Advent Way of Love

New Advent resources include digital invitation kits

Advent Way of Love

Your church can “Prepare the Way of Love this Advent” with a new digital invitation kit from the Episcopal Church. The kit is part of a wide range of Advent and Christmas resources available here that include an updated “Journeying the Way of Love” Advent calendar and curriculum, AdventWord 2019, “Sermons That Work” compilation of Advent and Christmas selections, Advent reflections from Episcopal Migration Ministries, and bulletin inserts.

Grant money available for your congregation’s Way of Love events

The Congregational Development Commission (CDC) would love to help fund events and programs sponsored and run by YOUR congregation which would invite people across the diocese to experience the different practices in the Way of Love.
Every three months the CDC will focus on one of the specific spiritual practices, and hopes to sponsor at least one congregation’s event each quarter. What is it that you might be able to plan that we can help fund so that you can share it with the entire diocese?
Apply for a CDC grant here.


Which practice we will focus on each quarter:


April-June 2019: Turn
July-Sept. 2019: Learn
Oct.-Dec. 2019: Pray

Jan.-Mar. 2020: Worship
April-June 2020: Bless
July-Sept 2020: Go
Oct.-Dec.: 2020: Rest

The Way of Love:
An Intergenerational Gathering

As a means to introduce The Way of Love to children and families (including grandparents), this resource describes a 90-minute session to engage all ages in learning about the seven practices that Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has called the Episcopal Church to follow in our daily life. Refreshments can be included and/or a simple potluck meal offered to conclude your gathering.

Download the resource HERE

Rule of Life

A Rule of Life is an intentional pattern of spiritual disciplines that provides structure and direction for growth in holiness. A Rule establishes a rhythm for life in which is helpful for being formed by the Spirit, a rhythm that reflects a love for God and respect for how he has made us. The disciplines which we build into our rhythm of life help us to shed the “old self” and allow our “new self” in Christ to be formed. Spiritual disciplines (or Spiritual Practices as described HERE) are means of grace by which God can nourish us. Ultimately a Rule should help you to love God more, so if it becomes a legalistic way of earning points with God or impressing others, it should be scrapped. If the traditional, ancient term “rule” concerns you because it sounds legalistic, think of “rule” as a “rhythm of life” or as a “Curriculum in Christlikeness” (Dallas Willard), or as a “Game Plan for Morphing” (John Ortberg)… The Rule which you write should include three things: a self-assessment, an explanation of how you will practice your chosen disciplines, and your form of accountability.

DOWNLOAD this short essay from The C.S. Lewis Institute which offers many discipleship resources, including this process for developing your own personal Rule of Life. These instructions quote, paraphrase, and adapt Marjorie Thompson, Soul Feast, chap. 9, and Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, pp. 35-39.

Growing a Rule of Life

Relationship with God, Self, Creation & Others

A six-week journey of reflection on growing a rule of life is available from the monks at SSJE as an anytime series for individuals and groups. Subscribe to receive the series’ video meditations from the SSJE Brothers directly in your inbox, or view the videos on their website. This video offering is accompanied by a helpful workbook, and facilitation guidance for small groups.

You can find the materials for this resource at


SSJE (The Society of St. John the Evangelist better known as the Cowley Fathers) is  an Anglican religious order for men. The members live under a rule of life and, at profession, make monastic vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience. SSJE was founded in 1866 at Cowley, Oxford, England (hence the common name for the order). The order house closest to Rhode Island is located in Cambridge, MA with a retreat center, Emery House in West Newbury, MA. The brothers offer spiritual direction, individual and group retreats, workshops and you are always welcome to attend worship. Visit their website at You can also explore the possibility of becoming a brother by starting with this page on their website:

Spiritual Practices

What are Spiritual (or Christian) Practices?

“Christian practices are not activities we do to make something spiritual happen in our lives. Nor are they duties we undertake to be obedient to God. Rather, they are patterns of communal action that create openings in our lives where the grace, mercy, and presence of God may be made known to us. They are places where the power of God is experienced. In the end, these are not ultimately our practices but forms of participation in the practice of God.”                    — Craig Dykstra


Christian practices are things Christian people do together over time to address fundamental human needs in the light of and in response to God’s grace to all creation through Christ Jesus.

When we live the practices of Christian faith, we join together with one another, with Jesus, and with the communion of saints across time and space in a way of life that resists death in all its forms – a way of life that is spilling over with the Life of God for creation, for our neighbors, and for ourselves.

Why Practices Matter

How does this idea of “practices” help us think about — and live — the Christian life?

Practices point beyond the individualism of the dominant culture to disclose the social (i.e., shared) quality of our lives, and especially the social quality of Christian life, theology, and spirituality. Our thinking and living take place in relation to God and also to one another, to others around the world and across the centuries, and to a vast communion of saints. In this regard, Practicing Our Faith is not a self-help book but a mutual-help book.

Practices help us to understand our continuity with the Christian tradition — an important matter during this time of change and in the midst of a culture infatuated with what is new. The way of life we are describing is historically rooted, and the history from which Christian practices emerge is an expansive one that encompasses many cultures and denominational traditions. In the terms used here, “practices” endure over time and across cultures; what changes are the specific moves by which specific groups of Christians embody these practices in different times and places. Attention to practices, in this sense, can help contemporary people to treasure their continuity with the past, even while also helping them to embrace the future with hope and creativity, as members of a living tradition.

All of this means that people need to craft the specific forms each practice can take within their own social and historical circumstances. This approach thus requires attention to the concrete and down-to-earth quality of the Christian life. It invites attention to details such as gestures and the role of material things.

Practices make us think about who we truly are as the created and newly created children of God. An important claim is that Christian practices address “fundamental human needs.” We live in a culture that is very confused about what people need — a culture where a plethora of dubious “needs” are constantly being constructed and marketed. In contrast, awareness of Christian practices helps us to reflect theologically on who people really are and what we really need.

A practice is small enough that it can be identified and discussed as one element within an entire way of life. But a practice is also big enough to appear in many different spheres of life. For example, the Christian practice of hospitality has dimensions that emerge as (1) a matter of public policy; (2) something you do at home with friends, family, and guests; (3) a radical path of discipleship; (4) part of the liturgy; (5) a movement of the innermost self toward or away from others; (6) a theme in Christian theology; and probably much else. Thinking about this one practice can help us make connections across spheres of life-connections that often get disrupted in our fragmented society. For example, reflection on the Christian practice of hospitality would provide a way of exploring the relations between spirituality and social justice.

All people engage in most or all of the practices in Practicing Our Faith in one way or another. After all, all human beings necessarily rest, encounter strangers, rely on one another’s help when ill, and so on. However, those who embrace Christian practices engage in these fundamental human activities in the light of God’s presence and in response to God’s grace is it is known in Jesus Christ. Ultimately, Christian practices can be understood not as tasks but as gifts. Within these practices, we do not aim to achieve mastery (e.g., over time, strangers, death, nature) but rather to cultivate openness and responsiveness to others, to the created world, and to God.

Christian practices add up to a way of life. They are woven together: if one is missing, all are distorted in some way. On the other hand, because they are woven together, any one practice can become a gateway into the whole way of life.

Practices heal the division between thinking and doing (which many modern people have thought are separate) and show how much each is related to the other. On the one hand, practices are forms of doing: A child or adult can participate in a practice such as hospitality through warm acts of welcome, even without comprehending the biblical stories and theological convictions that encourage and undergird this practice. Most of our practicing takes place at this unreflective level, as we go about our daily living. At the same time, practices are not only behaviors. They are meaning-full. Within a practice, thinking and doing are inextricably knit together. Those who offer hospitality come to know themselves, others, and God in a different way, and they develop virtues and dispositions that are consistent with this practice. When people participate in a practice, they are embodying a specific kind of wisdom about what it means to be a human being under God, even if they could not readily articulate this wisdom in words.

While affirming the unreflective character of most participation in practices, it is also helpful to reflect in the light of our faith on the shape and character of the practices that make up our way of life. Indeed, such reflection may be especially important at this point in history, when the shape of our lives is changing so rapidly. These are practices in which Christian communities have engaged over the years and across many cultures, practices which it is now our responsibility to receive and reshape in lively ways in our own time and place. When we do reflect on practices such as those explored in Practicing Our Faith, we can see that central themes of Christian theology are integrally related to each Christian practice: our practices are shaped by our beliefs, and our beliefs arise from and take on meaning within our practices. For example, Stephanie Paulsell bases her chapter and book on Honoring the Body on the theological convictions that God created human bodies and declared that they are good; that God shared our physical condition in the incarnation of Jesus; and that God overcame death through Jesus’ resurrection. Through everyday activities — for example, resting, bathing, and caring for those who suffer — we live out our deepest convictions about who we are as embodied children of God in specific, often stumbling, ways. We learn to do so from those with whom we share our lives, and likewise, it is with them that we need to reflect on practices as they take shape in the light of and in response to God’s grace.

Excerpt from Practicing Our Faith

Learn more at their website:

TURN Overview

Pause, listen, and choose to follow Jesus.

Like the disciples, we are called by Jesus to follow the Way of Love. With God’s help, we can turn from the powers of sin, hatred, fear, injustice, and oppression toward the way of truth, love, hope, justice, and freedom. In turning, we reorient our lives to Jesus Christ, falling in love again, again, and again.



The Episcopal Church website offers a range of resources for TURN including:


Advent Curriculum: Journeying the Way of Love


For the season of Advent, Journeying the Way of Love offers four sessions to be explored as we await the coming of Christ by moving through the first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke. Luke’s gospel provides a pattern for understanding how we can live the Way of Love as individuals, as families and friends, as a community, and out in the world. The sessions are specially designed for use during the Christian formation hour before or after worship. Facilitation instructions accommodate small or large groups.


  • Advent One: The Annunciation: Saying “Yes” to the Journey
  • Advent Two: Mary and Elizabeth: Journeying with Family and Friends
  • Advent Three: The Birth of John the Baptist: Journeying with Community
  • Advent Four: The Birth of Jesus: Journeying with the World
  • Curriculum Resources: Journeying the Way of Love Advent Calendar, Discussion Questions about Spiritual Practices, Starting a Rule of Life, Scripture Passages

Participants are encouraged to read and reflect on these passages in Luke throughout the season of Advent and “try on” the spiritual practices of the Way of Love.

DOWNLOAD the Way_of_Love_Small_Group_Curriculum

Overview of the Way of Love:
Practices for a Jesus-Centered Life

Seven Spiritual Practices

TURN: Pause, listen and choose to follow Jesus

As Jesus was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. – Mark 2:14
“Do you turn to Jesus Christ …?” – Book of Common Prayer, 302

Like the disciples, we are called by Jesus to follow the Way of Love. With God’s help, we can turn from the powers of sin, hatred, fear, injustice, and oppression toward the way of truth, love, hope, justice, and freedom. In turning, we reorient our lives to Jesus Christ, falling in love again, again, and again.

For Reflection and Discernment
 What practices help you to turn again and again to Jesus Christ and the Way of Love?
 How will (or do) you incorporate these practices into your rhythm of life?
 Who will be your companion as you turn toward Jesus Christ?

LEARN: Reflect on Scripture each day, especially on Jesus’ life and teachings.

“Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” – John 14:23
Grant us so to hear [the Holy Scriptures], read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them.  – Book of Common Prayer, 236

By reading and reflecting on Scripture, especially the life and teachings of Jesus, we draw near to God and God’s word dwells in us. When we open our minds and hearts to Scripture, we learn to see God’s story and God’s activity in everyday life.

For Reflection and Discernment
 What ways of reflecting on Scripture are most life-giving for you?
 When will (or do) you set aside time to read and reflect on Scripture in your day?
 With whom will you share in the commitment to read and reflect on Scripture?

PRAY: Dwell intentionally with God daily

He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him,

“Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” – Luke 11:1
“Lord, hear our prayer.” – Book of Common Prayer

Jesus teaches us to come before God with humble hearts, boldly offering our thanksgivings and concerns to God or simply listening for God’s voice in our lives and in the world. Whether in thought, word or deed, individually or corporately, when we pray we invite and dwell in God’s loving presence.

For Reflection and Discernment
 What intentional prayer practices center you in God’s presence, so you can hear, speak, or simply dwell with God?
 How will (or do) you incorporate intentional prayer into your daily life?
 With whom will you share in the commitment to pray?

WORSHIP: Gather in community weekly to thank, praise, and dwell with God

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.
Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. – Luke 24:30-31
Celebrant: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them to the Lord.  – Book of Common Prayer, 361

When we worship, we gather with others before God. We hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, give thanks, confess, and offer the brokenness of the world to God.  As we break bread, our eyes are opened to the presence of Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are made one body, the body of Christ sent forth to live the Way of Love.

For Discernment and Reflection
 What communal worship practices move you to encounter God and knit you into the body of Christ?
 How will (or do) you commit to regularly worship?
 With whom will you share the commitment to worship this week?

BLESS: Share faith and unselfishly give and serve

“Freely you have received; freely give.” – Matthew 10:8
Celebrant: Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
People: We will, with God’s help. – Book of Common Prayer, 305

Jesus called his disciples to give, forgive, teach, and heal in his name. We are empowered by the Spirit to bless everyone we meet, practicing generosity and compassion and proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ with hopeful words and selfless actions. We can share our stories of blessing and invite others to the Way of Love.

For Discernment and Reflection
 What are the ways the Spirit is calling you to bless others?
 How will (or does) blessing others – through sharing your resources, faith, and story – become part of your daily life?
 Who will join you in committing to the practice of blessing others?

GO: Cross boundaries, listen deeply and live like Jesus

Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” – John 20:21
Send them into the world in witness to your love. – Book of Common Prayer, 306

As Jesus went to the highways and byways, he sends us beyond our circles and comfort, to witness to the love, justice, and truth of God with our lips and with our lives. We go to listen with humility and to join God in healing a hurting world. We go to become Beloved Community, a people reconciled in love with God and one another.

For Discernment and Reflection
 To what new places or communities is the Spirit sending you to witness to the love, justice, and truth of God?
 How will you build into your life a commitment to cross boundaries, listen carefully, and take part in healing and reconciling what is broken in this world?
 With whom will you share in the commitment to go forth as a reconciler and healer?

REST: Receive the gift of God’s grace, peace, and restoration

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27
Blessed are you, O Lord … giving rest to the weary, renewing the strength of those who are spent.  – Book of Common Prayer, 113

From the beginning of creation, God has established the sacred pattern of going and returning, labor and rest. Especially today, God invites us to dedicate time for restoration and wholeness – within our bodies, minds, and souls, and within our communities and institutions. By resting we place our trust in God, the primary actor who brings all things to their fullness.

For Discernment and Reflection
 What practices restore your body, mind, and soul?
 How will you observe rest and renewal on a regular basis?
 With whom will you commit to create and maintain a regular practice of rest?

DOWNLOAD this page to print and share:

PDF Document: Overview of The Way of Love

WORD Document: Overview of The Way of Love

Diocesan Plans for Way of Love


Presiding Bishop Curry has invited the whole church
to take up The Way of Love, a “rule of life” focused
on seven spiritual practices for Jesus-Centered Life:
Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go and Rest.





Diocese of Rhode Island Plans

The Congregational Development Commission (CDC) plans to engage the diocese in two years of incorporating the Way of Love into our personal and corporate lives. Congregations and individuals are invited to focus on each spiritual practice for three months:


  • January – March — Introducing the Way of Love (including a diocesan event in February)
  • April – June — TURN: Pause, listen and choose to follow Jesus
  • July – Sept — LEARN: Reflect on Scripture each day, especially on Jesus’ life and teachings.
  • Oct – Dec — PRAY: Dwell intentionally with God daily


  • Jan – March — WORSHIP: Gather in community weekly to thank, praise, and dwell with God
  • April – June — BLESS: Share faith and unselfishly give and serve
  • July – Sept — GO: Cross boundaries, listen deeply and live like Jesus
  • Oct – Nov — REST: Receive the gift of God’s grace, peace, and restoration

Go to the RESOURCES button (top right side of website) and click on GROWTH; you will find a Way of Love section that will literally grow with new resources over the coming months! You can find a selection of resources and tools for discovering and deepening that practice in your own life. You can also visit the Episcopal Church’s website which will gather resources as well.

See the diocesan e-newsletter (click and sign up) for coming events in the diocese and Rhode Island congregations.

Congregational Development Committee has set aside funds to support congregations that want to offer events or programs open to others in the diocese. Please click  here to apply or call email with any questions you may have.