Tag Archives: forward movement

Forward Today: The Gift of Communion

In this week’s edition of our weekly newsletter, Scott writes about his recent trip to England, and the fellowship he experienced with fellow members of the Anglican Communion.


Dear friends in Christ,

I’m writing this on a plane on my way back from England. For the last few days, I’ve been in London, where I’d gone to preach, to speak, to meet with partners, and to have a bit of fun.
 
Once again, I’m struck by the gift of the Anglican Communion. At every turn, I was warmly welcomed. Friends asked for updates on life in the Episcopal Church, and we traded stories about the common joys and challenges we face. It was also fascinating to note differences between the Anglican church in America and in England. Above all, there was the gift of a shared ministry, or being part of a worldwide communion. Though there are challenges we surely face, it is a gift to sort out our differences and unity in the body of Christ.

 

2000px-compassrose_flag-svg

Serving at Forward Movement, I am naturally interested ways that people work to inspire disciples and empower evangelists.  Again and again, I heard how congregations are thriving where discipleship–commitment to following Jesus in a costly way–becomes important. As in America, churches in England are eager to sort out what evangelism in the 21st century looks like.
 
One friend and I talked about a particular African bishop we both know. We talked about how our lives as Christians had been enriched from knowing this man and from hearing about ministry in his context. His joy is contagious. Relationships like that, along with ministry partnerships, are enlivening for us and for Christ’s body, the Church.
 
So, today I am giving thanks for the worldwide Anglican Communion. Perhaps you will pray with special fervor the Anglican Cycle of Prayer, which we include with every day’s meditation in Forward Day by Day. And as you do that, know that Anglicans around the world are praying for you and your ministry. Isn’t that a great blessing?

 

Yours faithfully, 
 
Scott Gunn
Executive Director

 


To get future reflections from Scott in your inbox, subscribe to Forward Today.

What Your Gift Means: A Letter

At Forward Movement, when we ask for your donation, we’re asking you to help us give the gift of prayer and practice to people in need. We often receive letters like the one below, sent to us in February by Michael Gilbert, who is incarcerated in Oklahoma. Michael’s words are a remarkable testament to the power of prayer in times of struggle—and to the impact of your gift.

IMG_4295

Dear Forward Day by Day,

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I noticed in the February, March, April edition of Forward Day by Day that you were looking for stories from your regular readers. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the impact your ministry has had on my life.

When I first arrived at James Crabtree Correctional Center in Helene, Oklahoma as an inmate in 2005, I was a very angry person. I was angry with myself, our society, and with God. All human decency and any sign of God seem to be missing from our legal system when viewed from the perspective of a person on trial.

I began to see Christ when I was invited to attend a Kairos prison ministry four-day weekend. My sponsor, John Pearson, an Episcopalian, started providing me copies of Forward Day by Day. Through daily use of this publication I developed a spiritual practice of daily prayer, meditation, and scripture reading such as I had never known before. My thinking began to change. I began to change. I became less angry.

My pace of spiritual growth greatly increased when your ministry gifted me a copy of Hour by Hour. I began praying four times a day. With this addition to my life I began to focus more on Christ, to consider his point of view. I was soon praying even when the set times were not at hand.

I found myself feeling connected, a part of the Forward Movement family, a participant with the Episcopal Communion, and a member of the body of Christ.

Today I am thankful to be growing in Christ and worshipping him in fellowship with St. Patrick’s Community, the prison ministry sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma. I am a much different person today than I was in 2005. I am less angry, less destructive, and more loving. I have been rehabilitated, not by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, but by the love of Christ shown to me through the Episcopal Church. Your ministry at Forward Movement started me down the path and nurtured me on the journey. I am profoundly grateful for all you have given me. May God bless everybody involved with Forward Movement.

Your friend and brother in Christ,

Mike

Will you consider making a donation of any size today, and help us send the gift of prayer to those in need?

Forward Today: Seeking Beauty & Practicing Gratitude

In this week’s edition of our weekly newsletter from Scott Gunn and the Forward Movement team, Scott offers a suggestion for the season: Work on seeking beauty and practicing gratitude in your daily life. You’ll probably healthier. You’ll definitely be happier. And you’ll be a better evangelist of the Good News.


Dear friends in Christ,

Today, as I was thinking about what to write this week, a colleague walked into my office. We exchanged pleasantries, which included me mentioning that I wish spring would arrive soon. It’s a beautiful, sunny day here, but it’s a bit chilly. My colleague said she’s working on a new attitude, that every day is a beautiful day. Even when it’s gray and rainy, there is still beauty.

She’s right. b98f4426-3738-42ef-8c02-47a1712a72d9

As a culture, we spend too much time complaining and not enough time being grateful. I know that’s surely true for me. Studies show that complaining is actually bad for our health. People who complain a lot are less healthy and less happy. While we can’t control everything that comes our way, we do have some control over what we make of it.

A rainy day means that our earth is receiving vital sustenance. Rain makes the blooming trees that I enjoy on a sunny, spring day possible. Those rainy days bring their own kind of beauty.

I wonder what my life would be like if I were more faithful in seeking beauty and practicing gratitude.

 

What would your life be like if you tried this grateful, open way of seeing the world? Might we see more blessings around us? Might we be more quick to share the Good News of a God who loves and blesses us and our world?

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


To get future reflections from Scott in your inbox, subscribe to Forward Today.

Resources for Advent and Christmas

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 10.20.31 AM

The Advent season can be a frenetic time—we find ourselves sprinting through Black Friday crowds, scrawling holiday shopping lists, and baking cookies for countless holiday parties. So how can we slow down this year?  How can we prepare now, even today, to pause, to breathe, to reflect—to become more faithful disciples?

In hopes that you will find Jesus this Advent and Christmas, we offer here some suggestions for resources that can help you adopt a spirit of celebration and remembrance—personally and communally.  We’ve priced them starting at $5 each and many are available on Kindle, Nook, and iTunes.

2382 Soul ProclamationsSoul Proclamations: Singing the Magnificat with Mary

These daily reflections by five esteemed writers approach the Advent and Christmas seasons in different ways, from deep engagement with scripture to current examples that connect Mary’s story to ours. Let their words be a companion in your preparations as you ready your heart and soul for the coming of Christ Jesus. Authors include Ray Suarez, Christopher Wells, Kate Moorehead, Thomas E. Breidenthal and Christine McSpadden. Learn more.

Click here to read a sample

 

2076 Stillness Cover-web

The Stillness We Seek

Cathy H. George invites us to come in from all that goes on outside this Advent, to simply be in the present time–keenly aware of ourselves as we wait with God. Guided by the Psalms, she travels back to her past, reflecting on the moments and memories that have shaped her faith and offering spiritual support for all who seek stillness. Learn more.

 

 

2337 Choirs of AngelsColor-It-In Posters

With drawings and text by Jay Sidebotham, the Slow Down. Quiet. It’s Advent! calendar poster suggests ways to mark the days through the Advent season—offering a reprieve from the holiday hustle and bustle with ideas for prayer, helping others, and being thoughtful about the true meaning of Christmas. Learn more.

After Advent, celebrate the songs of angels at Christmas with our Choirs of Angels poster. Sold in packs of 25, these posters are great to tackle with children at home or as gifts for Sunday schools. Learn more.

 

2208 DogInTheMangerDog in the Manger: Finding God in Christmas Chaos

With laugh-out-loud humor anchored by spiritual truths, author Tim Schenck helps us maintain our spiritual sanity through the frenetic time of Advent and Christmas. Illustrated by cartoonist Jay Sidebotham, Dog in the Manger also explores the major characters of the season in new ways, including John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph and of course, Jesus. Thoughtful questions following each section make Dog in the Manger ideal for personal or group use. Learn more.

Click here to read a sample

 

2298 Expecting JesusExpecting Jesus

Are you expecting Jesus this Christmas? Are you prepared to receive him? Advent offers a time for preparation, to wait in hopeful expectation for the coming of our Savior. Author, Episcopal priest, and new mom Danielle Tumminio explores birth—both the physical birth of Jesus and the metaphorical opportunities for rebirth in our spiritual lives. Each meditation begins with scripture and ends with questions for individual or small-group study. Learn more.

Click here to read a sample

 

2399 Journey with Luke

Journey with Luke

A masterful storyteller with the compassion of a physician, Luke paints a picture of Jesus as healer, full of mercy, forgiveness, and love. The Gospel of Luke features the Magnificat, Mary’s love song to God, and the nativity story heard in Christmas pageants around the world. Join the journey with 50 days of scripture readings, meditations, and prayers written by dynamic spiritual leaders from around the world. Learn more.

Click here to read a sample

 

2344 Dawn from on HighDawn from on High

In these inspiring and accessible meditations, John Alexander offers a theologically rich and biblically grounded journey through Advent, Christmastide, and the first days of Epiphanytide. Based on the eucharistic lectionary of The Episcopal Church, Father Alexander takes the reader into the heart of Advent’s focus on “last things” and then the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Preachers will find in this volume a useful resource for preparing their own sermons, but any Christian will benefit from these homilies. Learn more.

 

We wish you a peaceful and reflective Advent season. And as you journey through these volumes, we encourage you to connect with fellow disciples in our Day by Day and Forward Movement Facebook communities.

 

 

Lent Madness 2016 Brackets Announced

We’re excited to share that the brackets for the hottest tournament of the spring—that’s right, Lent Madness—have now been announced! Get ready to separate the saints from the aints.

LM-Bracket-Poster-2016-resized

 

New to Lent Madness? Here’s how it works: on the weekdays of Lent, information is posted at www.lentmadness.org about two different saints. Each pairing remains open for 24 hours as participants read about and then vote to determine which saint moves on to the next round. Sixteen saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen; eight advance to the Round of the Elate Eight; four make it to the Faithful Four; two to the Championship; and the winner is awarded the Golden Halo.

The first round consists of basic biographical information about each of the 32 saints. Things get a bit more interesting in the subsequent rounds as we offer quotes and quirks, explore legends, and even move into the area of saintly kitsch. 

For those seeking an advanced list of all 32 first round bios along with a personal full-color bracket, the Saintly Scorecard: The Definitive Guide to Lent Madness 2016 will be available through Forward Movement in January. 

And check out Tim Schenk and Scott Gunn’s All Brackets’ Day video, in which they highlight some of the unique battles to come in Lent Madness 2016.

Like that other March tournament, there will be drama and intrigue, upsets and thrashings, last-minute victories and Cinderellas. Unlike professional and collegiate sporting events, there is no admission cost for Lent Madness, but souvenirs are available in the “Lentorium” part of the Lent Madness website. 

And if you’d like to play Lent Madness with a group or congregation, pick up an oversized Lent Madness bracket poster to track the results (perfect for a parish hall).