Online book groups continue to foster mission conversation

Mission strategy books graphic

A series of one-hour online book groups is underway--inspired by diocesan mission strategy themes of reimagining congregations, building relationships and engaging the world.  How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi will be the focus of discussion on Wednesday, Feb. 19, from 7 to 8 p.m.  

Instead of working with the policies and systems already in place, Kendi's memoir asks readers to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how to play an active role in building it.  K. Holly Maze Carter of the Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham and a member of the diocesan Global Mission Commission will facilitate the discussion via the online video conferencing platform Zoom (join here).  

Next up in the series is Climate Church, Climate World by Jim Antal.  The Rev. Lise Hildebrandt, the co-convener of the diocesan Creation Care Justice Network, will lead the discussion on Wednesday, March 25, from 7 to 8 p.m. (join here).  She describes the book's message as both urgent and hopeful.

"Climate Church, Climate World, by Jim Antal, is a must-read for those who want to understand the church's role--and opportunity--in addressing climate change," Hildebrandt said by e-mail.  "While he clearly makes the case for the urgency of the climate emergency, it is a book of hope, not doom.  He believes that with God, we have everything we need, even and especially for this work, and gives clear and practical guidance about how to recalibrate our values, adjust our worship and 'gird up our loins' for sustained action," Hildebrandt said.

An additional title has been added to the book group series.  Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict by Donna Hicks will be discussed on Wednesday, May 6, from 7 to 8 p.m. (join here).  Susan Ostberg, a professional mediator and a member of St. Andrew's Church in Ayer, will lead the discussion.

Everyone is invited to join one or more of these discussion groups.  Find the full schedule here.

The mission strategy book group series launched on Jan.29, with Transforming Evangelism by David Gortner.

"Since our mission strategy is fundamentally a document to guide us as congregations and as members of Christ’s body, we wanted to provide an opportunity for all of us to engage the strategy more deeply. Through our upcoming book groups, we can read a book together focusing on one particular aspect of our mission, and then learn from others with conversation about that particular goal," the Rev. Phil LaBelle said when the series was first announced.  He is the rector of St. Mark's Church in Southborough and co-chairs the Mission Strategy Committee with Claudette Hunt of St. Andrew's Church in Ayer.

"We hope that people will meet new members of our diocese and find ways to incorporate some new ideas into the life of their worshiping community, while also growing deeper in their individual faith," LaBelle said.

The Mission Strategy Committee welcomes feedback, questions and storysharing: