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Forward Movement names new executive director

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Scott Gunn has been chosen to lead Forward Movement Publications in its mission to "reinvigorate the life of the church."

Gunn, a priest of the Diocese of Rhode Island, has been named by the board of directors and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as the organization's executive director.

Forward Movement, the publisher of Forward Day by Day meditations as well as books and pamphlets about spirituality and the Episcopal Church, celebrated its 75th anniversary last year.

Gunn begins his ministry with the Cincinnati-based Forward Movement in late July, according to a June 1 press release.

"Our church is at a critical and thrilling point as we seek to find our way forward in the 21st century," said Gunn in the release. "Forward Movement is positioned well to be a leader in proclaiming the gospel that is at our core."

Jefferts Schori said in the release that "we welcome Fr. Gunn as he joins the work of leading Forward Movement into the next chapter of its ministry."

With a worldwide circulation of more than 300,000 subscribers, Forward Day by Day will continue to play a central role at Forward Movement, according to the release, while Gunn leads the agency in the exploration of new content -- and new methods of delivery -- both to support current readers and to attract new audiences.

"We will continue to offer our dedicated readers the materials which nourish them, while expanding our audience through new kinds of content delivered in new ways," Gunn said.

Gunn served two congregations in Rhode Island, was on the Diocesan Council and was a deputy to the 2009 General Convention. He is a member of the Episcopal News Service Advisory Board and an active blogger. Prior to his ordination, he worked for several technology and communication companies, including the Atlantic and the MIT Media Lab. He also holds degrees from Brown University and Yale Divinity School.

"We are pleased that Scott has answered this call to serve in leadership of Forward Movement," said the Rev. Jay Sidebotham, chair of the search committee and the board of directors. "The work of this organization is so important for the spiritual vitality of our church, and Scott brings a wonderful spirit and great experience to move Forward Movement forward."
 
Both Gunn and Sidebotham praised the contributions and commitment of the Rev. Richard H. Schmidt, who is retiring in August after six years as executive director and editor of Forward Movement.
 
"As we welcome Scott to lead us in this exciting new chapter, we thank Dick for his loving work over the past years," said Sidebotham.

In turn, Schmidt said in the release that Gunn "has precisely the skills that will be needed to carry Forward Movement into an exciting future."

The release said that Gunn "is looking to current subscribers and prospective readers to dream with him about how Forward Movement can better tell the story of God’s work among us in way that our world can hear the gospel." He can be contacted at sgunn@forwarddaybyday.com
 
After Schmidt announced his retirement, his job was divided and the organization is still searching for a managing editor.

What is now Forward Movement Publications grew out of a decision made by the General Convention that convened in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in October 1934. That meeting of convention created a Forward Movement Commission and gave it the charge to "reinvigorate the life of the church and to rehabilitate its general, diocesan, and parochial work."

The group vowed to hold meetings and conferences on discipleship throughout the church, "use every possible means to restore confidence and loyalty to the church's national leadership" and appoint men, women and young people to serve as associate members of the commission to spread its work, according to a history posted on the Forward Movement website. The commission also decided to print a devotional manual on discipleship for Lent of 1935 meant to unite the church in Bible reading and prayer, the history says.

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