A small group of Holy Trinity members have been meeting to plan for Advent. In spite of the worsening pandemic and recent lockdown, we continue to be excited about welcoming in this expectant season, this time of hopeful longing for the birth of Jesus and our own rebirth to newness and fullness of life in Christ.
This year has been an extremely challenging one for many if not all of us – a prolonged period of uncertainty and change. For the community of Holy Trinity, it has meant a time of exile from in church worship to online worship and yet, with the dedication and faithfulness of our members, we find reason for joy and celebration each Sunday. As we enter Advent, we invite each and every one to become intentional towards the hope, peace, joy and love God makes available to us as these themes are reflected in our times together.
We invite you to join us in facing the reality of our time while holding fast to the conviction that “the world is about to turn”.
Gathering our Advent longings and prayers
Those of us whose presence is needed in the church, including staff and weekday volunteers, will find a bare branch “tree” standing in the chancel. There will be tags, markers and ribbons. We invite you to write a prayer, a hope, a longing and to decorate the tree with these ’words of the heart.’ For those of us who are too far distant, observing lockdown or unable to come for any reason are encouraged to email our prayers to Dianne at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will post them for you and provide photos to all as the tree begins to show “new growth”.
Worship on Zoom
We will continue to meet each Sunday on Zoom, beginning each gathering with candle lighting and using readings and music to deepen our engagement with the theme of the day.
While worship restrictions this Advent prevent us from lighting Advent candles together in a shared space, we encourage each family/household to make its own Advent wreath – from small votives and pine branches gathered in nature to Advent candles and craft store accessories, be as thrifty or as extravagant as you can and/or desire. Some of us may rise to the challenge of creating a wreath without visiting a store. During our time of online worship, we’ll have a chance to share our creations with each other and enjoy a plethora of advent wreaths.
Including our Youth in Advent
Holy Trinity had 3 youth candidates who had been preparing for confirmation this past spring. Due to the church temporarily closing, the event was suspended indefinitely. As a way of showing our youth that we are thinking of them during this time, we’d like to present each one with an Advent zine (a small self-published booklet) containing short stories, poetry and quotes from the community. Please choose things that are especially meaningful for you in this season and send them to Sonya (you can find her via htlist) by Saturday December 14th. Let’s show our youth we care for them with this collective personal gift.
Advent has always been a season for intentional and deepening reflection. Some of us have favourite go-to resources. Some of us are in search of something new. Here’s a list of possible places to find inspiration, insight and pause for reflection.
- Primates World Relief and Development Fund offers At-Home Advent with PWRDF. This year’s Advent series includes video reflection from their staff and volunteers about how working with PWRDF has shaped them. One can subscribe at https://pwrdf.org/get-involved/advent2020/ to receive a daily message in your inbox including scripture and prayer. (Subscribers to their monthly Email Update still need to subscribe.)
- Jan Richardson is someone whose writings Holy Trinity have used in worship. She is offering an online Advent retreat called ILLUMINATED 2020: An online journey into the Heart of Christmas. It will be based on Jan’s book Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas. You can read the details here https://www.janrichardson.com/illuminated2020
In Jan’s words “This online retreat is not about adding one more thing to your holiday schedule. It is about helping you find spaces for reflection that draw you deep into this season that shimmers with mystery and possibility, solace and hope.” If 8 or more of us register we can access this for $60 USD ($90 is the full price) If you are interested in registering send an email to Beth at email@example.com. Once we have 8 names, Beth will submit them to Jan and she will send you a direct link to register and pay individually online.
- The Vigil – keeping the season of Christ’s coming. By Wendy Wright.
- Love came down – Anglican readings for Advent and Christmas. By ChristopherWebber.
Advent with Children
For those with children, we offer the following online resource for episodes of various Bible stories:
- Animation episodes of various Bible stories http://us-en.superbook.cbn.com/videos a good resource to introduce children to the biblical stories associated with the season
- printable colouring pages https://ministry-to-children.com/advent-coloring-book/
- a guide to help you do a reflective walk and create a craft – you can pick and choose what suits your family https://jodythomae.com/2015/11/09/create-a-day-your-daily-dose-of-creativity-219-advent-prayer-walk/#more-2923
- explanation of Advent Wreath and some resources https://www.crosswalk.com/special-coverage/christmas-and-advent/advent-wreath-candles-understanding-the-meaning-history-tradition.html You may need to make the language more inclusive for your family
May our individual and collective journey towards Christmas be one of joy and expectancy – for the world is about to turn.
Blessings this Advent season from the Advent Planning Team – Dianne Mesh, Allison Leyton-Brown, Sonya Dykstra, Beth Baskin, Rachael Zacharias Bezanson and Steven Lui