Six New Things – Week of January 08, 2024

Happy New Year!

We hope somewhere in (or after) the bustle of Advent and Christmas you found room for rest and renewal and that the New Year has begun with some hope!

I received two phone calls in one day from clergy looking for Lenten resources to foster spiritual resilience and reconciling conversations in the midst of and preparatory to a challenging 2024. I’m working on a toolkit to respond to these requests more fully, but in the meantime: the Spirit provides!!

ONE

I missed Cindy Lee’s Our Unforming: De-Westernizing Spiritual Formation (Fortress), back in 2022, so I’m grateful, How Churches Can Become Places of Healing, introduced the book by naming realities and concerns of decreasing congregational participation and leader burn-out and graciously moving toward healing and new life – for leaders, congregations, and communities.

Find additional resources for Revamping Faith Formation in our lib guide.

TWO

As Lee writes, congregations become places of healing by becoming safe spaces where difficult conversations can happen. This isn’t always easy.*

PACEO offers their extremely timely, Curriculum on Antisemitism from a Framework of Collective Liberation.

Find additional resources for navigating the Israel & Palestine conflict in our lib guide.

THREE

Minnesota Mental Health Professionals Say Climate Concerns Driving Patients to Depression (Minnesota Reformer), underscores Lee’s call for a shift in faith formation by urging faith communities to tend to the whole-person well-being of young people – and/or all of us. Kara Root’s Receiving This Life: Practicing the Deepest Belonging (Fortress) pairs ‘prayers and liturgies with …devotional essays’ to open up topics ranging from ‘death, disillusionment, sabbath, [and] hope’, and foster connections.

Find additional support for Pastoral Care in the areas of Mental Health & Addiction in our lib guide.

FOUR

Ready to move from dialogue to experience? Connect with Black voices and Black experience in worship and spiritual practices with Cole Arther Riley’s Black Liturgies (Penguin Random House). Pre-order now, and receive a free multi-media collage by the author.

Find other excellent sources of Meditation & Poetry and liturgical elements for Lament & Justice in our lib guides.

FIVE

What Makes You Bloom: Cultivating a Practice for Connecting with Your Divine Self (Broadleaf) will help folx, ‘say goodbye to toxic theology, bigotry, and harm’, while encouraging connection ‘with the Divine already inside’ by ‘cultivating meaningful spiritual practices that help [folx] heal from the past, tap into the present, and imagine a delicious future’.

Find additional Spiritual Practices resources in our Meaning & True Self lib guide.

SIX

This all started with requests for Lent resources: they’re showing up everywhere! Recent favorites include:

Find additional Lenten Devotionals, Lent & Easter Worship resources, and Children & Family Faith Formation ideas in our lib guides.

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If none of these are for you, please call (651.279.1677) or send an email (ministrylab@unitedseminary.edu) and I’ll connect you with resources tailor-fit to your context.

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*Kudos to leaders who are actively working on making safe spaces for all kinds of difficult conversations. We support your efforts and hope you’ll join us for our Trauma-Informed Ministry Workshop Series, (beginning January 11). Learn more and register here.

If you’re not ready for challenging discussions, yet, members can access free one-on-one consultations and/or lower-fee facilitation of the Innovation Culture Index and/or Ministry Transformation Labs – all tools for moving congregations toward greater resilience and systemic change.