Surely Goodness and Mercy: A Journey into Illness and Solidarity

By Murphy Davis, 2020  |  Order a print copy To order by mail
Open Door Community

Surely Goodness and Mercy: A Journey into Illness and Solidarity is a narrative account of Murphy Davis’ 25-year battle with cancer. For 14 years before the cancer first struck and throughout most of her surgeries and treatment, she lived in the Open Door Community, a residential community in downtown Atlanta, founded with her husband, Ed Loring in 1981. Both Davis and Loring are ordained Presbyterian ministers and practice the discipline of seeking deeper solidarity with the poor and marginalized. As the cancer time and again threatened to bring death, Davis engaged the public health care system-first through nine years of treatment at Grady Hospital (Atlanta’s public hospital and primary health care delivery for the poor) and another 16 years at Emory’s Cancer Center on Medicaid for the Disabled. Through this lens, Murphy Davis has considered the theological and political dimensions of illness and access to care; she has grown into an ever-deeper solidarity with the homeless poor who continued to gather and persistently prayed and cared for her and her family. The men and women on Georgia’s death row, to whom Davis had been a pastor 18 years when she was first struck down was owned by her convicted companions as “one of us,” as they realized that she too was living under a sentence of death. The journey has brought reflections on Biblical theology and what it means to truly face and engage death. After 25 years, Murphy Davis is still alive and able to tell her story, thanks to the persistent care of committed doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, and family and friends (known and unknown) who have accompanied her, cared for her and prayed her through it all. She lives in deep gratitude and asserts the truth that “Goodness and Mercy have run after me all of my days.”


The following books are available directly from the Open Door. Let us send you a copy: download an order form. Many of our books are also available for download in PDF format (see below). Please note that some of these files are quite large and make take some time to download.

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The Cry of the Poor: Cracking White Male Supremacy—An Incendiary and Militant Proposal

by Eduard Loring, 2010
with a foreword by Nibs Stroupe
and an afterword by Melvin E. Jones

“The genius of Loring’s book is that it demonstrates the destructive lusts of greed and power that rage like a wildfire burning out of control, destroying everything in their path. Loring is crying for change — from the new world order to a new, inclusive social order with equality and justice for all.” — Marcus Wellons, #314289, Georgia Death Row

Download a digital copy (1.5 MB) | Order a print copy

Festival of Shelters


The Festival of Shelters: A Celebration for Love and Justice

by Eduard Loring with Heather Bargeron
preface by Dick Rustay, 2008

This Open Door publication describes the recovery and re-imagination of the ancient Jewish festival of Sukkoth, the Festival of Shelters, by members of the Open Door Community for the past two decades. The book documents and advocates a public practice of this liturgy in the context of homelessness to remind us of God’s good news of liberation and God’s call to compassion and justice.

Download a digital copy (1.9 MB) | Order a print copy



Sharing the Bread of Life: Hospitality and Resistance at the Open Door Community

by Peter R. Gathje, 2006

This revised and updated history of the Open Door was published in honor of the community’s 25th anniversary. Drawing from the experiences, reflections, and writings of community members, Pete Gathje provides a portrait of the life and work of the Open Door and weaves together its various aspects including hospitality with the poor, communal life, faith and worship practice, and street activism.

Download a digital copy (1.4 MB) | Order a print copy

A Work of Hospitality: The Open Door Reader


A Work of Hospitality: The Open Door Reader 1982-2002

Edited by Peter Gathje, 2002

This is a 20th-anniversary collection of writings from Hospitality, the community newspaper. It includes more than 100 essays from 20 years of publication, covering homelessness, work with prisoners, sacraments, the community’s saints and martyrs, and the theology of hospitality-the theme that plays through all 384 pages.

Download a digital copy (1.5 MB) | Order a print copy

I Hear Hope Banging at My Back Door


I Hear Hope Banging at My Back Door, Writings from Hospitality

By Eduard Loring, 2000

A collection of writings by Eduard Loring, co-founder and partner of the Open Door Community, on the causes, experience, and consequences of homelessness from the vantage point of a community that plants itself close to the streets.

Download a digital copy (.6 MB) | (This book is no longer available in printed form)

Christ Comes in the Strangers Guise


Christ Comes in the Stranger’s Guise: A History of the Open Door Community

by Peter Gathje, 1991

This original history of the Open Door highlights the beginnings and early years in the life of the community. Writing from his experience as a volunteer with the Open Door for three years, Pete Gathje gives a sense of the people and places that have built and shaped the Open Door.

Download a digital copy (.6 MB) | (This book is no longer available in printed form)

Frances Pauley


Frances Pauley: Stories of Struggle and Triumph

compiled and edited by Murphy Davis, 1996

Frances Pauley (1905- 2003) was a tireless activist for racial and economic justice in the South and an important teacher and mentor for the Open Door from its inception. This compilation of stories as told by Frances captures her gifts as a storyteller and her wisdom and tenacity as faithful witness for hope and human dignity.

(Not available for download) | Order a print copy



Raising Our Voices, Breaking the Chain:
The Imperial Hotel Occupation and Prophetic Politics

By Terry Easton, 2016

This Open Door publication tells the dramatic story of how, in June 1990, a one-day action to bring attention to rising homelessness and lack of affordable housing in Atlanta transformed into a sixteen-day occupation of the abandoned Imperial Hotel. Over 300 homeless people and their advocates, especially People for Urban Justice (PUJ), the political arm of the Open Door, were vital to the action. Raising Our Voices, Breaking the Chain also reveals how the occupation spurred affordable housing development in Atlanta.

(Not available for download) | Order a print copy


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Hospitality is the Open Door Community’s newspaper published 11 times a year. Subscriptions are free. View the current issue of Hospitality here. To request a sample copy or to subscribe, email your name and address to

Articles and online resources

Articles by Eduard Loring printed in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Feed city’s homeless, don’t condemn them,” August 7, 2003

To help homeless, begin with housing,” June 9, 2003

Beauty on the Street,” photographs and text by Clive Bonner, Resident Volunteer, Summer 2002. Available only online!

The Open Door Bibliography,” writings fundamental to our life and work.

Signposts: Life and Work at the Open Door Community

Paul: On Saying Yes and Saying No,” a sermon by Peter Gathje, Professor of Theology at Memphis Theological Seminary, Memphis, Tennessee