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

Discipleship Resources to Deepen Lives of Faith

October 20th, 2015 by Beth A. Lewis

This past July/August, I had the privilege of speaking at the North American Association for the Catechumenate (NAAC) Gathering in Baltimore on the topic of “Resourcing Disciples and Their Mentors.” What is NAAC, you might ask? NAAC is an ecumenical organization that provides training and support for churches engaged in the process of encouraging Christian discipleship; sometimes with an eye toward baptism and sometimes simply for deepening one’s faith and affirming one’s baptism.

Both during my workshop and in conversations during the event, a number of attendees noted that they weren’t aware of some of the resources we publish related to the catechumenate and discipleship. I always like to point out that yes, some of our resources are specifically Lutheran, but many of our discipleship resources and faith formation resources from Augsburg Fortress, sparkhouse, and Fortress Press are widely used in congregations of other denominations and traditions.

After the Gathering, I sent an email to attendees and other presenters with this friendly “not just for Lutherans” reminder, pointing out two of our resources that continue to grow in popularity each year: Bread for the Day and our annual Lenten devotional—for this next Lenten season, Bearing Fruit: Devotions for Lent 2016. I also asked if they would like to receive occasional eNews updates from us to learn more about new resources to assist with discipleship in their community of faith, and was delighted to receive a number of yeses.

One of those “yeses” was from Paul Hoffman, an ELCA pastor and one of our regular contributors, who said that for some time now, he’s wanted to have some of our resources to display at the many workshops he leads, but it never came to fruition. He was certain that if he had several copies of our Go Make Disciples, for example, that he could sell them.

Paul Hoffman

I forwarded his message to my colleagues Marketing Manager Eric Vollen and Director of Sales and Service Lisa Rotherham, who, with help from our Augsburg Fortress Canada colleague Jamie Courtney, arranged for a gratis resource library to be sent to one of Paul’s events, the Immersion Weekend in Delta, British Columbia, where 40 ELCA and ELCIC leaders would be gathering. With help from our Design Studio, Eric developed a PDF highlighting “Augsburg Fortress Resources for Discipleship_Catechumenate” for Paul to photocopy and bring to the event, highlighting the resources we sent. This list of resources included the following:

  • Washed and Welcome: A Baptism Sourcebook
  • Go Make Disciples: An Invitation to Baptismal Living (book and CD-ROM)
  • Welcome, Child of God
  • Living the Promises of Baptism: 101 Ideas for Parents
  • Child and Parent Baptismal Bundle
  • In These or Similar Words: Crafting Language for Worship
  • Flowing Water, Uncommon Birth: Christian Baptism in a Post-Christian Culture
  • The Three-Day Feast: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter
  • Bread for the Day: Daily Bible Readings and Prayers
  • Bearing Fruit: Devotions for Lent 2016

Each attendee received a copy of Bearing Fruit; the other items were displayed as a resource library. Eric recommended to Paul that following the event, they either give the resources away as a drawing or to a church in need of these resources. Following the event, Paul sent this message to Eric:

“This has worked beautifully to have a display of AF materials available for perusal at a Immersion Weekend. Thanks for joining me and taking the risk.

These materials will go to the synod office here in BC and serve as a resource for years to come, forming the beginnings of a 21st Century Catechumenal library. It’s quite gratifying, actually, to have them here of all places, since the ELCIC was really formative in the early years in developing rites and resources for North American Lutherans. When we all started this in the ELCA in the 1990s, we were already standing on their shoulders. The body of Christ is amazing.”

Paul also provided a summary of the event:

Paul Hoffman 2

“On the 16-18 October 2015 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Delta, BC, 50 laypeople and rostered leaders of the ELCIC and the ELCA participated in a Immersion Weekend led by Pastor Paul Hoffman and a team of lay Bible study leaders from the Northwest Washington Synod. Fourteen congregations were represented. In the course of this weekend conference, those who attended experienced the arc of the church year as it might be celebrated in a congregation that is intentionally practicing a process of forming new Christians. They participated in four small group Bible studies led in a manner that would be welcoming for newcomers, worshipped in a variety of services from across the liturgical year that included the rites from Go Make Disciples, and were prepared to return to their congregations and initiate a process of forming new Christians. In short, they went from Advent to Pentecost in a little less than 48 hours. Resources from both Pastor Hoffman’s ministry and Augsburg Fortress were available to the participants and will assist them in bringing the message of this ministry to their home congregations.”

Thank you, Pastor Paul Hoffman, for your work in promoting our resources and our ministry of publishing. And thank you, Eric, Lisa, and Jamie, for your work in coordinating resources for this event. Eric tells me that Paul is leading another event with the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, in November, and I’m delighted to know that our resources will be present and lifted up again by Paul!

In addition, if you are interested in learning more about this discipleship process, the NAAC organization hosts an annual conference and one or more training events around North America each year.  The next annual conference will be held at a lovely retreat center in Albuquerque, NM June 28-30, 2016.  More information is available on their website or Facebook page.





Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress


October 20th, 2015 by Beth A. Lewis

One of the many reasons I love working at Augsburg Fortress is because we are blessed with so many talented people both inside the organization and among the creative partners with whom we work.  My colleague Senior Project Manager Julie O’Brien feels the same way! Last week, she shared a wonderful story about one of the artists who has contributed to our worship resources.  Julie visited her studio on a recent trip to New York.  I thought you might enjoy it, too!

Here is Julie’s story:

“The Worship and Music team became acquainted with the work of Christina Saj (pronounced sigh) when we licensed some existing artwork for several covers in our bulletin line, starting in 2012. 


Her unique and modern treatments of religious themes with a somewhat abstract approach and very vivid colors caught our attention. When we were selecting a new design for the Sundays and Seasons family of resources, she was our first choice as a fine artist. We were thrilled to be able to commission three original works of art (for lectionary years A, B, and C) for these covers. In the midst of one of our phone calls, I happened to mention I would be in New York and she issued a gracious invitation for a studio visit. Last Thursday, she picked me up near Penn Station and whisked me off to her studio across the river in New Jersey. The photos of the studio show some of her finished work. She spoke of being a collector, using items as varied as X-rays, cellophane, lace tablecloths, and handmade Italian paper in her art; she had just purchased her own kiln. The visit was an exercise in creativity. The biggest surprise of the day, however, was that the original art for year A (titled Tree of Life: Eden) was already hanging in a gallery in an exhibit at the Ukrainian Museum in Manhattan.”


Here is a photo of Tree of Life: Eden:

Christina Saj Tree of Life_Eden









And, some of Julie’s fun photos from her visit to Christina Saj’s studio:
CS 1CS 3







CS 2CS 5













Julie also shared with me Christina Saj’s bio:  “Christina Saj is a painter who lives and works in NJ. She holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence and an MFA from Bard College. Early in her career, she mastered the technique of Byzantine Icon painting while working with noted iconographer Petro Cholodny, the Younger. This traditional influence was balanced by simultaneous work with contemporary artists in New York. Saj’s work bridges the disparate aspects of ancient and modern in order to create a new interpretation of traditional themes and subjects. Her contemporary renditions of icons have been widely exhibited including such venues as The Museum of Biblical Art, The National Cathedral, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC, Union Theological Seminary, The Ukrainian Museum in New York, The Museum of Cultural Heritage, Kiev Ukraine, the American Embassy in Qatar as well as at the White House. Her works reside in private and museum collections in the U.S. and abroad.”  

Her work is being displayed in a special exhibit, “The Ukrainian Diaspora: Women Artists 1908–2015??” at The Ukrainian Museum in New York through February 14, 2016.

For more information, about her work, you may want to check out her website or this interview she did a few years ago.





Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

Have some fun on the Road to Reformation! (& learn some new things, too)

October 7th, 2015 by Beth A. Lewis

Imagine it’s an overcast and chilling day on October 6th in 1515, and you’re walking along the path to Wittenberg University with young professor Martin Luther for a day of lectures. The stormy winds of the approaching reformation whisper through the halls around you.

What was life like for Martin Luther in the days leading up to the famed occasion of nailing the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg? Where was he traveling? What was he up to?

Martin Luther

Now you can find out with the Road to the Reformation—a new initiative from Fortress Press!

“Like” the Road to the Reformation page on Facebook to follow along with Martin Luther’s journey as we prepare to observe the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Follow the Road to the Reformation on Twitter and Pinterest, too, to never miss a post.

Be sure to spread the word among your family, friends, and congregations so they can enjoy the Road to the Reformation along with you!

Looking for more resources to prepare for the 500th Anniversary?
Check out these pages:
Reformation 500 for resources to explore with your congregation.
Reformation Resources for Class and Study for classroom use, trusted reference works, and primary sources.
Reformation Basics if you’re just looking to dive in!




Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

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