SINCE OUR FOUNDING IN 2007, our publishing house has become known around the world for our careful reporting on religious and cultural Holidays & Festivals, the specialty of journalist Stephanie Fenton over the past 13 years. Today, we know there are many calendar apps and websites. Our distinction as a publishing house is that Stephanie is the leading journalist focused on actively reporting about these milestones. That’s important, because dates and times and even the names of these observances vary—as well as the meaning of these observances in various countries and cultures. In her columns, Stephanie explains the fascinating stories behind these events, advises readers on newsy updates—and always provides an array of links to learn more about everything from the history of the holiday to DIY holiday-related crafts and tasty traditional recipes.
NOTE: It’s simple to find these columns. Just go to the master year-long calendar via InterfaithHolidays.com
Twelfth Night, Epiphany & Theophany
Here’s an example of Stephanie’s reporting: She looks at this cluster of festivals that close out the Christian Christmas season and mark other major milestones, including the tradition that several Magi visited the baby Jesus. Enjoy Stephanie’s column. Curious about 12th Night Cake? Want to try one at home? Stephanie’s got a link to a recipe.
A SPECIAL INVITATION AS 2021 DAWNS—
In 2021, we are adding even more value to this master calendar. Front Edge Publishing’s Susan Stitt, who regularly works with our many authors and contributing writers around the world, always keeps an eye out for connections between Holidays & Festivals—and the books we publish. This year, we have invited Susan to collaborate with Stephanie on this calendar listing by adding some natural pairings with our books.
Interested in a particular observance? We may have a book for that! Please, spend a moment looking at the inspiring sweep of the 2021 calendar. Find something on the horizon that you can share with others right now.
‘One large, sweeping tale we’re lucky enough to share’
‘Gratitude. A Guiding Principle for 2021’
THEN WATCH LARRY BUXTON’S LATEST VIDEO—After Rodney’s very short, illustrated story, click here to visit Larry Buxton’s weekly video on Leading with Spirit. These are very brief meditations you can watch each week by a master counselor and storyteller (just sign up for a free email reminder while you’re at Larry’s website). In this case, Larry talks about the same value that Rodney Curtis names as crucial to finding hope as a new year dawns: Gratitude.
‘Shaping the Lives of Thousands of Young Men and Women’
OUR WHOLE TEAM IS GRATEFUL FOR … As 2021 begins, Front Edge Publishing is pleased to announce that we will publish the final Introducing Christian Ethics lectures by Dr. David P. Gushee, who is known around the world as a leading Christian scholar and ethicist. Through decades of teaching Christian Ethics at Mercer University in Atlanta and Macon, Georgia, Dr. Gushee has shaped the lives of thousands of young men and women as they begin to grapple with morality in ministry and their chosen professions. Read the whole story here.
FAITH & FILM
ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.
Among Ed’s free reviews and columns:
- MANK—Ed writes, “I love films about filmmaking, and David Fincher’s Mank, centering on Herman J. Mankiewicz the co-writer of Citizen Kane, is no exception. Based on a script by Jack Fincher, the director’s late father, the film has scintillating dialogue that is as delightful to the ear as the repartee in the madcap comedies popular during the period of the story, the mid 30s to 1940. And Erik Messerschmidt’s crisp B&W photography certainly evokes that bygone era.”
- RELATED: CITIZEN KANE—As an added bonus, Ed has published a column about Citizen Kane, which is a central part of the Mank movie. And, there’s much more …
- RKO 281—Ed writes, “Even as the NetFlix film Mank gives us more of Herman Mankiewicz’s version of the writing of Citizen Kane, this HBO film gives Orson Welles far more credit for its authorship.“
- CRADLE WILL ROCK—“Because of the interest in Orson Welles raised by Netflix’s Mank, we reach back to the March 2000 issue of Visual Parables for this film in which Welles is an important part of Broadway history.”
- THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH—Ed also recommends a unique, brief TV production by Welles titled The Fountain of Youth. The program was shown once in 1958 as a pilot that was never picked up by the networks. Nevertheless, it won a prestigious Peabody Award that year and it is now available on YouTube via a link that Ed provides.
- MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM—Ed writes, “In this adaptation of an August Wilson play, Denzel Washington (who in 2016 directed and starred in Fences), remains behind the camera this time as executive producer. But, his Fences co-star Viola Davis is very much front and center as the title character, a real life Blues singer, one of the first Black women to cut a record in the early 20th Century. The film is also outstanding because not only does her co-star Chadwick Boseman rise to her superb level of performance, it will forever be known as his last screen appearance. Even setting aside the film’s social significance, this is a film not to be missed!”
- THE LAST CHAMPION—Ed writes, “The Last Champion is truly a family film at both ends, from inception to viewing. Families will enjoy its coming of age aspect, sports thrills, and redemptive arc.“
- NEWS OF THE WORLD—Ed writes, “Like Unforgiven, Paul Greengrass’ News of the World is an unconventional Western. Oh, there is are sections of violent gun play, but these are secondary to other themes, such as human relationships, the need for belonging, and the importance of “news” for connection to a world larger than our own narrow existence. Adapted by director and Luke Davies from the 2016 novel by Paulette Jiles, the film provides Tom Hanks with a great opportunity to display his acting ability, an opportunity of which he takes full advantage! It also introduces many of us to a delightful young German actress Helena Zengel.”
- BEYOND THE WALL—“Directed by the late Jenny Phillips and telecast in 2018, this documentary was part of the PBS series America Reframed. This series of well over 100 independent films for several years invited us each week to look at many overlooked aspects of our nation. This episode from the series reveals many of the difficulties that confront newly released prisoners, especially those (a majority) wresting with drug addiction.”
- THE MAN WITHOUT GRAVITY—”The Man Without Gravity is an Italian magical-realist tale from first-time narrative filmmaker Marco Bonfanti. In the film, he whimsically tells the story of Oscar (Elio Germano) from his incredible birth, through childhood, and ultimate reunion with his childhood sweetheart Agata. This delightful escapist film about an outsider has plenty of flaws but none that ought to spoil your enjoyment.”
- THE CROODS: A NEW AGE—”Director Joel Crawford’s film, the second in the series about a Stone Age family, is an amusing tale of culture clash and the need for solidarity. Just as I loved the first film almost seven years ago, The Croods, I recommend this one too. It provides both escapist fare for the whole family and, like the first film, teaches some worthy life lessons.”
- HILLBILLY ELEGY—“The film is flawed but not as badly as the critics would have us believe. If for no other reason, you should tune in to Netflix because of the Oscar talk that is already building up around Glenn Close’s portrayal of Vance’s stern but warm-hearted grandmother, whom everyone calls Mamaw.”
- THE BREAD WINNER—”Irish director Nora Twomey, who co-directed the exquisitely beautiful The Secret of Kells, launches out on her own with the gorgeously animated film set in Kabul in 2001 on the cusp of America’s invasion in retaliation for the attack on the Twin Towers. With its theme of the Taliban’s oppression of women, the film will remind some of another similarly themed film, though set in Iran, Persepolis.”
- FISHING WITH DYNAMITE—Ed writes, “In this documentary, director Paul Wagner clarifies for those of us who are economic dummies the murky subject of capitalism. His film explores the contentious history of American corporate culture. It explores the arguments of two influential theories—stakeholder vs shareholder capitalism. And it does so in an amusing and entertaining way.”