Tag Archives: Advent

Forward Today: The counter-cultural season of Advent

Photo by KaLisa Veer on Unsplash

Dear friends in Christ,

This Sunday the season of Advent begins. Two thousand years ago, John the Baptist was a voice crying in the wilderness to call people to repentance. Today, Advent is a voice crying in the din of our time that salvation comes not from shiny things, but from Love Incarnate. In other words, the subversive call to repentance has not changed much in 20 centuries.

December can seem overwhelming. Custom demands that we spend vast sums on gifts. Invitations to parties and festive gathering might stack up. In church, folks are working hard preparing for Christmas celebrations. One might be left wondering how there will be any time for Advent.

And this is the point. Keeping Advent isn’t easy, and that is exactly why we do well to try to keep this season of preparation and repentance.

I’m not here to yell at you for playing Christmas carols or putting up a few decorations. Avoiding Christmas festivity isn’t the fundamental point of Advent. Though I think waiting to celebrate Christmas until it’s Christmas has virtue, I also think people can do two things at once. We can enjoy some holiday festivity and find ways to keep Advent.

What does this look like? Presumably, your church celebrates the liturgy a bit differently this time of year—Advent music and a different focus. This season might be a good time to curl up with the scriptures. As we’re beginning Year B in the three-year lectionary cycle, you might want to read the Gospel of Mark in its entirety. Maybe you’ll spend a few more moments in prayer each day. An Advent wreath can help to create a prayerful environment at home.

Mostly though, the point of this season is to prepare our hearts to meet Jesus. One day, we will all meet him when he comes in glory to judge the world. Will we, as the Advent preface suggests, be ready “without shame or fear rejoice to behold his appearing”?

What parts of your life need to change? What practices in your life do you want to increase or decrease? Who can you invite to know the Good News of Jesus Christ, who offers redemption to all? These are the matters for us to focus on this Advent season, and I hope you’ll find practices that aid in your reflection and repentance.

A blessed Advent to you.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn's signature

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

P.S. Forward Movement offers a new seasonal devotional book with practices and reflections for Advent and Christmastide. You can get the book in paper or as an ebook (Amazon Kindle or Apple Books).

More from our ministry:

Explore Mark’s Gospel in Year B: A Journey with Mark Bible Challenge

Get ready for the 12 Days of Christmas: Christmas Calendar

Practical ways to follow Jesus: The Way of Love Practical Guide

Give the gift of prayer with a gift subscription to Forward Day by Day

Forward Today: Getting our armor ready

Dear friends in Christ,

In a few weeks, we will begin our annual walk through the season of Advent. On the first Sunday of the season, we pray a lovely collect in which we ask God to give us grace to “put on the armor of light.” This phrase comes from Romans 13, which sets out the meaning as putting on Jesus Christ and not the ways of the world.

Every year I think I say the same thing: I’ve never needed Advent more than this year. With the world seemingly tearing itself apart at the seams, I need the anchor of Jesus Christ in my life. Maybe you do, too. Advent invites us to turn away from the evil and distraction of the world and toward the most important things: a life transformed by God’s grace and mercy.

Of course, you can observe Advent on your own and with your church. But you may want some support for yourself, and your church may want to provide some resources for groups and individuals. With Advent coming, now is the time to make a plan and get ready.

Forward Movement offers several ways to enrich your Advent experience. Families may especially enjoy the Advent calendar poster with cartoons by Jay Sidebotham, ready for you to add color and your personal touch. (They’re sold in bundles of 25.) Individuals or book groups may find this year’s new Advent devotional, Preparing the Way: Christian Practices for Advent, helping in navigating the seasons of Advent and Christmas with daily reflections and invitations to go deeper in Christian practice. We have plenty of other Advent resources, too. Order soon to make sure your Advent help arrives in time!

You don’t need to spend a penny to savor Advent. You can enjoy our free podcasts of Forward Day by Day or the Daily Office. But sometimes printed resources really hit the spot.

Part of my point today is to encourage the sale of the materials Forward Movement has printed. But my bigger point is to invite you to think about how you’ll enjoy the gift of Advent and to be ready to dive in to this season.

Jesus is our light. And I’m so grateful for this time to remember that and give thanks.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn's signature

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

P.S. With the arrival of Advent, we enter a new liturgical year. Year B draws extensively from the Gospel of Mark, so you might like to read A Journey with Mark to hear this gospel afresh.

More from our ministry:

Try our online Advent devotional: AdventWord

Get your calendars for Christmas as well: Christmas. It’s a Season

Pray beautiful collects from the Book of Common Prayer, Gift Edition

New on our blog: A review of Devotions for People Who Don’t Do Devotions

AdventWord: Announcing the daily prompt words for 2022 | Palabras que invitan a la reflexión

Forward Movement has announced the 2022 reflection words for AdventWord, a global online advent calendar and community of disciples. For nearly a decade AdventWord has inspired followers of Jesus who wish to add an accessible prayer practice to their daily routine during this holy season.

Daily meditations and images—inspired by a prompt word selected from the daily lectionary readings—will be released at adventword.org, beginning Sunday, November 27.

Participants can sign up to receive this daily message, in English and Spanish, by email or by following AdventWord on social media.

Many followers join the creativity each year by sharing their own personal reflections across social media using #AdventWord. Participants respond with photos, written responses, crafts, drawings, poems, found art, and other creative expressions inspired by the day’s selected word.

List of the 2022 AdventWord prompts

“This year we enlisted volunteer community members to help with the selection of prompt words from the daily lectionary readings,” said Richelle Thompson, managing editor at Forward Movement. “The online gathering of dozens of AdventWord community members was an inspiring way to kick off the planning for 2022 and a strong reminder that AdventWord is community-driven.”

All-in-one graphics, bulletin inserts and printable calendars of the 2022 prompt words are available for download at adventword.org.

The reflection prompt words for AdventWord 2022 are:

  • 27-Nov: Walk | Caminar
  • 28-Nov: Together | Juntos
  • 29-Nov: Teach | Enseñar
  • 30-Nov: Mountains | Montañas
  • 1-Dec: Make | Hacer
  • 2-Dec: Ready | Preparado
  • 3-Dec: Unity | Unidad
  • 4-Dec: Delight | Deleite
  • 5-Dec: Rain | Lluvia
  • 6-Dec: Welcome | Acogida
  • 7-Dec: Winnowing | Zarandear
  • 8-Dec: Breathe | Respirar
  • 9-Dec: Fire | Fuego
  • 10-Dec: Flourish | Florecer
  • 11-Dec: Messenger | Mensajero
  • 12-Dec: Wilderness | Desierto
  • 13-Dec: Stranger | Forastero
  • 14-Dec: Beloved | Amados
  • 15-Dec: Thirsty | Sediento
  • 16-Dec: Traveler | Viajeros
  • 17-Dec: Majesty | Majestad
  • 18-Dec: Purify | Purificar
  • 19-Dec: Sign | Señales
  • 20-Dec: Hear | Oír
  • 21-Dec: Obedience | Obediencia
  • 22-Dec: Choose | Elegir
  • 23-Dec: Restore | Restaurar
  • 24-Dec: Birth | Nacimiento
  • 25-Dec: Emmanuel | Emanuel


Follow AdventWord for more information and updates:


AdventWord: Palabras que invitan a la reflexión

Forward Movement acaba de anunciar las palabras de AdventWord para el Adviento de 2022. AdventWord es una iniciativa anual que incluye un calendario de Adviento y una comunidad de discípulos que se enfocan en una palabra diaria que invita a la reflexión.

Por casi una década AdventWord viene inspirando a los seguidores y seguidoras de Jesús que desean hacer la meditación parte de su rutina diaria durante el tiempo de Adviento.

Las meditaciones y las imágenes diarias provienen de las lecturas del leccionario diario. Las comenzaremos a publicar en AdventWord.org a partir del domingo 27 de noviembre.

Los participantes pueden inscribirse para recibir un mensaje diario, en inglés y en español, por email o siguiendo a AdventWord en las redes sociales.

Muchos seguidores se unen al proceso creativo y comparten sus propias reflexiones en las redes sociales usando la etiqueta #AdventWord. Y los participantes responden con fotos, escritos, manualidades, dibujos, poemas, arte creada por otros, y otras expresiones creativas inspiradas por la palabra del día.

las palabras de AdventWord para el Adviento de 2022

Richelle Thompson, editora gerente de Forward Movement, declaró: “Este año logramos enlistar a voluntarios que nos ayudaron a elegir las palabras tomadas de las lecturas del leccionario diario. Reunimos en línea a docenas de miembros de la comunidad AdventWord, lo que fue una manera muy inspiradora de lanzar el planeamiento de 2022, y nos recordó vívidamente que AdventWord es un programa de participación comunitaria”.

Se pueden descargar boletines y calendarios para imprimir con las palabras de 2022 en este enlace: AdventWord.org.

Las palabras seleccionadas para AdventWord en 2022 son las siguientes:

  • 27-Nov: Walk | Caminar
  • 28-Nov: Together | Juntos
  • 29-Nov: Teach | Enseñar
  • 30-Nov: Mountains | Montañas
  • 1-Dec: Make | Hacer
  • 2-Dec: Ready | Preparado
  • 3-Dec: Unity | Unidad
  • 4-Dec: Delight | Deleite
  • 5-Dec: Rain | Lluvia
  • 6-Dec: Welcome | Acogida
  • 7-Dec: Winnowing | Zarandear
  • 8-Dec: Breathe | Respirar
  • 9-Dec: Fire | Fuego
  • 10-Dec: Flourish | Florecer
  • 11-Dec: Messenger | Mensajero
  • 12-Dec: Wilderness | Desierto
  • 13-Dec: Stranger | Forastero
  • 14-Dec: Beloved | Amados
  • 15-Dec: Thirsty | Sediento
  • 16-Dec: Traveler | Viajeros
  • 17-Dec: Majesty | Majestad
  • 18-Dec: Purify | Purificar
  • 19-Dec: Sign | Señales
  • 20-Dec: Hear | Oír
  • 21-Dec: Obedience | Obediencia
  • 22-Dec: Choose | Elegir
  • 23-Dec: Restore | Restaurar
  • 24-Dec: Birth | Nacimiento
  • 25-Dec: Emmanuel | Emanuel


Para más información y noticias sobre AdventWord, seguir estos enlaces:



2021 AdventWord prompt words announced

For the eighth year in a row, #AdventWord will gather prayers via a global, online advent calendar.

Forward Movement, the new home of AdventWord, will offer 28 daily meditations and images during this holy season beginning Sunday, November 28. 

Gathering a worldwide community, #AdventWord provides a daily meditation, visual image, and invites your personal reflections via social media to share your own Advent journey. Thousands have participated each year, responding to the words with photos, written responses, crafts, drawings, poems, found art, and Holy Spirit-filled posts. 

“A wonderful diversity of our church is witnessed in the reflections this year,” says AdventWord program director, Sarah Stonesifer Boylan. “The beauty of AdventWord stretches out to include a myriad of voices each Advent. I am looking forward to seeing the prayer-filled responses!”

A new Advent devotional published by Forward Movement, Promise & Praise, corresponds with the daily reflection words of AdventWord. The book features reflections from Scott Gunn, Miriam McKenney, Hugo Olaiz, and Richelle Thompson, with special contributors Michael B. Curry and Lisa Kimball. Promise & Praise is available for sale at forwardmovement.org, along with a reading sample.

The Advent Sunday lectionary readings inspire the word list for #AdventWord. Discover the visual and written meditations and give yourself the opportunity to dive deeper into the stories of this waiting season. 

The prompts for 2021 #AdventWord are: 

November 28: Promise

November 29: Strength

November 30: Soul

December 1: Path 

December 2: Justice

December 3: Fulfill

December 4: Heart

December 5: Praise

December 6: Everlasting

December 7: Offering

December 8: Messenger

December 9: Splendor

December 10: Repent

December 11: Compassion

December 12: Expectation

December 13: Share

December 14: Exult

December 15: Stir

December 16: Gladness

December 17: Bountiful

December 18: Sing

December 19: Blessed

December 20: Feed

December 21: Generations

December 22: Magnify

December 23: Flock

December 24: Greeting

December 25:  Child

The #AdventWord Images and meditations can be experienced through AdventWord.org, direct daily emails, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and ASL videos via YouTube.

Meditations will also be available in English, Spanish, and French via email and on www.adventword.org.

Find Promise & Praise on www.forwardmovement.org

For more information:

Contact us by email at AdventWord@forwardmovement.org


En español

Por el octavo año siguiente, #PalabrasDelAdviento recogerá oraciones a través de un calendario global, en línea, del adviento. Forward Movement, el nuevo hogar de #PalabrasDelAdviento, ofrecerá 28 meditaciones diarias e imágenes durante esta santa temporada, empezando el domingo, 28 de noviembre.

Reuniendo una comunidad global, #PalabrasDelAdviento provee diariamente una meditación, un imagen visual, e invita tus reflexiones personales a través de las redes sociales para compartir tu propio camino por el Adviento. Miles han participado cada año, respondiendo a las palabras con fotos, respuestas escritas, artesanía, dibujos, poemas, arte descubierto, y publicaciones llenas del Espíritu Santo.

“Se ve una magnífica diversidad de nuestra iglesia en las reflexiones este año,” dice la directora del programa de #PalabrasDelAdviento, Sarah Stonesifer Boylan. “La belleza de #PalabrasDelAdviento se estira para incluir una gran variedad de voces cada Adviento. ¡Tengo ganas de ver las respuestas llenas de oración!”

Una nuevo devocional para el Adviento publicado por Forward Movement, Promise & Praise, corresponde con las palabras de las reflexiones diarias de PalabrasDelAdviento. El libro presenta reflexiones de Scott Gunn, Miriam McKenney, Hugo Olaiz, y Richelle Thompson, con contribuyentes especiales Michael B. Curry y Lisa Kimball. Promise & Praise está disponible para la venta en forwardmovement.org, junto con un fragmento.

Las lecturas dominicales del leccionario para el Adviento inspiran la lista de palabras para #PalabrasDelAdviento. Descubre las meditaciones visuales y escritas y date la oportunidad sumergirte en las historias de esta temporada de espera.

Las palabras para #PalabrasDelAdviento 2021 son:

Noviembre 28: Promesa
Noviembre 29: Fortaleza
Noviembre 30: Alma
Diciembre 1: Sendero
Diciembre 2 Justicia
Diciembre 3: Cumplir
Diciembre 4: Corazón
Diciembre 5: Alabanza
Diciembre 6: Eterno
Diciembre 7: Ofrenda
Diciembre 8: Mensajero
Diciembre 9: Esplendor
Diciembre 10: Arrepentirse
Diciembre 11: Compasión
Diciembre 12: Esperanza
Diciembre 13: Compartir
Diciembre 14: Regocijarse
Diciembre 15: Avivar
Diciembre 16: Alegría
Diciembre 17: Abundante
Diciembre 18: Cantar
Diciembre 19: Bendita
Diciembre 20: Apacentar
Diciembre 21: Generaciones
Diciembre 22: Magnificar
Diciembre 23: Redil
Diciembre 24: Saludo
Diciembre 25: Niño

Los imágenes y las meditaciones de #PalabrasDelAdviento pueden ser experimentados por AdventWord.org, correos electrónicos diarios y directos, y también por Facebook, Instagram, y Twitter, y videos de ASL a través de YouTube. Las meditaciones también serán disponibles en inglés, español, y francés, a través de email y en www.adventword.org. Encuentra Promise & Praise en www.forwardmovement.org.

En français

Pour la huitième année consécutive, #MotsDelAvent va recueillir des prières par le biais d’un calendrier de l’Avent mondial et en ligne. Le Forward Movement, le nouvel hôte de MotDeL’Avent, offrira quotidiennement des méditations et des images pendant les 28 jours de cette saison sainte commençant le dimanche 28 novembre.

Rassemblant une communauté mondiale, #MotsDelAvent propose tous les jours une méditation, une image, et invite vos réflexions personnelles par le biais des réseaux sociaux afin de partager votre parcours personnel pendant l’Avent. Des milliers de personnes participent chaque année, réagissant aux mots avec des photos, des réponses écrites, des œuvres artisanales, des dessins, des poèmes, des découvertes artistiques et des messages remplis du Saint-Esprit.

« Nous assistons à une merveilleuse diversité de notre Église dans les réflexions de cette année » déclare Sarah Stonesifer Boylan, directrice du programme MotDeL’Avent. « La beauté de MotDeL’Avent s’étend pour inclure une myriade de voix lors de chaque saison de l’Advent. J’ai hâte de voir toutes les réponses remplies de prières ! »

Un nouveau livre de piété pour l’Avent publié par le Forward Movement, Promise & Praise, résonne avec les paroles de réflexion quotidiennes de MotDeL’Avent. Ce livre présente les réflexions de Scott Gunn, Miriam McKenney, Hugo Olaiz et Richelle Thompson, avec en contributeurs spéciaux Michael B. Curry et Lisa Kimball. Promise & Praise est disponible à la vente sur forwardmovement.org, avec un échantillon de lecture.

Les lectures du lectionnaire du dimanche de l’Avent inspirent la liste de mots de #MotsDelAvent. Découvrez les méditations visuelles et écrites et donnez-vous l’opportunité de plonger plus profondément dans les histoires de cette saison d’espérance.

Novembre 28: Promesse
Novembre 29: Force
Novembre 30: Âme
Décembre 1: Chemin
Décembre 2: Justice
Décembre 3: Accomplir
Décembre 4: Coeur
Décembre 5: Louange
Décembre 6: Éternel
Décembre 7: Offrande
Décembre 8: Messager
Décembre 9: Splendeur
Décembre 10: Se repentir
Décembre 11: Compassion
Décembre 12: Espérance
Décembre 13: Partager
Décembre 14: S’exalter
Décembre 15: Agiter
Décembre 16: Joie
Décembre 17: Bienfaisant
Décembre 18: Chanter
Décembre 19: Béni
Décembre 20: Nourrir
Décembre 21: Générations
Décembre 22: Magnifier
Décembre 23: Troupeau
Décembre 24: Salutation
Décembre 25: Enfant

Vous pouvez faire l’expérience des images et des méditations de #MotsDelAvent par le biais du site AdventWord.org, mais aussi par le biais des courriels quotidiens, ainsi que sur Facebook, Instagram et Twitter, et des vidéos en langue des signes américaine (ASL) sur YouTube. Les méditations seront également disponibles en anglais, espagnol et français par courriel et sur www.adventword.org. Découvrez Promise & Praise sur www.forwardmovement.org.

Spend the year with Forward Movement

Spend the year with Forward Movement calendar GRAPHIC

Explore our offerings for every season of the church year

Each season of the year brings new opportunity to inspire your small group or congregation, or to find that inspiration on your own. We invite you to spend your program year with Forward Movement.

We’ve organized a 12-month path for you and your congregation to follow from fall discipleship courses through summer reading groups.  Take as little or as much as you need for your community.

View this as an interactive booklet:

Spend the year with Forward Movement


Autumn provides an excellent opportunity to grow and learn as a community.

It’s the perfect time of year to start one of our free discipleship courses: Exploring the Bible, Practicing Our Faith, or Celebrating the Saints. Each is designed for all-ages and comes with everything you’ll need to run the program, though you can purchase companion books if you’d like. Most content is available in both Spanish and English.

Living Discipleship Courses

Your church might also want to begin RenewalWorks, which helps churches discover and explore their unique characteristics and helps chart a path to focus on the spiritual growth of their community.

Grow Christians LogoLooking for ideas for children and families, or an inspiring community practicing faith? Grow Christians is our community blog focused on families practicing faith at home. With regular posts from a broad community of writers, this group blog inspires generations to come together as they celebrate the presence of God through the Christian year.

This is an excellent season to get your lay leaders refreshed through the Revive program, especially in this time of upheaval. You can run the complete course for the whole program year or do part of it this autumn.

Finally, if you offer a program for new members, you might find Transforming Questions helpful as a free course for new Christians and seekers.



Promise and Praise CoverA season to slow down and reflect on the gift of Jesus in our world, Advent is a powerful time to read a daily devotional with your congregation or small group.

Our newest Advent devotional, Promise & Praise, corresponds with AdventWord, a global community of prayer that invites people to read and respond to a single word each day. The words are drawn from the weekly scripture readings and prayerfully selected as a way to help us ready our hearts and our lives for the coming of the Christ child. Learn more about AdventWord finding a new home at Forward Movement.

2021 Advent CalendarAdvent calendars are a popular way of marking the season. Get your whole church involved with our popular poster Advent calendars, Slow Down! Quiet. It’s Advent.

With illustrations by Jay Sidebotham, these colorable posters suggest ways to mark the days through the Advent season; ideas for prayer, helping others, and being thoughtful about the true meaning of Christmas. They come in packs of 25 for easy bulk ordering for your entire congregation.

The start of the liturgical year is also a great time to introduce people to the habit of daily prayer through the Daily Office. You can pray it with our website or free app, individually or in groups. Visit the App Store or Google Play store to download the Forward Day by Day app.



We have books and devotionals that make excellent gifts for your loved ones, including gift subscriptions to Forward Day by Day.

As the calendar approaches the New Year, we also ask you to consider donating to our ministry that provides prayer resources to those in need. Click here to learn how you can help.

Twelve Days of Grace is a campaign on social media over the twelve days of the Christmas season to remind us that we’re grateful not just for presents under the tree, but for the gift of God’s love in Jesus Christ and in our own lives. Share your gratitude on social media with hashtag #graceupongrace every day of Christmastide!



The Good Book Club LogoWith partners from around the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion, Forward Movement celebrates the Epiphany season with a new round of the Good Book Club. Join people around the world in reading the Book of Exodus using free materials from our partners.

The second book of the Bible, Exodus recounts the journey of the Israelites from slavery to freedom. We hear the great stories of Moses, from his discovery by Pharoah’s daughter on the bank of the river to the burning bush to his presentation of the Ten Commandments. Along the way, we encounter God’s covenant and explore the grand theme of redemption.

This year, we have a bonus time of scripture engagement: the Good Book Club will dive into the first twenty chapters of Exodus from Epiphany, January 6, to Shrove Tuesday, March 1. For those who want to keep reading, we’ll offer a daily reading guide and an overview of the second half of Exodus. That reading period will conclude on Easter.

ChurchNext LogoThe new year may bring a renewed desire to deepen knowledge and spiritual disciplines. Our online courses from ChurchNext bring talented and passionate instructors directly to you. Courses cover a variety of subjects and are available for individuals or groups; from church leadership and finances to personal growth and holy habits, and everything in between.

Looking to take up a practice of daily prayer in the new year? We suggest starting with our website prayer.forwardmovement.org or downloading our app on the App Store or Google Play store. Both the website and app integrate our daily podcasts, making new spiritual practices more accessible than ever.



The Pilgrim Way of Lent CoverLent is a season to refocus our lives on Jesus. Churches might like to encourage their members to read a daily devotional, and Forward Movement has several from which to choose.

New for 2022, we are offering The Pilgrim Way of Lent, meditations by staff of the Washington National Cathedral.

The popular Join the Journey colorable calendar poster will help families remember their Lenten journey at home. Illustrated by Jay Sidebotham, the calendar calls to mind daily activities or reflections. (link coming soon)

Lent is a wonderful time to engage with scripture, and Forward Movement has many courses and books to help. During Lent, the Bible Challenge series might be especially timely. For congregations who traditionally offer Lenten programs, many of these can be adapted to work over the five weeks of Lent, whether your groups are meeting in person or online.

Lent Madness LogoFinally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Lent Madness, where online competition meets saintly devotion. Learn about saints, have some fun, and discover how Christ’s light shines through all kinds of people.



Holy Week

Walk In Love CoverFor those congregations who keep vigil with the Blessed Sacrament on Maundy Thursday, the free Holy Hour devotion could be useful.

If you are teaching about the liturgies and the meaning of Holy Week, Walk in Love: Episcopal Beliefs & Practices has several chapters that will help prepare people for this most important week of the year. The full book walks through the liturgical year, the sacraments of the church, habits of daily prayer, and the teachings of Anglican Christianity.



Easter Sunday might be the biggest Sunday of the year, but it’s also the beginning of a season that lasts 50 days. The 50days.org blog features a reflection every day of the Easter season.

Journey Through ActsLike Lent, Easter is a fitting time to dive into scripture. We hear from the Book of Acts on Sunday mornings, so why not use the A Journey Through Acts: A 50 Day Bible Challenge or Acts to Action?

We have several other 50-day Bible Challenge books, including all four gospels!


Season after Pentecost

This long green season sets our minds on flourishing. Grow Christians is blog for families who are raising children in the faith. You can encourage people to read and act on what they read to bring faith into homes.

Revive Logo

Similarly, this is another good time to consider Revive, a program to engage lay leaders and help them thrive.


Summer Reading

Book ideasWhy not organize a summer book group? Many of Forward Movement’s books come with reflection questions or free courses.

Check out some suggested titles that work well for individual and group reading.

Some of our books have a companion course from ChurchNext. Speaking of ChurchNext, churches can offer group courses or encourage individual exploration with our online Christian formation by video.


AdventWord finds new home at Forward Movement

Beginning in 2021, the multilingual, interactive online Advent calendar known as AdventWord will be offered as part of the ministry of Forward Movement, whose mission is to inspire disciples and empower evangelists.

The project has grown for the past several years under the stewardship of Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS), having originated from the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE) in 2014.

Forward Movement will continue to work with current AdventWord project manager, Sarah Stonesifer Boylan, and VTS is excited to continue its participation and support of the project.

“Since its origins, the AdventWord hosts have brought unique strengths to the devotionals during the Advent holy season. As I enter to my fifth year shepherding this ministry, I look forward to collaborating with Forward Movement to bring their commitments discipleship and story-sharing into this multimedia initiative,” said Stonesifer Boylan. “The AdventWord prayer-filled community has been made possible by coordinating efforts from the committed organizations of SSJE, VTS, and now, Forward Movement.”

Gathering a worldwide community, AdventWord provides a daily meditation, visual image, and invites personal reflections via social media to share in a community-driven Advent journey. Thousands have participated each year, responding to the words with photos, written responses, crafts, drawings, poems, found art, and Holy Spirit-filled posts. Short daily meditations are sent out each day through Advent via email, social media, and as a podcast, in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language videos. Sign up for email updates at www.adventword.org and follow AdventWord on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and use #AdventWord in your own posts.

AdventWord is now an offering of Forward Movement

For the second year, Forward Movement will be releasing an Advent devotional to coincide with AdventWord, with each daily reflection drawing inspiration from that day’s selected word. The book, Promise & Praise: Advent Word Reflections, will be available at www.forwardmovement.org in early fall.

“Daily prayer and reflection are a central values at Forward Movement, and we try to show that through our resources and offerings,” said the Rev. Canon Scott Gunn, executive director at Forward Movement. “AdventWord offers a stirring way for disciples to practice daily reflection with others around the world as we all prepare to meet Jesus Christ in the season of Advent.”

Sign up for email updates about AdventWord!

Forward Today: Oh, it’s time for the O Antiphons

Dear friends in Christ,

One of my favorite liturgical customs comes along every year just before Christmas. In the last days of Advent, there are special prayers to be said during evening prayer starting December 17. They are called the Great O Antiphons, because each of these prayers begins with O. You can find the prayers in the Wikipedia article for the O Antiphons.

You probably know these antiphons without knowing it. The hymn “O come, O come Emmanuel” is a paraphrase of these ancient prayers. If you open The Hymnal 1982 and turn to hymn 56, you’ll see this beloved hymn. At the start of each verse, there’s a date telling you on which day of Advent this verse is appropriately sung.

If you’re like me, this a chaotic time of year. There are tasks to be finished by Christmas, there are tasks to be finished by the end of the calendar year, and there is the overall misery of this lousy year. For all those reasons, I’m especially looking forward to adding a ray of hope and light to my evening prayers over the next few days.

I’ll probably just say the prayers at the end of evening prayer where additional prayers may be added. But it would also be appropriate to sing a verse of “O come, O come, Emmanuel.”

Whatever you do, I encourage you to stick with Advent to the end. Our hearts and our lives need the full measure of this season to prepare ourselves to adore God-among-us.

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Let us all pray for prudence. Advent blessings to one and all.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director



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Photo: Wikipedia

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Forward Today: Looking toward Christmas

Dear friends in Christ,

I hope you’ll forgive this intrusion into Advent, but we need to talk about Christmas for a minute. It’s coming. Part of our hope-filled Advent is attending to the logistics of Christmas celebration, and we want to be ready to do whatever we can to receive again the gift of God-with-us.

Not long ago, I read a wonderful blog post about Christmas, churches, and the pandemic.

The pandemic makes connecting with new people this Christmas more important than ever. But the pandemic also has given rise to new ways of being and doing church that present new opportunities for reaching people. Christmas 2020 calls us to meet new people in new ways. Don’t miss this moment.

This blog post, “Reaching New People this Christmas is More Important than Ever”, is worth reading carefully. There are some good ideas of how we can reach people with the Good News they need in the midst of a difficult time.

You may be too exhausted to do more than you’re doing now. And if that’s the case, take care of yourself and know that it’s more than enough.

If, however, you can muster the energy, you and your church can offer a tangible manifestation of Christ’s presence in the coming Christmas season. We can’t have our familiar, beloved Christmas services. Family gatherings must be scaled back. But still we can celebrate the Good News and the glory that the angels celebrated when Jesus was born. Christmas 2020 will be unlike any in recent memory, but it will still be Christmas.

I don’t know what your church should do, and I don’t know what you can do. But I do know that all around there are people yearning for a word of hope, mercy, and grace. This is our moment to reach out with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Pray for strength and courage to answer the call. Pray for our whole church—weary though we may be—to proclaim glad tidings of God’s great love for us.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director



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Tune in!

Listen to today’s Forward Day by Day reflection on the Forward Day by Day podcast. Find morning prayer on the Morning at the Office podcast and end your day with the Evening at Prayer podcast. Available anywhere you listen!


In case you missed it…

Order Now: A Journey with Mark | Forward Movement

Register for free live course, Introducing Mark | ChurchNext

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Check out our interactive Advent/Christmas Catalog | Forward Movement

Forward Today: Advent is almost here, just when we need it

Dear friends in Christ,

Advent is coming up, and I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to it more than this year. This has been such a challenging year in many ways, and Advent brings just the blessing I need. I look forward to Advent’s invitation to repent and to focus on Jesus. And I look forward to some of my favorite hymns and scripture readings.

I hope you’ll find Advent as life-giving as I expect it will be for me. But this doesn’t just happen. We have to make time in a chaotic world for the peace and the reflection of Advent to work in us. Perhaps you’ll join me in setting aside some time each day. Perhaps you’ll pray the daily office (online or via our morning prayer or evening prayer podcasts).

Advent Word is a global movement, a way to pray through the season online and offline. Some suggestions for how to use #AdventWord are available on the Advent Word website. You’ll see the links to follow Advent Word on social media and to add your own voice to the conversation there. This year, we have a podcast. And Forward Movement has published a wonderful book of Advent meditations keyed to the words of #AdventWord. In case you still want a creative outlet, there are posters you can buy to color your way through the season. We have Advent Word posters and the ever-popular “Slow Down. Quiet. It’s Advent” calendar poster by Jay Sidebotham.

Over the years, Forward Movement has offered many different Advent reflections. You can peruse our books, pamphlets, online courses, and more using our interactive Advent/Christmas eCatalog. (Order by November 16 for standard shipping.)

Of course, you don’t need to spend a penny to savor the blessing of Advent. The scriptures are free. Advent Word is free. Quiet is free. And, more important, the grace of Jesus is free.

I do encourage you to make some space in your life for Advent. And let us welcome this blessing we so sorely need.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director



Subscribe to receive Forward Today in your inbox.

Tune in!

Listen to today’s Forward Day by Day reflection on the Forward Day by Day podcast. Find morning prayer on the Morning at the Office podcast and end your day with the Evening at Prayer podcast. Available anywhere you listen!


In case you missed it…

Check out our interactive Advent eCatalog | Forward Movement

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Forward Today: Good news of great joy for all the people

Dear friends in Christ,

Advent is in its final days, and Christmas approaches. Every year, in these last days before Christmas, I get impatient for Christmas to come. Can’t wait to belt out “O come, all ye faithful” on Christmas Eve.

A couple of days ago, I read a sad op-ed by a priest bemoaning the burden of preaching the “old, old stories” at Christmas. He added that the people “didn’t want you messing around with them.” Well, of course the people don’t want us to mess around with the story of Christmas. It is part of the most amazing story ever!

I hope we will not take the advice of those who want us to ignore the deep truth in the Christmas story as it is told in the Gospels. Some in the church are embarrassed by the claims. Some outside the church are distracted by how the story of Christ’s birth stands in stark opposition to the consumerism and violence of our time.

By all means, I hope we all remember and retell the old, old stories at Christmas. I hope every preacher tells the wondrous story of Christ’s birth in their sermons, for many who come to church may not know them. I hope every one of us who claim to follow Jesus will remember and retell how his life on earth began. If you are opening gifts around the tree, maybe you’ll take a few moments to read the Christmas story from Luke 2 just before ripping off all the paper. (And I say this without condemnation. No one loves ripping the paper off packages more than me, except for maybe my dog.)

Christmas offers each one of us a gift. In the Christmas story, we remember that God the Father cared about us enough to send his son into our world. In the Christmas Gospels, we remember that God-among-us entered our story not in a palace but in a manger. The glad news of Christmas was told first to shepherds, not princes. Jesus Christ ruled with mercy and love, not with power and might. Christmas reminds us that God’s grace is the real deal, and it finds us where we are.

Tell the Christmas story. Tell it to your children and grandchildren. Tell it to strangers. Tell it again to yourself. And then savor the gift of God’s great love for us.

All good wishes to you for a blessed conclusion of Advent and then a happy Christmas.

Yours faithfully,



Scott Gunn
Executive Director

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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.


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