Forward Today: Holy Cross Day

Dear friends in Christ,

This Friday, we celebrate Holy Cross Day. For much of Christian history, the cross on which Jesus died has been a source of shame. The very idea that our Lord and Savior would be executed by the state seems like a defeat in our culture of success and might. The shocking event of Jesus’ crucifixion is just as jarring today as it was some 2,000 years ago.

I’ve had the great privilege of visiting Jerusalem several times. Each time, I spent some time in prayer in Calvary Chapel in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This is the traditional site of Jesus’ crucifixion. Archeologists can’t prove that Jesus died in this spot, but all the archeological evidence lines up in support of the possibility.

It always seems a bit jarring to me that the site of Jesus’ death is so…shiny. It’s radiant with candles. It’s surrounded by polished metal. The walls and the floor are marble. It all looks almost…festive.

Chapel

How are we to reckon the horror of a painful death with the radiant chapel? Maybe we can find the key in one of the prefaces for our Eucharistic prayers in the Book of Common Prayer (page 379): “For our sins he was lifted high upon the cross, that he might draw the whole world to himself; and, by his suffering and death, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who put their trust in him.”

The cross is the instrument of our salvation whereon Jesus freely gave himself for us and for our salvation. The cross is where we can celebrate God’s triumph over death and all the worst evil the world can muster. On the cross, Jesus reigned as Lord of Love.

This Friday, let us all celebrate Holy Cross Day. Let us keep the cross not as mere adornment, but as the center of our faith and life. Behold the wood of the cross on which hung the Savior of the World. Come, let us worship.

Yours faithfully,

 

 

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/scottgunn/14136115257/in/album-72157644951849962/


Today’s Flash Sale: A Journey through Acts

Journey Through ActsThe Book of Acts shares the story of the birth of the Christian church, connecting the earliest followers of Jesus to Christians 2,000 years later. On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit breathes new life into followers of “The Way,” the community of Jesus’ disciples, and empowers them to share the Good News of God in Christ. Join the journey through Acts and follow in the footsteps of the apostles Peter and Paul and many others such as Barnabas and Lydia, all bearing witness to Jesus’ saving grace. Featuring fifty days of scripture and reflections by spiritual leaders from around the world, A Journey Through Acts is part of a series of 50 Day Bible studies and is an extension of The Bible Challenge, a global initiative to encourage daily engagement with the Word of God.

Q & A: Claude Payne, author of Reclaiming Christianity

Reclaiming Christianity Claude E. Payne served as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and as rector of one of the largest Episcopal churches in the country. Reclaiming Christianity builds upon his vision for for the church to be mission-minded–to look outward to serve and share rather than focus inward. He is co-author of the best-selling book, Reclaiming the Great Commission.


How did the idea for Reclaiming Christianity develop?
Christianity has been in decline for half a century. My book exposes its root causes as inadequate understanding of how faith is transmitted and secondly, how internal conflict over theology and explosive issues has pitted the faithful against each other, undermining Christian integrity and degrading mission. The idea for the book stems from finding ways to turn decline into huge opportunity.

What is your hope for this book?
My hope is that churches and Christians will reclaim an evangelical vision of equipping seekers spiritually for a life-long pilgrimage in faith that leads into eternity, and that this spiritual nurture will inspire them to reach outward to bring health to the degrading aspects of life. An expansion of this vision includes a way of biblical interpretation based on love that will enable Christians who bitterly oppose each other to live into a kind of holy mutual respect. The highest vision is that it will contribute to the development of a better world.

What was your favorite part of writing this book?
Examining spirituality and how it is nurtured. Christianity is caught and then explained on the basis of inherited tradition. The growth of those who claim to be spiritual but not religious documents the reality of spiritual hunger in society and how Christians of strong faith don’t fully comprehend how to transmit that faith to others, including their own children. Christians possess spiritual treasure, deposited in their souls, that continues to grow throughout life. Modern society, including the church, privatizes this strong faith, suppressing its power because it isn’t shared. Identifying this treasure of the soul and fortifying it through sharing it at the congregational level in Christian Formation has been an especially joyful endeavor for me.

What would you do if you felt stuck?
Wait, pray, and continue to wrestle. Essentially I wait upon the Lord.

What is your favorite prayer? 
The Prayer Book prayer used for Fridays: Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and of peace. 

My guess is that this won’t be the favorite of many. I cherish it because it tells me growth and fulfillment come through my struggles, especially those upon which I rely on divine help. It is the way of Jesus and the way of life.

Where did you do most of your writing?
At my desk at home. I am “retired,” actually a misnomer, for clergy vows are for life.

Where did you draw your inspiration from?
Christ, and through a whole host of others throughout life. My wife is foremost among these. Then I have been inspired through personal participation among clergy groups in the United States and Canada, and in congregational Christian formation, about how effectively the models described in my book have worked. I have witnessed the joy it brings.

What else would you like readers to know?
My book is offered in love, especially as it challenges ways to look at authority and current practice. I want the book to be a useful tool that stimulates, inspires, and challenges others to live into a fuller and more fruitful Christian life.

Forward Today: Time for learning

Dear friends in Christ,

In many parts of the world, this is a time of year when schools resume. Whether or not you have children at your house, you may well be noticing the energy of study and learning all around. I always love this season.

This is a natural time to embrace learning about our faith. I’ve written about this before, but I think it’s a message worth repeating.

Is your church offering classes for the autumn? Can you sign up for a class somewhere else? Maybe you’ll commit to reading a book or even watching videos on a certain subject. We at Forward Movement have lots of books and other resources, but there are lots of other options too.Church Next

I’m excited to be teaching a course in The Wednesday Night Bible Study offered by our own ChurchNext. You can take the course I’m co-teaching with Melody Shobe. We’re talking about heresy, doctrine, and the Bible. Or you can study evangelism in the Bible with Marcus Halley, or the Bible and racial justice with Kelly Brown Douglas. Each one is a six-week course offered online on Wednesday nights.

But there are loads of options. If you’re not sure where to start, talk with your priest or with another experienced Christian. Whatever you do, I encourage you to join the spirit of the season and recommit to Christian learning.

Yours faithfully,

 

 

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


Today’s Flash Sale: Reclaiming Christianity

Reclaiming ChristianityIn 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.

Across the country, Payne has witnessed people and congregations full of energy and compassion, committed to a life-giving, dynamic faith. In Reclaiming Christianity, Payne presents a practical and comprehensive model for sharing this faith with our neighbors and communities and encouraging all to seek a deeper connection with each other and with the Divine.

Regular: $15
Today Only: $11.25*

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

Q & A: Authors of Faith with a Twist, Amy Nobles Dolan and Hillary D. Raining

Inside the book Faith with a TwistAmy Nobles Dolan and Hillary D. Raining share a mutual passion for yoga and for faith, which brought them together to write Faith with a Twist.  Amy is the owner and head teacher of Yoga with Spirit, an ashtanga-based yoga studio in Wane, Pennsylvania. She is also a yoga writer who publishes a weekly blog and has helped edit a yoga anatomy book. She is married to her college sweetheart, Jim, and has three young children, JB, Katie, and Sally. Hillary is the rector of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Gladwyne, Pennsylvania. She also teaches yoga and plays piano, classical violin, and Celtic fiddle. She is author of Joy in Confession, published by Forward Movement. She is married to Ken and they have a daughter, Delia.

When and how did you begin practicing yoga?
Hillary: I truly started practicing yoga in earnest in 2010 when I won 5 free yoga classes at Leigh Valley Yoga studio in Bethlehem, PA. To be honest, I had always thought of yoga as too “easy” to count as exercise, but was proven wrong when I left feeling totally exhausted after my first class! I was hooked by the way my mind was calmed by the vigorous and meditative practice and found my prayers were deeper at the end of just one session!

How has yoga influenced your life?
Yoga pose, AmyAmy: Yoga began as a hobby. An hour of “me time” in a life consumed by taking care of children, husband, pets, and home. Within months, dear friends were commenting that I seemed different – happier, contented, less stressed and anxious, mellower. It was profound validation for me to know that the differences I was feeling in myself were actually noticeable to the people in my life!

I believe that yoga has made me a better mother, a better spouse, a better friend, daughter, and sister. I guess you could say I think yoga has helped me become more like the person God created me to be and that I yearn to be.

After practicing yoga for three years, I enrolled in teacher training and have been teaching ever since (about 15 years). I opened a studio called Yoga With Spirit and am blessed to share this practice with dozens of students each week. So yoga has completely changed my life in that it is now my work as well as my passion.

How have you seen yoga transform someone else’s life?
Amy: As a full time yoga teacher I see this practice transform people’s lives all the time. It is amazing!

I’ve watched students heal from awful injuries, surgeries, and illnesses. I’ve watched students practice as a part of their recovery from debilitating depression and anxiety. I’ve watched students enter into and exit from relationships as a result of the self-study yoga asks of us. I’ve watched students shoot for the moon – and succeed in getting the promotion they wanted or to start a new career or to just find peace in their crazy, daily lives.

One of my students who dove deep into the practice totally revamped her life. She started small by cleaning out extra “stuff” at home. She started to pay attention to her daydreams which all involved living near the beach in southern California. Over the course of the two years that we worked together, she put in place and executed her plan to sell most of what she owned, move out west and start a simpler, new life. She has never been happier!

How did the idea for this book develop? 
Yoga Pose, HillaryHillary: This book developed from a combination of ideas centered around Amy’s amazing teacher training program. As a student of Amy’s I was encouraged to put together a project that would help take the yogic principles that we were learning off the mat and into the real world. So, I decided to create a Lenten meditation series around yoga’s “ethical code” of the yamas and niyamas. Meanwhile, Amy, who is not only an accomplished teacher but also a gifted and prolific spiritual writer, had developed a manual for those who were looking to delve deeper into their practice. We knew we wanted to work on a project together born out of our friendship and mutual faith and love of yoga. Thus, we blended the two projects and Faith with a Twist was born!

What was your favorite part of writing this book? 
Hillary: I would say working with Amy on a project we were both passionate about was a blast! It’s rare when you get to work on something you care about with a person you have such fun with.

What was the biggest challenge in writing this book?
Hillary: As a person who has dyslexia, the writing process itself is always the hardest part. That is why I am always so grateful for good editors!

What else would you like readers know?
Faith with a TwistAmy: Hillary and I have worked very hard to convey how yoga and faith support one another. Rather than trying to blend the two traditions, which always dilutes both of them, we have tried to honor both the ancient spiritual practice of yoga and the Christian faith we share. We have not tried to make yoga “Christian” in our book. I, for one, do not believe there is such a thing as Christian yoga or Jewish yoga or Buddhist yoga. I believe yoga is a spiritual tool that supports and enhances any faith. In our book we have tried, instead, to show how yoga’s spiritual practices have supported and enhanced the contemplative prayer practices that draw us closer to God in our daily lives. And that is precisely what the founding teacher of Ashtanga yoga (Sri K. Pattabhi Jois) taught was the highest purpose of the practice…to focus on God.

 

Forward Today: The holiness of labor

Dear friends in Christ,

We are coming up to Labor Day weekend, at least for readers from the United States. You might wonder why I’m mentioning this, since Labor Day is a secular holiday, and I usually don’t write about secular holidays.

It turns out that our Book of Common Prayer has a collect appointed for Labor Day. You can find the contemporary version on page 261.

Almighty God, you have so linked our lives one with another that all we do affects, for good or ill, all other lives: So guide us in the work we do, that we may do it not for self alone, but for the common good; and, as we seek a proper return for our own labor, make us mindful of the rightful aspirations of other workers, and arouse our concern for those who are out of work; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

ToolsImage Source: Pixabay

It’s a lovely prayer, isn’t it? That prayer dignifies the work that we all do, whether we are employed or not. It also reminds us of the importance of all those others who work and of those who lack employment.

If you are in the US celebrating the holiday, I hope you’ll set aside a few moments for prayer or conversation with those around you. Remember the dignity of work and the indignity of exploitation. Pray for those who, in our culture that assigns value to people based on income, lack employment. Think about how everyone has a vocation, and ask how God might be calling you and your loved ones to labor?

Yours faithfully,

 

 

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


Today’s Flash Sale: Invite Welcome Connect

Invite Welcome ConnectGuided 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 Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry.

Learn more about Invite Welcome Connect at invitewelcomeconnect.com

Regular: $20.00
Today Only: $15.00*

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

Forward Today: Your church as a blessing

Dear friends in Christ,

We are coming up on one of those times in the year when people go looking for churches. The school year is starting, so parents might be thinking about the well-being of their children. Or people might have moved. Or they meant to look all summer long and just never got around to it. Whatever the reason, your church is more likely to have guests over the next few weeks.

Is your church ready?

Part of a church’s readiness for guests stems from obvious things like signage and hospitality programs. Some of it comes from having greeters or other leaders who are attuned to providing for guests. Tidying up the exterior and interior is never a bad idea. You can look at Invite Welcome Connect (or read the book) for ideas and resources.

image source: Pixabay

There’s another important part of welcoming guests: our spirit. If our goal when a guest arrives is to persuade them to join our church, we are setting aside Christian hospitality in favor of being salespeople. Our task, when a guest shows up, is not to think of them as prospective members. Our task is to bless our guests.

Jesus thought that hospitality for its own sake is pretty important. Welcoming strangers is right at the top of his priority list, and offering welcome figures prominently throughout the scriptures. When a guest arrives, our delight is to welcome them. Sure, if they are called to join our church, that is wonderful. But maybe they’re called elsewhere. In that case, we can be a blessing on their journey.

Are you ready to think of your church as a blessing? What does it mean to focus on hospitality as an end, not a means? How might you offer Christ’s blessing to everyone who passes through your doors?

Yours faithfully,

 

 

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


Today’s Flash Sale: Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book

A book of prayer and practice – with disciplines, habits, and patterns for building a Christian spiritual life. It will help you to develop strong habits of prayer, to prepare for and participate in public liturgy thoughtfully, and to nurture a mind and soul ready to work and give and pray for the spread of the kingdom. Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book features “Holy Habits of Prayer,” devotions to accompany Holy Eucharist, Stations of the Cross, and Stations of the Resurrection, and a wide range of litanies, collects, and prayers for all occasions. The newly revised edition includes the treasured liturgies and prayers of the original while offering some important updates in language and content. Revised and edited by well-regarded scholars David Cobb and Derek Olsen, the Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book is a wonderful gift as well as a handsome addition to your own prayer book collection. Comes leather-bound (black) with two ribbons in a gift box.

Regular: $28.00
Today Only: $21.00*

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

 

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