Tag Archives: good book club

A good Easter with the Good Book Club

Dear friends in Christ,

Like most of you, I spent Easter morning at home, saying prayers and watching a service elsewhere online. It was not like any other Easter in my lifetime. And while it wasn’t an Easter I would have hoped for, I was still able to celebration the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

While Easter day might be the most muted Easter we’ll know, the coronavirus crisis also creates opportunity. Perhaps as we’re all at home, we can cultivate a greater awareness of Eastertide as a season of fifty days.

We can say or sing alleluias every day. We can find an image of the resurrection of Jesus and place it in our homes to remind us of the joy and wonder of the triumph of God’s love. And we can spend time with God’s word.

Forward Movement has partnered with other organizations to offer the Good Book Club this Eastertide. Over the 50 days of Easter, you are invited to join with people around the world in reading through the entire Gospel of Matthew. If you haven’t already started, it will be easy to catch up. We’re just four days in. And that leaves 46 more days of Eastertide!

You can find the readings on the Good Book Club website. Each day we post the readings and a reflection question on the Good Book Club Facebook page. And there’s a podcast with the readings, a meditation, a reflection question, and a prayer. If you’re curious about the Gospel of Matthew, we have prepared a short primer.

Everything I’ve mentioned is free. If you’d like a guided path through this season, A Journey with Matthew is available as an ebook for only $7.99. You can buy the paper book, too, but it will take a few days to arrive. It has the gospel reading, a meditation, reflection questions, and a prayer each day (same as the podcast).

There are more resources listed online, and perhaps your diocese or congregation has created some too.

Most importantly, I encourage you to take advantage of this time at home. While we are certainly struggling with many aspects of being forced to stay home, there can also be opportunities. Perhaps this season is the means to engage in a Bible study in your home, whether by yourself, or with other members of your household, or with a friend, or with your congregation online.

Easter blessings to you all. Even in this strange time, may you know the joys of God’s word and of Christ’s resurrection.

Yours faithfully,



Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Image: Pixabay
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Introducing Matthew
With Vicki Garvey

For six weeks this Easter, meet with other students from around the world for a free, live, online class on the Gospel of Matthew with Vicki Garvey, a respected teacher and author and former Canon for Lifelong Education at the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.

In this class, Vicki will teach us about the author, origin, setting, and message of the Gospel of Matthew. Classes will meet live on Thursday nights via zoom from April 23-May 28, 2020, and they will last an hour.

This class is ideal for people participating in the Good Book Club 2020, and for anyone interested in learning more about the Gospel of Matthew.

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!

New Release: The Heart of a Leader

In The Heart of a Leader, Bishop Edward S. Little moves through 2 Timothy, drawing on the lessons and teachings of Paul as a guide for mentoring and encouraging others to a life deeply committed to Christ. While we live in a radically different culture than Timothy and Paul, we struggle today with some of the same hard spiritual questions. We puzzle our way through intractable conflict. We face a world that is sometimes indifferent to the gospel and other times, outright hostile to it. Like Timothy and Paul, we wonder: What is essential to our Christian faith?

Paul’s second letter to Timothy can instruct us as surely as it taught its early readers. We are all Timothy. We stand in need of mentoring. We are all Paul, with apprentices in our care.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the printing of this title has been delayed until late summer. Pre-order your print copy today, but also know that we’ve made the e-book version available early. You can find it on Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, and at the iTunes store.

In case you missed it…

The Cross and the Coronavirus | Earth & Altar

Easter is more than what happens inside red church doors | Grow Christians

Read our latest issue of Odyssey | Forward Movement

Free Shipping on orders of $50 throughout April | Forward Movement

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.

Join Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry in reading the Gospel of John

Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry calls upon followers of Jesus to join with him in the Good Book Club, reading the Gospel of John each day during the Epiphany season.

The Good Book offers an array of resources developed by partners from across the Episcopal Church, making it easy for people to read, learn, and wrestle with the Gospel of John, said Bishop Curry. The church-wide Bible initiative starts January 6, 2020.

“John’s Gospel is a marvelous gospel,” said Bishop Curry. In John, “we get some of the most powerful and pregnant moments of Jesus teaching about love and the Way of Love.”

Joining the Good Book Club is easy: Open your Bible and start reading! In addition, Episcopal and Anglican partners have come together and prepared resources to support the journey, including print and online Bible studies, webinars, reflections, blogs, and social media posts. New this year is a set of downloadable bulletin inserts with the daily readings and cartoons drawn by well-known artist Jay Sidebotham. ChurchNext is offering a free online live Bible study, led by scholar Vicki Garvey. Both the Episcopal Migration Ministries and the United Thank Offering have prepared excellent group studies, available for free download. And for those interested in daily reflections on the readings, check out A Journey with John, one of the Bible Challenge series books available from Forward Movement.

This is the third year for the initiative to encourage scripture engagement, led by Forward Movement. Other partners include the Montreal Diocesan Theological College, the Episcopal Asset Map, Building Faith, Episcopal Church Foundation, The Living Church, Forma, GrowChristians.org, ChurchNext, Missional Voices, the Episcopal Church’s communication and evangelism ministries, RenewalWorks, and the dioceses of the Central Gulf Coast and Pennsylvania.

“I look forward to reading John’s Gospel with you,” said Bishop Curry. “May this coming year, this Epiphany—as we celebrate the coming of the wise men—be the coming of new wisdom, new life, and new love as we read John’s Gospel together.”

The Good Book Club website lists the daily readings and partners as well as a variety of resources and formation tools. Spanish resources and information are available here. You can also sign up for a weekly email that previews the coming readings and highlights participants and partners. Organizations, including dioceses, that would like to partner and develop resources for the wider church should contact Richelle Thompson at rthompson@forwardmovement.org.

Forward Movement is a ministry of the Episcopal Church that inspires disciples and empowers evangelists. With offices in Cincinnati, Ohio, Forward Movement offers online resources, digital products, books, pamphlets, and Forward Day by Day. Learn more at www.forwardmovement.org.

For more information, contact Richelle Thompson at rthompson@forwardmovement.org or 513-721-6659, ext. 315.

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: Romans

Dear friends in Christ,

The guiding principle of the Good Book Club is simple (but not easy): When people read scripture, they are transformed. And so are their families and friends, neighborhoods and cities.

By inviting people to read a full book of the Bible, in community with others around the world, we prayed the experience would spur a lifelong spiritual practice of reading scripture — sometimes wrestling with it, often times discovering new insight, and always letting God’s Word be a beacon of light for the journey.

Last year, thousands of us read together the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts, learning and recalling the stories of Jesus and the early days of the Church. Ten days ago, we began the second Good Book Club journey, with Paul’s Letter to the Romans. By most accounts, this book is a harder read. Thanks to Christmas pageants and Charlie Brown, the opening passages of Luke are familiar territory for most. Parables such as of the lost sheep, the Good Samaritan, and the prodigal son helped form our core understanding of faith, and even if we couldn’t recount all of the plot points of Acts, Saul’s conversion is so well-known that a “Road to Damascus” moment is part of our pop-culture lexicon to indicate a sudden turning point.Good Book ClubBut Romans is different. Instead of the stories about what Jesus does, Paul is earnest and insistent about explaining the why: Why was Jesus born? Why did Jesus die? Why does this matter? Paul digs deep into theological principles of justification, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, precepts that scholars and priests have explored, dissected, and debated for centuries.

But at the heart of Romans is the profound and simple (but not easy) truth: We are transformed by God’s grace. Period. Nothing we do or say or strive for can save us from our sinful nature. We are saved only by the grace of an ever-loving God through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

God loves us. God forgives us.

As you continue your journey through Romans (and if you haven’t started, it’s not too late! Join the Good Book Club community), let these two truths be your guide and open yourself to being formed and transformed by God’s Holy Scriptures.

Only God knows what might happen next.

Yours in Christ,

Richelle Thompson
Deputy Director and Managing Editor, Forward Movement

Today’s Flash Sale: Note to Self

Note to SelfDiscover what God has written onto your heart. What do you want for your life? Who do you want to be in your life, and how do you want to live? We humans need reminders, and when it comes to making a consistent effort to be better people, it’s important to have constant reminders. A “Rule of Life” is an ancient method for building soul memory, and offering reminders to ourselves of the person we hope to be—it is a practice of training your mind and soul to be kind and good.

Creating your own rule of life is grace that only you can offer to yourself, helping remind you to live the life you desire, and the life God wishes for you. Join author and Episcopal priest Charles LaFond as he guides you through the wisdom, creation, and application of your own Rule of Life.

Regular: $18
Today: $13.50

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

The Good Book Club: Reading God’s Word Together

By Richelle Thompson
Forward Movement Deputy Director and Managing Editor

Reading scripture changes us. Encounters with God and God’s word transform us. Every time. Whether we’re looking for answers or think we’re doing just fine on our own, God’s word still speaks.

This fundamental and profound truth lies at the heart of the Good Book Club, Forward Movement’s invitation to the church to read the Book of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles together throughout the seasons of Lent and Easter. We believe engaging in scripture brings us into deeper relationship with our Savior—and that reading God’s word together will bring us into closer relationship with one another.

Throughout Lent and Easter, Forward Day by Day will move through Luke and Acts instead of our regular practice of following the lectionary. (Don’t worry: We’ll still offer the lectionary readings on our website.) I am honored to be one of the four featured writers during this time period, alongside talented, faithful colleagues, the Rev. Lindsay Hardin Freeman (March), the Rev. Marcus Halley (April), and Miguel Escobar (May). As always, our Forward Day by Day meditations will be available in Spanish, as a podcast, online, on an app, in Braille, and large print.

In addition, we will offer free downloadable Bible studies for individuals and congregations to explore some of the stories in more depth. We continue the Bible Challenge series with A Journey with Luke and the newly released A Journey through Acts, daily meditations by noted theologians and faith leaders from around the world. With RenewalWorks, we also present a Good Book Club calendar featuring the inspirational and thought-provoking cartoons of the Rev. Jay Sidebotham.

Reading scripture is both deeply personal and an act of community. We invited Episcopal organizations from across the church to partner in the Good Book Club initiative. The response was overwhelming. More than twenty-five organizations stepped up to partner with Forward Movement, committing time and talent to develop resources for the wider church. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry issued a video invitation for all Episcopalians to join the Good Book Club. In my twenty years of local, diocesan, and church-wide work, I have never seen so many organizations come together for common cause. God is doing a new thing indeed.

Episcopal Migration Ministries will offer a special podcast, featuring voices from across the U.S., the church, and the immigrant and refugee community. A blog will accompany the podcast featuring written reflections, art, photography, music, and videos from podcast guests and others. ChurchNext has developed a free, five-course video curriculum for Lent called Luke the Liberator. United Thank Offering (UTO) has prepared a downloadable booklet with meditations on the readings, questions for personal reflection or group discussion, space to keep a gratitude journal, and a story of a ministry supported by UTO. Forma will offer a weekly Faith-at-Home series, featuring reflections and activities for families, and Building Faith will publish a series of articles to help Christian educators and parents read and study Luke and Acts with children and teens. These are just a sampling of the wide variety of resources that offer an opportunity for people to engage wherever they are—geographically, spiritually, emotionally. A full list of the partners is featured below, and links to the resources can be found at www.goodbookclub.org.

In addition to organizations, entire dioceses are onboard, making scripture engagement a priority. So too several congregations have committed to reading and exploring Luke and Acts together. If you’d like for your congregation or organization to be included as a partner or want to know more about how to get involved, send me an email at rthompson@forwardmovement.org.

As we began making plans for this project, we discussed our goals and what success might look like. We have some quantitative and qualitative measures, but we’re also not willing to limit how God might work in and among us. We can only dream and imagine how the Good Book Club might shape and transform us as individuals and as a church. God already knows.

Excerpt from Forward Day by Day, February 2018

Luke 2:10-11. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.

You have probably heard these words dozens of times. Perhaps you were a shepherd clad in an ill-fitting sheet or a young Mary holding a burlap-wrapped baby doll. Maybe, propped on elbows on the family room floor, you watched an earnest Linus tell Charlie Brown—and us—what Christmas is all about. Maybe wax burned your fingers as you held a candle at midnight mass, listening to these words said by a priest or sung by a choir.

Luke’s telling of the birth of Christ is the familiar favorite: The emperor sending out a decree; Joseph and Mary setting out for Bethlehem on a donkey; Jesus sleeping (and crying, I suspect) in a manger.

Whether this is your first or fiftieth time hearing this story, may you meet each telling with wonder and awe. The birth of any child is amazing, but the birth of this one is miraculous. Just twenty-one verses change the course of the world. One story in a sea of stories that is the greatest one ever to be told, offering good news of great joy for all people.

MOVING FORWARD: Read the lesson out loud today. Savor the memories this story calls up for you.

Watch: Presiding Bishop Curry’s Invitation to the Good Book Club

We’re getting really excited about the Good Book Club, the churchwide initiative to read together from the Gospel of Luke and Book of Acts next Lent-Easter.  But don’t listen to us tell it… Here’s Presiding Bishop Curry offering an invitation to the GBC!

Want to learn more? Like the Good Book Club Facebook page for updates during the leadup to the initiative, and head to goodbookclub.org for details on getting your church involved.

Forward Movement Launches the Good Book Club

We’re excited to announce the Good Book Club—a church-wide invitation to all Episcopalians to read Luke and Acts during Lent-Easter 2018. Participants in the Good Book Club will begin reading Luke the Sunday before Lent, February 11, 2018, and finish up the Book of Acts on the Day of Pentecost, May 20, 2018. We hope you’ll join us, and the many churches, individuals and organizations who will be a part of this special project.

Several organizations have already announced partnerships with Forward Movement on the Good Book Club, including Episcopal Church Foundation, ChurchNext, Episcopal Migration Ministries, and The Episcopal Church and Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry. Partner organizations are creating resources or encouraging their constituents to take part in the effort. A list of current partners can be found here.

The Good Book Club website (goodbookclub.org) lists the daily readings, as well as available resources to support people as they read the scriptures. Resources also will be available in Spanish at clubbiblico.org.

And a note to Forward Day by Day readers: Forward Day by Day will use Good Book Club readings during Lent-Easter 2018, instead of the usual daily lectionary.

For now, you can sign up for updates or learn more about partnering with us at goodbookclub.org. We hope you’ll read along with us, and Episcopalians around the globe!