“Through the pages of this book, I invite you into various spaces of sanctuary—not as places of retreat, but for the deepened resistance, vision, and transformation that these days, and the gospel, require.”
Throughout her nearly forty years in ministry, Heidi Neumark has strived to make communities of faith into sanctuaries amid the turmoils of life. Now, with the social and political upheaval of the years since Donald Trump was elected president, Neumark believes the true Christian calling is to live out a counterpoint to today’s prevailing spirits of exclusion and hatred. Using her own bilingual, multicultural congregation as a model, she moves through the seasons of the church calendar to reflect on what it looks like to live out essential Christian convictions in community with others.
Sanctuary is an amplifier for the many voices crying out against policies and rhetoric that are cruel, dehumanizing, and dangerous. Neumark begins each chapter with a quote from Donald Trump that she defies and dismantles with the power of her own stories—anecdotes about offering shelter for queer youth in her city, supporting immigrants and asylum-seekers being harassed by ICE, and embracing her church’s diversity with a Guadalupe celebration, to name a few. Timely, but also timeless, this book speaks to the deep wounds of this era, inflicted before and during the Trump presidency, which will remain long past its end.
Heidi Neumark is a Lutheran pastor who has served congregations in the South Bronx and Manhattan for almost four decades. In her present position, she is also the cofounder and executive director of a shelter for homeless LGBTQIA+ youth. She is the author of two books, Breathing Space: A Spiritual Journey in the South Bronx and Hidden Inheritance: Family Secrets, Memory and Faith, about the discovery of her Jewish heritage and her grandfather's death in a concentration camp.