A new church liturgical year begins on November 29 with The First Sunday of Advent! Advent is a time of spiritual preparation and anticipation. All are invited to participate fully in the season with the following events and activities.
Advent Wreath Making
On Sunday, November 29, parishioners of all ages are invited to come make Advent wreaths together from 9:30—10:30 AM in the Parish Hall. Enough supplies will be available to make 40 wreaths on a first-come, first-served basis. One wreath per household please and a $5 donation would be welcome. Please bring supplies (additional greenery from your garden, 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. No CE classes on November 29.
Advent Evening Prayer
A special Advent Evening Prayer service will be offered on Sunday evening, November 29 at 6:00 PM. Bring with you a written list of those things you have been struggling with. To begin the service we will gather on the front porch in front of the narthex to pray and toss our lists into a lit cauldron to ritually embody a process of letting go. We will light the Paschal Candle off this fire – a powerful symbol of our life in Christ and Christ’s victory over death – and process into the nave, lighting our individual candles off the Paschal Candle. In this way, we will begin the new year refreshed and renewed. Please join us for Advent Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM on November 29.
Advent Quiet Day
A space for silence and reflection for the Advent Season will be offered on Saturday, December 5, from 9:00 AM—2:00 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 reflect on what it means to wait, watch, and hope for the coming of Jesus Christ into our lives. Childcare will be provided until 2:00 PM. Please RSVP to the church office no later than December 1 for childcare and/or lunch.
Advent Mini-Retreat for Young Adults
For an afternoon, our young adult community is invited to gather and experience different ways of opening ourselves to what God has for us. We will try on different prayer practices and rhythms of silence. In this sacred time and space we will have a balance of guided time, experiential practice, community reflection, and silence. The mini-retreat is Saturday, December 5, from 11:00 AM-5:00 PM with a special Eucharist to conclude. Note the overlap with the Quiet Day. This is intended for us to share lunch with other seekers in our church family. We will also have the opportunity for any who wish to go to dinner afterwards. Childcare will be provided until 5:00 PM. Please RSVP no later than December 1 for childcare and/or lunch.
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 13, scripture lessons will be read and Advent carols sung by the choir and the congregation.
Candlelight Café: A Celebration of the Season
The very popular Candlelight Café returns to GWAG on Wednesday evenings. As we move into Advent, a season of waiting and anticipation, our Great Wednesdays at Grace programs will help us unwind and begin to reflect on the upcoming joy of Christmas. Parishioners are encouraged to come relax in Grace Church’s Candlelight Café during Advent!
To kick off the series on December 2, Linden Gaspar will read two selections, a brief excerpt from Charles Dickens’s always popular A Christmas Carol and Tasha Tudor’s The Doll’s Christmas. To finish the evening we will begin a new tradition of decorating a Grace Family Christmas Tree. Each family is invited to bring an ornament that will represent your family for years to come.
Our second Wednesday program, on December 9, will feature some special versions of mulled wine, a traditional winter drink that dates as far back as the early Roman Empire and continues to be enjoyed today. This delicious drink, prepared by Ron Walker, will encourage quiet fellowship and conversation, perhaps finishing with some songs of the season.
On December 16, Karen Embry will lead us in a fun and interactive adventure as we experience a “Brown Bag Christmas.” This creative activity is a feel good look at the Christmas story and is an engaging event for all and a wonderful way to cap off this series of Candlelight Cafes. Please do join our Grace Church family for these joyful celebrations.
This year we have gathered offerings from various members of the parish, lay and ordained, that are personal reflections on the Daily Office scripture texts during Advent. Booklets will be emailed and made available for download from our website for individuals or families during this season.
A reminder that the chapel is open for personal quiet time, prayer, and meditation from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday through Thursday.
Laying on of Hands for Healing
Laying on of Hands and Prayer for Healing is offered at the 10:45 AM service every Sunday during Advent. Parishioners with concerns to be lifted up in a sharing, loving fellowship are invited to stop by one of the teams in the side aisles after communion.
Advent Sunday Forum
In both the Old and New Testaments, dreams were regarded as revelations from God. Today we have lost this perspective and we often regard dreams as meaningless nonsense or overly imaginative fantasy. Nevertheless, dreams continue to speak to us in their unique symbolic language. In this four-week class, we will draw upon the ideas of Swiss psychologist C. G.Jung to study the meaning of dreams in the Bible and in our own time. Susan Olson, Grace Church member and Jungian analyst, facilitates our discussion. She suggests (but does not require) that we read Dreams: God’s Forgotten Language, by Episcopal priest and Jungian analyst John A. Sanford (paperback available in the parish library and on Amazon). No class on November 29.