Deb Richardson-Moore is pastor of the non-denominational Triune Mercy Center – a mission church that ministers to and alongside the homeless in Greenville, South Carolina. Her congregation consists of street people who live in Greenville’s “homeless triangle,” as well as city dwellers and suburbanites who believe that the kingdom of God is widely and wildly inclusive.
She is a native South Carolinian and a graduate of Wake Forest University and Erskine Theological Seminary. Prior to becoming a pastor, she was an award-winning writer for The Greenville News, covering art, theater, religion and unconventional features. Her stories on a losing soccer team and on the lost art of clothes ironing won national awards, as did her body of work on religion.
Under Deb’s leadership, Triune has been transformed from a dying church and crowded soup kitchen into a vibrant worship community whose parishioners mingle freely across socioeconomic lines. She has introduced international opera and Broadway stars to the homeless, and in return, introduced homeless musicians and visual artists to the Greenville community. Using art, music, drama and gardening along with more traditional programming such as mental health counseling, computer training, employment help and drug rehabilitation, Triune has become known as a ministry that practices and preaches.
Deb believes that living in solidarity with the impoverished, homeless and mentally ill who make their way to Triune doesn’t have to be grim. Nor ugly. Therefore, all comers are invited to share their gifts and to serve each other – from running the laundry room to serving communion to leading tours in which they are the experts on homelessness. Many of their efforts have gone into beautifying the building and grounds and making the inner-city church a sunny, cheerful place to be.
But it wasn’t always so. When Deb stepped into the Triune pastorate as an inexperienced, middle-aged seminary graduate, she was overwhelmed by the need and the grime, the demands and the dirt, the hidden horrors of a population she didn’t know existed. She was determined not to forget those early years, and out of that determination came The Weight of Mercy.
Deb is married to Vince Moore, who is director of media relations for Furman University. They have three grown children – Dustin, Taylor, and Madison. The Weight of Mercy is her first book.