Augsburg Fortress
One Mission Blog - reflections on the ministry of publishing

“We are church together….” Presiding Bishop Liz Eaton at Augsburg Fortress

August 22nd, 2014 by Beth A. Lewis

Yesterday, Presiding Bishop Liz Eaton spent much of the day on her first visit to Augsburg Fortress.  I was attending the sessions via conference phone from Arizona, but from what I heard, the energy, enthusiasm and high regard was mutual from my colleagues to her and from her for my colleagues and their work!

Bishop Liz spent time with the entire staff sharing her vision for the ELCA framed as “We are church, we are Lutheran, we are church together, and we are church for the sake of the world.”  She went on to share her hope that the resources created by Augsburg Fortress, sparkhouse and Fortress Press can be used to nurture this vision of the ELCA through congregations, synods, the churchwide office and other ministries.  I promised to provide her with a quarterly update with new resources highlighted for her that we think will fit well into this framework.

In addition to the large group meetings, Bishop Liz toured our new office.  She reported to our staff (most of whom haven’t seen it yet) “you are going to love it!”  She especially commented on the fact that it was a gray day in Minneapolis yesterday, but the light streamed in through the floor to ceiling windows.  We’re looking forward to having Bishop Liz come back to bless our new space sometime after we move into it in early October.

My colleagues didn’t just listen to Bishop Liz speak and ask her questions while she was with them.  They put her to work!  (I love this about them!)  While with us, she signed her publishing agreement for her work as a writer for our forthcoming Sundays and Seasons: Preaching resource.

Bishop Eaton signing AF contrace







Bishop Eaton and Bob Farlee






During lunch with our directors (department leaders) and executives, my sparkhouse colleagues shared some of their new faith formation resources for congregations including “show and tell” of the new Whirl bibles and a screening of some of the Whirl videos and animate series videos.  I loved hearing the laughter and follow up conversation as Bishop Liz talked about her enthusiasm for the creative ways the Whirl Sunday School curriculum will teach children (and their parents) about the seasons of the church year and Revised Common Lectionary in entertaining but theologically solid ways. She also commented on how important this shared experience of using RCL can be in helping promote the “we are church together” portion of her framing of the ELCA and the ELCA in partnership with our full communion partner denominations, many of whom also use Whirl.

Bishop Eaton and Whirl Story Bible







Bishop Eaton lunch with AF Directors and Executives 2







Bishop Eaton with AF Directors and Executives






At that same lunch, my Fortress Press colleagues shared some of our new resources for assisting seminary students as they enter into their field of study and stay with them as valuable resources as they move into their careers including our new Reading Theologically by Eric Barretto, part of our new Foundations for Learning series; and Fortress Commentary on the Bible, a two-volume set that will be published in October.

It was a delight to have Bishop Liz meet my colleagues, share her vision and learn more about our ministry of publishing.  We look forward to making this a regular part of her travels to the Twin Cities!







Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

Behind the scenes of work on a Lutheran/Catholic parish resource!

August 21st, 2014 by Beth A. Lewis

I’m so excited to share a behind the scenes view of a collaborative project that is happening this week!

In anticipation of the observance of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, a group of Lutherans and Roman Catholics have been working on a collaborative writing project this week with Augsburg Fortress and Liturgical Press.  The project is called One Hope.  The collaborative writing project is being facilitated by Adam Hyde, founder of Book Sprints.

What will it look like?  We don’t know.  Will it be a book? curricula? We don’t know.  Will it be published in 2014?  2015?  We don’t know.  Why don’t we know these basic things? Because the innovative methodology of BookSprints brings together talented teachers and writers to conceive of and create an engaging and helpful resource in one week!  This is quite different from the usual timeline for creating congregational/parish resources!

One Hope Project[1]








The goal of the One Hope project is to develop a resource for congregations and parishes that inspires new forms of understanding and unity between Roman Catholics and Lutherans.  Additionally—and in the spirit of the Reformation—the group seeks to use new forms of collaborative writing and publishing technology to develop the resource.

Participants in the project include talented, faith-filled theologians, teachers, clergy, lay people, and writers (3 Lutheran and 3 Catholic)

Ms. Julie Aageson (Retired, Coordinator, ELCA Resource Centers/Director, Eastern ND Synod Resource Center)

Dr. John Borelli (Georgetown University)

Abbot John Klassen (St. John’s Abbey)

Dr. Derek Nelson (Wabash College)

Dr. Martha Stortz (Augsburg College)

Dr. Jessica Wrobleski (Wheeling Jesuit University)

In addition, there is one staff representative each from Augsburg Fortress/sparkhouse and one from Liturgical Press, Tim Paulson and Barry Hudock.

Here are a few more photos of the team at work:




































Check back for more information on this resource and how you can use it in your community in the future.

Thanks to my Augsburg Fortress/ELCA colleagues and our Liturgical Press/Roman Catholic colleagues for this important work!  And, thank you to Adam Hyde of BookSprints for facilitating the effort!










Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

August 19 countdown….

August 19th, 2014 by Beth A. Lewis

August 19.  How did it get to be more than halfway through the month of August already?

Aug 19


If you are a congregational leader busy getting ready for the return of kids to Sunday School, youth to confirmation, and adults to small group bible study, you have plenty on your “to do” list, I’ll bet!

One of those things might be to make certain that everyone in each person in every age group has a bible that will make their interaction with Scripture engaging.  My colleagues who work on the creation of innovative curricula and the bibles to accompany them have expertise that will help you.

They study and keep up with brain research so that they know what types of pedagogical aids will assist learners at all ages and stages of development interact with the text for maximum learning, retention and faith development. Techniques such as use of color, stickers, call outs, and cross-referencing are intentionally built into the bibles we publish.

To help you with your selection and purchase of high quality and engaging bibles for the fall, we have a special offer for you through September 19!  With the purchase of a minimum of ten copies of select bibles published by Augsburg Fortress or sparkhouse, you receive FREE SHIPPING!  When you think of how heavy bibles are when packed in a box, this is a big deal!

In addition, we offer our standard sliding scale discount for quantities of the same title. For example, our Whirl Story Bible that is tied to the stories of the Revised Common Lectionary for young children, sells for only $19.99 for a gorgeous hardcover, full color bible.  But, if you purchase multiple copies for your Sunday School children or kids in your congregation’s preschool, the sliding scale discount looks like this:


$19.99 (1 – 9 units)
$18.99 (10 – 24 units)
$16.99 (25 – 49 units)
$14.99 (50 + units)

Our other bibles have similar sliding scale quantity discounts.

If you haven’t yet seen the Whirl Story Bible, check out this beautiful and fun online sampler!

Do you lead in a small congregation?  Or, a congregation with only a few kids and youth participating in faith formation on Sunday morning or Wednesday evening?  You may mix and match the titles on the FREE SHIPPING offer!  So, if you need 4 units of Whirl Story Bible for the young children, 3 units of the Connect NRSV Bible for the youth, and 3 copies of Lutheran Study Bible for adults, you are at 10 copies and eligible for the FREE SHIPPING offer!

But, don’t delay.  This FREE SHIPPING offer is only good for one month, through September 19, 2014!

Click here for more information about which Bibles are included in this offer.

Want to share this great offer with your friends and colleagues?  Here’s a short URL to post via Twitter, Facebook, email or your preferred means of communication!






Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

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