New Book Releases from Forward Movement

Dear friends,

We’ve been working on some powerful new resources that we are excited to share with you. As the busyness of autumn returns and we fall into our normal patterns, we hope that these resources will support your daily prayer habits and reinvigorate your spiritual life.


Invite Welcome ConnectInvite Welcome Connect
By Mary Parmer

Guided by the gospel imperative to “Go and make disciples of all nations,” the ministry of Invite Welcome Connect equips and empowers individuals and congregations to practice evangelism, hospitality, and connectedness. Invite Welcome Connect’s founder, Mary Parmer, shares the deep truths of this ministry as well as practical steps to assess your faith community and begin implementation. This resource also features stories of transformation from more than two dozen lay and clergy leaders. Foreword by Michael B. Curry.

 

Reclaiming Christianity Reclaiming Christianity
By Claude E. Payne

In a world hungry for the hope of Jesus, Episcopal Bishop Claude E. Payne offers a roadmap for individuals and churches to seek and establish rich spiritual lives and to connect deeply with God and our neighbors. Too often, spirituality is privatized and kept under wraps, not to be talked about in public circles. But Payne encourages us to reclaim our faith in the public square, in our communities, and with our family and friends. After nearly five decades in ordained ministry, Payne writes that he has never been more optimistic about the future of Christianity.

 

Faith with a TwistFaith with a Twist
By Hillary D. Raining and Amy Nobles Dolan

Faith with a Twist connects the traditional eight limbs of yoga with the church’s understanding and emphasis on living a holy life. This approach creates a unique blend of spiritual practices and religious wisdom that are perfect for the yoga novice and the experienced practitioner alike.


 

Acts to ActionActs to Action
Edited by Susan Brown Snook and Adam Trambley

With a focus on Acts Chapter 8, editors Susan Brown Snook and Adam Trambley and contributors from across the Episcopal Church discuss how these lessons from Christ’s earliest followers apply to the mission Jesus still gives us today: to be his witnesses in our churches and neighborhoods and to the ends of the earth. The authors explore essential elements of church mission, including worship, proclamation, loving and serving, repentance, and knowing the community.

 

Anden en AmorAnden en amor
Scott Gunn y Melody Wilson Shobe

En este libro dos sacerdotes episcopales (Scott Gunn y Melody Wilson Shobe) nos hacen recorrer El Libro de Oración Común, la vida cristiana y las creencias básicas de nuestra fe. Este libro explora el año litúrgico, los sacramentos de la iglesia, los hábitos de la oración diaria, y las enseñanzas del cristianismo anglicano. Descubre cómo la oración forma nuestras creencias y cómo nuestras creencias nos conducen a una relación más profunda con Jesucristo.

Also available in English: Walk in Love

 

Grandpa's TentGrandpa’s Tent
By Sarah Kinney Gaventa and Mary Davila
Illustrated by Paul Shaffer

Grandpa’s Tent is a companion for children and families as they experience death, perhaps for the first time. The book explains what the Bible says about death—and life after death—and walks gently and honestly through the process of saying goodbye, attending the funeral, and grieving a loved one. The book also includes helpful talking points for adults to discuss death with children.

 

The spy at Jacob's LadderThe Spy at Jacob’s Ladder
By Lindsay Hardin Freeman
Illustrated by Paul Shaffer

From the author who introduced you to The Spy on Noah’s Ark, this collection of stories, told from the inside out, are sure to stir up your heart and mind as you read along, meeting old friends and making new ones. You are invited to be a spy too at some of the most beloved stories of the Bible, placing yourself as participant and witness to God’s unfolding and unfailing grace and love.

Forward Today: The Mighty One has done great things

Dear friends in Christ,

Today the church celebrates the Feast of St. Mary the Virgin. There is quite a bit of celebrating to do, because Mary and her witness are extraordinary.

I love the ancient title for Mary, Theotokos. It can be translated Mother of God, which is a somewhat startling way to speak of Mary. Sometimes people prefer to call Mary the God-bearer, another translation of Theotokos that is evocative. Either way, when we think of Mary we must also think of her relationship to Jesus Christ, the one she boldly and courageously brought into the world, the one she taught and loved and eventually mourned.

Mary and Jesus

Via WikiCommons: Wall painting in the old Church of 
St. Mary of Zion, Axum, Ethiopia.

But it would be a grave error to make the mistake of thinking of Mary as a mere vessel. Too many people over too many centuries have made that mistake. If you want evidence of Mary’s strength and faith, look no further than her song, the Magnificat.

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Mary’s understanding of salvation history and her role in it is inspiring. Mary’s song perfectly captures God’s love for those at the margins and God’s challenge of those with wealth and power. And Mary understands all that, yet she knows that it is not about her. “the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

We would do well to follow Mary’s lead. We are not called to bear him into the world as she was, but we are called to proclaim and to celebrate Jesus Christ as she did. We are called to remind the powerless and the poor that they are dear to God.

Let us today celebrate Mary’s strength, Mary’s faith, Mary’s courage, and Mary’s sense of God’s mercy and justice.

Peace,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Today’s Flash Sale: The Social Justice Bible Challenge 

The Social Justice Bible ChallengeFeaturing forty days of reflections by spiritual leaders and writers from around the world, The Social Justice Bible Challenge is an extension of The Bible Challenge, a global initiative to encourage daily engagement with scripture and an exploration of the Word of God. Disciples wishing to spend more time engaging the Bible on topics from poverty, hunger, displacement, and the care of widows and orphans will have their cups filled over and over again by the words of Scripture and meditations from people across the Church who engage with these realities each and every day.

Normal: $15 | Today: $11.25

Part-time marketing position open at Forward Movement

Are you a digital content creator looking for the next challenge? Maybe you’re a freelance designer and producer looking to supplement your existing business. Do you like to work in a flexible, creative environment with other content creators? If so, keep reading.

Forward Movement is seeking a part-time Multimedia Specialist to join our marketing department to support our efforts to share our work and our products with the church and with the world. Our mission is to inspire disciples and empower evangelists, and we do this by providing quality resources for spiritual growth and encouragement in print and digital formats.

The Multimedia Specialist is a new position within the organization and will be responsible for nurturing our digital promotion efforts, while cultivating opportunities for multichannel resource development; including, but not limited to, podcasts, video production, email and mobile marketing campaigns, and digital promotions. This position must be filled by a self-starting individual who can take ownership of projects and isn’t afraid to try something new.

The ideal candidate will have some combination of skill and experience with multimedia design, audio and video production, marketing, communications, website management, and social media engagement. While an ideal candidate will have a matrix set of skills in these areas, please consider this position if you have a strong background in some, but not all of these disciplines.

We seek a creative, dedicated, fun, team-spirited individual with a hunger for new challenges, and a curiosity in figuring out the best use of new platforms and methods.

General Requirements

  1. Education: Bachelor’s degree, or currently working towards, in marketing, the creative arts, communications, journalism, or related field.
  2. Proficient using both Mac and Windows platforms.
  3. Proficient in some Adobe Creative Suite design programs, with desire to learn others as needed
  4. Experience with website updates, using basic HTML and WordPress.
  5. Experience in graphic design and/or video production and editing.
  6. Some experience in audio editing and production is preferred, but not required.
  7. Knowledgeable about The Episcopal Church, and comfortable in a faith-based organization.

 

This is a part-time position (roughly 20 hours/week) reporting to the Marketing Director, working in the downtown Cincinnati office. A successful applicant will contribute to the total effectiveness of Forward Movement, communicating openly, solve problems proactively, offer creative ideas, and work as a positive, engaged team member, always remembering to laugh and have fun!

To apply, please send your resume and work samples (links or files) to Tania Jones, at tjones@forwardmovement.org

Forward Movement hires without regard to race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disabilities, or age.

Forward Today: Changed by the journey

Dear friends in Christ,

If you are a regular reader of this email, you may have noticed that the last couple of weeks were written by colleagues at Forward Movement. I was away on vacation, and I’m grateful they kept Forward Today going.

Lots of folks enjoy some vacation time in the summer. Maybe you’ve been away or soon will be. There are lots of reasons to enjoy a bit of travel–or maybe a “staycation.” We can see new places and new things. We enjoy hospitality of others. We can savor a bit of leisure.

Sainte-Chapelle, ParisSainte-Chapelle, Paris

I love travel, because the experience of difference always provokes me to reflect. The encounter with the unfamiliar sometimes opens my heart and my eyes in ways that I might not have experienced otherwise. And when I return to my normal place and normal routines, I sometimes find I’m changed in big and small ways. Maybe I notice things I hadn’t noticed. Or perhaps I develop gratitude for something I had taken for granted.

Jesus was always taking his followers to new places, literally and metaphorically. I wonder if he knew there is value in a disrupted routine? As followers of Jesus, I think we’re called to go to new places, whether it’s a literal journey or a metaphorical voyage.

What about you, dear reader? Has a journey changed you? Has your faith grown in the encounter with the unfamiliar?

Yours faithfully,
Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Today’s Flash Sale: Pathways of Faith: An All-Ages Coloring Book 

Pathways of Faith Coloring Book A coloring book for all ages—but especially for adults who may have forgotten the simple joys of creating—Pathways of Faith offers a respite from busyness and daily demands. Relax and restore as you spend time coloring these original illustrations that capture the amazing stories of the Bible and God’s love for us. Come and spend some creative, refreshing time with God. The Lord knows we need it!

Normal: $12 | Today: $9

Q&A with Lindsay Hardin Freeman, author of The Spy on Jacob’s Ladder

Lindsay and her dogLindsay Hardin Freeman has been a priest for over thirty years and is currently the interim rector at St. Nicholas Church in Richfield, Minnesota. She is the author of eight books, including The Spy on Noah’s Ark, The Spy at Jacob’s Ladder, and Bible Women: All Their Words and Why They Matter. Her most recent publication with Forward Movement, The Spy at Jacob’s Ladder, is a collection of your favorite Bible stories, told from a unique perspective. She worked on this book with talented illustrator Paul Shaffer, who has recently departed, may his soul rest in peace.

When did you begin writing?
I began writing as a teenager, when my 8th and 9th grade English teacher required us to write 75 words a day, then 150 words. Middle school is such a horrible time for most kids, and it certainly was for me. I poured out my heart on paper.

The fact that someone read what I had to say made all the difference. And you know what? You could say that about readers who read what I write today. The fact that someone is listening and willing to explore what I’ve written makes all the difference.

The Spy on Jacob's Ladder coverWhat was your favorite part of writing this book?
When I’m deeply into a writing project and making progress, that makes me happy. I think that writing is a calling from God and I’m happiest when I’m getting words on paper that others will read, that will make a difference, that will help keep the faith alive for future generations. I’m also a parish priest, and it’s hard to be faithful to the writing life while teaching, preaching, and being a pastor because it all requires significant emotional labor…. so what makes me happy is to be making progress.

What was the most difficult part of writing this book?
The most difficult part is what it always is—finishing the book! It’s easy to start a book, but hard to take it all the way through to the end. To diligently go from start to finish, to take apart stories, if needed, with a buzzsaw until  you get them right—it’s a labor of love. I’m fortunate in that I’m married to a writer and fellow priest, Len Freeman, who knows his Bible well and always has new ideas…and seems never to tire of reading what I write and helping the stories to be even better.

Where do you typically write?
Lindsay Writing My goal is to get up early and write for an hour early in the morning, usually curled up in a living room chair after I’ve fed the dog. If I have that discipline down, characters and ideas are freed to run around in my head most of the day. Sometimes I’ll only get a half dozen paragraphs done in that early morning hour, but progress is always better if I’m on track. The funny thing that I find about writing is that it’s physically exhausting. I’m always tired when I set down my laptop, but that’s also usually a sign that I’ve accomplished something.

Where did you go for inspiration?
I wrote the first volume of The Spy series in Hawaii, while serving St. Jude’s Church on the Big Island. Now if I need inspiration, I go to northern Minnesota along Lake Superior.

What would you do if you felt stuck while writing?
If I get stuck on a sentence—which happens often—I get up and walk around. I put the laundry in, get the mail, pet the dog, admire my garden…but I come back and sit down and keep writing. It looks like I’m not doing anything as I wander around the house or go out in the yard, but I’m thinking, musing, creating.

What’s your favorite book?
The Bible is right up there on the top of my list, and that’s a good thing, because I spend so much time with it. In terms of children’s books, I’ve always loved The Princess and the Goblin, written by George MacDonald, of whom CS Lewis said, “He baptized my imagination.” The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder are a favorite series, as are the Uncle Wiggly books, written from about 1912 – 1927 by Howard Garis.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?
It means a great deal to me when people say they’ve loved a book I’ve written, or when they share a story that the book has inspired. I will never take a reader for granted, and am honored to be a part of their reading life.

Forward Today: Union of Black Episcopalian’s 50th Anniversary

Dear friends in Christ,

This time last week, my husband David and I were in Nassau, Bahamas. No, we weren’t on vacation—we attended the 50th annual conference of the Union of Black Episcopalians or UBE. Growing up, I thought everyone knew what UBE was. Now, I realize that many in the church have never heard of it, or don’t see why it’s still relevant. Let me share a little about UBE, and why it is essential to The Episcopal Church.

UBE’s primary goal is to teach black people how the governance of the church works—notably, General Convention. Black deputies get lots of support from UBE leadership. UBE is a place for black clergy and laypersons to gather for workshops, panel discussions, and plenary sessions about topics relevant to us in today’s worship community. UBE offers a space for us to worship together with the music of our elders and ancestors. The Union provides a welcoming environment for anyone in the black Episcopal community and those who work in it.

UBE was fuel for my family and became our vacation each summer. As a black girl growing up in the 1970s and 80s, I loved going to UBE. The other regular attendees became family—some, quite literally. David and I met 37 years ago at Chatham College in Pittsburgh when I was 14, and married twelve years later. Mentors, teachers, and spiritual guides surrounded me as I grew from an awkward, shy teenager into an awkward, shy adult. I carry their lessons with me today and impart them to others. Honestly, I owe my life as I know it to UBE.

Photos from UBE, including Miriam McKenney, the Presiding Bishop Curry

 

This 50th-anniversary conference was my first conference in many years, and I’m happy to say that the spirit of UBE is unchanged. I saw lots of new faces and many old family friends. At the Forward Movement exhibit table, I met new clergy and seminarians, longtime readers of Forward Day by Day, and several aspiring writers. You may have heard about the worship service last Monday evening at Christ Church Cathedral with Bishop Curry—it was phenomenal. I felt so uplifted and refueled—just like when I attended as a youth years ago.

The church is better when all of our voices are heard, and I’m proud to be an Episcopalian at a time when we care very seriously about diversity in The Episcopal Church. But even if we realize true ethnic equality, there will be a need and a place for UBE. Thanks be to God for all of the leaders of UBE past and present. Congratulations, Union of Black Episcopalians, for 50 years of ministry! We’re proud to be your partner as you enter your next 50 years.

Peace,
Miriam

Miriam McKenney serves as Development Director of Forward Movement.

Photos: Junkanoo welcome; Miriam at UBE, age 12; Miriam, David, and the Atlantic; The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Canon to the Presiding Bishop; The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry; Rev. K. Coleman, Rev. S. Mcvean-Brown, Dr. S. Montes


Today’s Flash Sale: Faith with a Twist: A 30-Day Journey into Christian Yoga

Faith with a Twist cover

Faith with a Twist: A 30-Day Journey into Christian Yoga seeks to bridge the gap between spiritual-but-not-religious by blending the ancient church’s wisdom and the spiritual practice of yoga. All too often attempts to blend yoga and Christianity have failed to do justice to both traditions — often sacrificing the wisdom of one tradition for the other. Faith with a Twist connects the traditional eight limbs of yoga with the church’s understanding and emphasis on living a holy life. This approach creates a unique blend of spiritual practices and religious wisdom that are perfect for the yoga novice and the experienced practitioner alike.

Normal: $16 | Today: $12

Q & A: Grandpa’s Tent authors, Sarah Kinney Gaventa and Mary Davila

Authors Sarah and MarySarah K. Gaventa and Mary Davila are Episcopal priests, mothers, and authors of Grandpa’s Tent, the newest Forward Movement publication. This story gently and honestly explains death and grieving to children and is perfect for emerging readers and for adults and children to read together. Here is what Sarah and Mary have to say about Grandpa’s Tent.


How did the idea for this book form and develop?
Mary: Having served as parish priests, Sarah and I were aware of what seemed like a lack of resources to recommend to folks when they asked for children’s books about death and heaven. Many books dealt (beautifully) with death but not heaven; some painted a picture of heaven, but the theology didn’t resonate. We thought, “If it doesn’t exist, let’s create it!”

What was the writing process like?
Mary: Scripture gave us the key image from the very start: Paul’s description of the body as a tent (2 Corinthians 5:1-10). The story was crafted around that…camping, tents, heaven as a permanent home. When Scripture provides such rich metaphors, the writing process is much easier, because the launching point is already there. Sarah and I reached out to fellow clergy of various denominations, asking what material they would like to see addressed in a book. We also met with groups of children, inviting their questions. The writing process itself was less laborious than researching, asking questions, and studying Scripture.

Grandpa's Tent coverWhat was your favorite part of writing Grandpa’s Tent?
Sarah: My favorite part of writing Grandpa’s Tent was FaceTiming with Mary while we collaborated on our Google Doc. I was so grateful for the technologies that made it possible to work together, even though we were hundreds of miles apart. It was a great way to stay connected with an old friend.

What was the most difficult part?
Sarah: The most difficult part was narrowing in on how best to express resurrection theology to small children. There are so many different images used in the Bible and we had to balance communicating in simple language with the complex ideas found in the Bible about life after death.

Where do you typically write? 
Mary: Sarah and I did all of our writing via Skype. She lives in Austin, Texas, and I live in Raleigh, North Carolina. Using a Google document, we wrote on the spot, while we Skyped. I wrote in my kitchen on my days off while my children were at school.

Where would you go for inspiration?
Mary: Scripture and people—those are my sources of inspiration. I went through seasons of feeling convicted to write the book, and then other times, it fell to the back burner. But when someone in the parish died, or a child lost a grandparent or friend, and I was asked for a resource, I’d think, “We really could write something that seeks to affirm what we do know about life and death, and yet upholds the mystery of life after death.” I also felt like Sarah and I could be both direct and comforting in addressing some very practical things, from a feeling of discomfort with the smells and sights within assisted living facilities, to what to expect in attending a wake, funeral service, and burial. To be direct about the practical, and yet expansive and generous about the mystery of it all, was a balance we tried to strike.

How do you see this book being utilized?
Child reading Grandpa's TentSarah: We created Grandpa’s Tent as a resource for children who were dealing with grief–and for pastors teaching children about death in general. In the early part of our priesthood, Mary and I both were responsible for children’s formation and we share a philosophy of really listening to children and addressing their deep concerns. Many children worry about death, even if they are not actively grieving. We wanted to give parents, pastors, and hospitals a resource for beginning a conversation about this difficult topic.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?
Mary: This book deals with topics that most people would really rather not talk about. People feel afraid to bring up the subject of death, and they don’t feel equipped to answer children’s questions. If this book brings comfort to even one family as they journey through death and grief, then our work has been fruitful.

 

Forward Today: Rest and renewal

Dear friends in Christ,

Maybe you’re not like me, and your summer has seemed long and luxurious, with plenty of time for rest and renewal. But I’m guessing most of you feel the same way as I do: bewildered by the rapid turn of the calendar, with the beginning of school and the church’s program year just around the corner.

Like many folks, the staff at Forward Movement spent the spring and early summer vigorously preparing for General Convention. We wanted to share several new resources with you, the leaders of the church. And, by the grace of God and lots of hard work, we were able to showcase a slew of new resources, from ChurchNext to Mary Parmer’s book about the fabulous ministry of Invite Welcome Connect. But one of our new resources offered an important lesson to us.

Woman doing yoga

A week before General Convention, Forward Movement held a “day of refreshment.” We began with a lovely breakfast and conversation. After our daily prayer time, some stayed in their chairs while others rolled out yoga mats in the hallway. For twenty minutes, we followed the prayers and reflections from one of our new books, Faith with a Twist: A 30-Day Journey into Christian Yoga written by Episcopal priest Hillary D. Raining and yoga instructor Amy Nobles Dolan. I’m not a regular at yoga classes, but this brief respite of quiet reflection and gentle stretches reminded me of the importance of rest and renewal.

God calls us to times of rest-mandates it, actually, in the Ten Commandments, and we see its significance throughout scripture, from the story of creation to the number of times Jesus withdraws to the wilderness to pray. As we move into August, I pray that you find (or make) time for rest. The ancient wisdom of Christianity and the ancient spiritual practice of yoga teaches that Sabbath-keeping helps us maintain balance in the midst of competing demands and more importantly, draws us closer to God.
The divine in me honors the divine in you.
Namaste.

Richelle

Richelle Thompson serves as deputy director and managing editor of Forward Movement. 


Today’s Flash Sale: The Spy on Jacob’s Ladder

Jacob's LadderHave you ever wondered what stories stones might tell or whether a fishing boat can be friends with a faithful sailor? In the kingdom of God, every single thing has a story to tell and a song to sing-donkeys, sewing needles, secret caves, and water jugs! From the author who introduced you to The Spy on Noah’s Ark, this collection of stories, told from the inside out, are sure to stir up your heart and mind as you read along, meeting old friends and making new ones. You are invited to be a spy too at some of the most beloved stories of the Bible, placing yourself as participant and witness to God’s unfolding and unfailing grace and love.

Normal: $12 | Today: $9

Forward Today: Living the way of love

Dear friends in Christ,

Like many other church leaders, I have just returned from General Convention full of memories, knowledge, and inspiration. Each person will have a unique experience, with favorite moments from the convention. Mine came during the opening worship service, when our Presiding Bishop preached a fiery sermon about God’s love. That’s not new, of course. But there was something new.

Bishop Curry has invited us all to take on spiritual practices so that we are spiritually vital followers of Jesus who have some Good News to share with others. Since he became Presiding Bishop, Bishop Curry has been calling us to be evangelists. To be effective evangelists, we have to live transformed lives, and that’s where the Way of Love comes in.

Bishop Curry preaching

[At the end of Eucharist of the 79th General Convention in Austin, Texas,
 Presiding Bishop Michael Curry blesses the hundreds of participants.
Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service]

We are called to seven practices:
TURN: Pause, listen, and choose to follow Jesus
LEARN: Reflect on Scripture each day, especially on Jesus’ life and teachings
PRAY: Dwell intentionally with God daily
WORSHIP: Gather in community weekly to thank, praise, and dwell with God
BLESS: Share faith and unselfishly give and serve
GO: Cross boundaries, listen deeply, and live like Jesus
REST: Receive the gift of God’s grace, peace, and restoration

You can learn more at episcopalchurch.org/wayoflove. If you are looking for resources to support your journey, Forward Movement is one of many partners with a set of resources to help you. You can see what Forward Movement offers at our website, forwardmovement.org/wayoflove.

I plan to work on these myself, and I hope you’ll join me in answering the call of our Presiding Bishop. Of course, Bishop Curry is really reminding us of the call from our Savior and Lord, as Jesus invites us to a new life abounding in grace.

Yours faithfully,
Scott Gunn
Executive Director

 


Today’s Flash Sale: Note to Self: Creating Your Guide to a More Spiritual Life

Note to SelfDiscover what God has written onto your heart. What do you want for your life? Who do you want to be in your life, and how do you want to live? We humans need reminders, and when it comes to making a consistent effort to be better people, it’s important to have constant reminders. A “Rule of Life” is an ancient method for building soul memory, and offering reminders to ourselves of the person we hope to be-it is a practice of training your mind and soul to be kind and good.

Creating your own rule of life is grace that only you can offer to yourself, helping remind you to live the life you desire, and the life God wishes for you. Join author and Episcopal priest Charles LaFond as he guides you through the wisdom, creation, and application of your own Rule of Life.

Normal: $18 | Today: $13.50

Forward Today: The inspiration of General Convention

Dear friends in Christ,

I write to you from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas. If you’ve been following the news, you know that church leaders – lay leaders, bishops, priests, and deacons – have been making important decisions affecting our common life as Episcopalians.

Please allow me to share a few personal highlights:

  • It is always wonderful to see long-time friends and meet new friends.
  • On Sunday, several hundred of us prayed outside a detention center. Our aim was to witness to God’s gracious love, but also to let the women held inside know that they are remembered.
  • In the exhibit hall, at the Forward Movement booth, I’ve had lots of good conversations with people from around the world. I’ve heard inspiring stories of how people are using Forward Movement products, but I’ve also learned about resources people would like to see.
  • My work at Forward Movement is only one hat I’ve been wearing. As an elected deputy to the General Convention, I’ve been working alongside more than 800 other deputies to deliberate on almost 500 resolutions that have been submitted for consideration.
  • Our church is filled with people of good humor. I’ve especially enjoyed the  gc79pigeon twitter parody account. It’s always good when we Episcopalians can laugh, especially when we can laugh about ourselves.

 

[We come in love Presiding Bishop Michael Curry told a crowd of more than 1000 gathered in prayer at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor Texas. Photo: Frank Logue, Episcopal News Service.]

But there is one thing that stands out for me. Here at General Convention, nearly every person is deeply in love with the Episcopal Church. We have many competing ideas of how we want our church to look and to act. And yet our conversations have been remarkably charitable and generous. Passionate arguments have been made. But there has also been the silence of contemplation and listening. It’s encouraging to see this here, and I hope we might discuss this more both in our society and at home in our local congregations.

If you are an Episcopalian, ask your bishop and deputies about their experience here. What inspired them? What surprised them? And if you have been following along from home, what can you learn from this convention?

Yours faithfully,
Scott Gunn
Executive Director

 


Today’s Flash Sale: Inwardly Digest

Scholar Derek Olsen explores liturgical spirituality and how the prayer book serves as a repository of Christian wisdom and spiritual practice stretching back to the beginnings of the Christian movement. Focusing on three key elements-the Calendar, the Daily Office, and the Eucharist-he discusses the spiritual principles behind them and provides clear, practical, easy-to-follow explanations of the services. These patterns of life laid out in The Book of Common Prayer serve as a guide to the spiritual life, so that we might connect back to the God who calls each of us by name and that we might love as God loves us.

Normal: $22 | Today: $16.50