Forward Today: Finding grace in ashes

Dear friends in Christ,

Today is Ash Wednesday, one of the most solemn days of the church year. For it is on this day that we confess all the ways we have failed God and one another, and we promise to do better. On this day, we also remember that God’s desire is to save us. The ash cross that we receive on this day is a sign of all that.

Several years ago, I was in the main public square of Cincinnati imposing ashes. Now I know not everyone loves “Ashes to Go”, and I have complicated thoughts about it myself. But I want to share one story.

A man walked up, seeing us standing there in vestments. We had a signboard that said something like, “Get your ashes today—It’s Ash Wednesday.” This man said, “I always wondered what this is about.” I explained that the ashes are a reminder that we’re going to die, but they are also a reminder that life is a gift. We should use this short, precious life well. The cross reminds us to turn back to God, to follow Jesus.

He said, “That sounds like exactly what I need.” He closed his eyes and looked completely at peace as I imposed the ashes, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” He walked away, in silence. I don’t know what this meant to him, or why it was just what he needed.

I do know this: I need this reminder today, and maybe you do, too. Our prayer is that of the church, “Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence, that we may remember that it is only by your gracious gift that we are given everlasting life.”

Ashes are signs of our mortality, but they are also signs of grace. Our world needs more signs of grace.

Yours faithfully,

 

 

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Image: Pixabay


Today’s Flash Sale: Walk in Love

Take a journey through The Book of Common Prayer, the Christian life, and basic beliefs of our faith, guided by two Episcopal priests—Scott Gunn and Melody Wilson Shobe. Walk through the liturgical year, the sacraments of the church, habits of daily prayer, and the teachings of Anglican Christianity. See how our prayer shapes our belief and our lives and how our beliefs lead us into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

Regular: $22
Today: $16.50

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

Q&A on Instrument of Peace with Alan Yarborough

Last week, The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations and its Department of Faith Formation—along with ChurchNext, a ministry of Forward Movement—released Make Me an Instrument of Peace: A Guide to Civil Discourse. This 5-week course was designed to help us bridge the divides that keep us from moving forward and offers effective strategies to bring people together. Today, we hear from Alan Yarborough, Church Relations Officer of the Office of Government Relations.


What inspired you to create this course?
The first inspiration is perhaps obvious: the U.S. has been experiencing growing divisiveness over political issues, and my faith calls me to work toward right relationship with others. Reflecting on my personal experience growing up in the Church, I remember multiple examples of how our Church has held people together in disagreement—from the tension over electing an openly gay bishop to maintaining a purple parish in a Southern college town. Generally, Episcopalians place great importance on both communion and intelligent reflection. So I asked myself, how can we leverage that to help our communities not just heal, but do better seeking justice.

The second source of inspiration comes from our work in the Office of Government Relations, where we are tasked with representing the Church’s policies. We carry out our work in a political reality in Washington, D.C. That reality has Republicans and Democrats, with members of Congress whose views span the political spectrum. Our own Church population has a range of political views as well, and many Episcopalians disagree passionately about political issues. Whenever we have very different views, we need to engage with people across political differences – to better understand them, to share our perspective, and to have an impact on shaping our country’s policy and legislation. We are at our best when we listen and respond to people who have a host of perspectives. In some ways, this curriculum is about sharing with the wider Church the gift that I’ve received being on staff in this office doing this work.

Why is it important?
Understanding different perspectives is healthy for the development of our own. Through civil discourse with one another, we can challenge our own understandings of what is and is not just, what is and is not right. We may change our views or we may not. We may learn how we have been blinded by privileges or we can share our own perspective to others who may not have heard it before. Civil discourse is a tool, or an instrument, that helps us build relationships with those who have different views than our own and helps us to avoid demonizing and de-humanizing them. Bringing our ideas together into a sacred space for discourse will give us the best chance to address the toughest problems in our communities.

What is the biggest misunderstanding about civil discourse?
The biggest misunderstanding about civil discourse is that it means nothing other than being polite or nice to people. However, we view it as the opposite in some ways! We think it means to care enough about someone to challenge them, but also to listen to them.

Civil discourse does not mean you must abandon your point of view. We also do not believe engaging in conversation to enhance understanding is about silencing others or is an excuse to water down or weaken one’s principles. The staff of the Office of Government Relations practice civil discourse all the time—we meet with lawmakers and policymakers who have different views than the positions of the Church. We are passionate and informed advocates about the issues we are speaking for the Church on, but we also do our best to listen, to understand opposing perspectives, and to bring that knowledge back to the Church. Also, civil discourse does not promise freedom from discomfort or protection from truth. Those who claim civil discourse as justification to silence voices are not practicing civil discourse—they’re just contributing to the further marginalization of others.

What is your hope for this course?
My hope for this course is to both raise the profile of civil discourse and help people become better equipped for it. It is not a media-worthy or glamorous way of sharing one’s views or seeking to understand others’ perspectives. Civil disobedience, public witnesses, marches, and protests—legitimate means of political engagement—often get more media coverage and attention, because that is the goal. Civil discourse is quieter. It is harder to help others understand the transformative impact it can have on our relationships. It is daily work – rooted in listening and understanding, humility and openness. We must reinforce our ability to have difficult conversations, expressing gratitude for the diversity of perspectives we can bring together if we try.

What was your favorite part of developing this course?
Bringing something positive into a climate that is so negatively charged. Again, it is not that civil conversations are happy and comfortable and always feel good. But I do believe that through more intentional interactions, with deeper listening, with more honest sharing, we will have a much better chance at reversing the trend of division. We may not come to more agreement, but we will be able to see those who disagree with us as our neighbors, fellow parishioners, and fellow humans.

What else would you like readers and participants to know?
In approaching this work, I want readers and participants to take a step back and challenge themselves to think in a more expansive way. This work is not something new, and division and disagreement are not something new. I understand how people are discouraged, and I understand how in one year people view this work as anti-Democrat while the next year others view it as anti-Republican. But the practice of civil discourse work is far deeper and long-standing than this. Work on the original version of this curriculum began before the 2016 election, and two years before that, Presiding Bishop Katharine Schori led an event on civil discourse. You can go way back to the Protestant Reformation and Anglican via media to find roots for our institution’s engagement with civil discourse. We must think more expansively about the humanity of those with whom we disagree. We must recognize the complexity of counter-arguments and opposing views, and move beyond simplified arguments and demonization.

Make Me an Instrument of Peace: A Guide to Civil Discourse is available for individuals and groups

Forward Movement books win top honors

We are excited and honored to announce that five books recently released by Forward Movement have been recognized as among the year’s best Christian books by the Illumination Book Awards.

Learning from London: Church Growth in Unlikely Places, by Jason A. Fout, won the gold medal in the Ministry/Mission category. Two silver medals were won: the Way of Love Bible Challenge, edited by Mark P. Zabriskie, won silver in the Bible Study category while Gifts of God for the People of God: Exploring Worship in the Episcopal Church, by Furman L. Buchanan, won a silver medal for Theology. Additionally, a bronze medal was won in the Devotional category for Angels of the Bible: Finding Grace, Beauty, and Meaning, by Kate Moorehead with Scott Brown. Faith & Courage: Praying with Mandela, by Thabo Makgoba, was awarded the bronze medal for Biography/Memoir.

“I’ve often encountered clergy in America who are either discouraged by our decline (and not sure what to do), or who are defensive about our decline (and pretty sure there’s nothing we can do),” said Jason Fout, author of Learning from London: Church Growth in Unlikely Places. “What is striking about the example of the Diocese of London is that it has shown genuine growth, over time, across church parties, and in a context in which churchgoing and explicit Christian faith is much rarer than in our country. These are stories of different approaches that are bearing fruit there, with promise as well for our own ministry setting.”


The Way of Love is the way of Jesus. With seven core spiritual practices, the Way of Love offers an intentional, Spirit-led path to following Jesus. And what better guidebook for the journey than the Bible? The Way of Love Bible Challenge pairs each practice with a passage of scripture as well as reflections, questions, and prayers written by a variety of faith leaders. Come and see what God has to say about the spiritual practices of Turn – Learn – Pray – Worship – Bless – Go – Rest.


“I wrote Gifts of God for the People of God to help newcomers to Episcopal liturgy spiritually connect with worship—not just quickly, but deeply,” said Furman Buchanan. “The delightful surprise for me is how much regular worshippers and even ‘cradle Episcopalians’ are resonating with this book.”


“I have long felt the presence of angels but never had the courage to look deeply at the Scripture that describes them,” said Kate Moorehead, author of Angels of the Bible: Finding Grace, Beauty, and Meaning. “This book is a journey into the mysteries of celestial beings that exist in dimensions far beyond our understanding. It has been my great joy to explore their diversity and beauty.”


“I hope the book shows that reconciliation is possible in the most difficult of situations and will point to the hope and the grace that is in store for us as Anglicans, as Christians, as people of God, when we work at forgiveness and reconciliation within the Communion,” said Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, author of Faith & Courage: Praying with Mandela.


 

We are so very grateful for the hard work of our talented authors and for the continued support of our readers. Thank you!

Forward Today: Healing in a time of division

Dear friends in Christ,

Last Sunday, our Gospel reading reminded us that we are judged not only for our actions, but also for what’s in our hearts. It’s not enough to get through the week without killing someone (though we surely must avoid murder!). If we are filled with anger, we are liable to judgement (Mt 5:21-22).

If you spend much time watching cable news or surveying social media, it’s pretty clear there’s a lot of anger in our society. In some ways, it’s understandable. We are more aware of divisions than we might have been a few years ago. And some divisions are widening. It’s easy to blame others, to become angry in our grief, or to resent it when people point out the ways we might benefit from our own position. There are lots of reasons to be angry.

What are we to do? Separating ourselves from those who are different will neither keep us safe nor will it lead to reconciliation. If we’re going to reconcile, we’ll need to sort out how to be in relationship. To that end, Forward Movement has just released, in partnership with the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations and the Faith Formation department, an online ChurchNext course called “Make Me an Instrument of Peace: A Guide to Civil Discourse”. It’s a free, five-part course covering civil discourse in context, tenets for civil discourse, values-based conversations, the complexities of policy, and sacred space for debate. The course is available for individuals or groups.

I hope you’ll check it out. We also offer the free resource No Longer Strangers: Exploring Immigration Issues.

Now, I should note that the Bible makes it pretty clear that there is a place for righteous anger. Sometimes when people call for “civility” it is a way to keep the marginalized at the margins. Righteous anger speaks the truth in love, and it comes from a place of concern for others. When I speak of keeping our hearts free of anger, we’re talking about the anger that wells up in us and prevents us from loving God and loving our neighbors.

As Lent approaches, I encourage us all to look in our own hearts. Are we leaving room for adoration of God, or are we filled with anger? Are we ready to practice reconciliation? Are we ready to speak the truth in love as we love our neighbors?

Lord, have mercy upon us. Lord, give us peace in our time.

Yours faithfully,

 

 

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Image: The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations


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

Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book is 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
Today: $21

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

Forward Today: Choose life

Dear friends in Christ,

This Sunday, one of our readings comes from Deuteronomy. Moses is speaking to God’s people, telling them they have two choices. They can choose to follow God’s commandments, then they will know life and prosperity. Or they can choose to turn away from God, in which case they will know death and adversity.

My experience is that we tend not to like to think about following God’s commandments this way. We don’t much like to think about consequences for turning away, or blessings for turning to God. Now, I’m certainly not suggesting anything remotely like the so-called prosperity gospel peddled by hucksters posing as TV preachers. I do think that the abundant life that Jesus promises—full of an awareness of all that God has done and will do for us—waits for us, if we but repent and turn toward God.

Moses urges the people to “Choose life!” I’ve no doubt that if he miraculously appeared among us today, he’d say the same thing to us.

Our world seems more and more chaotic. Busyness overwhelms us. The news attempts to terrify us. Violence and degradation proliferate. What are we to do?

I think if we turn our hearts and our lives toward God, patterning our lives according to God’s commandments and purposes for us, we will see some changes in our lives. Some of those tasks that seemed urgent will recede in importance. We will remember that fear has no grip on us. Perhaps we will be emboldened by the Gospel to resist degradation and to seek peace. The world might seem more beautiful and less chaotic.

In other words, we might find that we have chosen life.

We know that these decisions are not one-time affairs. Every day we have multiple opportunities to choose life…or not.

Have you chosen life? What is that like? Have you turned away from God? What was that like? What might help you choose life, today and always?

Yours faithfully,

 

 

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Image: Unsplash


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: $16.50

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

February Staff Picks

Our February Staff Picks include our newest Lenten resource, a resource to inspire your soul, and a classic prayer book. These titles are 10% off today only (February 6th, est).


“The authors offer an engaging way to continue the Lenten journey. Each day of the week features a different way to think about Lent, from personal reflections to recalling the wisdom of the Desert Fathers to exploring what the animals and plants of the desert might teach us about our own lives.”


Slaying Your Goaliths

 

“The story of David and Goliath is a story many of us think we know well. Spend some time rediscovering the wisdom and knowledge in this truly epic event in biblical history. This book offers us a powerful way of living into our own call, in spite of seemingly-insurmountable obstacles.”


Prayers for all Occasions“Maybe you’ve been in the kitchen of a truly wonderful cook. You’ve seen the weathered wooden spoons that sing the flavors of untold good things, the heart-shaped ding in the copper kettle, the well-seasoned cast iron skillet that never sticks and always makes everything taste better. Prayers for All Occasions is just like that kitchen, only for our hearts. Open any page, and prayers from across the whole wide heart of the Church will help nourish and comfort your soul.”

Forward Today: Getting ready for the gift of Lent

Dear friends in Christ,

The season of Lent begins just three weeks from today. I don’t know about you, but it’s early February and I’m already exhausted from 2020. Lent can’t come soon enough. I can’t wait to answer the invitation of this season to repent and return to the Lord, to focus on what matters.

Lent isn’t about making ourselves better. It is about remembering God’s love for us. In fact, Lent is a good time to remind ourselves of the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, who offers salvation for us, despite the fact that we’re all pretty messed up. So this season isn’t about self-improvement so much as remembering the gift of God’s grace.

I’m planning to spend some time over the next few weeks to ponder how I might use this Lenten season. What habits do I want to cultivate? What habits do I want to shed? What am I called to embrace? What am I called to reject?

The good news is that Lent isn’t something to add to your to-do list. In fact, Lent might be inviting you to take some things off your to-do list. You don’t have to spend any money or sign up for any programs to make good use of Lent. But you might find yourself looking for books or resources to help you along the way. Your church or your priest or a wise spiritual friend can help you think and pray about how to use Lent.

Of course, we at Forward Movement have lots of resources. This year’s new Lenten devotional is a set of daily meditations by Frank and Victoria Logue. You can buy A Spring in the Desert as a paper book or an ebook. If you want something a bit more fun for your church and your family, a set of 25 Join the Journey colorable Lenten calendars is just a few dollars. And we have lots of other Lenten resources on our website. So do other publishers.

But however you approach Lent, I hope you’ll see this season as a gift. Each year, the church offers us this precious time to return to Jesus Christ, to focus on what matters. How will you accept this gift?

Yours faithfully,

 

 

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Image: By Rev. Neil Willard, Palmer Memorial Church, Houston, TX via Wikimedia


Today’s Flash Sale: Lent is Not Rocket Science

The season of Lent prompts us to ask questions, big and small, about the nature of our being and about our role in the world. In these daily Lenten reflections, astronomer, physicist, and Episcopal Bishop W. Nicholas Knisely explores the intersection of faith and science, creation and the cosmos.

Regular: $5
Today: $3.75

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

Forward Today: Finding grace on a sidewalk

Dear friends in Christ,

A couple of days ago, I happened to glance down while I was walking my dog. There, on the sidewalk, was a message of grace. “I forgive you.”

I don’t know who wrote this or why. Was someone hoping another person would see the message? Was it a written declaration by someone hoping that their intentions to forgive another would be more real if only the words were written out? Was it intended for a passer-by like me? Whatever the reason or the circumstance, there’s something tender about this declaration.

Forgiveness is at the heart of the Gospel. God forgives us our many sins, and we are meant to pass on that forgiveness to those around us. “Forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” It’s about mercy and grace, something that’s in short supply in this world of ours. Scorekeeping and gotchas are the currency of our age, so to forgive another is a subversive act.

Forgiving does not make the call for justice vanish. And of course, forgiving is not forgetting. Those tender words of forgiveness on a sidewalk do not imply that something has been forgotten, but rather that it has been forgiven. If someone hurts me, the sting of whatever has been done may not vanish quickly and it may never heal completely. But I have a choice of whether or not to hang on to my anger. Forgiveness is a gift to another, but it also frees us. Being merciful is itself an act of grace that makes real God’s gracious love in and for us. We humans are made to be generous, and when we live that way, we see glimpses of God’s gracious love for us and for all people.

I’m so glad someone wrote those three words on a sidewalk. I’m glad for their sake that one person has forgiven another. And I’m glad for my sake that I was given a small opportunity to contemplate the wonder of God’s great mercy and love for me and my call to be merciful and gracious to others.

I know I have some work to do in my heart. Sometimes forgiving is much easier said than done. Who do you need to forgive?

Yours faithfully,

 

 

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


Today’s Flash Sale: Dust Bunnies in the Basket

Episcopal priest Tim Schenck offers good humor and spiritual direction for the journey through Lent and Easter. With keen observations and a clever wit, Schenck connects the mundane with the divine, from dust bunnies and egg hunts to foot washing and the Easter Vigil. Illustrated by popular cartoonist Jay Sidebotham, Dust Bunnies in the Basket challenges us to go deeper this Lent, to “kick up some dust every now and then, to roll up our sleeves and get involved with the world and the people around us.” This book is ideal for personal reflection or seasonal study groups and includes thoughtful questions at the end of each section.

Regular: $10
Today: $7.50

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

Q&A: Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

The Most Rev. Dr. Thabo Makgoba is the Anglican Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. He became Archbishop of Cape Town in 2007, the youngest person ever to be elected to this position. His book, Faith & Courage: Praying with Mandela, recounts his ministry of prayer and presence in the final years of Mandela’s life. We are grateful to be able to ask him more about his life and ministry.


1. What is your hope for this book?
My hope is that it will encourage others to write about their stories of faith and be courageous in articulating them. There are many milestones that people pass in their lives and one of my milestones as a Christian was being fortunate enough to be asked to minister to Nelson Mandela in his “quietening” years. His was a story of faith and courage which transformed me, so my hope for others is that readers will learn about the spiritual side of Nelson Mandela and be transformed by his story.

2. What is your favorite memory with Nelson Mandela?
My favourite memory was visiting him when his health was beginning to fail, and because he had woken up late we were sharing breakfast with him. Looking at the number of people waiting to see him, I asked, “Tata (Father), don’t you get tired having to see so many people?” He was visibly upset, and rebuked me, “How can people tire you? People don’t tire me – people energize me.”

3. What is your favorite prayer?
My first visit to him [Nelson Mandela] was going to be on St. Barnabas Day, so we looked ahead of time at the lessons for the day. Looking back, the end of the prayer still moves me profoundly:

And we ask that now, in the quietening years
He may find around him those who may be as Barnabas to him,
Warm friends to delight his heart, and cheer his days,
And, dear Father God, we pray that you will hold him close
In your ever-loving, ever-lasting arms,
Today, tomorrow, and always.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

We had the sense that he was beginning to slip away, so we wanted words that as we prayed would remind him that he had entered his last days. The prayer reminds me of my own mortality and I hope that when those days come for me I will have people with whom I can pray and who will offer prayers of encouragement.

4. Is there a moment you would describe as the most profound in your life? Could you share that moment?
It was the time, which I write about in the book, when I was walking to school during unrest in Alexandra township in Johannesburg. White army conscripts in a Casspir, an armoured vehicle, all carrying guns, saw me and began to chase me. As I looked back at the Casspir coming for me I thought they can’t really be wanting to run me over, but on the other hand there were stories of people being run over, so I ran into the yard of a local mechanic and hid under one of the cars he was repairing. The mechanic confronted them and they went away.

The incident said a lot about the courage of the mechanic, an unarmed black man standing up alone to a vehicle full of armed soldiers. But it also said something about those conscripts, forced to serve in the army whether they wanted to or not – they could have ignored the mechanic and killed or maimed me with little fear of the consequences. So that was an important moment of grace in my life, a lesson that even in the midst of difficulties people who have the power to harm you can choose not to.

5. How does faith fuel your work?
Stories like this, and stories in the Bible where you see God prevailing in situations of darkness and anxiety, remind us that our God is in charge of our destiny, holding us in the palm of his hands. When as Archbishop I have to deal with past ills of the Church and administer disciplinary canons, when I have to deal with difficult politicians and business people, my faith reminds me that it is not about me – it’s all about God, a God who calls you and me and who empowers us to do God’s work. These stories speak not of a faith that says all manner of things shall be well, but of a faith that calls me to get my hands dirty and deal with the everyday messiness of people’s lives, of our environment, our neighbours’ lives.

6. What do you think the most important thing about forgiveness is?
Forgiveness heals you. Reflecting on those young white conscripts who had my life in their hands – some of whom had killed youngsters of my age, on the power they were given and on the system that produced them, for me to pray over that experience, to forgive them and to move on, has made me feel whole. Forgiveness takes away the sense of wanting to know why they took it upon themselves to chase me and frighten me; it takes away the pain.

But it also gives you the confidence to confront that which creates an unforgiving situation and points to what might turn it around. Each time I go back to my ancestral home in South Africa – Makgoba’s Kloof – I can’t escape the fact that settlers and missionaries took our land and rewrote our history for us, creating prosperity for themselves and impoverishing our community.

Reconciliation and forgiveness have to be ongoing, and my task is to say forgiveness is possible, not by forgetting the past but by helping people to find ways of making amends. Desmond Tutu tells the story of how, if I have stolen your bicycle, then seek your forgiveness, I can’t keep your bicycle and continue to ride it. To enable forgiveness to happen and enable people to move on, there has to be restitution.

7. What else would you like those reading to know?
The book is not only about South Africa. Particularly the last chapter looks at how we have become entrenched in our little corners in the Anglican Communion and forget about the biblical mandate to forgive, the biblical mandate to reconcile. So the book gives us a glimpse into the hope and the grace that is in store for us as Anglicans, as Christians, as people of God, when we work at forgiveness and reconciliation.

Forward Today: Are we becoming a courageous church?

Dear friends in Christ,

I’m writing this week’s Forward Today from Atlanta, where I’ve come to the Rooted in Jesus conference. Our friends at ECF have organized a massive conference, with nearly 1,500 attendees. Even more impressive than the size is the way organizations have worked together to build a conference that is, well, rooted in Jesus Christ and in our lives as his disciples.

Forward Movement is hosting a pre-conference Discipleship Intensive. I’ve really enjoyed the conversations among participants about how we can be more effective in making disciples. Not surprisingly, it has a lot to do with leaders modeling lives transformed with discipleship. Disciples making disciples.

If you are in Atlanta, please stop by the Forward Movement table in the exhibit area. Several of us are here for the conference, and we’d love to meet you. If you’re not in Atlanta, you can follow the conference hashtag (#rooted2020) on social media. I’m sure there will be lots of coverage in church media, as well as blogs and posts about what’s happening here.

Beyond this conference, I’m excited about what’s happening in our church. In many places, people are choosing to leave the comfort and safety of Christendom with its model of parishes as preservation societies for the adventure of living the Gospel. To be disciples is to live in a way that chooses transformation, that embarks on journeys, that embraces change, and that takes risks.

What might our church be like if we could be more courageous – more willing to be adventurous? Imagine a courageous church. A church like that would be worth joining, worthy of sacrifice and devotion. A church like that will inevitably grow. A church like that will burst with love and witness. A church like that will be living only for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s be that church.

Yours faithfully,

 

 

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


Today’s Flash Sale: Vestry Resource Guide & Guía de recursos

Whether you’re a new vestry member or a seasoned veteran, the newly revised (2015) Vestry Resource Guide is essential reading. With a deliberate focus on the importance of lay and clergy leadership teams, you’ll find comprehensive information and advice about the ministry of the vestry, leading faith communities, stewardship, and navigating clergy transitions.

 

Esta guía, en versión revisada, es una lectura esencial para toda persona que participa en una junta parroquial. La guía pone énfasis en la importancia de que la junta parroquial y el rector o rectora trabajen en equipo. Incluye información completa y consejos sobre el ministerio de la junta parroquial, cómo dirigir feligresías, mayordomía, y qué pasos tomar cuando cambia el clero.

 

 

Regular: $15
Today: $11.25

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