Love is a Verb: One-year spiritual practices resource explores convention theme

Cover of the Love is a Verb Spiritual Practices Resource[Español]

(Mennonite Church USA) — On May 16, Mennonite Church USA Executive Board staff released a year-long spiritual practices resource that explores the 2017 convention theme Love is a Verb through the lens of Richard Foster’s six spiritual streams.

The resource is intended for use by delegates, youth groups, presenters, planners and other convention attendees from July 2016 through June 2017. Leo Hartshorn of Portland, Oregon, is the author; he also wrote the six-week discernment guide leading up to the Delegate Assembly in Kansas City in 2015.

“I am particularly excited about this resource in that it provides a wide range of spiritual practices for a diverse constituency that has the potential for deepening our spiritual lives as a faith community at a crucial juncture in our corporate history,” said Hartshorn, a retired Anabaptist minister, peacemaker, poet, songwriter, musician and artist who attends Portland Mennonite Church. Hartshorn has a doctorate with a focus on Anabaptist preaching from Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Theological Seminary.

Leo Hartshorn of Portland, Oregon, is the author of a year-long spiritual practices resource that introduces the Love is a verb convention theme in preparation for Orlando 2017. (Photo provided)

The resource is designed to span the year leading up to the Mennonite Church USA convention in Orlando, Florida (July 4–8, 2017), with monthly themes and suggested weekly practices beginning in July 2016 and ending in June 2017. The first six months focus on the theme of love found in 1 John. The second six months delve more deeply into the theme of love in each of the six spiritual streams — contemplative, holiness, charismatic, social justice, evangelical and incarnational — exploring how each stream reflects the spiritual diversity present with Mennonite Church USA.

“Richard Foster’s model of diverse spiritual streams can assist us in understanding, practicing and respecting the richness of our church’s spiritual diversity as we work together on those things that bind us together as one people,” Hartshorn said. “It has the potential to help us deepen our own unique spiritual pathways and provide an important opportunity to recognize and affirm those different from our own.”

“We hope this insightful and spirit-filled guide will be used broadly across the church — for individual devotions, group study or as inspiration for a congregation-wide sermon series,” said Janie Beck Kreider, communications director for Mennonite Church USA. “This is a dynamic resource that can be easily modified and used creatively.”

The resource is available online in English and Spanish.

“We are excited to offer a resource to the denomination that provides common ground for biblical study and reflection on the love that binds us together in Christ,” said Beck Kreider.

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—Mennonite Church USA staff

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Leo Hartshorn of Portland, Oregon, is the author of a year-long spiritual practices resource that introduces the Love is a verb convention theme in preparation for Orlando 2017. (Photo provided)

Cover of the Love is a Verb Spiritual Practices Resource