This week is all about the building blocks of community:

One

Friendship, kindness, compassion, love, and creative problem-solving all come together in Fiona Helps a Friend (Zondervan), the latest in the Cincinnati Zoo series based on their beloved hippopotamus, Fiona.

Find additional resources for developing loving kindness in our Faith, Love, Compassion, Forgiveness and our Bullying & Friendship lib guides.

Two

Deepen empathy and awareness amongst young adults and adults with Lenny Duncan‘s personal account in The United States of Grace: A Memoir of Homelessness, Addiction, Incarceration, and Hope (Broadleaf), which reveals ‘the joy and resilience of those places in this country many call “the margins”‘.

Three

Equip continued justice work with activist Terence Lester’s inspiring When We Stand: The Power of Seeking Justice Together (IVP), which acknowledges that changing the world alone is hard, but mobilizing and acting together “empowers us to do what we can’t do as isolated individuals”.

Four

Lend that justice work intentionality and focus through “better… conversations about racism”, with Anxious to Talk about It: Helping White People Talk Faithfully about Racism, Second Edition (Chalice); the video introduction may prompt interest, so you may find the Small Group Study Guide helpful.

Written in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Dear White Peacemakers: Dismantling Racism with Grit and Grace (Herald), draws on the Sermon on the Mount, Spirituals, and author Rev. Osheta Moore’s personal stories of serving in St Paul, MN, as it offers a story of shalom in the midst of the “urgent work of anti-racism peacemaking“.

We are constantly updating our Anti-Racism lib guides for Children & Parents, Tweens & Teens, and Young Adults & Adults so you can find more inspiring conversation- and action-starters.

Five

The act of lament – individually and collectively – is essential to communal health. In Rev. Abby Norman‘s You Can Talk to God Like That: The Surprising Power of Lament to Save Your Faith (Broadleaf), find tools and gracious permission to express grief, admit wrongs, name problems – and create space to heal, grow, and develop a deeper relationship with one another and God in the process.

Let lament take form with An Interactive Prayer for Acknowledging Our Losses from April Fiet or through Matt Stone’s full Liturgy for Regathering in a Sanctuary.

Find additional resources for thinking about and creating post-Covid worship in our Worship: Covid Considerations and Reimagining Church: Rethinking Worship lib guides.

Six

Clergy and faith leader health is also on everyone’s minds: Church Anew has created a new video series, Church Chats, which will address practical challenges facing congregations in 2021, beginning with Rev. Vern Christopherson of Zumbro Lutheran (Rochester, MN), discussing clergy exhaustion and burnout and how to take care of yourself and your staff for the long haul.

Find additional tools for self-care in our Personal Care for Care-Givers lib guide; participate in our Midweek Retreat for weekly rest and renewal; or join our Round Table for affirmation, encouragement, and sharing Great Ideas across ministry areas and congregational settings.

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Rest, healing, and hope are my prayer for you, beautiful leaders, as you continue to develop God’s Beloved Community right where you serve.