Praise for “This is God’s Table”

“In this beautiful book, Anna Woofenden tells the story not just of a new church, but of a new kind of church. If you are close to giving up on the church, or if you, like Anna, feel an irrepressible seed of hope for the church growing in you, this is the book you’ve been waiting for. When you come to this sentence late in the book, you’ll dare to believe that it is actually true: ‘God is making church all over the place, beyond the walls, on the streets, in the soil, and around the table.’ And even more—you’ll want to be part of the buzzing, colorful, nourishing garden that God is growing wherever there are willing gardeners to join in the fun.”

BRIAN D. MCLAREN, speaker, activist, and author of The Great Spiritual Migration

“The story of the Garden Church is a story about redemp- tion, new imagination, and embracing abundance. Anna Woofenden boldly sketches a personal story, not shying away from the realities of life in community and the intense challenges of the pastoral vocation, but offering a vision of expansive community where we all can come in our bro- kenness to be healed. If you are longing for a new vision for what ‘the church’ can be, read this story of hope and courage and let the hope for beloved community grow and flowerin you.”

AMY BUTLER, public theologian and former senior minister of the Riverside Church

“This book is a gift for those longing to hear how to restore the streets, rebuild the ruins, repair the breach, and raise up the foundations of a new church. The Garden Church is like a spring whose water does not fail. It is rowdy and elegant, ancient and new, difficult and true.”

SARA MILES, author of Take This Bread and founder of The Food Pantry

“People often ask me how to get millennials to come back to church. Many of the answers are right here in this book—we have to be willing to reimagine church, literally from the ground up, giving place to imagination and holy risk-taking. As Anna Woofenden’s gorgeous memoir makes clear, it’s both challenging and hopeful to sift through the compost heap of the inherited Christian tradition to find what will, with God’s help, spring forth into new life.”

JANA RIESS, author of Flunking Sainthood and The Next Mormons

“Planting a sustainable new church can seem like an impos- sible task, yet Anna Woofenden accomplished it with an empty lot and a dinosaur sculpture. Then Woofenden infused This Is God’s Table with her wisdom, showing us the practi- cal steps without hiding the struggles. This book is a beau- tiful glimpse into the hard and generous work of growing a church, a garden, and a community.”

CAROL HOWARD MERRITT, pastor and author of Healing Spiritual Wounds

“In a time when the church seems marked more by ‘We’ve never done it this way before’ than by ‘We can dare to take chances with God’s love,’ Anna Woofenden delivers a book that tells an important story about taking chances. Everyone who reads This Is God’s Table—especially those who care about the future of congregational life—will discover that there really is enough right under our feet to make church together, and that God is already blessing our wildest ideas about the church.”

PAUL D. FROMBERG, rector of St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church

“Tired of ‘This is what the church used to be’ stories?

Does your imagination of what church can be need a new lens? Then This Is God’s Table is the book you need. Anna Woofenden offers readers a riveting account of what it means to lead a new church movement with conviction, vulner- ability, and most of all, hope. We all have much to learn from her.”

ELIZABETH HAGAN, pastor and author of Birthed and Brave Church

“In This Is God’s Table, Anna Woofenden joins God at work by sowing kindness, planting gardens, and growing an unconventional church on a vacant lot. Profoundly lovely, wise, challenging, and grace-haunted, it is a story every pastor, congregant, and Christian should read to discover what it might look like to ‘seek the peace of the city’ and end up forever transformed.”

COURTNEY ELLIS, pastor, speaker, and author of Almost Holy Mama and Uncluttered

“With stunning clarity and refreshing humility, Anna Woofenden reminds us that ‘God is making church all over the place.’ Woofenden chronicles the gestation, birth, and growth in grace of the Garden Church with poignancy, honesty, and generosity of spirit. Her pastoral wisdom reminds us that even in the face of scarcity, there is always enough as the people of God persist in a ‘heavenly way of being’ on earth. This book will nourish your soul and till the soil of your imagination to envision the church in a fresh, life-giving way.”

STEPHANIE LOBDELL, campus pastor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University and author of Signs of Life

“At once a memoir and an ethnography, a story and a sermon. Through the lens of this small but mighty garden church, Anna Woofenden advances the tradition of Christian innovation while elucidating God’s enduring care and rele- vance for us all. A joyful ministry about which to read!”

HARRISON BLUM, director of religious and spiritual life at Am- herst College

“When Anna Woofenden felt God’s prompting to plant a church, she didn’t necessarily expect actual planting to be involved. But down on her knees, with hands in the dirt, she faithfully tended both crops and a congregation to life. This Is God’s Table shares the story not just of the Garden Church, but of a community strengthened together through its hunger. It tells the story of a town where all—whether pastor or parishioner, housed or homeless, longtime resident or new to town—learn to feed and be fed, thanks to an unassuming plot of land and the power of the Holy Spirit.”

KENDALL VANDERSLICE, author of We Will Feast