Forward Today in 2022: Grow Christians

Note: As we continue to pray for healing for the Rev. Canon Scott Gunn, this weekly message will feature guest writers from the Forward Movement staff and board of directors.

We’re wrapping up the year by featuring our favorite or most popular messages of 2022. Today’s “Top 5” post comes from Allison Sandlin Liles, editor of Grow Christians.

Grow Christians LogoNearly seven years ago, Nurya Love Parish and Forward Movement launched to help Episcopal parents teach children about their faith at home. Those first couple of years, posts nearly exclusively covered the major feast days of our liturgical year and offered creative ways to teach and involve young children in their celebrations. While Grow Christians still highlights Saints and Feast Days, the honest posts about parenting and living a life of faith gained the most traction in 2022. Perhaps a half dozen years spent in the Grow Christians community sufficiently prepared adults to talk with children about Holy Cross Day and the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, and now our readers crave authentic reflections on everyday life.

Here are the top five posts from 2022:

Faithfully and Earnestly Confirmed not to be Confirmed by Melissa Wilcox

“A few people asked me if I was embarrassed as a priest not to have my son confirmed. And, I never felt embarrassed…I know that through baptism God has claimed Elias as his own. He was sealed by the Holy Spirit, one person of the Trinity (his own stumbling block) and marked as Christ’s own forever.”

Envisioning Jesus in Our Own Image by Allison Sandlin Liles

“After my husband and son left, my ten-year-old whispered her question, ‘Mom, I thought Jesus had white skin?’”

Praying Compline with children during this summer of disruption, violence, and injustice by Bonnie Smith Whitehouse

“In a season when I often find myself experiencing more rage and grief than I ever have in my forty-seven years, saying the short liturgy of Compline alongside my family teaches me to keep dreaming of and working for a church that inspires, enlightens, and liberates. Ending the day bathed in candlelight at the table with our children reminds me that Christ’s dream for loving our neighbor and offering liberation lives in me because God’s spirit dwells in me.”

How do you talk to your young children about war? by Lydia Bucklin

“As we got ready for bed that evening, the last thing we talked about were the choices we make. And I repeated to my kids the words my mom and dad (God rest their souls) said to me and my brothers all those years ago. ‘We have choices every day about how we treat people. The language we use. The jokes we laugh at. The way we include or ignore people. The times we choose to stay angry and mad, or the ways we work to forgive and show love.’”

Every Last Thing is a Season by Emily Rutledge

“This Easter I am practicing resurrection. I am practicing hope. I am practicing knowing that no matter how bad it gets there is redemption, even after death. I want my children to practice, too. I want them to know how all the seasons are holy and natural and universal. I want them to know that when their personal Lents arrive, Easter will follow. I want them to sing songs of celebration with their friends when they are surprised by unexpected joy and to look at their lives knowing that everything, every – last – thing, is a season.”

For more thoughtful reflections like these, stop by, any time of the year.

Yours faithfully,

Allison Sandlin Liles