A Year in the Way of Love
Amid a rapidly changing and turbulent world, the church can often lose sight of its reason for existing. Long-established traditions can be lost or changed seemingly overnight; our ability to take solace in familiar patterns and communal care can be upended. When we begin wondering why we are here and what we as the church can do, we might return to the most basic building blocks of our faith. We at The Episcopal Church invite you, your small group, and your congregation to a year (and longer!) of focusing on the Way of Love. When you begin intentionally building on those seven practices – turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, and rest – you can rediscover who you are, what we are here for, and to whom we ultimately belong.
On this page, you will find suggestions for how you can use some of the many Way of Love resources developed since 2018 to turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, and rest over the course of this year. These suggestions can be adapted to your context and ministries, ensuring that, as you pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, you will have the freedom to adapt throughout the year.
Season after Pentecost
Late Summer or Fall 2020
If you already have an existing small group ministry in your congregation, start with our flagship offering, Living the Way of Love in Community. Available in English, Spanish, and French, this nine-session curriculum introduces the seven practices and offers leaders a process for guiding 8-14 people for nine 90-minute sessions, with an option for an additional 30-minutes to gather over a meal. Each session is comprised of prayer, check-in, discussion, practicing the Way of Love, check-out, and worship and includes suggested scripture readings and hymns.
New to small group ministry? Stay tuned for Building an Intentional Small Group Community, resources that provide your congregational leaders – lay and ordained – the building blocks necessary for forming these life-transforming ministry units. After your small group is formed, try Living the Way of Love in Community as a first offering.
Other resources that can be used during this period include our Explore the Way of Love videos and handout primers, which can introduce your congregation and small groups to the basics of each practice. Check out two new books on the Way of Love for the fall: Walking the Way of Love, a collection of lively and practical essays from the Presiding Bishop’s Advisory Group that birthed the Way of Love, curated by Dr. Courtney Cowart; and the Rev. Scott Gunn’s The Way of Love: A Practical Guide for Following Jesus, from our friends at Forward Movement.
November 29 – December 24, 2020
For the season of Advent, Journeying the Way of Love offers four sessions to be explored as we await the coming of Christ by moving through the first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke. Luke’s gospel provides a pattern for understanding how we can live the Way of Love as individuals, as families and friends, as a community, and out in the world. The sessions are specially designed for use during the Christian formation hour before or after worship. Facilitation instructions accommodate small or large groups.
To accompany the Journeying the Way of Love curriculum, individuals, families, and even a whole congregation can use our Advent Calendar, which offers daily suggestions for engaging in the seven practices. The calendar can also be used as a standalone resource– keep at your desk or on your fridge and refer to it every day!
December 25 – January 5, 2021
This Christmas season, enjoy our daily Email retrospective of our favorite Way of Love resources: 12 Days of Love. Sign up for this resource at the bottom of the page here.
January 6 – February 16, 2021
Throughout Easter, join us as individuals, small groups, or congregations as we participate in the Good Book Club. The Good Book Club is an invitation to all Episcopalians to join in reading one full book of the Bible together throughout the season. Brought to you by Forward Movement and consisting of numerous partnerships across The Episcopal Church, this popular offering will soon provide information on 2021’s full offering.
Looking to take a deeper dive into each practice? The Episcopal Diocese of Washington has produced a Way of Love lectionary, including eight propers – one for each practice, along with one focused on what it means to develop a rule of life. This lectionary is also available in Spanish and French.
Lent and Holy Week
February 17 – April 3, 2021
The journey through Lent into Easter is a journey with Jesus. We are baptized into his life, self-giving, and death; then, we rise in hope to life transformed. Using the Life Transformed: The Way of Love in Lent curriculum, small groups and congregations are invited to walk with Jesus in his Way of Love and into the experience of transformed life. Together, we will reflect anew on the loving actions of God as recounted in the Easter Vigil readings. Together, we will walk through the depths of salvation history into the fullness of redemption. Resources include videos, a written curriculum for weekly meetings, a quiet day curriculum, publicity posters, and a daily calendar of scripture and practices for the season.
Looking for a different small group offering? Read Mary Bea Sullivan’s Living the Way of Love: A 40-Day Devotional. Church Publishing, Inc. has graciously provided a facilitator’s guide for the use of this book.
The Way of Love Bible Challenge from our friends at Forward Movement is an excellent 50-day resource that pairs each of the seven practices with a passage of scripture as well as reflections, questions, and prayers written by a variety of faith leaders.
April 4 – May 22, 2021
Focusing on the practice we call “Bless”, invite your small group or congregation to take part in Embracing Evangelism, a six-part digital course exploring our call to seek, name, and celebrate Jesus’ loving presence in the stories of all people – and then invite everyone to more. Each session features teachings on Episcopal evangelism, group discussion, and exercises to help Episcopalians understand the ministry and call to evangelism. The full Embracing Evangelism series consists of six video sessions, each under 45 minutes.
Coming in early 2021 is The Way of Love in the Garden, an expanded companion piece to Good News Gardens. As the growing season begins, individuals and small groups are invited to create a community of people with the ability to plant gardens of all sizes and kinds together – from small pots of herbs to hundreds of acres of corn – in order to share the love of Christ through word and action, food and labor.
Of particular interest is Thy Kingdom Come, “a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray for more people to come to know Jesus.” Launched initially by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, this movement has expanded across the world and is marked by special prayer devotions between Ascension Day and Pentecost (May 13 – 23, 2021).
Pentecost and the Season after Pentecost
May 23 – November 27, 2021
Be on the lookout for upcoming resources from The Episcopal Church for this season. Offerings will include a curriculum based on the practices of Bless and Go, a Way of Love Vacation Bible School, special Creation Care programming, and more. Be sure to check out our ministry fair and back-to-school resources, too!
All Season Resources
A number of our Way of Love resources are appropriate for use any time throughout the year:
The Very Best Day: The Way of Love for Children – Roger Hutchison’s delightful and beautiful book is an excellent resource for teaching children and families about each practice of the Way of Love. Also available are a discussion and activities page produced by the Rev. Lauren Villemuer-Drenth and downloadable coloring pages.
The Way of Love for Families: Practices for a Jesus-Centered Life – This free download from Church Publishing offers ideas for how families with children can walk the Way of Love together.
Little Books of Guidance – This series of seven books from Church Publishing is devoted to helping you better understand, follow, and build upon the Way of Love.
Explore the Way of Love – A set of seven videos and handouts describing each of the practices of the Way of Love, along with practical tips about how an individual, small group, and congregation can get started and go deeper in each.
Traveling the Way of Love – With this video series, you can join host Chris Sikkema as he meets Episcopalians and others across the Church who practice the Way of Love. Use our Season 1 Guide with your small group to reflect on each episode.