So much to do, read, grieve, pray about and celebrate on this 50th observance of Earth Day:
Shalem Institute‘s Ann Dean leads Contemplative Earth Awareness; ELCA clergywoman Leah Schade brings us a free downloadable 10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day at Home (Chalice) and James Gustave Speth & Peter Denton encourage us to Imagine a Joyful Economy (Wood Lake).
To care for creation, we must care for others, our congregations and ourselves.
A humorous help in building empathy is Brant Hansen’s The Truth about Us: The Very Good News about How Very Bad We Are (Baker Book); or for fostering empathy in our youngest readers, Susan Nielsen’s No Fixed Address (Penguin) explores how easy it is to fall through the cracks, and the power of friends and community to make all the difference; to inspire socio-political engagement, check out the free facebook screening of American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel (Butler Films) and Smartphone Society: Technology, Power and Resistance in the New Gilded Age (Beacon); for hope – and tools – in the midst of division, Michael T. McRay’s I Am Not Your Enemy: Stories to Transform a Divided World (MennoMedia).
Build up congregational life in times of transition with Colby Martin’s The Shift: Surviving and Thriving after Moving from Conservative to Progressive Christianity (Broadleaf); F. Douglas Powe’s The Adept Church: Navigating between a Rock and a Hard Place (Abingdon); Bird and Vanderbloemen’s Next: Pastoral Succession that Works (Baker).
For youth group discussions, you might try Ashima Shiraishi’s How to Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion (Penguin) or for families with young ones, Milton’s well-liked, The Family Story Bible 3rd Edition (Wood Lake) or Jabari Jumps (Penguin).
Resources for developing your own and your congregation’s spiritual life are coming out in droves. Check out:
For your congregation: Steve Wiens‘ Shining Like the Sun: Seven Mindful Practices for Rekindling Your Faith (Broadleaf) draws from a variety of major world religions and Manish Mishra-Marzetti and Jennifer Kelleher offer Conversations with the Sacred: A Collection of Prayers (Skinner House).
For leaders’ spiritual and mental well-being, please take advantage of any one or more of the following:
Chaplain Naomi Paget offers a free pdf download (10 years in the making), Ministry during Pandemic: Awareness to Implementation (Judson), with tools to increase awareness, make preparations, and implement strategies for ministry, even (and especially) while under stay-at-home mandates and self-quarantines; Dr. Jessica Young Brown shares Making Space at the Well: Mental Health and the Church (Judson), which uses the biblical motif of the village well to encourage supportive mental health ministries and pastoral care skills; LeaderWise hosts conversations on navigating fears and finding new ways to breathe every Thursday at noon; and this week’s Faith+Lead Faithful Adaptation webinar features Beverly Wallace on the topic of Rethinking Death, Distance, and Resurrection.