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Dear friends in Christ,

We face a challenging time for the church and its members. Forced into isolation for our safety, it can feel like a painful exile from the familiar routines of life. At Forward Movement, we’ve been busy providing resources that we hope will be useful for the church and inspiring for its members. Many of these resources are free, thanks to your generosity.

You can imagine that hospitals and nursing homes need the most help right now, including spiritual support. The scriptures and devotions in Forward Day by Day provide a beacon of Gospel hope.

I have recently assumed the role of Pastoral Care Coordinator here at Billings Clinic Hospital. I previously served at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, where we had great interest in the Forward Day by Day devotionals that you so generously provided to us each quarter.

I would love to incorporate Forward Day by Day here as one of the resources we can offer our patients, staff, and family members. I think they would greatly appreciate the perspectives provided in this devotional. I’d love to start with 100 copies. Can you help?

We received this request last week, and we sent 150 copies of Forward Day by Day, including large print and Spanish language, to the Billings Clinic. With your help, we will send more to hospitals that need them. Let us know of a hospital or clinic who could use Forward Day by Day.

Sales and donations sustain Forward Movement. As you might imagine, as we adjust to our new reality, our sales have significantly slowed. We always hope you support your local church first, but if you are able, Forward Movement could use your support now. We’ve walked with disciples since 1935, and we want to continue that journey with you through this crisis.

Will you make a generous gift to sustain Forward Movement today?

You can make a gift online, or call our friendly staff during business hours (800-543-1813) or mail a check to the address below.

Thank you for your financial support. And thank you for your prayers. Know that the Forward Movement staff gathers each day to pray for you and the needs of the whole world.

Yours faithfully,

Women & Angels of the Bible: Mary Magdalene and the Angels at the Tomb

Forward Movement Managing Editor Richelle Thompson recently chatted with Lindsay Hardin Freeman, author of the popular book Bible Women: All Their Words and Why They Matter, and Kate Moorehead, author of the newly released Angels of the Bible: Finding Grace, Beauty, and Meaning. This discussion focused on Mary Magdalene and her interaction with the angels at the tomb.


“What gives me strength in looking at her and what interests me is that she had dealt with the demons in her own soul. She had dealt with the darkness in her own soul. That gave her, in my mind, the strength to go into the darkness of the tomb.

Yes. One of the things I love about her is that she can be a saint for all of us who are struggling and who have felt depression or anxiety. And almost everybody in some way or another has some kind of issues that they’ve had to deal with. She gives us a role model of a person who’s really suffered and gotten in the dirt and messed around and struggled. And in her struggle, she becomes the greatest disciple, because, like Lindsay said, she’s not afraid of the tomb. She is the one person present at the cross in all four of the gospels. No one else can make that claim. She doesn’t leave. Everybody else runs away. Well, she doesn’t leave because she’s already been in the pit.”

Read the full interview here.

You can also listen to this conversation in a special episode of the Forward Day by Day podcast, released on April 2, 2020. 

Forward Today: Getting to the heart of Holy Week

Dear friends in Christ,

It’s almost impossible for me to comprehend that next week is Holy Week. Time is all mushed together since I’ve been working at home due to the coronavirus. And none of the customary preparations for Holy Week are under way, because this will be a Holy Week unlike any other in my lifetime.

Holy Week is the most important week of the year for Christians, and within Holy Week, the Three Holy Days are at the heart of our liturgical life together. We disciples see so much of Jesus Christ’s love for us in Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Eve. We are reminded of what it means to follow the One who gave everything for us.

The rituals of these days mean more to me than I can express in words. Because of my work at Forward Movement, free of local obligations, I have spent Holy Week in some remarkable places the last few years. One year I spent most of the week at Salisbury Cathedral. Another year, I was in Jerusalem for what will stand out as one of the most remarkable Holy Weeks of my life. This year I was to be guest preacher in one of my favorite congregations.

I’ve had my moments of grief. Perhaps you have, too. There will be no grand palm processions. We won’t see the altar stripped bare on Maundy Thursday. The cross will not be venerated by a fervent congregation on Good Friday. We won’t kindle a blazing fire in the darkness of Easter Eve, moving into resounding praise in the first Eucharist of Easter. No new Easter dresses, or brass players, or fragrant lilies, or beloved hymns belted out on Easter Sunday. It’s just not going to be what I’ve longed for, what I expect.

And yet, all will be well.

Jesus has suffered for us and has poured out his life for us on the cross. Jesus has been buried in a sealed tomb. Jesus has been raised to new life, bursting forth to proclaim the triumph of God’s love through faithful women, devoted followers, and a community of disciples that spans the globe.

Everything about the love of God in Jesus Christ is true whether or not our churches are full, whether or not we carry out the sacred rituals. Without the liturgy and the sacraments, we are understandably bereft. But we always have God’s word.

In the days to come, I invite you to immerse yourself in the scriptures. Read the lessons, which you can find online. Ponder the depth and breadth of God’s love for us as told in the lessons appointed for this week.

If your congregation has streamed worship, by all means take part. Lots of churches across the world are making beautiful offerings online. Say the daily office if it is your custom. And I invite you especially to savor the riches of God’s word throughout Holy Week. As 1 Peter reminds us, “The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures forever. That word is the good news that was announced to you.”

Yours faithfully,

 

 

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

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Courage for Caregivers
By Jaime Haith

Be inspired by looking at the fundamentals of the Christian faith, through scripture, to be encouraged in your role as a caregiver. This course is designed for those who are in a caregiving role and are looking for simple yet gracious inspiration.


Tune in!

Hear today’s Forward Day by Day reflection or find morning prayer on the Morning at the Office podcast. Be sure to tune in to the newly available  Evening at Prayer podcast. Available anywhere you listen to podcasts!


In case you missed it…

Good Book Club reads Gospel of Matthew, Easter 2020 | Forward Movement
Free Shipping on orders of $50 throughout April | Forward Movement
Forward Movement reduces price of all eBooks | Forward Movement
Holy Hour offered free of charge | Forward Movement
Being Church at Home | Grow Christians


Free shipping on orders over $50 all month!

No, we’re not fooling around! Forward Movement is pleased to extend FREE SHIPPING on orders over $50 for the entire month of April.*

Use the code FREESHIP during checkout at www.forwardmovement.org.

Order by phone at 800-543-1813 or send an email to orders@forwardmovement.org

Don’t forget…

We’ve also reduced the price of all Kindle titles, and continue to release free resources in response to COVID-19. If you’re looking to read your Bible more, be sure to join the Good Book Club reading of the Gospel of Matthew during the season of Easter.

*FREE SHIPPING: Valid through April 30, 2020. UPS Ground only; must ship to a physical address. Contiguous United States only; Hawaii and Alaska, please call 800-543-1813 for details.

Good Book Club to read the Gospel of Matthew during the season of Easter

Good Book ClubForward Movement, with support from partners from around the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion, will celebrate the season of Easter with a new round of the Good Book Club. Starting on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020, and continuing through the Day of Pentecost, May 31, the Good Book Club features daily readings from the Gospel of Matthew.

“What better time to dive into God’s Holy Word than during the season of Easter, when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and are reminded to seek and serve the light of the world,” said Richelle Thompson, managing editor of Forward Movement. “The Gospel of Matthew is a sure and faithful companion, especially when so much else feels uncertain.”

Joining the Good Book Club is easy: Open your Bible and start reading! New this season is an invitation to help “illustrate” the gospel. With the support of Forma and Episcopal Church Foundation, Forward Movement is soliciting artwork, images, and photographs for the daily readings. Submit your work online, and follow the Good Book Club Facebook page for a new type of illuminated gospel!

Back by popular demand is a free, online, live Bible study presented by ChurchNext. Subscribe to weekly emails for a preview of the readings and reflection questions. And for those interested in daily reflections on the readings, check out A Journey with Matthew, one of the Bible Challenge series books available in print and as an e-book from Forward Movement. Spanish resources and information are also available here.

This is the fourth series of the initiative to encourage scripture engagement, led by Forward Movement. In previous rounds of the Good Book Club, partners have included Episcopal Church Foundation, The Living Church, Forma, GrowChristians.org, ChurchNext, Missional Voices, the Episcopal Church’s communication, digital, and evangelism ministries, the Montreal Diocesan Theological College, the Episcopal Asset Map, Building Faith, RenewalWorks, and the dioceses of the Central Gulf Coast and Pennsylvania.

For more information or to access the reading list and resources, please visit the Good Book Club website.


Forward Movement is a ministry of the Episcopal Church that inspires disciples and empowers evangelists. With offices in Cincinnati, Ohio, Forward Movement has been serving the Episcopal Church since 1935 by producing resources such as Forward Day by Day, books, apps, pamphlets, conferences, courses, and more.

Visit www.forwardmovement.org to learn more.

Women & Angels of the Bible: Hagar and the Angels in the Desert

Forward Movement Managing Editor Richelle Thompson recently chatted with Lindsay Hardin Freeman, author of the popular book Bible Women: All Their Words and Why They Matter, and Kate Moorehead, author of the newly released Angels of the Bible: Finding Grace, Beauty, and Meaning. This discussion focused on women and angels in the Bible, specifically, Hagar’s encounters with angels.


“I also find it very interesting the part about where the angel says to Hagar, ‘Do not be afraid.’ That is such a common thing with angels all the way through the Bible. Do not be afraid. We just went through that at Christmas time with Mary and Gabriel and Gabriel talking to Joseph. And do not be afraid with the shepherds. And now suddenly we hear Hagar and Ishmael being told the same thing.”

“It has a resurrection message in a way, because the angel says, ‘Rise up. Rise up.’ And she’s made a different person. And again, another kind of person.”

Read the full interview here.

You can also listen to this conversation in a special episode of the Forward Day by Day podcast, released on March 26, 2020. 

 

Image: Chasse of Champagnat, The Four Living Creatures, ca. 1150, French, Copper: engraved and gilt; Champlevé enamel (Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

Making e-books available in a time of need

We’ve reduced the price of Kindle e-books!

As we all try to adjust to physical distancing and increased isolation due to the new coronavirus, it is quite natural to yearn for connection and for growth, even in these trying times. Some of us are trying to figure out how we might use this time for our benefit.

We at Forward Movement urge you to reach out to friends, family, and your church for connection. We hope you will find the support you need, and that you will offer support to others as you are able.

Since 1935, Forward Movement has been inspiring disciples and empowering evangelists. As we have wrestled with how to do that in this moment – and how to support you through this crisis – we have come up with several ideas. Already, we have offered several free resources for individuals and congregations.

Now we have decided to lower the price of many of our Kindle e-books.

Best-sellers such as Walk in Love: Episcopal Beliefs & PracticesThe Path: A Journey Through the Bible, Bible Women: All Their Words and Why They Matter, and Note to Self: Creating Your Guide to a More Spiritual Life are now just $7.99.

In fact, all of our Kindle titles are now available for $7.99 or less.

The nice thing about e-books is that you can buy them with a couple of clicks and start reading immediately, with no need to leave your home. If you haven’t tried Kindle books yet, you can read them on your computer, on any smartphone or tablet with the Kindle app (Google Play or App Store), or on a Kindle device.

We hope these books encourage you to grow in faith. Perhaps you and a friend, or even a group from your church, will buy books and form an online book group.

Throughout this crisis, however long it lasts, Forward Movement will be here for you. You can find us online at www.forwardmovement.org. You can call us at 800-543-1813 and speak with our friendly staff, who are still working to serve you and the whole church. We are working at home now, so it might a bit longer to respond, but we will be there for you.

Forward Today: Pour your grace into our hearts

Dear friends in Christ,

Today the church celebrates the feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We recall Gabriel’s announcement and Mary’s acceptance, that God-among-us would be born to dwell with us. As I looked at the Gospel lesson to prepare writing this email, I had a bit of a jarring disconnect. “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth…” I’m so used to hearing those words in happy time, at Christmastide or just before.

Hearing joyous words at this moment seemed incongruous, almost inappropriate. And then I realized my foolishness. 2,000 years ago, when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, and she courageously accepted the news, the world was not a piece of cake. Mary’s life was about to be upended. Her travail far exceeds my feeble struggles in every way.

This is precisely the shock and the scandal of the Incarnation. Into our fallen, sometimes awful, world, God comes among us. The word incarnation means something like enfleshment. God Almighty, who created the heavens and earth and who can do all things, willingly came to live among us, accepting the limitations of our frail flesh. Our God is not remote and uncaring. Our Creator loves us so much that God is willing to live in solidarity among us.

This present time in which many of us are living in enforced separation might seem to prevent connection and intimacy. In some ways, that is true. But it is also true that we are never distant from God. And thanks to telephones, computers, and other devices, we can stay connected to other people across great distance. So we have one another, and we always have God.

Are you lonely? Reach out to another person. Cast your cares on God in prayer. Know that your pain is real, and it is shared by God. And other people will share it with you too.

Do you know someone who might be yearning for connection? Reach out to them. Send an email. Make a call. Invite them into prayer. You might like to start by praying the collect appointed for today:

Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

I can’t imagine Mary woke up that morning 2,000 years ago with any inkling of what was in store for her. In an astounding act of courage, she accepted her vocation with grace and dignity.

None of us could have imagined the challenges today will bring. I hope we can allow God’s grace to pour into our hearts, and through us, into the world.

Yours faithfully,

 

 

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Photo: Wikipedia


Prayer & Worship in Our Homes

ChurchNext, a ministry of Forward Movement has release a set of free courses, Prayer & Worship in Our Homes, which includes the following classes.

  • Everyday Spiritual Practices with Keith Anderson
  • How to Pray with Christopher Martin
  • Praying with Saints with Scott Gunn and Tim Schenck
  • How to Pray Online with Karekin Yarian
  • Praying the Anglican Rosary with Suzanne Edwards-Acton

 


Tune in!

Hear today’s Forward Day by Day reflection or find morning prayer on the Morning at the Office podcast. Available anywhere you listen to podcasts!


Inspirational Reading of the Week

 


Free Forward Movement Resources

As we face a coronavirus pandemic and are spending more time in our homes, Forward Movement is offering an array of free resources to support individuals, families, and groups as they worship and pray at home.

We will continue to add to this list in the new few weeks, so please check back soon!


Online ChurchNext Courses

ChurchNext, a ministry of Forward Movement has release a set of free courses, Prayer and Worship in Our Homes, which includes the following classes.

  • Everyday Spiritual Practices with Keith Anderson
  • How to Pray with Christopher Martin
  • Praying with Saints with Scott Gunn and Tim Schenck
  • How to Pray Online with Karekin Yarian
  • Praying the Anglican Rosary with Suzanne Edwards-Acton

 

In addition to this new offering, there are a few other courses currently available free of charge through ChurchNext.tv.

 

As part of the Good Book Club | Easter 2020, we will be hosting a live, free course, Introducing Matthew with Vicki Garvey. From April 23-May 28, every Thursday night at 8 p.m. E.S.T., participants will click on a link to a Zoom classroom to listen to Vicki Garvey’s talks about Matthew Gospel and to ask questions/participate in discussion. Course materials will be available on an online ChurchNext course page. We will also post recordings of the class meetings on the course page, so don’t worry if you can’t attend every class meeting.

NEW: A Covid-19 Spiritual Survival Kit. Four instructors—James Farwell, Stephanie Spellers, Dorothy Linthicum, and Bonnie Perry—teach us how to keep spiritually healthy in this challenging time.


Daily Prayer and Devotion

You can find the daily office (morning prayer, noonday prayer, evening prayer, or compline) at the Forward Movement Daily Prayer website. You can choose a variety of options to customize the prayers according to your preference.

The popular daily devotion Forward Day by Day is posted each day online, and it too is available as a podcast.

We also offer prayers for “spiritual communion” here.

Faith @ Home, developed in partnership with Forma, is now offered daily.


Holy Week and Easter

Holy Hour is excerpted from Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book, and this devotion developed from the custom of keeping vigil in a chapel where the Blessed Sacrament was reserved during the time between the Maundy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper and the Good Friday Liturgy. These reflections can be used to guide your prayer as part of a watch during those profound and holy hours

Download a PDF version of the Stations of the Cross scripture and artwork excerpted from The Soul’s Journey, by Kathrin Burleson.


Podcasts

We currently offer several podcasts, including:

 

Available anywhere you listen to podcasts!


And More!

Whether you are coloring alone or with children or parents, here are a few sample coloring pages from Pathways of Faith to get you started.

And of course, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up to date on new resources.

Forward Today: Wearied by changes and chances?

Dear friends in Christ,

It seems that each new day brings unsettling news. Around the world, life is changing more rapidly than we can imagine as we face threats posed by the new coronavirus. I don’t know about you, but for the last week or so, each day seems like it passes quickly while yesterday seems like an eternity ago. It’s hard to keep up—practically, emotionally, and spiritually.

My friends who are parents of young children are frazzled at the idea of an indefinite time of home schooling. Friends who have health challenges are understandably worried about the spread of COVID-19. Many of us are trying to sort out what it might mean to be stuck at home and wondering if we’ll have enough to get by. As I talk with church leaders across the country, they are trying to figure out what church looks like at a time when we cannot safely gather.

For what it’s worth, my advice for everyone is this: be gentle with yourself.

We need to pace ourselves, because this crisis is probably going to be with us for several months, in one form or another. We don’t have to do everything today. We don’t have to pretend we have any idea what tomorrow will bring. We don’t have to act as if we’re not exhausted from yesterday. We don’t have to know all the answers. We don’t have to get it right.

It’s OK to ask for help: help from our family, friends, neighbors, and most especially from God. Social distancing does not prevent us from talking with one another. Staying at home does not preclude friendships, even if it means we need to be on the phone or talking via video on our computers.

Try to rest, if you can. It’s going to be a long haul. If you know someone else who is struggling and you have the capacity, offer to help. Pray for others. Perhaps you can offer a word of reassurance and encouragement.

We’re all doing our best. And our best isn’t perfect. Forgive yourself when you get it wrong, and forgive others too.

As we persevere through this challenging time together, I encourage you to say this prayer before you sleep each night. It’s just what I need to pray, and you might find it helpful, too.

Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP, page 133)

Blessings, friends.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

 

 

Image: Pixabay


Free Online Classes
Brought to you by ChurchNext

“ChurchNext, a ministry of Forward Movement, has released a set of free courses, Prayer and Worship in Our Homes” said the Rev. Chris Yaw, director of ChurchNext. “These courses will equip people for prayer and worship even if they cannot gather with others in person in their churches.”

Prayer and Worship in Our Homes includes five classes:

  • Everyday Spiritual Practices with Keith Anderson
  • How to Pray with Christopher Martin
  • Praying with Saints with Scott Gunn and Tim Schenck
  • How to Pray Online with Karekin Yarian
  • Praying the Anglican Rosary with Suzanne Edwards-Acton

 

In addition to this new offering, there are two other courses currently available free of charge through ChurchNext.tv.