A new church liturgical year begins with Advent this Sunday, November 30! It all makes sense, when we stop to think about it: the church’s year begins with the season of anticipation, the season of waiting for Christ’s coming into our world. Advent is a rich time of the year, often too focused on “the baby Jesus.” But, the deeper meaning of Advent rests with three ‘levels’ of God’s Incarnation: the birth of Jesus some 2,000 years ago, the coming of Christ at the “End of the Age,” and the birth of Christ within each person who shares in the Body of Christ. In this way, Advent is actually quite a radical season, a season that calls us to greater awareness and participation with God’s mission in the world. We stand with the Blessed Virgin Mary, consenting for the Spirit to use us: “Let it be with me according to Thy word.” It is a deeply prayerful, contemplative time, with candles and greenery, and chants and prayers.
I invite you to participate fully this Advent, soaking in the richness of the liturgy and worship, sharing in home observances with your own Advent wreath, joining together to share in the popular Candlelight Café on Wednesday evenings, sharing in a parish-wide Advent Quiet Day on Saturday, December 13, and, above all praying, opening yourself to glimpses of God within your lives.
Advent Wreath Making
This Sunday, November 30, parishioners of all ages are invited to come make Advent wreaths together during the 9:30 AM Sunday school hour. There is no need to sign up. Enough supplies (greenery and candles) will be available to make 40 wreaths on a first come, first serve basis. One wreath per household please and a $5 donation would be welcome. Please bring supplies (additional fresh greenery, ribbon, pinecones, etc.) from home to personalize your wreath or to share with others. You may also find it helpful to bring small pruning scissors, although there will be some available to share.
The chapel will be open for personal quiet time, prayer, and meditation from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday through Friday in Advent beginning December 1. A booklet, “Expecting Jesus” will be available in the chapel to aid your devotions.
Laying on of Hands for Healing
Laying on of Hands and Prayer for Healing will be offered at the 10:45 AM service every Sunday during Advent. If parishioners have concerns to be lifted up in a sharing, loving fellowship, they are invited to stop by one of the teams in the side aisles after receiving communion.
Advent Lessons & Carols
This beautiful service, an Anglican tradition, is meant to help us prepare for Christmas. During the 10:45 AM service on Sunday, December 14, scripture lessons will be read and Advent carols will be sung by the choir and the congregation. We will also have Holy Eucharist during the Lessons and Carols, and a regular service for the Rite I Eucharist at 8:15 AM.
An Advent Quiet Day
Do you need a space for silence and reflection this Advent Season? Come share in such a space on Saturday, December 13, from 9:00 AM—3:00 PM in the Parish Hall.
Our time together will be “filled” with silence, with opportunities to walk the labyrinth, share in walking meditation, journaling and mindful eating. Through all of these practices, we will reflect on what it means to wait, watch, and hope for the coming of Jesus Christ into our lives. Come share in this time of intentional reflection as we enter more deeply into Advent.
Come when you can and leave when you must. You are not obligated to stay the entire 6 hours but please do make a reservation if you need childcare (nursery available for age 4 and under) or you plan to eat lunch. There is a suggested fee of $10 to help with the cost of lunch. Sign up at the information table or call the church office by Friday, December 5.
Narthex Prayer Chapels
To help with your space for prayer, you are invited to experience the two new oratories (prayer chapels) in the small alcoves off the narthex. We have purchased a wonderful icon for each to help focus our prayers and reflections. Take a minute before the service begins to light a candle and offer a prayer to help center yourself for worship. Let us join together in the ancient, Aramaic prayer that helps frame our entire Advent observance: Maranatha. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
The very popular Candlelight Café returns to GWAG on Wednesday evenings in Advent. After dinner on December 3, 10 & 17 we will linger a bit over our coffee and dessert. Parishioners are encouraged to come relax in the Candlelight Café. more details
Staying Sane During Sacred Seasons
This Advent, join us for “Staying Sane During Sacred Seasons.” This study is a program that Dr. Park developed out of her years as a family therapist and is directed toward anyone who finds that the holidays seem to create unhealthy pressure and stress to the point that they are not enjoyable. Each week focuses on issues around holiday eating, spending, drinking, and family and what the Bible and our faith tradition along with psychology can contribute to the conversation.
The study will be offered on Sunday mornings from 9:30—10:30 AM in the Parish Hall or on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 PM in the conference room following our Candlelight Café meal and program. Attend whichever time is convenient to your schedule. All are welcome.