Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Discernment/Reconciliation Resources

These suggestions are from Sharon Ely Pearson, Christian Formation Specialist
Church Publishing Incorporated/Morehouse Education Resources based in Norwalk, CT:

Some resources that come to my mind with this thread and conversation:

For discernment:
Renovare - a group that focuses on spiritual formation "becoming like Jesus" http://www.renovare.us/
Listening Hearts Ministries http://www.listeninghearts.org/index.htm

For reconciliation:
Episcopal Peace Fellowship - lots of prayers and resources, including litanies: http://epfnational.org/
Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation (lots of focus on world poverty and the MDGs): http://www.e4gr.org/news/prayers/index.html

I also think of the work and ministry of Parker Palmer http://www.couragerenewal.org/ and Eric Law with the Kaleidoscope Institute http://www.losangelesdiocese.org/ki/

Peace, Sharon

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Free Web-based Bible Study Resource from AF!

I received this email from Beth Lewis, CEO of Augsburg Fortress. This is an offer no one can refuse!

You asked for it....we've got it!

Over and over again, I have heard questions like these from people throughout the country:

"Does AF offer a web-based Bible study program?  We have members who want to participate in Bible study, but can't because they are  ___________.  The blank is filled in with a variety of phrases:

"too busy"

"traveling with their work"

"parents of young children who can't afford weekly babysitters"

"web-oriented and much more comfortable with the Internet than with traditional forms of reading and study."

You asked....we've got it!  Starting this Sunday, September 5, we are launching a FREE year-long  on-line  Bible study via our Lutheran Study Bible Facebook page!   Each day, we will post that day's reference from the very popular (and much requested) Bible Reading Plan (Survey Path) from our Lutheran Study Bible.  This will be an exciting year-long journey through the Bible!  

How can you participate?

You may journey through this Bible study on your own;

Or, with a small group;

Or, through your campus ministry;

Or, with your family and friends who live miles apart from one another;

Or, as a congregational activity;

Or, as a chaplain with the men and women in the armed forces with whom you serve.

The key is to participate!  And, we'd love to hear from you.  How are you using this new on-line Bible study resource?  We are confident that you'll have some creative ideas to share with us.

Thanks for asking for this new resource!  Be sure you let us know what else is on your "faith formation & worship resources wish list."  We're listening and trying very hard to meet the needs of your community of faith!



Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

Practicing Discernment

Mike Woods (pastor at Prince of Peace, LaCrescent, MN) has asked some questions about ways of doing spiritual discernment in congregations. Mike notes that Diana Butler Bass writes in her book "Christianity for the Rest of Us" that next to hospitality, discernment is among the most widely spread spiritual practice in the churches Butler researched (churches that currently are thriving). Mike started a list and would like more input. Please could each of you give this some thought and add to the list?

Some ways discernment is being practiced in faith communities:
1. A church whose council uses consensus rather than Robert's Rules to govern their work
2. Same church elects council members during worship in the fall using an ecclesial ballot
3. Churches that practice group spiritual direction (do you know of any?)
4. Churches that sponsor mornings for listening (do you know of any?)
5. Churches that create meditation spaces: places to sit, read, reflect, journal, walk a labyrinth, etc. Some churches do this during Advent or Lent.
6. Churches that gather groups around a few "beautiful questions" (Mike is really good at this!) to discern what God is already doing among them and what God is calling them to be in their neighborhoods
7. Churches that begin worship with a long silence (more than 60 seconds) so that together "we create a space and an attentiveness to the God who has called us together and is present to bless us"
8. Pastoral modeling of spiritual formation is central (do you know pastors who make this a priority, have spiritual directors, etc.?)

We ask for your thoughts on this subject and please post in comments or on the site. Thanks!

An up-date on Washed and Welcome

"Washed and Welcome" - a new family of resources is on the horizon.
The first phase of the resources focuses on families of infants and young children who are being baptized. The second phase will focus on adults - but planning is only just beginning for this.

By the end of November, we'll see three new items:
First, a "Sourcebook" of resources including
a) 5 different approaches for a pastor to use in preparing families for a baptism (using the Catechism, walking through the ELW, walking through scripture passages, using Dan Erlander's "Let the Children Come" and a suggested way to involve youngsters who are infants in preparation for their own baptism;
b) short, practical background pieces - also for pastors;
c) customizable handouts for sponsors and parents
d) reproducible bulletin inserts

Second, a book "Living the Promises of Baptism: 101 Ideas for Parents"
This is a small, illustrated volume that will look more like a gift book than a theological book; it has short suggestions for ways that families can act on the promises they make during a baptism for children from infancy to age 12; suggestions are in categories like "meal, play, bedtime, celebrating the seasons."

Third, a certificate for godparents. The certificate includes some simple ways that godparents can carry out the promises they have made during the child's baptism.

Then, next spring we will see a board book for infants and toddlers, "Welcome, Child of God." It's written by Anne Ylvisaker, and the text can be sung to the tune "All Through the Night." Illustrated by Claudia McGehee (who also illustrated "Living the Promises of Baptism." See her work at www.claudiaillustration.blogspot.com)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Releases

The new Hymnal Companion for the ELW is due to be released this week. Sample pages are on the Augsburg web site store.

Also, the volumes are finished for the series of introductions and alternate accompaniments for the ELW for piano and for organ - 10 volumes each, and there is a discount for anyone who purchases the 10 volume set.

Hymns for ensembles - instrumental arrangements for about 100 hymns, score and CD-ROM so that musicians can print the parts they need for their instruments will be released in mid-October.

Simplified Keyboard liturgies, with guitar chords is coming in early 2011.

Lots of new items to make worship planning more exciting!
We will soon receive our copy of "The Greatest Story", complete with a dvd. This is a 16-session basic Introduction to the Bible, that covers Genesis to Revelation. Key people, places and events are introduced in an easy-to-understand story. \

Participants are invited to explore where they fit in the greatest story and how the greatest story fits in their lives. The Lutheran Study Bible is at the core of each lesson, introducing participants to the Bible through stories, illustrations, and reflections. Each session is visually depicted through captivating session videos that feature the sand art of renowned artist Joe Castillo.

The Greatest Story can come alive for you and your congregation as you share the great stories of faith.

Watch for new resources!

There are some great new resources coming from Augsburg Fortress:
Washed and Welcome - Baptismal formation materials in four parts. The first three parts are due toward the end of November. This publication will deal with families with infants and young children because those are the ones most commonly baptized. It will have a Baptism Sourcebook with a CD-ROM and there will be a full-color smaller sized book to give to parents or sponsors with 101 Ideas for remembering, celebrating, continuing the rite of baptism.
The fourth part will come in the spring and will deal with adult baptisms.
Be sure to watch this site for news of its arrival. Get your name on the list to preview this new, long awaited material.