No Longer Strangers

     

Forward Movement invites individuals and congregations to explore the difficult but important issues of migration and immigration in a new, free resource, No Longer Strangers: Exploring Immigration Issues. The downloadable booklet encourages discussion of migration and immigration through the lens of scripture and shared Christian values, presents opposing viewpoints, and invites people to talk about the issues with civility and respect. The booklet includes biblical references on hospitality, examples of migrations as they appear in the scriptures, and thought-provoking questions that can be used for both personal study and group discussion.

No Longer Strangers was developed by Forward Movement in consultation with staff from Episcopal Migrations Ministries and the Office of Government Relations of the Episcopal Church. For a free download, visit www.VenAdelante.org/NoStrangers.

As Christians, we must not shy away from discussing immigration. We are called to think and talk about it, in our homes, with our friends, and in our churches. Adult forums or formation classes should be places where we can address difficult issues and exchange opinions with love and respect.

Advent Resources

As the days grow shorter and we’ve reset our clocks, we know Advent is right around the corner. Perhaps you’re already wondering where you stashed your Advent wreath. Do I have candles left over from last year?

Here are our featured Advent 2018 resources.

O WisdomO Wisdom
Through meditations, art, poems, and photos created by people from across the church, this book offers space and time to embrace Jesus’ presence among us now—and await his coming in glory. Enjoy these prayers and praises throughout the seasons of Advent and Christmas. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Rejoice!

*O Wisdom is on sale today only. Discount is valid until 11:59 p.m. EST*


Advent CalendarSlow down. Quiet. It’s Advent!
Created by Susan Elliott with drawings and text by Jay Sidebotham, this 2018 calendar poster suggests ways to mark the days through the Advent season. The calendar offers ideas for prayer, helping others, and being thoughtful about the true meaning of Christmas. Take our advice to your hearts and to your walls: Slow down. Quiet. It’s Advent! Perfect for the whole congregation! Shrink wrapped in packs of 25, posters are 17″ x 22″, folded to 8.5″ x 11″.


I Witness: Living Inside the Stories of Advent & ChristmasI Witnes
Many of us have heard the story of Jesus’ birth, but have we lived inside it? Episcopal priest Kate Moorehead invites us to enter the story of salvation with our hearts and minds wide open, experiencing the miracle of Jesus through the eyes of witnesses: Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, and others. And Moorehead encourages us to bear witness ourselves – both then and now – to the marvel and majesty of a babe born in a manger, of Christ our King. These daily devotionals offer a companion through the seasons of Advent and Christmas and urge us to keep reading, keep listening, keep learning. The story of Christ’s birth can be both familiar and new in each re-telling. Come and see.

See all of our Advent resources–including books and pamphlets–here.

Forward Today: Campaign ends, work begins

Dear friends in Christ,

As I write this, I do not know any results for the midterm elections here in the United States. I do know it has been a very expensive and divisive campaign. I also know that important issues have been up for debate. I know that, whatever the result, some will feel the joy of victory and others the sting of defeat.

But there is another fact about the election. And it’s the most important one. Whoever wins, whoever loses, there is work to do. Whichever party has power, there is work to do.

As a follower of Christ, my hope is not that we establish a Christian nation, whatever that means. But as a Christian, I think participation in politics is essential to my faith. You see, as a Christian, I am commanded to love my neighbors. One important way to love my neighbors is to ensure that they have the opportunity to thrive as the people God has made them to be. Everyone deserves to have basic human needs met, security, and freedom.

Voting Stickers
We love our neighbors by supporting efforts to care for the most vulnerable members of society. We love our neighbors by working for a time when our government and our society are free of oppression, violence, and degradation. In a democratic society, we love our neighbors by voting.

In the Gospels, Jesus makes it clear that we will be judged by how we treat those who are the most vulnerable. I believe that means that we citizens will be held accountable for how our nations treat the most vulnerable.

No political party is aligned perfectly with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So whichever party is in power, our task as Christians is always to hold our leaders accountable to the high standards of our faith. Those high standards are clear: we care for the hungry, the widows, the orphans, and those whom society has rejected.

Dear friends, we’ve had an election. And now we have work to do.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


Today’s Flash Sale: O Wisdom

Songs of thanks and praise, of lament and longing, of restoration and return have been on our lips for millennia. The verses of the ancient hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” explore and celebrate the many names of Jesus. Drawn from the book of Isaiah, the O Antiphons have been sung in churches and monastic communities since at least the eighth century. These beautiful and awe-inspiring phrases present a way for us to sing along with the story of God, to ponder and praise the many names of our Lord.

Through meditations, art, poems, and photos created by people from across the church, this book offers space and time to embrace Jesus’ presence among us now—and await his coming in glory. Enjoy these prayers and praises throughout the seasons of Advent and Christmas. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Rejoice!

Regular: $7
Today: $5.25

*Discount is valid until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time

Update to Forward Day by Day online comment system

Since we began offering Forward Day by Day online several years ago, we have encouraged conversation among our readers and friends. For the last few years, we have been using a system from Facebook. This has offered an advantage in that most of our readers already use Facebook, so there’s no new password to use. It has also encouraged good online behavior, since all comments are coming from identifiable people.

We are proud of the quality of conversation we have hosted. Every day, a regular community engages with the daily meditations, and newcomers are warmly welcomed. The tone has consistently been gracious, even amid occasional disagreements about this or that issue. Above all, a spirit of prayer has pervaded the conversation. We are grateful to all who have participated and read the conversations.

Over the years, we’ve had some problems with the Facebook system. Every time, it is a struggle to address. We have little control over the setup, and we simply cannot get technical support. This is, after all, only a tiny speck of what Facebook does as a business. And we have heard from several folks that they cannot join the conversation because they do not want to have a Facebook account for one reason or another.

After considering various options, we have decided to switch to a new system for accommodating comments. Around the middle of November, we intend to switch to a system from a company called Disqus. You may be used to it already; it is perhaps the most popular commenting system now in use across thousands upon thousands of websites. We have already used it on several of our own websites.

We hope it will not be a big adjustment. It will have many similar features to our current system, and if you want to continue using your Facebook account, that will work. You can also use other social media accounts, and you will also be able to create an account to leave comments without being a Facebook or Twitter user. We are testing out the system now, and we hope the changeover will be free of undue disruption.

Here’s what will remain constant. We will continue to ask you to comment under your real name. We will continue to ask everyone to be respectful and gracious with others. We will continue to bar hateful rhetoric or falsehoods; this has rarely been a problem.

We hope you’ll enjoy the new system. And if there are problems, do let us know. We’ll do our best to host what has been inspiring and edifying conversation.

Thank you for your support of Forward Day by Day and Forward Movement’s ministries over these years.

Forward Today: Being good neighbors

Dear friends in Christ,

The hate-fueled violence at Tree of Life synagogue last Saturday was, of course, horrifying. Eleven people died and others were wounded at the hands of a man driven by hatred and fear.

What are we Christians to do? Of course, we should pray. Our life begins, continues, and ends in prayer. But here we are called to do more. We must be good neighbors.

I have a friend who was rector of a parish with a decades-long friendship with a nearby synagogue. They had an annual pulpit exchange. They stayed in touch with one another. They shared some activities together. And once or twice each year, they prayed together. If either community had ever experienced a crisis, they had a long relationship on which to build a response and to provide support. I admire places with these enduring friendships.

Group of people
Sure, we can show up at rallies and prayer vigils. We should absolutely do that. But being a good neighbor is more than that. Is your church a good neighbor to others in your community? Too many of our congregations are inward-looking. Our world—and our Gospel—demand that we change our posture.

Get to know those who live near your church. Get to know Muslims, Jews, and people of other faiths. Ask community leaders what your community’s needs are. Consider learning about and practicing asset-based community development.

Our world needs good neighbors. And we all need each other. Let’s all agree to respond to the crises we see, but let us also resolve to begin today on our journey of being better neighbors.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


Today’s Flash Sale: Morning Resolve

Morning ResolveThis unique devotional book for personal or small group discipleship and spiritual formation utilizes this daily prayer to guide readers as they examine and meditate on a portion of the prayer each week and examine and employ spiritual disciplines. Ultimately, the intentional crafting of a simple, sincere, and serene life is a spiritual discipline, too. Morning Resolve will guide readers into the spiritual practices that bear good fruit for a grace-filled life. Published by Cascade Books.

Regular: $23
Today: $17.25*

*Discount is valid until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time

Forward Today: For an election, let us pray

Dear friends,

Most readers of this weekly email will be residents in the USA. This nation is preparing for an important midterm election in a few days. Even for readers in other countries, it’s an important moment, as the relationship of the USA to many other nations will be affected by the outcome.

I want to ask everyone to do three things as we head toward the election.

First, if you are eligible to vote, I very much hope you will vote. This is an important part of exercising our civic responsibility, and it is certainly one key way we Christians carry out our work of following Jesus in civil society. You can learn more about the issues, voting locations, and so on at vote.org.

Second, become engaged in the issues. There are plenty of ways in which reasonable and faithful Christians can disagree on politics and party. But there are other ways in which every Christian might find themselves united. Governments almost never care for the most vulnerable people in society. That’s true of any party, and it’s incumbent on us Christians to look out for, to speak up for, and to stand alongside those who might otherwise be forgotten.

Season of Prayer Graphic

Third, I urge you to pray. Sometimes people draw a distinction between prayer and action. I am here to tell you that prayer is action. Prayer changes hearts and lives. Prayer may result in changes that are scarcely imaginable. Prayer may prompt us to engage in other actions. Above all, prayer helps us attend to our relationship with Almighty God, and this reminds us of who we are.

Forward Movement is offering daily prayer suggestions on Facebook and Twitter. Follow us there. Perhaps you’ll offer the prayer we have suggested for each day up through the election. And maybe you’ll share those prayers with your friends on social media. Through prayer, all things are possible, because we know that with God, all things are possible. Let us pray.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


Today’s Flash Sale: The Path

The PathWalk in the footsteps of faithful men and women who have done their best to follow God’s call. The Path is the story of the Bible, excerpted from the New Revised Standard Version so that it is clear and easy to read. Follow the path of God’s love all the way from the beginning to the end, from Adam’s creation to John’s revelation.

With informative trail signs to help you see how each piece of the narrative fits together, The Path is an experience unlike any other: an amazing 360-degree overview of the vast, sweeping story of God’s extraordinary love for ordinary people. Join us on this epic adventure, a journey through the Bible to grow closer to God.

Regular: $22
Today Only: $16.50*

*Discount is valid until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time

Forward Today: Creating a culture of discipleship

Dear friends in Christ,

I’m sending this from Charlotte, where people from across the church have gathered for the fifth annual Discipleship Matters conference hosted by Forward Movement. Our reason for gathering is to help lay and clergy leaders create a culture of discipleship in their congregations.

It’s important work. Too many of our churches are barely-living museums or societies of preservation. The highest values in such places include surviving as an institution, avoiding conflict, continuing familiar customs, and providing positive feelings. While they don’t sound bad, when you take them together the picture is antithetical to the Gospel.

The Gospel demands sacrifice and risk. The Gospel privileges the call of Jesus Christ over our own personal preferences or even safety. The Gospel is about bold action, not vague feelings.

So what does this look like in a church? Churches that prioritize discipleship – making followers of Jesus Christ – are places where worship, prayer, and study are prized. This is not to avoid the world’s needs, but rather to anchor us and to remind us of our calling as Christians. Churches that value discipleship teach generosity, humility, and listening for God’s still, small voice.

Discipleship is not a church growth program, but it turns out that churches where discipleship matters are places that tend to be thriving and growing in measurable ways.

Intrigued? Visit the Forward Movement Facebook page for news and video highlights of the conference. It may take us a day or two to get them uploaded. Ask around, and find a nearby church were discipleship is the thing. Visit, learn, and see what might work in your church.

If you are blessed to be in a church where there’s already a culture of discipleship, thank your lay and clergy leaders for making this a priority. Consider sharing what you love about the journey of following Jesus with friends and even folks at other churches. Let’s create a wave of discipleship.

Making disciples is, without doubt, the most important thing our church does. Let’s keep at it, shall we?

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


Today’s Flash Sale: Hour by Hour

Hour by HourPray without ceasing with this compact edition of the Daily Office complete with prayers and psalms for one week. This beautiful little book, excerpted from The Book of Common Prayer, will enable anyone to say the hours every day: Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline. Perfect for prayer and worship at all times and in all places. Hour by Hour is a thoughtful gift – the cover is deluxe soft leather, and it’s packaged in a small white gift box.

Regular: $20
Today Only: $15*

*Discount is valid until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time

 

 

 

Season of Prayer

candleForward Movement is calling Episcopalians and all others to join with us in A Season of Prayer: For a Mid-term Election. This is a two-week period in which we will pray each day with a particular intention for this time in our national life and a collect from The Book of Common Prayer.

This time of prayer begins Sunday, October 21, and continues through the day after the election. Join us on Forward Movement’s social media channels (Facebook or Twitter) in offering or sharing each day’s prayer. These resources are available in English and Spanish and can also be used as a bulletin insert for the Sundays of Oct. 21 and 28 and Nov. 4. Please encourage your congregation and your friends to get involved.

At a time when nearly everyone agrees that we are being consumed by fear and division, this is a prayerful, intentional opportunity to change the conversation. While we will certainly differ in our politics, we can surely join together in prayer. We hope you will join in this season of prayer.

Prayerfully,
Your sisters and brothers at Forward Movement


Bulletin Inserts / Encartes para boletines

Week 1 / Semana 1 
Week 2 / Semana 2
Week 3 / Semana 3 

Forward Today: The Way of Love

Dear friends in Christ,

If you read Episcopal Church news much, you’ve heard that Bishop Michael Curry, our Presiding Bishop, has been talking about the Way of Love. You might think of this as the spiritual practices that make the Jesus Movement come to life in our lives and in our church.

The idea behind the Way of Love is pretty simple. There are seven steps: Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, and Rest. We begin by turning—or repenting—toward Jesus. And then we anchor our lives in study, prayer, and worship so that we might be bearers of God’s blessings to the world.If you want to learn a bit more about the Way of Love, you can visit www.episcopalchurch.org/wayoflove. There’s a fantastic three-minute video there where the Presiding Bishop sets out what it is and why it matters. We at Forward Movement have also created a web page with information about the Way of Love and some of our resources that connect to these practices.

If seven steps seems like too many, maybe start with two simple daily practices. Read a bit of scripture every day, and spend a few moments in prayer. I guarantee you, if you do this for a while, your heart will change. There’s nothing gimmicky about the Way of Love. These are ancient and biblical ways to follow our savior, Jesus Christ.

Our world is desperate for words and deeds of hope. If we can become people of the Way of Love, we can bear tidings and acts of hope.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


Today’s Flash Sale: What Are You Waiting For?

What are you waiting for?Get in line. Take a number. Count down the days. We spend so much of our lives waiting: waiting for a new job or a well-deserved vacation; for love or an apology; for test results or cures to kick in; for things to stabilize or to get shaken up. At no other time of the year may the theme of waiting feel so poignant than the season of Advent.

This year, while waiting for things mundane to things sublime, embark on a seasonal journey with daily meditations that will work on your soul to bring a richer quality and depth to your waiting. These reflections are perfect for individual use and are affordably priced to share with your entire congregation.

Regular: $5
Today Only: $3.75*

*Discount is valid until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time

Way of Love Resources

Dear friends,

Way of Love Brochure Forward Movement has been working closely with Stephanie Spellers and the whole team at the Presiding Bishop’s office, as well as other partners, on Way of Love materials.

We are happy to share that you can now pre-order printed Way of Love tri-fold brochures and wallet cards in English or Spanish. These are the same products that were handed out at General Convention. We’re selling them in bundles of 50.

You can see Way of Love resources from Forward Movement, including these new printed materials, on our website.

way of love wallet cardThe new printed materials are available on our website:
Way of Love Wallet Cards ($10 for 50 cards)
Way of Love Tri-fold ($12 for 50 brochures)
El camino del amor – Tarjetita ($10 for 50 cards)
El camino del amor – Folleto ($12 for 50 brochures)

We also still have Way of Love pop sockets for your phone:
Way of Love Blue Aluminum Pop Socket
Way of Love PopSocket – White with Clip 

All proceeds from the Way of Love PopSockets support our ministry, which allows us to send Forward Day by Day and other resources to those in prison, in the hospital, or serving in the military.

For those of you who prefer to print your own Way of Love materials rather than purchase bundles of printed material, you can find both the brochures and wallet cards on the Episcopal Church website.

It’s a delight to work with other leaders in the church to promote practices for a Jesus-centered life. I hope you will find materials from the Episcopal Church, from Forward Movement, and from many other partners to be helpful.

Peace,
Scott+