Forward Today: Let us all give thanks

Dear friends in Christ,

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day for our readers in the USA. The days around this annual feast of giving thanks have almost become a season of gratitude. For that I am, of course, grateful.

I love the appointed prayer for this feast day:

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

I hope you will take some time, whatever your Thanksgiving Day customs, to give thanks to Almighty God for all the blessings of this life. Of course, there is no shortage of challenges, and needs, and problems in our world. But we also have much for which to be grateful. May our gratitude spill over into action as we share what we have and work for justice so that those who are in need know abundance, too.

Today, as I sit in my office at Forward Movement, I am grateful for God’s call to serve in this ministry. I am grateful to work with passionate and gifted colleagues to create resources to inspire disciples and empower evangelists. I am grateful for the prayers and support of so many people to make possible all that we do.

Almost every day, we receive letters of thanksgiving from those who are in prison, thanking us for the provision of free books and copies of Forward Day by Day. It’s all made possible by generous donors. If you are grateful for Forward Movement and our work, I hope you will offer prayers of thanks. And I hope you might consider a financial gift so that we can continue to share hope and grace with a world in need. You can mail us a check or make an online gift any time.

Let us all give thanks, and let us act on our awareness of God’s blessings. For what are you grateful? How can you share the blessings God has given you with others?

Yours faithfully,



Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Today’s Flash Sale: Gifts of God for the People of God

Worship can be a powerful way to encounter the living God. Our stories intersect with God’s story as the gifts of God are celebrated and shared by the people of God. Episcopal priest Furman L. Buchanan explores and reflects on each element of Holy Eucharist, the service most often held on Sunday mornings. Moving from the first spoken word of the service—blessed—to the last phrase—Thanks be to God—Buchanan explains the theological and scriptural elements of the service, helping newcomers and longtime members alike gain a deeper understanding of this gift of God.

Buchanan also shares his own stories, connecting pivotal life experiences with the words and actions of Holy Eucharist. Thoughtful questions at the end of each chapter invite readers to reflect on their own stories and how they connect with God’s story of love and life.

Regular: $15
Today: $11.25

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

When can I start Revive?

You can start Revive right now!

Our suggested start-up for your Revive small group is October, with the three, six-week modules rolled out over the program year: one in the fall, one during Epiphany and the final after Easter. Generally, this works well with the yearly momentum of the liturgical cycle. However, this ideal timing might have passed, and you might be worried you have to wait a whole year to begin.

Never fear! Start Revive whenever you can. The important thing is to just get started.

You will quickly realize the significant privilege of helping to revive the spiritual connection within you, between your people, and with God.

Here are some other scheduling options for Revive:

January Start-up Schedule

  • Invite Participants: End of November-early January
  • Start with opening retreat and Module 1: early-mid January
  • Module 2: possibly during Lent or after Easter
  • Module 3: possibly after Easter, over the summer or in the fall
  • Considerations:
    • If you live in the northern hemisphere you will likely have to contend with inclement weather. You might think about adding one or two extra “snow day” sessions.
    • Depending on when Lent occurs in the calendar, you might have to start the small group sessions early January in order to fit them all in.


Lent Start-up Schedule

  • Invite Participants: during Epiphany
  • Start opening retreat and Module 1: during Lent
  • Module 2: after Easter
  • Module 3: possibly over the summer or in the fall
  • Considerations:
    • It might be a challenge scheduling the Opening Retreat and all six sessions into the five weeks of Lent. Possible solutions might be to modify the program down to five sessions or simply meet a week or two before Lent.
    • Module 2 and 3 will roll out over Eastertide or into the summer and fall.


Eastertide Start-up Schedule

        • Invite Participants: during Lent
        • Start opening retreat and Module 1: during Eastertide (6 weeks after Easter)
        • Module 2: during summer or fall
        • Module 3: possibly in the fall or winter
        • Considerations:
          • There will likely be a summer break between Module 1 and 2 which could give participants leisure time to rehearse the various prayer practices.


Read more guest posts from Revive here.

To learn more, visit the Revive website.

The downloadable program materials may be purchased here.

Pre-printed Participant Guides are available here.

Forward Today: Gladness and singleness of heart

Dear friends in Christ,

Yesterday, I brought my dog to work. This is not unusual. George the Dog comes to work with me two or three times a week. He is our unofficial mascot, and folks inevitably brighten when a relentlessly cheerful yellow lab comes around the office.

We were having a staff lunch, so I took George home at lunchtime. We didn’t need to worry about a begging dog at the table! Anyway, on the way to our apartment, we stopped by the urban dog park. When I let George off his leash, he immediately found a tennis ball. It made his day, if not his week. His interest was consumed for about three minutes until he began to consume the ball. That’s how it goes when he gets a tennis ball.

I was thinking about how George the Dog is totally focused on what’s in front of him. Of course, he’s a dog not a person (though if he could talk, I think he’d want to make the case for personhood). He just 100% enjoyed that ball with his whole being. Nothing else mattered.

When I find something I love—a warm waffle, an album I haven’t heard, a great book—I sometimes come short of full enjoyment. “It would be better if only ____.” Or “After I finish this, I’m going to need to ____.”

One of our postcommunion prayers reads: “Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord. Amen.” I wonder what my life would be like if I managed to have a bit more gladness and singleness of heart?

Our culture doesn’t encourage this. We’re meant to be thinking about the next thing. We’re trained for inherent dissatisfaction. We’re programmed to try several things at once. But what if, in the name of Jesus, we tried to be more glad and more focused on what is before us?

Whether it’s prayer, a conversation, meals, corporate worship, reading, or playing with a tennis ball, what if we could say of ourselves that we were filled with gladness and singleness of heart? What if we followed Jesus with this same reckless abandon and pure joy?

Jesus is my savior and lord. And George the Dog can be my mentor for gladness and singleness of heart. Are you glad? Are you focused on what is before you? What could help you follow Jesus with joy and reckless abandon?

Yours faithfully,



Scott Gunn
Executive Director


P.S. If you want to keep up with George T. Dog’s adventures, you can follow him on Twitter @georgetdog.

November Staff Picks

Our November Staff Picks were selected especially to help guide your Advent journey! Order today—November 14th (EST)—for 10% off your purchase.

O Wisdom: Advent Devotions on the Names of Jesus 

“This book is such a lovely way to read through Advent. Anchored by KariAnn Lessner (Christ Church Cathedral, Houston) and Mark Bouzutti-Jones (Trinity Church, New York) and featuring voices from across the Church, meditations on the ancient themes of redemption and restoration sing across the season.

If you are looking for a way to spend five minutes a day in quiet reflection, this book will be a fantastic resource. Want to spend time with a friend who will tell you a good story, or hear a word from the pulpit? You’ll find those stories here too. Prepare your heart to welcome Jesus this advent. Rejoice!”


“A favorite Advent tradition of mine! I look forward to reading, reflecting, and coloring each day through Advent.”





Dog in the Manger: Finding God in Christmas Chaos

“I enjoy the humor AND the illustrations! A great read for the Advent season.”

Forward Today: Good Book Club is coming!

Dear friends in Christ,

The last couple of years, we have had tremendous success offering the Good Book Club to the Episcopal Church. For those of you who haven’t tried it yet, the Good Book Club invites the whole church to read a book of the Bible together. In 2018, we read Luke and then Acts during Lent and Easter. In 2019, we read Romans during the Epiphany season.

Starting January 6, 2020, Forward Movement and many other organizations are inviting you to read the Gospel of John during the Epiphany season, ending the day before Lent starts. If you’ve never read a book of the Bible straight through, you’ll love doing this on your own and with others far and near.
Many organizations, including The Episcopal Church, Episcopal Relief & Development, Episcopal Church Foundation, Missional Voices, Forma, Grow Christians, and Episcopal Migration Ministries (among others!) are offering free resources for individual or group study. You’ll find podcasts, lesson plans, blogs, graphics, and more. It’s all on the Good Book Club website. Be sure to check out the Club Bíblico Facebook page to stay up to date on Spanish offerings.

You can certainly read John on your own. I hope you’ll think about inviting your whole congregation to join in. You can meet on Sundays to talk about the readings. You can read together and comment on the parish Facebook page. You can keep a local blog. There are as many ways to take part in the Good Book Club as there are people.

The reason to do this is simple: reading scripture changes us. When we step back and see the big picture—reading a whole book—we see God’s love for us a bit differently than we might if our usual encounter is tiny snippets of scripture when we come to church. Reading the whole Bible changed my life, and it started for me one book at a time. I think it might change you, too.

Have you read the Gospel of John? Are you planning on reading it this January?

Yours faithfully,



Scott Gunn
Executive Director


Today’s Flash Sale: Dog in a Manger

With laugh-out-loud humor anchored by spiritual truths, author Tim Schenck helps us maintain our spiritual sanity through the often-frenetic chaos of Advent and Christmas. Illustrated by popular cartoonist Jay Sidebotham, Dog in the Manger also explores the major characters of the season in new ways, including John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph and of course, Jesus. Thoughtful questions following each section make Dog in the Manger ideal for personal or group use.

Regular: $10
Today: $7.50

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

Forward Today: Preparing to prepare

Dear friends in Christ,

The All Saints’ celebrations are behind us now, and that means it’s almost Advent. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to believe it’s almost that time again. Ironic isn’t it? Advent sneaks up us – the season of preparation can leave us unprepared.

I encourage you to take a few moments to think about your own Advent. What will your Advent be like this year? Will you try to find some quiet time every day? What needs to happen in your schedule to make that happen? Will you read a book or a set of devotions? Time to get that book ordered! Will you pray differently, or perhaps serve those in need in a particular way? This all requires just a bit of planning.

The scriptures exhort us to keep our lamps trimmed and burning, ready to greet our Savior at a moment’s notice. It’s a lovely image, but it means we have to get a lamp, trim the wick, and have some oil ready. In other words, we have to prepare to prepare. Now is the time to do that for our Advent season, whether we’re thinking of our church or our home.

While Forward Movement has lots of Advent resources, there are plenty of ways to observe Advent without spending any money. And of course, lots of other publishers and organizations offer resources too. My point is not to sell you things, but to encourage you to prepare to prepare.

As for me, I have some extra praying to do. And I’ll probably find myself in church a bit more often this season. What will Advent look like for you? Are you ready?

Yours faithfully,




Today’s Flash Sale: O Wisdom

Drawn from the book of Isaiah, the O Antiphons have been sung in churches and monastic communities since at least the eighth century. These beautiful and awe-inspiring phrases present a way for us to sing along with the story of God, to ponder and praise the many names of our Lord.

Through meditations, art, poems, and photos created by people from across the church, this book offers space and time to embrace Jesus’ presence among us now—and await his coming in glory. Enjoy these prayers and praises throughout the seasons of Advent and Christmas. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Rejoice!

Contributors include: Furman Buchanan, Mariclair Partee Carlsen, Bill Carroll, Minda Cox, Lynn Domina, Vicki Bozzola Derka, Donna Z. Falcone, Alyssa Finke, Elizabeth Floyd, Andrew Garnett, Deborah Kaufman Giordano, Scott Gunn, Christine Havens, Rosalind C. Hughes, Sara Irwin, Cathy Johnson, Mark Bozzuti-Jones, Rachel Jones, Marguerite Kirchhoff, KariAnn Lessner, Pamela A. Lewis, Stephanie London, Leisa Phillips, Kathy Thaden, Richelle Thompson, and Ken Woodley.

Regular: $7
Today: $5.25

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

Forward Today: Making disciples in your congregation

Dear friends in Christ,

Lately, it seems that all I do is talk about discipleship. This is a good thing. Jesus himself said that making disciples was the main job for his followers. Just this week, I wrote a blog post called “What is a disciple, and why does it matter?” If you want to read about discipleship, have a look over there.

At Forward Movement, we have research data from RenewalWorks that tells us that congregations which prioritize disciple-making are healthier and they’re more likely to be growing. Lots of others have studied this question, too. We have to move our churches, ensuring that we’re not running museums of the status quo or preservation societies. Sure, we can and should guard our traditions and our faith. But we also have to be ready to change. After all, the Gospel itself is all about transformation.

Rooted in Jesus - January 21-24, 2019 in AtlantaIf you’re not sure how to be a disciple—or if you’re not sure how to get your church to move in this direction—I have some good news. Forward Movement is offering a Discipleship Intensive two-day event this January. It’s a pre-conference gathering before the Rooted in Jesus conference in Atlanta. Our pre-conference is January 21-22, and the Rooted in Jesus conference is January 22-24. It promises to be a major conference, and the speaker line-up is exciting.

I hope to see you there. You can register online, and the early bird discount ends tomorrow, October 31.

If you can’t make it to the conference, there are plenty of ways to become a more committed disciple of Jesus Christ and to lead your congregation in this direction. This is our work at Forward Movement, and we’ll keep sharing stories and resources. Above all, we’ll keep sharing the Good News of God in Jesus Christ.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Today’s Flash Sale: Meet the Saints

Meet the Saints: Family Storybook is part of the Living Discipleships series of offerings, an all-ages curriculum to encourage each of us to follow Jesus more fully in the company of fellow disciples. Using this printed, full-color version of the Meet the Saints: Family Storybook families can together unveil how Christ’s light has shone brightly in the lives of men and women through centuries. Join a journey with the saints and your family, learning more about the monks, missionaries, prophets, doctors, evangelists, and more who have led us on our way.

The Meet the Saints: Family Storybook provides twenty-four stories of saints for families to read together, colorful child-friendly illustrations, thoughtful questions for family conversations, prayers to pray together, and coloring pages for children to enjoy.

Meet the Saints pairs well with other Celebrating the Saints curriculum, and can be used as a standalone study, or in conjunction with the other Living Discipleship series of offerings including Practicing our Faith and Exploring the Bible.

Regular: $12
Today: $9

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

Join us at Rooted in Jesus

This January 21-24, join Forward Movement in Atlanta for Rooted in Jesus, a church-wide gathering to talk about discipleship, leadership, formation, communications, preaching, and much more.

Rooted in Jesus - January 21-24, 2019 in Atlanta

The Forward Movement team is leading an optional Discipleship Intensive pre-conference track, schedule below. Download and print the schedule here.

We hope to see you in Atlanta! Register here.


8:00 Registration
9:00 Prayer and scripture reflection
9:30 Plenary I with Jay Sidebotham
10:30 Break
11:00-noon Workshops*
12:15-1:30 Lunch
1:30 Panel discussion
2:30-3:30 Workshops*
3:30 Break
4:00 Plenary II with Lisa Kimball
5:00 Evening Prayer
5:30 Gracious hour
6:30 Dinner

8:00 Breakfast
8:30 Prayer
9:00 Plenary III with Miriam McKenney
10:00 Break
10:30-11:30 Workshops*
11:45 Wrap up
12:00 Peace – lunch on own

Workshop Sessions (more details coming soon):

  • Celebrate with Love, Live with Meaning; with Furman Buchanan
  • The Ministry of Intentional Small Groups on the Way of Love; with Jerusalem Greer
  • Revive and equip lay leaders to be spiritual leaders; with Dawn Davis
  • Building Empowering Diocesan Discipleship Plans; Claire Woodley
  • Baptismal Leadership in Today’s Church; with Albert Cutié


Learn more and register at

Forward Today: Being church in your community, social media style

Dear friends in Christ,

If you’ve been around young children much lately, you know about the “Baby Shark” global phenomenon, the song that has almost four billion views on YouTube. Charming circumstances led to “Baby Shark” becoming an unofficial anthem for the Washington Nationals baseball team and their postseason adventure.

Well, the Washington National Cathedral saw an opportunity. Or two or three. First, they outfitted some of their statues and grotesques in the home team colors. Then they released a now-viral video of the cathedral organists having a grand time with the massive national cathedral pipe organ and “Baby Shark.” People in DC are getting a fun reminder of the cathedral’s presence, and the sensation is spreading around the world.

Now, playing a popular song on a church organ is NOT evangelism. Sharing the Good News of what God has done in Jesus Christ is evangelism. But making connections with secular, popular culture can pave the way to evangelism. We can show that we take Jesus Christ very seriously, but we don’t need to take ourselves too seriously.

What I love about the Washington National Cathedral’s work here is that it doesn’t cheapen the core mission or value of the cathedral, but rather adds a bit of fun in ways that might attract interest from folks who otherwise wouldn’t pay much attention to church. And that’s worth something.

I know from eleven years of involvement with Lent Madness that humor can draw people into the church. Plenty of people have told Lent Madness creator Fr. Tim Schenck or me that they hadn’t really practiced a Lenten devotion until the whacky race for the Golden Halo drew them in. I wonder if people will Google the cathedral or even show up for services because of a bit of Washington Nationals fun?

We should never replace the proclamation of the Good News with a few laughs. But we in the church can show our fun side, perhaps helping people see that we Christians are fundamentally joyful people rather than the dour some people might believe. Has your church found fun ways to engage your community? Have you laughed at yourself lately?

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Photo by the Washington National Cathedral

Today’s Flash Sale: Social Justice Bible Challenge

The Social Justice Bible ChallengeFeaturing forty days of reflections by spiritual leaders and writers from around the world, The Social Justice Bible Challenge is an extension of The Bible Challenge, a global initiative to encourage daily engagement with scripture and an exploration of the Word of God. 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.

Regular: $15
Today: $11.25

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

New Resources

We’ve been BUSY this fall! We invite you to take a look at our new resources, published this month!

Angels of the Bible: Finding Grace, Beauty, and Meaning
Angels appear in the greatest of biblical moments: at the gates of the Garden of Eden, at the birth of Christ, and at the tomb of the resurrection. But modern-day Christians tend to either dismiss angels as fantasy or caricaturize them as one-dimensional cherubs.

Episcopal priest Kate Moorehead invites us into a more dynamic understanding of the realm of the angels. Her devotions recount fifty key appearances of angels in the Old and New Testaments as she shares stirring theological reflections on the presence of angels and our life of faith.

In addition, the book features 56 full-color pages with depictions of angels throughout history. Art professor and scholar P. Scott Brown offers historical and theological context for these paintings of pivotal angelic appearances, including the Annunciation, the Celestial Hierarchy, and the Final Battle from Revelation.


Faith and Courage: Praying with Mandela
In a world riven by poverty, prejudice, and power struggles, the faith and courage of activist Nelson Mandela remains a beacon of hope. South African Archbishop Thabo Makgoba recounts his ministry of prayer and presence in the final years of Mandela’s life—and how, time and again, the politician taught the pastor about ministry.

In this powerful and poignant memoir, Archbishop Makgoba explores how the struggles of his ancestors shape his life today, how growing up in apartheid South Africa fuels his desire for justice, and how faith compels him to champion the difficult work of reconciliation. These lessons of faith and courage provide insight for audiences around the world, for all people who care about Jesus’ commandment to love one another.


Sing to the Lord and Old Song: Meditations on Classic Hymns
Some hymns simply have an extra sprinkling of divine magic. The first notes thrill from the organ, and we are home. There’s little wonder that we refer to the majestic sound of choirs of angels: Surely the kingdom of God is full of the sound of singing.

Author Richard H. Schmidt offers a homecoming of sorts in his newest book, Sing to the Lord an Old Song. His meditations on forty classic hymns remind us of a shared faith—by generations before and with generations to come. Though the words and tunes may be entrenched in memory, Schmidt sheds new light on these hymns, inviting us to think about the texts through various lenses of scripture, faith, and personal experience. His reflections are painstakingly honest about how and when he has come up short as a follower of Christ—as well as how each time, he finds notes of forgiveness, love, and hope in these familiar songs.


A Way to the Manger: Devotions for Advent and Christmas
Explore Christ’s birth as recounted in the Gospel of Luke through the lens of the Way of Love and the seven practices of turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, and rest. With daily devotions of personal stories, modern examples, art, and invitations to prayer and journaling, the authors challenge you to discover and incorporate these practices into your own life. During Advent and Christmas, walk with the shepherds and the angels, Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah, and Anna and Simeon. All of their paths—as well as yours—lead to the same destination: the humble manger where Love was born.


Slow Down. Quiet. It’s Advent.
Shrink wrapped in packs of 25, posters are 17″ x 22″, folded to 8.5″ x 11″. Created by Susan Elliott with drawings and text by Jay Sidebotham, this 2019 calendar poster suggests ways to mark the days through the Advent season. The calendar offers ideas for prayer, helping others, and being thoughtful about the true meaning of Christmas. Take our advice to your hearts and to your walls: Slow down. Quiet. It’s Advent! Perfect for the whole congregation!