Jen Christianson, Pastoral Resident
Writing to God: 40 Days of Praying with My Pen by Rachel G. Hackenburg: An interactive prayer journal that I’ve used for several years now, this can be used for Lent or another 40-day period (it has a special collection of prompts just for Holy Week). A great way to engage in a journey of prayer over this season (much like our devotionals)!
Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist: Another short story collection from Shauna, this one is perfect for those whose journey through Lent is one marked by pain and trial.
Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott: Another one that’s thematically related to our Lent devotional, this is a favorite of mine that I go back to over and over. She writes honestly, sometimes with pain and sometimes with humor, about the mystery and beauty of prayer.
Jessica Patchett, associate minister for education
The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A reflection on the sermon on the mount and what it means to be a disciple, or follower, of Jesus. First published in 1937 during the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany, the text invites Christians to consider living in such a way that does not cheapen the grace of God offered through the gift of Jesus Christ. Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian and was eventually executed for his active resistance to the Nazi regime.
Devotional Classics by Richard Foster: A resource for spiritual renewal, this collection of readings draws on writings from great Christian devotional writers of many times and places. With fifty-two sections, this book could be used for an entire year, with Lent serving as a jump-start to a new spiritual discipline of devotional reading and reflection. Foster is a Quaker theologian and author and the founder of Renovare, a movement committed to the renewal of the church.
Outcasts United: An American Town, A Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference by Warren St. John: The story of what happened in Clarkston, Georgia when the town became a designated refugee settlement center in the 1990s. St. John follows the lives of a diverse group of young people led by a Jordanian woman, Luma Mufleh, who becomes their soccer coach and champion. St. John grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, attended Columbia University, and writes extensively for the national and international press.
Anne Lowrance, director of children's ministries
Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor: Through Biblical and personal stories of walking with God in the dark, Barbara Brown Taylor offers solace and reassurance to those who are struggling and cannot see the way forward.
Carla Leaf, director of mission and outreach
Evicted by Matthew Desmond: This book has been one of the most exhausting, and yet one of the most important, books I have read in several years. The last two chapters were a call for me to respond to what my faith demands of me, my community and its people that I so love.
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance: A personal story of poverty in white America, held in tension with our own upward mobility, that raises awareness of the lack of opportunity for both the people in our own community and those we serve in Avery County. It is a moving , and yet sometimes humorous reflection of the author’s own journey.