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Forward Today: Putting our faith and trust in God

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.

Miriam McKenney, Hannah Wilder, and Scott Gunn at the Episcopal Communicators conference in 2014.

We were finishing lunch at our Airbnb. I was much more excited than the rest of my family to go to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. I always visited there when we were in Connecticut to visit my in-laws. Just as we were leaving, I got a call to join an emergency meeting where I learned that Scott Gunn, Forward Movement’s executive director, was seriously ill in Singapore. Tears rush up as I type these words, just as they did at that moment, along with shock, dread, worry, and fear. I don’t remember much else about that first meeting except those feelings. 

Our plans to go to the museum faded as I sat on the couch, unable to move or make sense of my thoughts. Finally, I decided to work on Odyssey, our magazine for donors and friends of Forward Movement. We’ve been moving through the Way of Love spiritual practices, and our next issue is on worship. I opened my copy of Scott’s book The Way of Love Practical Guide to read the worship chapter and decide which part to excerpt for the magazine.

Here is where trusting that God knows exactly what we need comes in. I had no idea that I needed to read what Scott had to say about worship—something he loves to do. He starts the chapter with this story:

When I was a younger adult, I was a bit of a spiritual nomad. I spent several years looking to make sense of the Christian faith. My wandering was all very cerebral. Then one evening, I entered a church with a liturgy that was ceremonially rich and ornate. All of my mental circuit breakers were blown—in a very good way. No one rationalized what happened in Holy Communion. Instead, people genuflected in awe at the majestic presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. There was glorious music and the scent of incense, and all of this was happening in a stunning space. I glimpsed heaven. I was swept along into a realm that was much larger than my imagining. I was with people whose physical postures and actions manifested a sacrificial worship of God in Jesus Christ.  

Tears continued to stream down my face as I copied and pasted the salient parts of the chapter for Odyssey. I realized it was not me but God who guided me to the words and thoughts of my boss, colleague, friend, and brother in Christ. I can’t say I felt better, but I did feel calm and peace enveloping me. I felt trust where I’d felt fear. I rooted myself in a constant stream of prayer for all of it. I allowed my mind and heart to travel down paths I didn’t want to travel because I knew I had a way back. Spirit would not leave me. Jesus was near.  

Working with Scott for the last eleven years has changed my spiritual life. Those who know us might be surprised to hear me give him credit for that—but it’s true. Growing up as a priest’s daughter did not guarantee a close relationship with Jesus or even an understanding of who Jesus really was. Spending time reading scripture, practicing spiritual practices, and even knowing it’s essential to do those things is due to Scott’s relentless call to all of us to get closer to God. That he continues to heal and will eventually journey back to us is something we can praise God for, saying: 

O God of heavenly powers, by the might of your command you drive away from our bodies all sickness and all infirmity: Be present in your goodness with your servant Scott, that his weakness may be banished and his strength restored; and that, his health being renewed, he may bless your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Thank you for your prayers for Scott, Sherilyn, and the staff and board of directors of Forward Movement. I know that Scott’s healing and your prayers are intertwined. As our board chair Kate Wesch said last week, prayer is crucial for Scott and all who care for him. You are in our prayers, and we thank God for you.

Peace,
Miriam

Miriam McKenney is Forward Movement’s Director of Development and Mission Engagement. 


More from our ministry:

Pray with us every day: prayer.forwardmovement.org

A pastoral announcement about the Rev. Canon Scott Gunn

Dear friends, we come to you today with difficult news. Our executive director, the Rev. Canon Scott Gunn, had a serious medical incident while on vacation in Singapore. He is now hospitalized there, and late last night, his wife, the Rev. Sherilyn Pearce, arrived to be with him.

This morning, Sherilyn reports that Scott is resting comfortably and is receiving world-class medical care. His current condition is critical but improving, and while hopeful, doctors report that he has a long road ahead. The medical and pastoral team, along with Sherilyn, are encouraged. She is particularly grateful for the care and support of the Anglican Church in Singapore, which has made a significant difference both for her and for Scott.

We encourage your prayers for Scott, Sherilyn, the medical and pastoral team in Singapore, and all those who love and care for them. We also appreciate your understanding of our need to balance sharing information and respecting personal privacy. We will share more news when we have it, and for now ask you to offer your intentions and prayers below.

Let us pray…

For Recovery from Sickness
O God, the strength of the weak and the comfort of sufferers: Mercifully accept our prayers, and grant to your servant Scott the help of your power, that his sickness may be turned into health, and our sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP, 458)

For Today
O God:
Give me strength to live another day;
Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties;
Let me not lose faith in other people;
Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness;
Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them;
Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity;
Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things;
Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth;
Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness;
and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls;
in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. (Phillips Brooks)

 


Queridas amigas y amigos, tenemos tristes noticias: El Rvdo. Canónigo Scott Gunn, director ejecutivo de Forward Movement, cayó gravemente enfermo cuando llegaba de vacaciones a Singapur. Está hospitalizado allí. Anoche la esposa, la Rvda. Sherilyn Pearce, llegó para estar con él.

El último informe que recibimos es que está cómodo y recibiendo excelente atención médica. Su condición es crítica, pero muestra síntomas de mejora. El equipo médico dice que en el mejor de los casos habrá una larga convalecencia. El equipo médico, el equipo pastoral y Sherilyn están animados. Ella, en particular, está agradecida a la Iglesia Anglicana en Singapur por el valioso apoyo que les están dando en estos momentos difíciles.

Te pedimos que ores por Scott, Sherilyn, el personal médico y el equipo pastoral en Singapur, y todos lo que los aman y apoyan. Esperamos que comprendas que tenemos que respetar la privacidad de la familia. Te daremos más noticias cuando estén disponibles, y ahora te pedimos que nos acompañes en oración.

Oremos.

Por el restablecimiento de la salud:
Oh Dios, fortaleza de los débiles y consuelo de los que sufren: Acepta misericordiosamente nuestras oraciones y concede a tu siervo Scott el auxilio de tu poder, a fin fe que su enfermedad se convierta en salud y nuestra tristeza en gozo; por Jesucristo nuestro Señor. Amén. (Libro de Oración Común, p. 379)

Para el día de hoy:
Oh Dios: Dame la fortaleza de vivir un nuevo día;
que no me acobarde ante sus dificultades,
ni sea desleal a sus deberes;
que no pierda la fe en los demás;
consérvame manso y puro de corazón,
a pesar de la ingratitud, la traición o la vileza;
líbrame de concebir pequeñas aflicciones
y de imponérselas a otros;
ayúdame a conservar limpio el corazón
y a vivir honesta y valientemente,
para que ningún fracaso externo pueda desanimarme
ni arrebatarme el gozo de una conciencia íntegra;
abre los ojos de mi alma
para que pueda percibir el bien de todas las cosas;
concédeme hoy una nueva visión de tu verdad;
inspírame con el espíritu del gozo y la alegría;
y hazme cáliz de fortaleza para los que sufren;
en nombre de nuestro poderoso Liberador,
el único Señor y Salvador, Jesucristo. Amén. (Phillips Brooks)

Forward Day by Day app and website upgrades add Spanish content, new features

Forward Movement has updated its popular Forward Day by Day app and Daily Prayer website with a Spanish language setting, as well as a fourth daily podcast.

App users and website visitors may now select English or Spanish in their preferences, changing the scripture, prayers, and devotions, as well as navigation and system settings. Ongoing improvements to scripture translations will continue to improve the reading experience in Spanish in the coming months.

Scripture Day by Day podcast logoThe upgrade also unveils Scripture Day by Day, a new daily office podcast following the readings listed in Forward Day by Day, with lectionary readings for Sundays and Major Feasts following the Revised Common Lectionary.

Created by the Rev. Canon Wiley Ammons of Jacksonville, Florida, Scripture Day by Day joins three podcasts already available for playback within the app and website: the Forward Day by Day Podcast, A Morning at the Office, and An Evening at Prayer. All are available across major podcast platforms and on the Forward Movement website.

The latest improvements are thanks to the work of the Rev. Greg Johnston of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who overhauled the app and website in the summer of 2021. Johnston is also the creator of the popular Venite app, which Forward Movement began sponsoring in 2020.

“These upgrades have a tangible impact on people’s journey with Jesus, especially as we navigate a busy and distracting world,” said the Rev. Canon Scott Gunn, Forward Movement executive director. “We’re honored to work with a dedicated community of partners and donors to improve this free offering for the church.”

Visitors to the website (prayer.forwardmovement.org) will see the new options immediately, though a browser refresh may be needed. Users of the Forward Day by Day app should automatically receive the update, depending on their device and settings.

The donor-supported app is available free of charge on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

About Forward Movement

Forward Movement inspires disciples and empowers evangelists. We offer devotions, Bible studies, formation courses, and other resources to equip and support people in their walk with Jesus Christ. Visit www.forwardmovement.org or www.venadelante.org to learn more.

 


La aplicación “Forward Day by Day” ahora está disponible en español, y con más funciones

Forward Movement ha actualizado la aplicación “Forward Day by Day” y el sitio web de oración diaria, que ahora ofrece el texto en español y un cuarto podcast diario.

Quienes usan la aplicación o visitan el sitio web podrán ahora seleccionar español o inglés, cambiando el idioma de las escrituras, oraciones y devociones, así como las configuraciones de navegación y sistema. En los próximos meses se harán mejoras adicionales.

Scripture Day by Day podcast logoLa aplicación incluye además “Scripture Day by Day”, un nuevo podcast del oficio diario que sigue las lecturas indicadas en Adelante día a día, con las lecturas del leccionario para los domingos y las fiestas mayores tal como aparecen en el Leccionario Común Revisado.

“Scripture Day by Day” fue creado por el Rev. Canónigo Wiley Ammons de Jacksonville, Florida, y se suma a los tres podcasts que ya están disponibles en la aplicación y el sitio web: El podcast de Forward Day by Day, A Morning at the Office y An Evening at Prayer. Todos están disponibles en las plataformas de podcasts y en el sitio web de Forward Movement.

Las mejoras más recientes las realizó el Rev. Greg Johnston de Cambridge, Massachusetts, que en el verano de 2021 renovó la aplicación y el sitio web. Johnston es también el creador de la aplicación Venite, que Forward Movement viene patrocinando desde 2020,

El Rev. Canónigo Scott Gunn, director ejecutivo de Forward Movement, dijo que “estas mejoras impactan de manera tangible nuestro caminar con Jesús, especialmente con los muchos trajines y distracciones de nuestro mundo. Nos honra poder trabajar con una comunidad de socios y donantes para mejorar este recurso que le ofrecemos gratuitamente a la iglesia”.

Las mejoras ya pueden verse en el sitio Prayer.ForwardMovement.org. Quienes ya usan la aplicación Forward Day by Day recibirán una actualización automática según el dispositivo y las configuraciones que usen.

La aplicación, que es gratuita y se logró con el apoyo de donantes, se puede descargar en las tiendas digitales de Apple y de Google Play.

Forward Movement

En Forward Movement inspiramos discípulos y empoderamos evangelistas. Ofrecemos devociones, estudios bíblicos, cursos de formación y otros recursos para equipar y apoyar nuestro discipulado con Jesucristo. Para averiguar más, visítanos en www.ForwardMovement.org o www.VenAdelante.org.

 

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.

Forward Today: Stir up thy power

Dear friends in Christ,

I love the collect – or prayer of the day – for this coming Sunday. It’s an ancient prayer that still speaks to us today.

Illuminated manuscript in Latin, which translated reads "Stir up your power, O God, and with great might come among us."Stir up thy power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let thy bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be honor and glory, world without end. Amen.

Several years ago, I wrote about this prayer for an Advent retreat I led. In that retreat meditation, I said:

I am captivated by the idea of God stirring us up, of being stirred up by God’s power. It really suggests we won’t be left the same, that things will get mixed up in us and in the world through God’s power. I think of the swirling nothingness at the beginning, out of which God brought all Creation into being, and how God’s creativity continues in the world. Stir up thy power!

My gosh, I am so ready for God to stir things up. It’s not that our chaotic, fallen world needs excitement. Rather, the patterns of power, might, greed, and violence need to be stirred. Complacency and fear need to be stirred away. Hope, grace, mercy, peace, and justice need to be stirred in. We need some stirring.

If you can, get to church this weekend or join a service online. Hear the warning of John the Baptist. Pray for a fresh stirring up of our world and our lives. Do the work of repentance to which Advent calls us.

We can’t do it on our own. Stir up your power, O God! Stir us up, we pray!

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn's signature

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


More from our ministry:

New ChurchNext course on interrupting cycles of violence: Each Other’s Keeper

Forward Today: The gift of daily devotions

Dear friends in Christ,

The cover of a Forward Day By Day pamphlet, November-December 2021, January 2022I recently had the opportunity to visit three different churches on three different Sundays. At each one, people told me how much they love Forward Day by Day. In case you’ve never run across it, each day Forward Day by Day offers a snippet of scripture, a brief reflection, a suggested action, and a place in the Anglican Communion for which you are encouraged to pray.

The stories I hear about Forward Day by Day amaze me. A man once told me how it helped him discover his vocation. A woman once told me it sustained her while her husband was fighting during a war. People tell me how it’s an essential part of their day. Lots of readers talk about how the practice of daily prayer and reflection keeps them anchored as followers of Jesus Christ.

That’s just it. Being a Christian isn’t a Sunday job. It’s all encompassing. The habit of daily prayer and reflection helps us remember God’s love for us and the call of Jesus Christ to follow him.

In every church I visit, there are always people – usually the majority – who don’t have a habit of daily prayer and reflection. There are lots of ways to pray daily, and you can certainly study the scriptures on your own. But Forward Day by Day offers an accessible entry to a life-changing practice of prayer and study.

If you haven’t tried Forward Day by Day, you can read it online or listen to our podcast or get the free app for your iPhone or Android smartphone. Of course, it’s also available in print. Thousands of people love our pocket-sized edition.

This is the time of year when many start to think about Christmas gifts. As we celebrate Christ’s birth, how about giving someone a gift that will help them follow Jesus day in and day out? Amid all the chaos of this world, Forward Day by Day makes an easy gift to give. It might just be life-changing for the recipient. You can order a gift print subscription online. If you want to give several, or if you have questions, feel free to call us.

I know it’s true in my own life: daily prayer is hugely important. It’s never too late to start, and it’s never too late to invite someone else to give daily prayer a try.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn's signature

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


More from our ministry:

Pray with us any time of day: Daily Prayer Podcasts

Explore new forms of prayer: Seek and You Will Find

Get ready for daily prayer through Advent: Promise and Praise

Behind the Screen interview with Isabel Lynn-Ramos

Hugo Olaiz, Forward Movement Associate Editor for Latino and Hispanic Ministries, recently had a chance to interview Isabel Lynn Ramos, October 2021 author for Forward Day by Day.

Below is an excerpt from their conversation. Click here to listen to their entire conversation (in Spanish) on the Forward Day by Day podcast (episode released on September 30, 2021). 

Where are you from? What’s your profession?
I grew up in Toa Baja, a small town in the north of Puerto Rico. I have a degree in education with an emphasis on elementary school teaching. I later obtained a master’s degree in school administration. I have worked for eight years as a school principal and in the Early Head Start program.

How did you end up writing for Forward Day by Day?
I used to have a notebook where I would write down scriptural passages and my own spiritual meditations. That book ended up in my parents’ home, and in 2017, when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the house was flooded, and my notebook was lost. I was very saddened. Yet I believe that God intervened: when I learned about Forward Movement’s call for writers, I locked myself in my room and wrote the meditation samples. Only a few days later you called me, inviting me to write about my life experiences. The interactions and encouragement that I received from you and your colleagues have been a wonderful gift. I still can’t believe this is happening!

What would you like people to take away from your meditations?
I wrote about things that I have experienced in my time and place—the good, the bad, and the ugly. I hope and know many people will identify with my experiences.

Tell us briefly about the experiences you had in your neighborhood after Hurricane Maria.
Thousands in Puerto Rico were left homeless and ended up in shelters. People in our neighborhood lost everything. We had no electricity, water, or supplies. So we got organized to help each other. The neighbors set up teams to clean up the mud and debris. We also organized communal meals: on a specific date my mother would cook, then a next-door neighbor, and so forth. We had breakfast, lunch, and dinner together, as if we were a family. And the Episcopal Church did tremendous work all across Puerto Rico, bringing emergency supplies, food, and water; they also spent time encouraging and praying with people.  We grew up as a neighborhood and also as a church.

Is there anything you would like to add?
I’m so grateful to you and the Forward Movement staff! Thank you for trusting this Puerto Rican woman to write these meditations.

Q&A: Rhonda Mawhood Lee, author of Seek and You Will Find

Rhonda Mawhood Lee among the flowers in her back garden.How do we pray? Prayer is an essential part of the Christian life, but it often remains stubbornly mysterious. Rhonda Mawhood Lee, an Episcopal priest, writer, and spiritual director, walks us through the “how” of prayer and many diverse practices of prayer in her new book, Seek and You Will Find. Learn more about Lee and her book in this author Q&A.

How did the idea for this book develop?
A few years ago, I attended a meeting between members of the Society of Scholar Priests and Scott Gunn, executive director of Forward Movement. The facilitator asked Scott what kinds of books he’d like to see members of the SSP write, and one of Scott’s suggestions was a book about how to pray. That resonated with me, because so many Christians have told me they don’t know how to pray, and don’t have anyone to teach them. I love to teach, and I have devoted a lot of time to learning to pray, so I thought I might write such a book. And after a while, I did.

What is your hope for this book?
I hope, first, that it gives the people who read it a sense of God’s great love for them and desire to keep company with them. And then, second, I hope it helps readers see that there are many faithful ways to pray, and maybe feel inspired to try a few. Finally, I hope that by leading people to prayer, the book helps to spread God’s loving, resurrecting power further into the world.

Which of the prayer practices in this book was easiest or most familiar? What about a practice that was particularly difficult or new to you?
Well, I’ve just about given up on ever doing yoga. I mean, I might, one day, but I’m not counting on it. It just doesn’t draw me.

On the whole, though, I appreciate and use a variety of different practices. The Daily Office, contemplative prayer, Ignatian contemplation, the Jesus Prayer, the rosary (more recently), doodling, walking prayers, lectio divina…I do them all at different times, and I’m glad they’re all available to me.

What surprised you the most while writing this book?
The fact that I managed to write it at all, in the midst of the Covid pandemic. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to focus, given everything that was going on in the world, and the heightened level of anxiety that was present in just about every human interaction. But writing the book ended up being something of an oasis. Thanks be to God.

Cocoa Cinnamon CafeWhere do you typically write?
I often write at my favorite coffee shop, Cocoa Cinnamon in Durham, North Carolina. I’m lucky to have space at home to write, both inside and outside on our back porch (which makes a cameo in the book as a place I like to pray). But I can write just about anywhere, including airplanes, public transportation, and public libraries.

What is your favorite prayer?
The psalms. That may not be a fair answer, since there are 150 of them and you asked for a favorite, but the psalms are the prayers I have returned to over and over, in sorrow, in contrition, in joy, and in questioning and seeking. They are my true friends and teachers, and they connect me to spiritual ancestors and to Jewish and Christian siblings today. And to Jesus, who prayed them too.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I am praying for you. Truly. In intercession and with thanksgiving.


Seek and You Will Find is available on the Forward Movement website. Read a sample or order your copy today.

Q&A: Mark Bozzuti-Jones, author of Face to the Rising Sun

Spirituals, songs of abiding faith passed down by African Americans through the centuries, offer a remarkable view of resilience, courage, and love. Formed in the crucible of fire, these songs express the suffering and horror of slavery as well as the love of God and the promise of a better future.

Mark Bozzuti-Jones in a white alb and red stoleAuthor Mark Bozzuti-Jones explores the modern-day lessons of these Spirituals with scripture readings, daily devotions, and questions for reflection. The Rev. Dr. Mark Francisco Bozzuti-Jones is an Episcopal Jamaican priest at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City. A former Jesuit priest, Mark has missionary experience in Belize, Brazil, and Guyana. He is an avid reader, award-winning author, and speaker, and has taught at elementary and university levels. Explore Fr. Mark’s book and writing process in this author Q&A.


How did the idea for this book develop?
The idea of this book emerged as I witnessed the protests for justice and peace organized by the Black Lives Matter Movement in 2020. I joined many of these protests and could not help but think that protesting for justice has always been part of the African American story and history. The more I observed the marches, the more I thought of the Spirituals as a legacy of protests. For me, the Spirituals entreat this generation to persevere in the struggle for justice. The Spirituals show that the celebration of the Black spirit and the fight for justice are not only spiritual, but psychological, political, and cultural, too.

What is your hope for this book?
I hope this book will inspire African Americans, and everyone who reads it, to keep the faith, to commit to justice and peace, and to support communities that seek justice. I pray that readers will deepen their commitment to their faith and let their voices ring out on behalf of justice. The Spirituals remind us that we are called to be true to who we are; they invite a commitment to justice, peace, liberation, and respect.

Cover of the book "Face to the Rising Sun: Reflections on Spirituals and Justice" by Mark Bozzuti-JonesIs there a spiritual that was particularly memorable or you during your childhood?
“Nobody knows the troubles, I’ve seen; nobody knows but Jesus.” Whenever a human being suffers, God suffers. What we do to the least of our brothers and sisters, we do to Jesus. Jesus knows our suffering, because Jesus also suffered. In his suffering, Jesus remained faithful to God, and that is what the Slaves did. The Spirituals show that the Slaves identified with Jesus and believed that Jesus identified with them. My great epiphany came in realizing that the Slaves saw themselves in “the Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him.”

What about a spiritual that is especially meaningful in your life today?
“We Shall Overcome” holds tremendous meaning in my life today and always will. This affirmation of strength and hope is the Apostles and Nicene Creeds for me. I believe in these words; they fully express my faith – and they make all the difference.

The book includes several original poems that discuss the experience of racism in America today. What was the experience of writing those poems like?
The poetry in this book is one of the ways I dialogue with the Spirituals. When we hear the Spirituals; we are called to “inwardly digest” and give new voices to them. These poems are my attempts to show that the Spirituals live forever, and the Black Lives Matter Movement is integrally connected to the Spirituals, a reflection of their deep longing.

Where do you typically write?
Typically, I write at a desk at home. This desk is close to a window, because I always believe that writing is about looking out into the world.

What was your favorite part of writing this book?
Recalling my experience of growing up in Jamaica was my favorite part of writing this book. Knowing that Jamaicans identify with the Spirituals gives me tremendous comfort and joy. In addition, I loved the way the Scripture selections complemented and deepened their messages.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I would love folks to know that the Slaves were not only objects or victims but deeply spiritual and faithful people. I would love people to know that the Slaves were well educated and sophisticated in their usage of poetic form to convey the complex realities of trust in the face of oppression, brutality, and all aspects of slavery. I would love people to know that many of the Slaves knew the power of remaining faithful and took their religious beliefs very seriously.


Face to the Rising Sun is available on the Forward Movement website. Read a sample or order your copy today.

Forward Today: Good News from our land?

Dear friends in Christ,

Last week, I wrote about using money for good. This week I want to say a few words about land.

In the last few days, I ran across an article from The New Yorker, “How a Young Activist Is Helping Pope Francis Battle Climate Change.” I was intrigued for a couple of reasons.

First, I was inspired to learn that one person could single-handedly get the bureaucratic and massive Roman Catholic to change. It’s a good reminder for anyone who ever wonders if one person can make a difference. If she could budge the Roman Catholic church, then it helps me believe one person could budge the Episcopal Church where we need a push to go in new directions.

Second, this article got me thinking about how the Episcopal Church understands and uses all the land and buildings we own. Think about all the churches, rectories, conference centers camps, diocesan offices, church-wide headquarters, seminaries, and more.

Do we understand that all “our” land is a gift from God? How often do we use our land for the good of the world and to the glory of God? Or do we fearfully see land merely as an asset to be protected only for the immediate use of our congregations, dioceses, and organizations?

What if we asked how our land could help combat climate change? Think of wind farms, solar panels, or ecologically informed landscaping. What if we asked how our land might help our communities? Think of community gardens, space for groups to meet, or opportunities to offer restful hospitality and refreshment.

Plainsong Farm vegetables

I’m late to the party. The Rev. Nurya Love Parish and Plainsong Farm have been raising these issues for some time now. If you don’t know about it, check out this innovative ministry that grows good for those in need, teaches about our stewardship of God’s creation, advocates for better land use, and offers young people a residency and transformational experience.

The Episcopal Church’s evangelism office promotes Good News Gardens as a way of growing food for the good of the world. There are other examples.

How is your church or diocese using land? Are there opportunities to share what you have with a world in need? Are there ways you could help combat climate change? Are there ways you could show forth the Good News of God in Jesus Christ by how you inhabit this beautiful world?

Yours faithfully,

 

 

 

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

 


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Spend the program year with Forward Movement: Learn more!

Order Advent devotionals early for group study: Promise & Praise: Advent Word Reflections