Category Archives: Books

Forward Today: Summer reading

Dear friends in Christ,

The summer solstice may not be here yet to make summer official, but to my reckoning, the arrival of June brings the beginning of unofficial summer.

For many folks, summer brings a different rhythm. We may have some vacation time, and many of us enjoy a slightly slower pace of life. If that sounds familiar, you may be wondering what to do as life gives you bit more breathing room.

In our go-go-go culture, there’s nothing wrong with slowing down and resting! Sleep more! Take naps! Goof off! Do nothing!

As for me, I hope to do more reading this summer. I’m always looking for summer reading suggestions, and maybe you are, too. There are loads of great books out there. As you might expect, I want to suggest a few books from Forward Movement that might make some good reading this summer.

If you’re spending more time reading the Bible (which is a great idea!), you might enjoy having a copy of Bible Women handy. We’ve recently updated this book, which includes every word spoken by women in the Bible. You’ll also get the back story on what she said and why.

Looking to refresh your spiritual disciplines? I wrote The Way of Love: A Practical Guide to Following Jesus as an encouraging companion for increased discipleship. Seek and You Will Find will help you find new prayer practices.

A Generous Beckoning may be helpful in your devotional life. Thinking of revitalizing your congregation? Check out Signs of Life: Nurturing Spiritual Growth in Your Church. Finally, if you want a challenging read about the church and its relationship to money, check out The Unjust Steward: Poverty, Wealth, and the Church Today.

However you choose to use the gift of this time, God bless you.

Yours faithfully,
Scott Gunn's signature
Scott Gunn
Executive Director

P.S. If you’re ordering books published by Forward Movement, it supports our ministry if you order directly from us. But if Amazon is how you need to get them, that works too.

More from our ministry:

From Grow Christians: Endings and New Beginnings

New from ChurchNext: Keeping Your Daily Devotions Fresh

Pray through the new season with us:

Q&A: Jay Sidebotham, author of Signs of Life

Jay Sidebotham has served as a priest in the Episcopal Church for more than 30 years. He also enjoys creating artwork, including cartoons, reflecting life in the church. Before ordination, he worked in an animation studio that produced Schoolhouse Rock cartoons and then as an art director in several advertising agencies. Some say he is still in advertising.

Jay is also the founder of RenewalWorks, a ministry seeking to make spiritual growth the priority in Episcopal congregations and to build cultures of discipleship in those congregations. His new book, Signs of Life, draws on what Jay has learned in a decade of doing this work. Learn more about Jay and his work in this author Q&A.

How did the idea for this book develop?

After 10 years of work with RenewalWorks, I wanted to share what I had learned in the process. Part of my interest in writing was admittedly to help me clarify key learnings from this work, for my own understanding. I also wanted to share what I had seen churches doing to deepen the spiritual lives of the members of their congregations, in the hopes that those insights could be helpful to folks in a time of anxiety about congregational vitality and church decline.

What is your hope for this book?

My love for the church is deep. My respect for those who lead churches (clergy and lay) has only grown over the last ten years. With that hopeful perspective, I hope that by sharing some of what we’ve learned, we can expand the reach of those learnings. While I would love for every church in Christendom to take on the RenewalWorks process, I know that won’t happen. But I believe many of the insights from this work can be helpful to congregations. In this book, I’ve gathered some core principles in one accessible place, so that congregations (and their leaders, lay and clergy) can consider these principles, and perhaps apply them. All of it has as its goal the deepening of a sense of discipleship, as we seek to follow Jesus and be part of his movement in the world.

You’re well known in the Episcopal world for your prolific cartoons, found on the “Slow down. Quiet.” calendars and elsewhere. How is your creative process different for writing and visual art?

The novelist Walker Percy described modern people as waiting for news. For me, the creative process, written or visual, is about communicating some useful and even transformative news. At the heart of all creative processes, there’s an idea, a message worth getting across. In my own case, I go with the medium that can best get that message across. I can say some things in a cartoon that I couldn’t say otherwise. At other times, a written reflection is a better way to make a point. I enjoy being able to do both.

Where do you typically write?

Anywhere. No place in particular. That’s why God made laptops.

Do you have a favorite prayer?

That’s a bit like asking if I have a favorite child. One of the prayers that has guided me over the years is a prayer that appears in services for Ordination, the Liturgy for Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. It speaks of the church, and God’s commitment to the church:

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were being cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

Just one more hope for this book, which is that everyone who reads it will see it as a prompt to think about their own spiritual growth. I’m convinced that our congregations will be as spiritually strong and vital as the members of those congregations. My hope then for the church is that every member will explore their own spiritual growth, which we’ve come to understand as growth in love of God and love of neighbor. When that happens, I believe the church will be stronger, living more fully into what God intends, what God is calling us to do and be.

Signs of Life is available on the Forward Movement website. Read a sample or order your copy today.

Q&A: Peter Wallace, author of A Generous Beckoning

Peter M. Wallace, an Episcopal priest serving in the Diocese of Atlanta, is the executive producer and host of the Day1 radio/podcast and internet ministry ( Peter is the author of eleven books, including his newest meditative exploration, A Generous Beckoning. Learn more about Peter and his work in this author Q&A.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

I’ve written devotional books on the gospel of John and the Psalms, among others, but the basis for this set of meditations came when I was contemplating God’s invitations. Years ago, one of my mentors, the Rev. Gray Temple Jr., used the phrase “a generous beckoning” in a sermon, referring to God’s welcoming invitation for all. That concept prompted a series of meditations springing from Bible verses in which God—as Father in the Old Testament, as Son in the gospels, and as Holy Spirit in the epistles—used the imperative case, speaking directly with a command, an invitation, a nudge, or an admonition. What I discovered was that the scriptures are full of such invitations, and when I opened myself to them they became immediately relevant, calling for a prayerful and active response.

What is your hope for this book?

I hope readers will spend some time first thinking through the verse I’ve selected for each meditation, listening for what God is saying to them in that moment. And I hope my meditation on the verse will help bring it home for them so that they will wrestle personally with what God is inviting them to be or to do. When I can hear God speaking directly to me through scriptures, will I respond more authentically? Will I hear God inviting me to answer in a way that is meaningful and authentic? I also encourage readers—individually or in their prayer, study, or formation groups—to use the Study Guide for A Generous Beckoning (available at no charge from Forward Movement) and consider prayerfully the questions posed in each section. My prayer is that folks will find this book to be a springboard to robust moments of meditation that will equip them to love and serve the Lord in the world.

Can you share a moment where you experienced God in your daily life?

I try to be open to the Spirit’s nudges throughout the day, and to prepare myself for them so I will be in a place to readily say “yes.” But one encounter with God stands out for me, when I decided to go on a personal retreat for the first time. I share this experience in the book (“A Peaceful Burden,” pp. 252ff, edited here):

I wanted to meet with God to get a fresh sense of direction for my life, so I arranged to stay in a cabin next to a rocky, rolling creek at Camp Mikell, the Episcopal conference center in North Georgia. On the covered porch overlooking a rambunctious creek, sitting in a rocking chair, I cataloged my feelings. I felt frazzled after a long, hard day at work. I was also scared, unsettled—I had gotten lost on the way up in the dark. But now I was starting to feel safe. And a little hopeful. Even though I had no idea what I would do or what would happen, I was just going to play it by ear.

Saturday morning, after a restful night’s sleep, I started with Morning Prayer. In the confession, the phrase “and what we have left undone” struck me. I was feeling as though my life was full of “left undones.” A series of verses came to me as I read the prayer book. As verse tumbled upon verse, I found myself weeping. I remember almost viscerally sensing the embrace of Jesus. My simple notes, hardly able to capture the depth of renewal I felt, read: “Overcome by the love and presence of Jesus! Weeping tears of love and joy—not sadness. Feel accepted and loved and cherished like a friend and lover.”

This experience carried on through the rest of my retreat weekend and helped me begin the hard process of opening my heart and my eyes to God’s wider will for my life—and a painful but ultimately life-giving journey to where I am today.

Where do you typically write?

Anywhere I can! I usually write in my little home office on an iMac, but I also take my laptop to write wherever I can. My spouse and I love to travel, and I always bring my laptop in case the muse strikes. Whether it’s in Brazil or Vietnam or on a cruise ship somewhere in the Caribbean, I enjoy finding a quiet place to write. Pleasant scenery always helps!

What was the most enjoyable part of writing?

Sometimes I’m amazed at what comes out of my head! Even when I feel I have nothing to say about a particular verse or topic, I’m often amazed at what ends up on the laptop screen after some quiet contemplation and careful study of the text. I love the discovery along the way of new thoughts, unexpected insights, surprising ideas. I enjoy capturing all that in early drafts, but I also enjoy wordsmithing and polishing—including the pain of cutting things out that I first thought were so interesting, but in hindsight turned out not to be all that helpful. I hope readers are also caught up in the same spiritual current so they can discover their own captivating insights into God’s Word as they read and meditate.

Do you have a favorite prayer?

When I first wake up, I recite in my head a series of prayers and Bible verses—I’ve found it’s a wonderful way to start the day before getting out of bed…
– “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
– Psalm 23
– “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
– The Hail Mary
– The Lord’s Prayer
– The hymn, “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”
And some others from time to time. But perhaps my favorite and most-used prayer, always at the ready at any moment of the day or night, is The Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” I repeat that often throughout the day and night and am grateful for the healing and strength it can offer. (I write about this in “Request Line” on pp. 325ff.)

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

I am grateful and honored that Forward Movement is publishing this book. I’ve been enriched spiritually over the years by so many resources FM has published, especially Forward Day by Day, which I started reading when I first became an Episcopalian in 1990, and still read daily (well, there were times I drifted away, but I’m glad I always came back home!). Through my work with the “Day 1” radio and podcast program over the years, I have worked with several church leaders connected with Forward Movement, including the Rev. Scott Gunn, who serves on the Day 1 Advisory Council. On this book it’s been a deep joy to work with Scott and his amazing staff, particularly Richelle Thompson, Jason Merritt, Chris Yaw, and others. I have been blessed in so many ways through the Forward Movement ministry, and I hope readers will also experience that blessing themselves through this new book.

A Generous Beckoning is available on the Forward Movement website. Read a sample or order your copy today.

Q&A: Lindsay Hardin Freeman, author of Bible Women

Women of the Bible have been trapped in dry and dusty literary caskets for centuries—but no more. In a groundbreaking book, author Lindsay Hardin Freeman identifies every woman who speaks in the Bible, providing their words, context, and historical background. This beloved book has recently been expanded to feature new ways to use and study the words and wisdom, updated content for today’s context, and 93 prayers—one for each woman who speaks in the Bible. Learn more about Bible Women’s expanded edition in this author Q&A.

What inspired you to make a 2nd edition of Bible Women?

I’ve had the good fortune to meet with women’s groups across the country since the original book came out: ECW (Episcopal Church Women) meetings, book clubs, students, Zoom meetings, and various Bible study groups. They, and Richelle Thompson, Forward Movement’s executive editor, have inspired me to write this second edition.

I’m amazed at how deeply women will share joys and sorrows in small groups with people they might not have ever met before. We all have mountains to climb and deserts to cross, and it makes such a difference when we don’t do that alone.

Seeing women use the book to get at deep faith issues is huge for me. Being at the intersection of contemporary women and Bible women — seeing the continuing commonalities —is a really inspiring place to be — and the renewed interest in the book shows that Bible women are never outdated.

How does the 2nd edition content differ from the first?

Much has happened on the world scene since the original book came out: the war in Ukraine, more desperation at the Southern border, an increased number of mass shootings, the murder of George Floyd, and political instability at the national and international level.

We’ve added 120 pages, with deeper questions for discussion, revised chapter content to will help readers consider what Bible women might have to offer in light of such events, provided additional suggestions for use, and added a more intentional meditative focus with a prayer for each of the 93 women who speak in the Bible selected from scholars, saints and theologians across the ages. Ninety-three women, so ninety-three prayers.

How has writing the 2nd edition been different from the first?

To add those prayers for each woman’s chapter — a prayer that would make her contributions ring even louder — took another kind of work. My dining room table was covered for months with books and scraps of paper as more ancient voices seemed to ring out. Voices from long ago from people searching for the truth and for God’s presence right alongside Bible women is an amazing experience. It wasn’t easy — there were long, hard and crazy hours, but I’m proud of the way the whole project turned out.

What is your hope for this book?

The Holy Spirit is the one doing the heavy lifting, of course, but my hope is that my words will help deepen the faith of contemporary readers. Writing is my vocation — it’s what I do — and I hope this book will be a bridge between God’s people of the past and God’s people of the present and future.

The first edition of Bible Women has been out in the world for a while now, and I know it has been a hit with readers. Do you have a favorite reader story you’d like to share?

I was leading a retreat on Bible Women in New England, and I there was a woman there who seemed angry with me. I wondered what I had said that caused such a reaction. It turned out that her daughter had died four years earlier, and she had lost her faith. But she was there — sharing her deep sorrow with other women. And she told me that weekend was the first time she’d taken Communion since her daughter died. There was healing, a drawing closer to God because of  sharing with other women at her table, sparked by Bible Women — and I’ll always treasure that.

Do you have a favorite Bible Woman? Or one who is particularly inspiring you right now?

My favorite woman in the Bible has always been Rahab — the prostitute who took Hebrew spies into her home, lied about their presence to the King’s guards, and then helped the emerging nation of Israel cross over into the Promised Land. She was a survivor, and so many of us are. She had to make a decision on a moment’s notice and she did. She looked out for others, and God blessed her.

During this Epiphany season, though, I’m always inspired by Elizabeth, who prayed at the temple in Jerusalem for some eight decades, waiting to see the Messiah. Her wish and prayer were fulfilled and she is a stunning example of how prayer works.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I am not alone when I do this work. The Spirit is right beside me, cajoling me, guiding me, leading me. Our research team has worked together for twelve years now; we have a chaplain that prays for us and for readers continually. Forward Movement has been incredibly helpful — and most of all, my poet-priest husband Len Freeman is with me each step of the way to make all this possible.

The expanded second edition of Bible Women is available on the Forward Movement website. Read a sample or order your copy today.

Forward Movement books win top honors in Christian book awards

Four books recently released by Forward Movement have been recognized as among the best Christian books by the 2023 Illumination Book Awards.

The Creation Care Bible Challenge, the ninth book of the best-selling Bible Challenge series created and edited by Marek Zabriskie, has been awarded the 2023 gold medal for Bible Study.

 Three silver medal awards were bestowed upon other Forward Movement titles: Mark Bozzuti-Jones’ Face to the Rising Sun: Reflections on Spirituals and Justice in the Devotional category; Miguel Escobar’s The Unjust Steward: Wealth, Poverty, and the Church Today for Theology; and Seek and You Will Find: Discovering a Practice of Prayer, by Rhonda Mawhood Lee, in the Spirituality category.

“We are excited to see these wonderful books receive recognition from the Illumination Awards,” said Richelle Thompson, managing editor of Forward Movement. “Each offers an invitation to deepen our relationship with Christ, ourselves, and each other. We’re proud to work with inspiring writers and contributors to bring these dynamic and engaging resources to life and help disciples on their journey.”

To celebrate these achievements, Forward Movement is offering an extra discount on each of these titles at, now through February 28, 2023.

To order these books or other resources, visit or call 1.800.543.1813. Our titles are available as eBooks on Kindle and Apple Books.


Forward Movement’s Holiday Gift Guide

This holiday season, give the gift of learning and spiritual connection with Forward Movement books. We’ve put together a set of curated recommendations for the disciples, evangelists, and book lovers in your life.

The impact of your gift stretches farther when you purchase directly from Forward Movement. Each purchase supports our ministry to provide free books and devotionals to prisons, nursing homes, hospitals, and military bases. Order today – and see more of our bestselling books – at

For a friend who wants to pray, but doesn’t know where to start:

Invite your loved one into a rhythm of prayer with the beautiful, lightweight Hour by Hour. Or share the wisdom of a new writer each month – delivered to your doorstep throughout the year – with a subscription to our beloved devotional Forward Day By Day.

For anyone looking to deepen their spiritual life:

The Way of Love is a wonderful jump-start for spiritual reflection, giving you space to write your own thoughts in the pages. Seek and You Will Find offers a dozen different practices of prayer – which one will speak to you in the New Year?

For the new or longtime Episcopalian in your life:

Our bestselling volumes Walk in Love and Inwardly Digest are perfect for new church members or for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of our tradition.

For those who love beautiful ways to pray:

Even the person who has many prayer books already will be enchanted by our new Gift Edition of the Book of Common Prayer. The BCP Gift Edition has red-letter rubrics, elegant leather, and gold edging. Another beautiful favorite from our collection is Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book. This small volume can help you begin and continue a holy habit of prayer.

Three new titles available for pre-order

Forward Movement announces three new titles available for pre-order

Three new highly anticipated titles are now available for pre-order from Forward Movement. All three will be released in September 2022. Pre-orders will ship in late August.

Cover art for The Unjust StewardThe Unjust Steward: Wealth, Poverty, and the Church Today, by Miguel Escobar, explores the challenges of wealth and poverty, from the beginnings of Christianity to the church today.

$25 each
ON SALE: $22 direct from Forward Movement
Bulk: $16 each for 5-9 copies  |  $14 each for 10+ copies

Pre-Order Now!



Cover art for Vital Signs of FaithVital Signs of Faith: Finding Health In Your Spiritual Life, by Kate Moorehead Carroll, helps disciples cultivate and nourish their faith through four vital signs: God, Give, Grow, and Group.

$18 each
Bulk: $15 each for 5+ copies

Pre-Order Now!





Cover art for The Book of Common PrayerThe Book of Common Prayer: Gift Edition is a new deluxe edition of The Book of Common Prayer, featuring a leather cover, gilded edges, and six satin ribbons. This edition includes the Revised Common Lectionary, and red text for all rubrics, principal feasts, and holy days, make this a unique edition.

$55 each

Pre-Order Now!



About Forward Movement

Inspiring disciples and empowering evangelists around the globe every day, Forward Movement has been producing excellent, innovative resources to encourage spiritual growth in individuals and congregations for more than eighty years.