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Resolution Redux

When I was younger I thought it was very convenient that Lent came around just about the time I realized that I had completely failed at my New Year's Resolutions. It was like a second chance to start over with whatever plan I had optimistically started in January. 

It wasn't until I was in college that I started to think that perhaps there needed to be more to Lenten disciplines than just food or other aesthetic, outward, and ultimately shallow attempts to change my life. (It could also have to do with the year I watched my roommate attempt to give up cursing.)

For those of us who work in the spiritual realm in some capacity - full time, part time, occasionally, paid, volunteer - a Lenten discipline can feel like one more thing on the work "to do" list or an additional stressor in an already stressful occupation. This year I'm asking myself "What gift do I need to give myself for the next 7 weeks? What special treat can I take part in daily that will remind me of the sweetness of God? What activity might bring me closer to God?"

Perhaps it's time to take advantage of the Episcopal Church's generous Employee Assistance Program (for anyone working 30 hours a week or more) and get 10 free visits with a therapist for Lent. Are there friends you haven't seen in a while? Reach out to them and make plans to meet up. If you sometimes, like me, have trouble finding ways to pray the daily office every day - try the new podcast from Forward Movement called A Morning at the Office. Another online daily prayer and meditation option, Pray As You Go is available online and through their own app. Do you need to spend 15 minutes a day outside in the fresh air just breathing? 

Further down in this newsletter we have other Lenten options from our Resource Center and Amy gathered a handy list of online options. So many options that I know I'll need to really think about which to choose. 

Or maybe I'll just try to give up cursing for Lent. 
- Caren 

Amy Cook
Faith Formation
Working Group Head
Caren Miles
Associate for Faith Formation
Whole & Healthy Church Coordinator

Amy's Online Lenten Resources

Lent is such a rich season for learning about faith. Fortunately, many in our church have a built-in expectation of a class, program, or special observations of the season that they are ready to participate. Others may not be used to this but appreciate the invitation to experience a season of spiritual practice and learning. A Lenten devotion or study can help us turn towards God and live out our faith more fully in the world. Studies provide ways to engage both in our church and in our communities. Whether reflection, service, contemplation or study, all these resources can be a vital part of church vitality and growth. Use them to their fullest!

The Presiding Bishop’s office has released Life Transformed – The Way of Love in Lent. This program includes 8 videos, 7 sessions for adults, a Lenten Quiet Day model, and a Lenten calendar. 

Living Compass offers a wonderful Devotion with readings for each day. Living Well through Lent 2020: Practicing Courage with all your Heart, Soul, Strength and Mind. This booklet can be purchased as a hard copy, downloaded for free, or folks can sign up to receive a daily email. There is also a free, downloadable leader guide for a weekly discussion group. Available in Spanish.  

Episcopal Relief and Development offers Lenten Meditations for 2020 that encourages readers to actively seek the holy every day during Lent by reflecting on God’s call, their own lives, and how they can live out their Baptismal Covenant by healing a hurting world. The booklets are free with a shipping charge, or participants can sign up for daily emails. Also available in Spanish

I have always enjoyed Lent Madnessa cross between March Madness and Holy Women, Holy Men. Each day two saints are pitted against each other and readers vote on which saint they like the best. One saint eventually wins the “Golden Halo.” It is fun, educational, cheeky, and can lead to in depth study of those whose lives of faith provide a great example for us. 

Focus on the Environment: Pledge for the Care of Creation, Last year, your Diocesan Faith Formation team wrote a reflection piece to go with the Presiding Bishop’s Pledge for the Care of Creation.  Consider Studying the Pledge, and then using the Reflection Guide over Lent. There are also Spanish translations of both the pledge and guide.

For more Resources and programs for all ages, check out Amy's newly-updated Pinterest Pages on Lent and Easter

Following up on our theme from Diocesan Convention last October, we ask congregations to explore the repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery.  At General Convention in 2009, the Episcopal Church repudiated and renounced the Doctrine of Discovery - a set of legal and ecclesiastical documents and policies which gave the full blessing and sanction of the Church to the colonizing dispossession (genocide) of the Indigenous peoples and lands of the Americas.  This study was created by the Presiding Bishop’s office for Lent 2012, but the material is still very important and relevant.  If your congregation did not explore this issue when it first came out, we encourage you to use this material during Lent. Our Beloved Community Training on March 7 at Grace Cathedral will feature a keynote on this topic.

From the Resource Center: Ideas for Lent

The Diocese of California shares a resource center with the Diocese of El Camino Real. It is a treasure trove of book, videos, curricula, and more. You don't have to drive there to take advantage of all the wonderful things they have. The online catalog can be used to request items be shipped to you. It's so easy!

Marcus Borg: Beyond Belief 2019 Just Arrived
A six session DVD study that contains favorite moments, core teachings and extensive never-before seen material of Marcus Borg from the LtQ archives plus commentary from Rev. Marianne Borg.
1. Centered in the Spirit, 2. Meeting Jesus Again, 3. Followers of the Way, 4. Reading the Bible, 5. An Emerging Way, 6. Beyond Belief.
John: The Gospel of Light and Life by Adam Hamilton 2015
This Lent, adults, youth, and children alike can experience a season of spiritual growth and life-changing renewal in Adam Hamilton’s 6 week, DVD-series, John: The Gospel of Light and Life. You’ll follow the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus through the Gospel of John and understand the context of some of the best-known verses in the New Testament. The Leader Guide contains everything needed to guide a group through the Bible study program including session plans and discussion questions. This guide centers on the book, the videos, and Scripture.
Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons by Jan Richardson 2015
"Within the struggle, joy, pain, and delight that attend our life, there is an invisible circle of grace that enfolds and encompasses us in every moment. Blessings help us to perceive this circle of grace, to find our place of belonging within it, and to receive the strength the circle holds for us." -from the Introduction Beginning in Advent and moving through the sacred seasons of the Christian year, Circle of Grace offers Jan's distinctive and poetic blessings that illuminate the treasures each season offers to us.

Still Looking for a Summer Youth Group Trip?
join us for the Episcopal Youth Event - July 7-11, 2020

This summer Episcopal Youth from across the church will gather at the University of Maryland for the triennial Episcopal Youth Event. Youth participants must be currently enrolled high school students in 9th, 10th, 11, or 12th grade during the 2019/20 school year. They must be a minimum of 15 years old by July 7, 2020, and no older than 19 by that same date.

The diocese is focused on making the trip as financially easy as possible. The cost for each youth will be $450.
We will also need one adult chaperone for every six youth.

For questions - email Caren -

Beloved Community Training & Vestry Day
Save the Date 


Join us for this important lay leadership training day on Saturday, March 7 at Grace Cathedral. There will be tracks for vestry, financial staff, children & youth ministry, eucharistic minister & visitor training, and other great learning opportunities.

When: Saturday, March 7
Where: Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
Registration: Will open on February 1
Contact: Amy Cook 

 Start Planning Your VBS Now 

January 30 the Center for Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary will offer a Special Edition: VBS Webinar at 12:00 p.m. It is time to begin planning! The special time will allow those who wish to continue discussing VBS to join Lifelong Learning's Christian Formation & Discipleship online "office hours." Register here

Rooted in Jesus 2020 - DioCal Meet Up

Are you going to Rooted in Jesus in Atlanta at the end of this month?
Let's meet up as a Diocese (or even just say 'Hi' to the DioStaff. We'll probably buy you a beverage.)

Email Caren Miles to let us know that you're going and we'll let you all know about a DioCal meet up at some point. 

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