Forward and Prologue

Searching for Sunday

Our online book study of Rachel Held Evans Searching for Sunday begins with a letter and reflection from The Right Rev'd Laura Ahrens, our Bishop Suffragan.

Each week, one new entry by someone connected to the St. James's community will post to this blog on Wednesday morning covering one section of the book. Please enter your email address to the right to receive these posts in your email inbox. Use the comment section to answer the discussion questions, and share these posts with your friends!


Dear Friends,

I am so excited that St. James's will be reading Searching for Sunday, loving leaving, and finding the church by Rachel Held Evans as part of your fall journey. The women's clergy book group read it last spring at my suggestion and had some wonderful discussion on the important topics and themes that evans raises in her book. Her invitation to explore our own personal stories with Jesus and with the Church and how that exploration impacts how we live our lives is part of what led me to be so excited about this book. Using the sacraments as a way for us to unlock the passion of our faith while holding us in the arms of the Church is a profound way for us to ask "What is God up to in my life?" and "How is God calling me to engage and share my faith with others?" as well as countless other faithful and life giving questions.

Below are a question and an idea I offer to you as you begin your journey with this book. I look forward to reading the blogs and the comments as our journey in this faith filled adventure unfolds.

Love in Christ,


Words. I love words. I nurture this love by reading, writing, listening and doing a whole lot of talking. In particular, I love words that speak of God’s love, words that challenge us to explore new ways to participate in God’s Mission, words that comfort us when we are frustrated or disappointed and words that help us reframe our journeys toward new life.

What is so powerful about this book is that while it is full of words, it invites us to embrace our Christian journey with all of our senses. It invites us to see, feel, taste, smell and listen for God’s presence. Using the sacraments as a path into this conversation, we are invited to open all of our senses to God’s presence in our lives. I was asked to write an opening question for this book study, and I wonder if that question might be “How might you become more aware of the ways God reveals God’s presence to you thorough all of your senses?” As you read this book you might want to journal each day or each week about a way you have included exploring God’s presence in the world. Where have you smelled or tasted God’s presence? Perhaps it is in the smell of brewing coffee or in the taste of a warm muffin shared with a friend. Where have you touched God’s love? Perhaps it is in the writing of a note to a person who you have not connected with in a long time. Where have you seen God’s love? Perhaps it is in making eye contact with the salesperson in the store when you pay for an item or are “just browsing.”

Evans offers us wonderful windows into how we might experience God’s presence in the world, acknowledging that we are always on Holy Ground. I hope that this book will help you to know that blessed truth in your own journey.

Laura Ahrens

The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens was elected in 2007 as bishop suffragan and consecrated on June 30, 2007 at Yale's Woolsey Hall in New Haven. She is particularly interested in new initiatives emerging from local communities and helping communities to build new, creative partnerships for mission and for support.