Grit and Grace on Manhattan’s Oldest Street
by Jason Storbakken
Pub Date 12 Nov 2019
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The Bowery has long been one of New York City’s most notorious streets, a magnet for gangsters, hucksters, and hobos. And despite sweeping changes, it is still all too often the end of the road for troubled war veterans, drug addicts, the mentally ill, the formerly incarcerated, and others generally down on their luck. Against this backdrop, for 140 years, Christians of every stripe have been coming together at the Bowery Mission to offer hearty meals, hot showers, clean beds, warm clothes – and, for thousands of homeless over the years, the help they need to get off the streets and back on their feet.
Jason Storbakken, a recent Bowery director, retraces that colorful history and profiles some of the illustrious characters that have made the Bowery an iconic New York institution. His book offers a lens through which to better understand the changing faces of homelessness, of American Christianity, and of New York City itself – all of which converge daily at the Bowery Mission’s red doors.
Storbakken, a recent director of the Bowery Mission and pastor of the Manhattan Mennonite Fellowship, writes of his ministry of providing meals and other support to the homeless in New York City’s notorious neighborhood. The book traces the Bowery’s history and profiles some of its colorful characters, as well as offering guidance for policymakers and practical ideas for ministry. --Publishers Weekly
Part history, part memoir, Jason Storbakken’s inspiring book tells the moving story of the Bowery Mission’s ministry to homeless and hungry New Yorkers from its establishment in 1879 to the present day. By combining personal anecdotes drawn from his own experience as Director of Chapel and Compassionate Care with compelling narratives of the Mission’s founding, development, and transformation over time, Storbakken sheds light on the enduring challenges of inequality and illness, poverty and pain, that he and many others over the past one hundred and forty years have worked to address. --Heather D. Curtis, author, Holy Humanitarians
Storbakken chronicles the Bowery Mission’s beginnings on New York City’s oldest, roughest street, and its formidable challenge to bring food, shelter, clothing, jobs, and rehabilitation to the down and out. The book’s most moving moments give testament to lives turned back from addiction and despair. Storbakken does not shy away from the grim sights and smells of rescue work; neither does he condescend. “There but for the grace of God go I” clearly inspires these mission workers, as does Jesus’ call to love and serve “the least of these.” The Bowery Mission began during the nineteenth century’s Gilded Age, and the book ends during our new Gilded Age of growing income inequality and homelessness. It could not be more timely and welcome. --David Mulkins, President, Bowery Alliance of Neighbors
Launch event at Bowery Mission with celebrity volunteers.
Author speaking tour in New York City metro area churches.
National publicity campaign.
Feature in Plough Quarterly magazine, circulation 10,000.
Promotions on Plough social and email channels, combined reach 100,000.
Significant social media campaign.
Advance reader copies mailing.