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New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

"A Liturgy for Morning Prayer," Upper Room Worshipbook

Used by permission from the Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved. This prayer appears in “A Liturgy for Morning Prayer” in Upper Room Worshipbook.

Brave Church

Tackling Tough Topics Together

Elizabeth Hagan • April 2021

BUY Print $12.99

"I grew up in a church that never felt real. I became a pastor because I wanted to change that," Elizabeth Hagan writes in the introduction to Brave Church. She describes the congregation of her childhood as a place where parishioners talked a lot about doctrine, church activities, outreach, and stewardship. But she never observed people in her church talking about real life—the bad things that happen as well as the good.

In today's deeply divided world where discussions can quickly become heated and uncivil, churches need to learn the skills for having conversations about sensitive issues. Our society needs brave churches where people can talk about the real struggles they are experiencing—where they can be honest about their lives without fear of shame or judgment. People need their church to be a safe place to talk openly about their daily challenges and to know that others will listen and respond with loving hearts and open minds.

Brave Church will help congregations begin to talk about controversial topics with sensitivity to those who see the world and have experienced life differently from themselves. It will guide readers to think through how the church relates to infertility/miscarriage, mental health, domestic violence, racism, and sexuality. Each chapter begins with a scriptural meditation and prayer. Throughout the 6-week study, readers will follow "brave space rules" so they can learn how to stay in hard conversations with one another. Each topical chapter highlights churches and ministries who are bravely talking about tough topics. Each chapter concludes with questions for discussion and reflection. While it can be read alone, Brave Church is designed to be used as a small-group resource for those committed to meeting with one another for 6 weeks. For readers who want to keep talking about these difficult topics, the book suggests resources for further reading and action.


Elizabeth Hagan is senior minister of Palisades Community Church, Washington, DC. She holds a master of divinity from Duke Divinity School and a bachelor of science in education from Samford University. Hagan describes herself as an ecumenical pastor at heart. She was ordained as an American Baptist and throughout her career has served United Methodist, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian (USA), and Disciples of Christ congregations in various pastoral roles. She is married to Kevin Hagan, and they reside in Arlington, Virginia, with their daughter and other young adults in need who have become part of their chosen family.

ISBN: 9780835819367

Imprint: Upper Room Books

Pub Date: April 2021

Trim Size: 5.5 x 8.5

Page Count: 128

BISAC Categories: RELIGION / Christian Living / Social Issues

BISAC1: REL012110

BISAC2: REL095000

BISAC3: REL023000