My colleagues across Augsburg Fortress and the many creative partners with whom we work across the Church strive to create resources that will resonate in a wide range of settings. Our goal is to create and deliver helpful tools to enhance faith formation and worship and to build communities of faith.
As we near Lent, we have received a number of touching stories about how communities of faith, some in traditional congregational settings and some in other gatherings, plan to use our small Lenten devotional, Grace and Peace: Devotions for Lent 2015.
Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, IL used our 2014 Lenten devotional, Too Deep for Words. They had such a positive experience with it that they purchased copies of Grace and Peace for this year. In fact, they are even basing their mid-week worship during Lent around the scripture texts in Grace and Peace. Here is the front cover of their congregational newsletter inviting members and friends into this Lenten experience.
But, congregations aren’t the only communities finding Grace and Peace to be a helpful resource. VMP Manor Park recently ordered quantities of both our regular and large print editions of Grace and Peace. Upon seeing this order come through, Augsburg Fortress marketer Eric Vollen did a bit of follow up. He recently sent me this email, “Curious who they were, I discovered that VMP is a senior healthcare system in Milwaukee ‘that provides a full continuum of care, including independent living apartment rentals, assisted care, nursing care, rehabilitation services, physician clinics and ventilator care.’ Their mission is ‘to provide a full range of senior healthcare for residents, patients and the community in accordance with Christian values.’”
Eric went on to report, “I called VMP Manor Park, and had a great conversation with Chaplain Meg Lybeck-Smoak, director of pastoral care and an ordained UMC pastor. I asked how they learned about Grace and Peace, and Meg was fairly certain that one of their four full-time chaplains discovered it through social media (likely a Facebook post). They had been looking for a Lenten devotional for use in their weekly worship, as well as in group devotional studies, and they loved the Grace and Peace offerings; in particular, the book of the Bible—Ephesians—the particular emphases, and the visual imagery.
In addition to worshiping on Sundays, VMP also holds worship services at the start of a new church season, so on Ash Wednesday, they’ll distribute Grace and Peace to the residents gathered, with an encouragement to take an extra copy to share with a loved one. They’ll use Grace and Peace as a common framework for their worship, and as a way of uniting residents together as they journey through the Lenten season.
Founded in the 1950s by the UMC, VMP (formerly known as the Village at Manor Park) is more of an ecumenical organization now with a large span of traditions, the majority of their residents identifying as Christian.”
Thank you, Eric, for sharing this wonderful story. And, thank you to VMP, Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, and the many, many other faith communities who are journeying through Lent with Grace and Peace as a devotional guide.
For several years, we have published small Lenten devotionals like Grace and Peace. They have grown in popularity each year, so we keep adding to the print runs! This year, we are already sold out of the regular edition. But, there is good news for those of you who have procrastinated or just learned about it. We have another print run ordered and expect them to arrive for shipping to our customers by no later than February 13. So, if you order yours quickly, you’ll still have time to receive them before Ash Wednesday on February 18. But, quantities will be limited even with this re-order, so they are available on a first come, first served basis according to the date/time stamp on your order. We do still have some quantities of the large print edition in stock, but once that inventory is exhausted, those will no longer be available.
Grace and Peace is also available as an eBook through your favorite eBook retailer.
Thank you to my colleagues and our creative partners, David Miller, Jennifer Clark Tinker, and Jennifer Baker-Trinity who put this fine devotional together for the Church.
Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO