Six New Things – Week of January 22, 2024

Avoid ‘liturgical whiplash’ in this brief Season between Epiphany and an early Easter: we’re here to help you get ready for African American History Month, this year’s Ash Wednesday/Valentine’s Day combo, and Lent.


Cudjo Lewis was the last living survivor of the Atlantic human trade – fifty years after it had been outlawed. Zora Neale Thurston’s telling of his story is carefully adapted for young readers by Ibram X. Kendi and illustrator Jazzmen Lee-Johnson in Barracoon: Adapted for Young Readers (Amistad Books for Young Readers). An important read anytime, and perfect for African American Heritage Month (Feb.1-March 1).

Find more for Children and Families in our Anti-Racism: History of Race in America lib guide.


Through the Eyes of Titans: Finding Courage to Redeem the Soul of a Nation: Images of Pastoral Care and Leadership, Self-Care, and Radical Love in Public Spaces (Cascade), invites readers to humanize figures such as Ida B. Wells, Fannie Lou Hamer, Benjamin Elijah Mays, and Martin Luther King Jr., so that their ‘practices of self-care and introspection’ might be emulated in our own lives to ‘equip us in continuing the ongoing work of dismantling structures of racial hatred and oppression, and promoting freedom, love, equity, and justice to redeem the soul of a nation’.

Find additional resources for spiritual resilience in our Contemplative Activism lib guide.


Speaking of resilience: The Perpetual Pivot: Ministry in the Pandemic and Beyond (Wipf and Stock), argues that clergy are contemporary unsung heroes, recounting, ‘stories about the sacrifices they made and the heroism they displayed, as well as the lessons… clergy learned – lessons that will shape the future of faith’.

The Ministry Lab has partnered with Innovation Lab to bring member congregations the Innovation Culture Index and Ministry Transformation Labs, at significantly reduced cost. Send us an email to explore sharing either or both with your congregation.


Gretta Vosper is ‘passionate about the work of capturing the “off-label benefits” of religion for individuals and communities for which religious belief or practice is no longer meaningful’. A Conversation with Gretta Vosper: ‘Falling in Love with Being Together: The Church’s Role Beyond Being Church’ (Convergence) is a free recording of inspiring ways congregations can engage their communities beyond worship- and membership-oriented invitation and doctrinal or belief-based expectations.

Find additional inspiration for Adaptive Leadership, Reorienting, and Restructuring in our Reimagining Church lib guides.


Leaders who know they need to continue to pivot and find new ways to invite and engage young people may find Youth Beyond the Developmental Lens: Being over Becoming (Fortress) informative; it affirms that those who work with youth will ‘find an antidote to anxiety about the future of the church, [reminding us that] God is here already. Our call is simply to be.’

Find further wisdom about ministry with Tweens and Teens in our lib guide.


And if you’re still preparing for Lent, fear not: Embody Lent… in 29 Yoga Postures (Wild Goose) promises an embodied approach to the Season through ‘classical Hatha Yoga practice and Christian spirituality’.

And/or, join us for a Pop-Up Lent Planning (Wed., Jan. 31; 12:00/noon): Musician (and my mom) Maddy Lawrence and I would love to have folx join us for mutual inspiration and resourcing. We’re planning a Lenten season we hope will equip our congregation with spiritual resilience so we can become a safe space for courageous conversations throughout what will likely be a highly divisive and contentious election year. Let’s prepare together!

No registration necessary; learn more here. Wednesday, January 31, 2024 – 12:00/noon CT.