Lent starts soon, so let’s look at “Where We Meet: A Lenten Study of Systems, Stories, and Hopes” for individual or congregational study.
Lenten Study Time!
Lent is the annual observance of 40 days of reflection during the weeks leading up to Easter, including the Last Supper with the Disciples on Maundy Thursday, the death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday, and the in-between waiting space of Holy Saturday.
The church traditionally considers 40 days to be a manageable time to commit to a new rhythm of worship, justice, service, and study. Thus Lenten Studies are often popular as settling in with new perspectives for 40 days is the right amount of time to commit to experiencing a new perspective.
For Lent 2024, I’m committing to “Where We Meet: A Lenten Study of Systems, Stories, and Hopes,” a new publication by some folks who I already know and respect and look forward to spending each week learning from.
What’s this Lenten Study About?
From their promotions: Jesus devoted himself to uplifting the poor, reaching out to the marginalized, and fearlessly challenging systems of oppression. His message resounded with the promise of liberation, equality, and inclusion for all, and he implored his followers to pursue the same. However, the church has often struggled to reflect this good news in its own actions.
In Where We Meet, four United Methodist clergy invite you to immerse yourself in the stories of Jesus and the early church. Together, they also explore their own stories, examine past shortcomings of the church, address difficult questions, and envision a brighter future that better reflects the good news of Jesus.
I’m excited about the weekly themes of equity, post-colonialism, diversity, contextuality, and innovation to spur creative thinking of how to implement the stories in my context!
About the Authors
Four United Methodist clergy with excellent locations and histories led this compilation project.
I admit my bias: I’ve been a fan of Tyler Sit since meeting Tyler in 2012, and then supporting Tyler’s leadership in the Liberation Project in The United Methodist Church (see coverage here) since 2020, including having Tyler preach at my church virtually during the pandemic.
But here are the four principal authors (and they include some other guest authors as well, including several friends of the blog! Wahoo!).
- Rev. Rachel Gilmore is a published author and contributor to multiple books on church planting and was most formerly the Director of Recruiting, Training, and Assessing church planters for The United Methodist Church. Rachel lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, two kids and two dogs, where they serve as a clergy couple to revitalize Central United Methodist Church.
- Rev. Dr. Candace M. Lewis is the 17th President/Dean of Gammon Theological Seminary and the first woman elected to this role in the school’s 138-year history. She’s an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and has been in full-time ministry for 25 years.
- Rev. Tyler Sit is the church planter of New City Church, a community in Minneapolis led mostly by queer people of color. Sit is a second-generation Chinese-American, trained community organizer, and United Methodist pastor.
- Rev. Matt Temple serves as the Associate Director of New Church Starts for the North Texas Annual Conference in The United Methodist Church.
Local Church Use
My local church already produces an annual daily Lenten devotional written by our members, so sadly we won’t be doing a congregational book study on this devotional.
But I’ll be reading it weekly because it has greatly informed my sermon series for Lent. As a preacher, each week I’ll walk through the principle subjects of the book, learning more about a future that seeks to be equitable, post-colonial, diverse, contextual, and innovative, led by pastors who have practiced and implemented all these things.
So there are many ways to use it for personal, congregational, or preaching resources. Wow!
Purchase / Launch Party / Promo Code
- On January 24th at 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern, the authors will be on a live Zoom broadcast to promote the book. You can sign up here for the zoom conversation.
- You can buy the book at Upper Room Books. There is a free sample to download to get a taste of the book.
- If you prefer Kindle or Amazon purchases, here’s that link too (affiliate link)
The book comes with my glowing endorsement. I received a copy of the book from the publisher…after I had already bought it on launch day! So this article is spurred on by wanting to help promote it because I already believe in it.
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