship is needed more than ever, for it is nuanced yet accessible, technical yet gritty, erudite yet disruptive.”―Rev. José Francisco Morales Torres, Director of Pastoral Formation, Disciples Seminary Foundation
"I can be overwhelmed by the call to live transformative love in the world—to house the homeless, restore souls, repair relationships, generate justice. So I am very grateful for Sandhya Rani Jha’s book. She doesn’t deal in empty aspirations. Instead, she describes community-change models that are actually working. Jha not only knows what I hope for, she shows me how to get there. I need this good news. I think we all do."―Andrew Dreitcer, Center for Engaged Compassion at Claremont School of Theology