Gifts for your Grad

We’ve put together a few gift ideas for your new graduate! This list includes resources that will comfort, inspire, and rejuvenate your grad. And of course, a coffee mug!


Saint Augustine's Prayer BookSaint Augustine’s Prayer Book 
“This is a must-have prayer book. It is the perfect companion, easy to carry, travels well and has such wonderful prayers and wisdom for daily life. I think if you have one prayer book only, this is the one to have. It is beautiful, leather-bound, gold cross accompanies a Book of Common Prayer or Missal well. The preparation prayers of holy eucharist are really good so it is always with me at service too. I glad I bought it and I think it will also make a great gift.” -Rob Nelson

Pathway coverPathways of Faith: An All-Ages Coloring Book
A coloring book for all ages—but especially for adults who may have forgotten the simple joys of creating—Pathways of Faith offers a respite from busyness and daily demands. Relax and restore as you spend time coloring these original illustrations that capture the amazing stories of the Bible and God’s love for us. Come and spend some creative, refreshing time with God. The Lord knows we need it!

Inside the book Faith with a TwistFaith with a Twist
Take time to relax and restore your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being with Faith with a Twist. This resource connects the traditional eight limbs of yoga with the church’s understanding and emphasis on living a holy life. This approach creates a unique blend of spiritual practices and religious wisdom that are perfect for the yoga novice and the experienced practitioner alike.

The Social Justice Bible ChallengeThe Social Justice Bible Challenge
Disciples wishing to spend more time engaging the Bible on topics from poverty, hunger, displacement, and the care of widows and orphans will have their cups filled over and over again by the words of Scripture and meditations from people across the Church who engage with these realities each and every day. Bridging the gap between knowing the Bible and living it, The Social Justice Bible Challenge is for those seeking to deeply engaged in scripture, and connect their compassion to God’s Word.

Bible Women: All Their Words and Why They Matter
“I’m forever changed by this book, and I’m only up to Kings. I had no idea of the suffering, loyalty, bravery, heartache, confidence of those women. WOW. It’s hard to read the stories and their words. Very humbling.” -Leigh Parmer

Lent Madness Travel Mug
Take your coffee, tea, and Lent Madness spirit on the go with this 15oz travel mug!

The Twible:
All the Chapters of the Bible in 140 Characters or Less…Now with 68% More Humor!
The Twible brings you every chapter as tweeted in 140 characters or less, from Genesis to Revelation! From start to finish, it brings the Bible to wonderful, wicked, weird life.

Throwback Thursday Meditation: November 5, 1982

Forward CoverLuke 13:31-35. Jesus said, I must be on my way today and tomorrow and the next day.

There is about Our Lord a sense of continuous travelling. It is not a frantic restlessness but a controlled and purposeful journeying. Again and again we read of him in terms of “the way.” There is very little element of a fixed abode.

We can transfer that into the interior world of our spirituality. Our spirituality must be a living reality, ready to be mobile rather than static, ready to do a great deal of mental and spiritual travelling and exploration. To do that we certainly do need spiritual bases. Jesus had them for his travels. There was Bethany, there was Capernaum, there were quiet hillsides, even the desert. Being a Christian today means possessing these two elements of spirituality. Faith is, by paradox, both a point of arrival and a staging post for further journey.

Turn, follow, learn, pray,
Serve, share, the disciple’s way
Weary find your rest in him
Whose worship is the pilgrim’s inn.

Pray for the sick and for God’s guidance to know what you can do to assist their healing.

 

Forward Today: Stop and smell the flowers

Dear friends in Christ,

As I was trying to decide what to write about for this week’s Forward Today, I decided to take my dog out for a walk. George the Dog comes to work with me regularly, as he’s a good companion and sometimes a muse.

We walked over to a nearby park, and I realized when George stopped to smell the flowers that he had given me an object lesson. It is a stunningly beautiful day here in Cincinnati. The glory of God’s creation is all around, testifying to the splendor of God’s radiant glory. Were it not for my canine friend’s diligent nose, I might not have stopped to appreciate these entirely remarkable flowers.

Study after study shows that getting up and walking around is good for creative thinking. Study after study shows that gratitude is good for our health and our spirit. And we Christians know that giving thanks to God for the beauty of creation is good for our souls.

So this week’s Forward Today comes with a simple message. Look up, right now! Savor the world that is around you. Give thanks for God’s blessings.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

 

P.S. If you want some joy in your social media feed, George T. Dog is on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. New followers are like ear scratches for him.


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

Saint Augustine's Prayer BookSaint 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: We wish to see Jesus

Dear friends in Christ,

Today the church celebrates the feast of Saint Philip and Saint James. We know almost nothing about James, and Philip shows up only a few times in the scriptures. One of the more well-known mentions comes in John 12:20-21:

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

These Greeks got right to the point. Perhaps they had heard about this famous teacher, and they wanted to meet him. “We wish to see Jesus.”

I spend a lot of time preaching across our church, and it turns out that quite a few pulpits have the words of these Greeks written on the pulpit where only the preacher will see it. In the language of the King James Bible, it’s “Sir, we would see Jesus.” In our NRSV translation, it’s “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” It’s a pretty powerful reminder to the one standing in the pulpit that people who show up in our churches really want to meet Jesus. Preachers might talk about other things, but sermons should always be about Jesus. And churches might offer plenty of things, but it should all be about Jesus.

It’s easy to lose sight of this. Churches always have lots going on, and once we are part of the group, we might be tempted to focus on relationships with others or on the work to run a church. But the fundamental point of everything in a church is always Jesus. In our day and age, when someone shows up for church the first time, it probably isn’t because of peer pressure or obligation or status. Our guests are very likely to echo what those Greeks said, “We wish to see Jesus.”

If someone shows up this Sunday in your church, will the preaching, the teaching, the activities, and everything else be about Jesus?

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director
Image and inspiration: Tim Schenck

Today’s Flash Sale: Faith with a Twist

Faith with a TwistFaith with a Twist: A 30-Day Journey into Christian Yoga seeks to bridge the gap between spiritual-but-not-religious by blending the ancient church’s wisdom and the spiritual practice of yoga. All too often attempts to blend yoga and Christianity have failed to do justice to both traditions—often sacrificing the wisdom of one tradition for the other. Faith with a Twist connects the traditional eight limbs of yoga with the church’s understanding and emphasis on living a holy life. This approach creates a unique blend of spiritual practices and religious wisdom that are perfect for the yoga novice and the experienced practitioner alike.

Regular: $16
Today: $12

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

Throwback Thursday Meditation: July 8, 1965

This was the Forward Day by Day meditation on July 8, 1965. It is titled What Draws People to Christ.


A great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.

People were drawn in droves to Jesus, not by the charming stories He told, but by the “great things he did”: healing sick bodies and minds, picking up fallen sinners and setting them on their feet, raising dead souls to life.

His Church today will do well to note this fact. We want the whole world to come to Christ in His Church. And the divine Head of the Church tells us to go forth in the power of His Name and do His works. Preaching His Gospel in words has its essential place. Jesus Himself came preaching. But He did more than talk: He acted. This was what drew the great multitude to Him. And this is what will draw the world to Him today: our doing things by His power.

We can, if we will. He gives us money, influence, opportunity, all necessary assets for the doing of His mighty works. When we do them, zealously, sacrificially, the world sees Christ working through us: and it turns to Him.

Forward Today: What does an Easter life look like?

Dear friends in Christ,

We are only a few days into this radiant, joyous Easter season. I hope your celebration is off to a good start and that it continues for the full 50 days.

I’ve been to Israel several times, and on one of my visits I was able to visit a first century tomb much like the one in which Jesus would have been buried. You can see a photo of the tomb I visited. Easter makes the astonishing claim that a dead man was put to rest in a tomb like this, and that on the third day, that same man was raised to new life and walked out of the tomb.

Though the resurrection story itself is amazing, its meaning is even more amazing. When Jesus Christ was raised to new life, it meant that God’s power was stronger than the evil of this world. Indeed, God’s love is stronger than the most vile hate. God’s love is stronger than our worst sins. God’s love is stronger even than death itself. Over the next few weeks in church, we’ll hear stories of our risen Lord and how he appeared to his disciples. They are stories of transformation, of amazement, and most importantly of the hope we share in Christ Jesus.

I’m grateful we have a whole season to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is not a celebration of metaphor or myth or legend. It is a celebration of God’s love and an invitation to live a transformed life of hope and grace. This season invites us to live an Easter life.

We’ve just finished Lent, and many of us will have taken on Lenten disciplines. Have you ever thought about taking on an Easter discipline? It’s not too late! What might an Easter discipline look like for you?

Maybe you’ll find new ways to share messages of hope in a world of fear. Maybe you’ll practice reconciliation in a world of division. Maybe you’ll pray or study. (You could, for example, read the Book of Acts this season.) Maybe you’ll find ways to serve Jesus Christ in the hungry, the stranger, or the prisoner.

This season invites us to consider an important question: what does an Easter life look like?

Let us all treasure and celebrate this glorious season of resurrection, love, hope, and joy. Easter blessings be with you always! Alleluia, alleluia!

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director
Image: Flickr

Today’s Flash Sale: For the Beauty of the Earth

For the Beauty of the EarthGod saw every living thing that was made, and indeed, it was very good. -Genesis 1:31

Dance along with the wind of God, be bathed in the primal waters, and look with awe and wonder on the myriad creatures God has made. Spend a day, a week, a month, or the whole year basking in the wonder of both fruit and flower, night and day, and everything thing that creeps upon the good earth. You are part and parcel of the very good creation God has made.

Join watercolor artist Kathrin Burleson and diverse voices from across The Episcopal Church in exploring the wonders of Creation and the beauty of the Creator. Burleson’s Creation-inspired watercolors offer inspiring visualizations that enhance the book’s 365 daily meditations, written by authors across the church and across the country.

Regular: $20
Today: $15

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

Earth Day Litany

FrogDear Friends,

Happy Easter and Happy Earth Day!

We hope you spend at least some of your day outside, enjoying the wonder and beauty of God’s creation. Today, we’re sharing an Earth Day Litany, written by our friend Betsy Rogers. We hope you will use this pdf with your family, friends, and parish any time you want to say a special thanks to God and be reminded of our holy job as caretakers of our island home.

Alleluia, Christ is Risen!

—Rachel Jones

“I’ve been involved with the Climate Change Coalition of Door County, in Wisconsin, for some years. As part of its work to educate the public and encourage climate action, the Coalition has fostered strong partnerships with several congregations—Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Moravian, Unitarian-Universalist, and United Church of Christ. Last spring we recognized a need for Earth Day prayers to be shared with these partners. A reverence for the Earth as God’s creation is a deeply important part of my own spirituality, and after thinking and praying about our responsibility as stewards, I wrote this litany. If others find it useful, I will be glad and grateful.” -Betsy Rogers

Download the Earth Day Litany here, and share with your friends and congregations!

Painting by Kathrin Burleson

Forward Today: No matter what, God is there

Dear friends in Christ,

We stand poised to embark on a great journey, if we will make time for it. The next three days, the church around the world observes Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter. Taken together, these are the Triduum Sacrum, or the Three Holy Days. They draw us into the heart of our life together as Christians.

It might seem impossible to go on this journey. All around us, our time and attention are demanded by concerns great and small. The fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris might be a parable for so much of our world: destruction and hope persist together. Political chaos looms in many nations. Poverty and wealth both abound, and violence never fades away. News networks do not relent. Fear grows and hope fades.

Crucifix

Making time for church services will not cause world peace, but our time in worship may inspire us to work for peace. The liturgies of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter show us nearly every side of Jesus. And in knowing Christ Jesus, we encounter the image of the invisible God.

The Three Holy Days will fix nothing on their own, but we will see that God’s presence is never far, no matter what. Whether in love, friendship, betrayal, abandonment, suffering, death, and even hell, God is there.

I bid you God’s blessing and peace as we enter this holiest time of the year. Perhaps you will, as I do, find it helpful to pray this wonderful prayer that is used both on Good Friday and Easter Eve.

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 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.

Yours faithfully,
Scott Gunn
Executive Director
Image: Flickr

Today’s Flash Sale: Hour by Hour

Hour by HourPray without ceasing with this compact edition of the Daily Office complete with prayers and psalms for one week. This beautiful little book, excerpted from The Book of Common Prayer, will enable anyone to say the hours every day: Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline. Perfect for prayer and worship at all times and in all places. Hour by Hour is a thoughtful gift – the cover is deluxe soft leather, and it’s packaged in a small white gift box.

Regular: $20
Today: $15

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

Forward Today: Holy Week and the heart of Christian faith

Dear friends in Christ,

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. I imagine regular readers of Forward Today will be in church quite a bit next week, including Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Eve.

As a parish priest, I loved this time in our liturgical year. It gets right at the heart of our faith to move through these sacred days. In our experience of these evocative liturgies, we learn so much about the God we worship. It was also the busiest week of the year, by far. Though the hours were long and the tasks plentiful, I loved the gift of leading people through this pilgrimage every year.

priests

If you are one of the people who helps lead Holy Week worship—clergy, choir member, altar guild, reader, teacher, usher, greeter, preacher—I hope you’ll savor this gift. Take care of yourself in this busy time, and do what you can to enter fully into Holy Week.

If you are a member of a church who is not helping with Holy Week liturgies this year, I invite you to pray for all those who have this calling and this work. Pray especially for your clergy and musicians. They will work long hours.

And let all of us, whatever our role, give our hearts and our lives fully to this week. It will change us.

One of the prayers for Palm Sunday puts us in the right perspective, and I invite you to pray it through the week to come.

Assist us mercifully with your help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the contemplation of those mighty acts, whereby you have given us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Image: Flickr


Today’s Flash Sale: Broken

BrokenBefore Jesus broke the bread, he blessed it.

In the age of social media, where our lives are curated to show only our best and most beautiful selves, it is easy to believe we are the only ones who are broken. But we are not alone. We are all broken and in need of God’s blessing. No one has it all together; no person is perfect.

In essays both humorous and achingly vulnerable, author Ryan Casey Waller urges us to join him in pouring out our brokenness, not just to God but to each other. Waller takes us through the trials of following Jesus during seasons of doubt and disbelief, anger, shame, and even hate, but always brings us back to the amazing news that Jesus blessed the bread before he broke it.

Through Jesus, our brokenness is blessed, our wounds healed, and our hearts made whole.

Regular: $18
Today: $13.50

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

Forward Today: A time to be grateful

Dear friends in Christ,

As regular readers will know, I have been away on sabbatical since the beginning of the year. I’m grateful to those who filled in while I was away, offering weekly doses of information and inspiration. Mostly I ignored my email while I was away, but I did look forward to reading someone else’s Forward Today each Wednesday.

Yesterday when I returned to work, I did so with a grateful heart. It’s a profound gift to have so much time away from work. But that’s not the only reason for my gratitude. Our amazing staff at Forward Movement had done fantastic work during my time away. Our deputy directors, Richelle Thompson and Jason Merritt, ably led the team. Our board’s chair and co-chair, Anne Schmidt and James Harlan, stayed in touch with staff to offer support. And of course, our whole staff worked together to connect with customers, create new content, plan events, and share our work. We have so many new products—and more to come in the next few months—I can’t wait to tell you what’s coming and see how our work will change lives as people are more fully formed as disciples of Jesus Christ.

People have asked what I did while I was away. I traveled around the world in January with Sherilyn Pearce, my partner, and we had a grand adventure. (You can see photos on my flickr if you’re interested.) I visited lots of churches and met with clergy from around our church. I read a huge pile of books. I had plenty of time to pray and ponder. And I went for lots of walks with our dog, George.

Now I’m ready for the next chapter of my work here at Forward Movement. We have lots under way and more to do. Our work is focused primarily in discipleship and evangelism. But for our work to be successful, we must also ensure that we stay focused on our mission and that we practice trust. When we trust one another we can accomplish more and do better work. It’s efficient, because trust means there’s no second guessing. It’s a blessing, because trust means that someone believes in us and that we can do the work. It’s a joy, because we are able to flourish in doing that to which God has called us.

So today I am filled with gratitude—grateful for time away, for good people, for trust, and for the privilege of serving this part of God’s church.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


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