The 1960s in Newark, New Jersey, were a crucible of racial tensions. While the civil rights movement slowly planted the seeds of hope and resilience across the rest of the nation, the movement in Newark faced intense challenges from an entrenched and racist political power structure—culminating in the ’67 Newark riots. But while these riots reduced the Central Ward to rubble, one place was spared from the destruction and would become a hub for social change—Queen of Angels Church.
Out of the Ashes Came Hope is an inspiring and timely memoir that illuminates the life work of Father William J. Linder, a newly ordained white priest whose radical transformation takes place once he is assigned to the all-black parish at Queen of Angels in Newark, New Jersey, in 1963. Father Linder imbues hope into a dread of hopelessness that plagued the lives of many black residents—many of whom had grown accustomed to living in squalid conditions and dilapidated public housing. As a messenger of God’s love, Father Linder’s journey to Newark activates and galvanizes the community to believe that change is possible, and together they embark on a task of epic proportions—to rebuild Newark’s Central Ward.
His journey hand in hand with his community speaks to a life dedicated to working with the most vulnerable and downtrodden people in society. He is a servant of God who is always bound to hope—the most spontaneous prayer that exists.