This Week at the Advent, June 2-8, 2019

Welcome to the Church of the Advent! If you are new to the area, visiting, or seeking a church home, we are glad you’re here and hope to have a chance to greet you in person. Please join us downstairs following the service for a coffee hour.

Child care is offered during the 9 am and 11:15 am services; an usher can guide you to the nursery.

Welcome cards are located in each pew; please fill one out so we can keep in touch.


The flowers at the high altar are given to the glory of God and in loving memory of John Kocyk Zartarian.


9:00 Coffee Hour: Darcy Montaldi & Tony Pulsone, and Abigail & Alister Lewis-Bowen host this morning. Today’s Coffee Hour also includes a recognition of our Church School teachers. Next Sunday Will Joyner & Linda Jones join Megan & Mike Zadig in hosting.  If you would like to sign up to host coffee hour, please contact Barbara Boles by phone, 617-501-7572, or email bbolesster@gmail.com if you’re interested or have questions.

11:15 Coffee Hour: Today’s hosts are Mark Aparece, Susan Fugliese, and Frank Olney. We are always in need of more volunteers. To view the schedule of available dates and select a date to co-host, please go to http://theadventboston.org/1115-coffee-hour-signup/.  If you have any questions, please contact Roxy Hanson (roxenewu@yahoo.com), Frederick Ou (frederick.ou@gmail.com), or Kyle Pilares (kpilares.uk@gmail.com).


Important Update from the Wardens

We are pleased to report that Bishop Gates has approved our Parish Profile.  Our expectation is that the final layout and formatting will be completed early next week, at which point the document will be publicly available.  When this happens, we will send a special email to the Parish with a link to the profile, which will be posted on the Parish website. 
–Tom Brown & Paul Roberts.


THIS WEEK


ADULT CONFIRMATION CLASSES continue this Wednesday in Moseley Hall with a light supper following the 6:00 pm Healing Mass. This week’s topic is “The History of the Episcopal Church.”


On Tuesday, June 4, Leonard and Suzann Buckle, longtime members of our parish, will celebrate the 53rd anniversary of their marriage. Part of their celebration will be a renewal of their marriage vows here at the Church at 2:00 pm on Saturday, June 8. A reception will follow immediately in Moseley Hall.


COMING UP


COMPLINE at the Advent — Next Sunday, June 9, 8:00 pm.


The flowers that adorn the Church are funded entirely by donations from members and friends of the Parish. We have openings for flower memorials or thanksgivings on Sunday, June 16 and especially for Corpus Christi (June 20). If you are interested, please contact the parish administrator (office@theadventboston.org).


PICNIC! On Sunday, June 23, we will have a summertime picnic in the Garden following the 9:00 and 11:15 Masses. The Advent will provide hot dogs with all the trimmings and drinks of various kinds. We ask members of the Parish to bring hors d’oeuvres, salads, desserts. Pray for good weather and feel free to dress appropriately.


SAINT MICHAEL’S CONFERENCE: A Conference in the Anglican Tradition for Young Adults of All Christian Communions.

This educational conference for high school and college students is a week-long conference held in West Hartford, Connecticut from July 28 to August 3 this summer. We encourage every high school and college-aged student between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one to register and attend. Registration forms are available in the church or on the Conference’s website at www.saintmichaelsconference.com. Please see Father James, Betsy James, Rob Braman, Mark Dwyer, Gabriel Ellsworth, Sam James, or Harriet Lewis-Bowen if you are interested in attending. The registration deadline is July 1.


ODDS & ENDS


Discount Vouchers for the Boston Common Garage are available for $9.00 each from Deacon Daphne or Nola Sheffer. You can find them between the 9:00 and 11:15 Masses at the Coffee Hour. The vouchers can be used after 4:00 pm weekdays, and all day Saturday and Sunday. Questions? email: nsheffer@newview.org.


From the Advent Archives —

An occasional offering of little known facts, amusing anecdotes, and miscellaneous wisdom, in honor of the 175th anniversary of this parish.

The soaring lines of the Advent have inspired artists and photographers from its earliest days. On Sunday, June 2, a new display case located in the foyer will debut postcards, photographs, and other images of the building’s exterior. Included in the exhibit: one of the earliest drawings of “The New Church of the Advent” from King’s handbook of Boston, 1889 (see below); the original of a familiar image by Jack Frost, used on the cover of our service bulletins; an assortment of postcards and note cards, including the earliest color postcard (circa 1915) of the church; an Epiphany-themed depiction by Robert Turner Walker; a watercolor by Diane Cermak, a member of the Bell Ringers Guild; and a pen-and-ink sketch by Jean Holloway, used on the cover of the Anglican Digest.


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT
June 3-9, 2019

Monday, June 3
Martyrs of Uganda

Tuesday, June 4
6:00 pm: Community Supper

Wednesday, June 5
Boniface
10:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass
6:30 pm:  Adult Confirmation Class follows
7:00 pm: Bellringers

Thursday, June 6
7:00 pm: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Friday, June 7
11:30 am: Rosary

Saturday, June 8
10:00 am: Advent Choir Rehearsal
10:00 am: Flower Guild
10:30 am: Search Committee
2:00 pm: Buckle Marriage Vows Renewal

Sunday, June 9
Pentecost (Whitsunday)
7:30 am: Morning Prayer
8:00 am: Low Mass
9:00 am: Procession & Sung Mass
11:15 am: Procession & Solemn Mass with Holy Baptism
2:30 pm: Bellringers
8:00 pm: Compline

Sermon Preached by the Rev’d Canon Edie Dolnikowski at the Church of the Advent, May 30, 2019, the Feast of the Ascension

In the Name of God:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

On every Sunday and major feast we proclaim the doctrine that Jesus ascended into heaven. Compared to other teachings about Jesus’ life and ministry, however, we tend not to give the Ascension the attention it deserves.  Until the fourth century it didn’t even have its own feast day.  Since then observance of this feast has been sporadic—and in some cases downright odd—especially in our branch of the Church, which prefers its doctrines to be as rational as possible.

We know why Our Lord ascended into heaven:  we observe in the Book of Genesis [5:24] that when Patriarch Enoch reached the venerable age of 365 years, angels carried him into heaven to dwell with God; we read in the Second Book of Kings [2:12-14] that a chariot of fire pulled the Prophet Elijah into a whirlwind that conveyed him up to the sky.

For the evangelist Luke, Jesus’ ascension is the culmination of God’s saving work, woven into the fabric of creation, attested by patriarchs and prophets and sealed by our Lord’s incarnation, death and resurrection.  Jesus’ ascension makes way for the Holy Spirit to infuse God’s people with such grace that they become Christ’s body on earth, fully empowered to help usher in the kingdom of God.  It is a beautiful, powerful teaching that deserves our commemoration, contemplation and adoration.

We can see clearly why the ascension is a vital, defining doctrine of our faith.  For many of us, however, the stumbling block isn’t why but how.  Since at least the eleventh century our religious life has been shaped by theologians like Anselm, Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas, all of whom insist that our faith must be reasonable.  God did not make a chaotic, incomprehensible world, they assert; rather, God made a world in which every wonder is an invitation to witness and explore God’s grace in action.  Theological mystery becomes a vehicle for entering the divine mind and discerning, to an almost scientific degree, God’s purpose for us in this mortal world. 

The mysteries of incarnation and resurrection challenge us, of course; yet we have all seen some form of new life spring out of dark barren places.  Indeed, our reliance on God’s power over death fuels our faith and sustains our hope.  But in both of these cases the mystery occurred privately with no witnesses to tell us what actually happened.  Jesus’ ascension, by contrast, was a very public affair.  Lots of people saw it, apparently, and, they found it quite amazing.  We, standing in Anselm’s tradition of “faith seeking understanding,” may well find certain details of ascension in our biblical record rather dubious.  Where are these chosen patriarchs and prophets actually going?  Why up?  What exactly is up there?  Must we affirm a doctrine with no physical evidence to support it?  If not, what is the proper way to interpret these critical texts metaphorically.  If so, how do we make sense of bible passages that seem to pit theological truth against observable fact?

Perhaps these difficult questions account at least for some of the peculiar ways we have observed the Feast of the Ascension down through the centuries.  I cite two examples from one of my favorite books, The Oxford Companion to the Year

  • First, there is a very old custom of collecting rain water on Ascension Day for healing, especially diseases of the eye[1]
  • Second, a seventeenth-century treatise reports that students at New College, Oxford, for “time out mind” visited St. Bartholomew’s Hospital on Ascension Day morning, where they offered prayers, sang songs, and processed to the chapel on a path “strewn with flowers”[2]

Now for some contemporary examples:  I once served a congregation that hosted a strawberry shortcake reception immediately following the Ascension Day liturgy; no one knew quite why they did this, or how it related to the doctrine of the ascension, but it was a lovely custom nonetheless.  And here today we honor the ascension with the glorious offering of Herbert Howell’s English Mass!

For me, though, the most profound and authentic way that I have ever experienced the Feast of the Ascension was at St. Andrew’s Church in Wellesley, where every year the Altar Guild gathers to commission new members and appoint new officers in a Eucharistic celebration.  At the Offertory, the celebrant recites the necrology of the people who have served on the Altar Guild since the founding of the parish over one hundred years ago.  By now the list of names is quite long, but no one seems to mind the time it takes to read them.  Of all people, these quiet ministers of the Gospel know the abiding value of being Christ’s body on earth; of preparing his table; of helping to serve the friends he calls to the feast; of attending to the messiness of sharing bread and wine—body and blood—with fellow disciples who desperately need God’s forgiveness, encouragement and abundant love.  Of all people, they understand the connection between a concrete faith rooted in the here and now, and the promise of eternal life with our risen Lord.

So, in honor of these precursors who have faithfully sought to observe the occasion of Jesus’ ascension, if when they couldn’t quite grasp its meaning, I invite to you mark this feast with exuberant celebration.  Give great thanks for the mystery that Jesus rose to heaven so that we might fulfill our calling as his agents of healing and reconciliation on earth.  And pray with me this ancient prayer from the Mozarabic Sacramentary, written in a time when making rational sense of profound truth was not at the top of the list of theological virtues:

“Who shall speak of Thy power, O Lord, and who shall be able to tell the tale of all Thy praises?  Thou didst descend to human things, not leaving behind heavenly things.  Thou art returned to things above, not abandoning things below.  Everywhere Thou art Thy whole self, everywhere wonderful.  In the flesh, Thou hast yet thy being with the Father; in thine Ascension Thou art not torn away from Thy being in man.  Look upon the prayer of Thy people, holy Lord, merciful God; that in Thy holy Ascension, even as glory is given to Thee on high, so grace may be vouchsafed to us below.”[3] 

Amen.


[1] Notes and Queries, 1st ser., ix (1854), 524 cited in The Oxford Companion to the Year, Bonnie Blackburn and Leofranc Holford-Strevens (Oxford, 1999), 630.

[2] John Gadbury, EFHMERIS or, a Diary Astronomical, Astrological, Meteorological for the Year of our Lord 1696 (London, 1696) cited in ibid.

[3] The New Book of Christian Prayers, Tony Castle (New York:  Crossword Publishing, 1977), 204.

Sermon Preached by the Rev’d Dr. Jeffrey A. Hanson at the Church of the Advent, Sunday, May 26, 2019, the Sixth Sunday of Easter

One of my favorite TV shows is the animated sitcom King of the Hill. It tells the story of Hank Hill, a conservative family man living and working as a propane salesman in a Texas suburb. Hank’s father, Cotton Hill, is an even more rigid reactionary, a proud and patriotic war veteran who constantly belittles his son Hank, whom he regards as totally inadequate even though Hank is truly a good and reliable husband, father, and friend. The extent of Hank and his father Cotton’s conflict over even trivial matters is revealed in one episode when they are shopping for Christmas tree ornaments. Hank selects an ornament for his father’s approval that bears the word “Peace.” “How’s this one?” he asks. “Peace!?” his father sneers. “I bet you would like that. Why don’t you get one with a flag-burnin’ on it?” Provoked by his father’s derision, as he always is, Hank replies defensively, “Dad, it’s Jesus peace, not hippie peace.”

Silly as that is, I agree with Hank that there is a difference between Jesus peace and hippie peace. There is a difference between the peace that Jesus speaks of as his gift to us in today’s Gospel passage and our ordinary, worldly idea of peace.

This promise of an extraordinary sort of peace is at the heart of today’s Gospel reading. Jesus in John 14 is speaking some of his last words to his closest disciples. Judas Iscariot has gone out to betray him, so Jesus knows what he is about to face, and he has told his disciples that he is going away; now he speaks these words to reassure them: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”

Go back to the beginning of today’s passage, and you will see that Jesus is actually answering a question asked by one of his disciples, Judas (not Iscariot), the other Judas. That question, immediately prior to the beginning of today’s reading, is why does Jesus intend to reveal himself only to his intimate followers and not to the whole world. It may be that Judas is still imagining, even here, on the very night that Jesus is to be betrayed, that Jesus will be the Messiah everyone expects: A heroic warrior who will overthrow the enemies of Israel with a dazzling display of his power in the sight of all and thus be revealed to the whole world as a storied conqueror.

We learn something important here about Jesus in this moment. This is not the sort of Messiah that Jesus is. He says instead, that rather than show himself off before all the world he and his Father will in a quieter fashion make a home with those who love him and keep his words. To those who do not love him and do not keep his words, he will not reveal himself.

But to fail to keep the word of Jesus is also to fail to keep God’s word, for as Jesus reminds us here, and as he has said many times in John’s Gospel, he does not speak his own words; he only speaks the words of his Father, who sent him to us.

We also learn something important at this point about the Holy Spirit. Just as God the Father sent the Son to us to be incarnate, to live and die and rise from death as Jesus the Christ, so Jesus the Son of God asks his Father to send the Holy Spirit to us.

There is a perfect parallelism here. In exactly the same way that the Father sends the Son, so also the Father sends the Spirit at the request of the Son. This is even clearer if we back up a few verses to the first place in John 14 where Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit. Here in verse 26 Jesus calls the Holy Spirit “the Counselor.” Just ten verses prior he said, “I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive.”

The Holy Spirit can only be “another Counselor” if Jesus himself already is a Counselor. This is a really tough word in Greek to translate. Sometimes you may have seen it translated as “Comforter” or “Advocate.” These ideas are all implied in this word, which literally means “one who is called alongside.”

The Father sent the Son to “come alongside” us, to be our companion and friend; to teach, strengthen, and advise us; to defend us against accusation and condemnation by our enemies, sin and death. And now Jesus promises to send another, the Holy Spirit, who will also “come alongside” us, to be our companion and friend forever. Just like Jesus is only manifest to those who love and obey him and not to the world, so too the world will not recognize the Holy Spirit; the Spirit of truth is only revealed to those who love the Spirit, and those who love the Spirit must love the Son, and those who love the Son must love the Father.

So this gift of peace is according to John entirely wrapped up with nothing less than the gift of God’s giving to us God’s own self: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

This peace that Jesus leaves us I would say is nothing other than the fullness of life from and with God.

This is the peace that Jesus gives. “My peace I give to you,” our Lord says. And he says “not as the world gives do I give to you.”

So what’s the difference?

First of all, I would say that what the world calls peace is really just absence of conflict. As long as there is no disturbance or violence then the world is happy and calls this peace.

The peace of Christ is not absence of conflict. In the very next chapter Jesus warns his disciples that the world will hate and persecute them. And Jesus himself is about to go to a violent death. The peace that Jesus gives does not buy us an exception from conflict in this life. His peace is the power to remain confident in the promises of God amidst conflict.

This is why Jesus is able to say right away that even though he is going away we should not let our hearts be troubled. “Don’t be afraid,” he says. Things are about to get very bad indeed, and yet, Jesus says, let not your hearts be troubled, and don’t be afraid, because the peace he bestows empowers us to remember and trust his promises even in the worst of times.

Second, remember that Jesus strongly associates the Holy Spirit with peace, and only ten verses prior to this one he also called the Holy Spirit the “Spirit of truth.” I think this is because truth and peace go together. The world is capable of forging phony peace from falsehood. Just ten years prior to our Lord’s birth the mighty Caesar Augustus returned to Rome after a triumphant three-year military campaign in Gaul. To honor Caesar Augustus’s slaughter of Rome’s enemies the Roman Senate commissioned an enormous altar to be built dedicated to the pagan goddess…Peace. That so-called Altar of Peace was nothing but a false temple to a false goddess built to bolster Caesar Augustus’s false ambition to be worshiped as himself a god.

That’s not true peace, that’s a cynical lie. There can be no peace where there is falsehood. The peace of Christ is the peace that comes with knowing the truth of who he is and again therefore, the truth of who God is. The Spirit of truth is another Counselor, just like Christ himself, the first Counselor, who in this same chapter of John says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” Jesus is the truth of God the Father. He leaves us his peace because he has also made the truth known.

Finally, true peace is something that cannot be enjoyed individually but only corporately. It is a gift to you all, or as Hank Hill might say—in the English language’s only remaining vestige of the second-person plural pronoun—it is a gift to y’all. The gift of peace is not to you and you and you as separate individuals but to us as Christ’s own body animated by the Holy Spirit.

Because we can only be united by the peace that Jesus gives, and that peace is made possible by the blood he sheds on the cross. In a way Jesus is a warrior after all: By dying and rising again he vanquishes his and our enemies, sin and death, and thus he makes it possible for us to live in love together, he in us and we in him.

The world does not do this. The world is and has always been divided up by tribe: us vs. them.

This is not the way of the church. The church is a unity, it is a com-munity, and this community overcomes all divisions; it even overcomes the division between the living and the dead.

At morning prayer, evening prayer, and mass, we pray that the faithful departed “rest in peace.” I fear we probably think of this in worldly terms, that we are praying that the dead repose undisturbed, but this is not quite right. When we pray that the faithful departed will rest in peace what we mean is that we want our brothers and sisters to rest in peace by remaining in the fullness of life from and with God, even in earthly death. To rest in peace is to abide forever in the gift of God’s own living presence, the gift that all who love him necessarily share, no matter how many ways the world divides us.

In the person of Jesus himself, at every mass the priest bids this same peace of the Lord to be with you all always. We actually mean this. And it actually means something. We exchange that peace with the priest and with each other. We do this not because we wish each other well or because we are eager to chum it up with whoever is in the next pew over. This is a serious liturgical act.

To exchange the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ is to acknowledge that we have God’s own strength and wisdom amidst conflict; to exchange the peace is to recognize that we share a deep affirmation of the truth of who God is; to exchange the peace is to affirm that we are at unity with one another despite our many differences and at unity with the myriad who have gone before us.

Perhaps we have forgotten this by dint of overfamiliarity. It is true that saying “peace be with you” was at the time of Christ and remains today, an entirely ordinary greeting for Jewish believers to offer each other. Muslims say it too. And so do hippies. In the world’s hearing maybe saying “peace be with you” does sound like little more than a pious wish. Because the world can talk about peace, but it cannot give peace. But Jesus does not just wish us his peace; he gives it to us.

This is not what the hippies had in mind. And it’s not a slogan on a Christmas tree ornament. It’s the power and presence of God Almighty in our lives, all our lives, now and forevermore. Amen.

Collect for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

O God, who hast prepared for those who love thee such good things as pass man’s understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards thee, that we, loving thee in all things and above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

This Week at the Advent, May 26-June 1, 2019

Welcome to the Church of the Advent! If you are new to the area, visiting, or seeking a church home, we are glad you’re here and hope to have a chance to greet you in person.

Child care is offered during the 9 am and 11:15 am services; an usher can guide you to the nursery.

Welcome cards are located in each pew; please fill one out so we can keep in touch.


The flowers at the high altar are given to the glory of God and in loving memory of Sylvia.

The flowers by the Mt. Vernon Street entrance are given to the glory of God and in memory of Martha Sever (see under “Advent 175”, below, and also here).


9:00 Coffee Hour: Bette Boughton and Jonnet Holladay host this morning. Next Sunday Darcy Montaldi & Tony Pulsone join Abigail & Alister Lewis-Bown to host, and there will also be a recognition of Church School teachers. If you would like to sign up to host coffee hour, please contact Barbara Boles by phone, 617-501-7572, or email bbolesster@gmail.com if you’re interested or have questions.

11:15 Coffee Hour: Today’s hosts are Philip Clark, Steve Kies & Jonathan Maldonado. We are always in need of more volunteers. To view the schedule of available dates and select a date to co-host, please go to http://theadventboston.org/1115-coffee-hour-signup/.  If you have any questions, please contact Roxy Hanson (roxenewu@yahoo.com), Frederick Ou (frederick.ou@gmail.com), or Kyle Pilares (kpilares.uk@gmail.com).


THIS WEEK


ADULT CONFIRMATION CLASSES continue this Wednesday in Moseley Hall with a light supper following the 6:00 pm Healing Mass. This week’s topic is “The Practice of Christianity, The Christian Duties.”


An Ascension Day Orchestral Mass!
This Thursday evening, May 30, at 6:30 pm

Herbert Howells

A Solemn Mass will be sung to celebrate the Feast of the Ascension. The Advent Choir and Orchestra will offer “An English Mass” by Herbert Howells. A gorgeous work for chorus, string orchestra, winds, tympani and harp, this piece by Howells is rarely performed and we believe that this will be its North American Premiere by an all-professional choir and orchestra.

The mass was commissioned for a 1956 concert of all-new works to celebrate Harold Darke’s 50th anniversary as organist and choirmaster of St. Michael’s Cornhill, London. The title refers to the use (apart from the Kyrie) of the English text from the Prayer Book for the setting of the mass. In “An English Mass,” sonorous textures combine with sinewy melodies to create a mystical setting of refined beauty. Ecstatic outbursts of praise contrast with hushed melting solos. You won’t want to miss it!

Our homilist will be the Rev’d Canon Edie Dolnikowski, Canon for Ordained Vocations for the Diocese of Massachusetts. A reception follows the Mass.


Ordination of Eric Fialho

Pastoral Assistant Eric Fialho will be ordained to the Transitional Diaconate this Saturday, June 1 at 10:30 am at the Cathedral of St. Paul. All are most welcome to attend. Eric has accepted a call to serve as Curate at St. Paul’s Church in Riverside, CT, and will be starting there in June. Eric has served The Church of the Advent as Seminarian and subsequently as Pastoral Assistant for the past three years.


COMING UP


The flowers that adorn the Church are funded entirely by donations from members and friends of the Parish. We have openings for flower memorials or thanksgivings on Sunday, June 16 and especially for Corpus Christi (June 20). If you are interested, please contact the parish administrator (office@theadventboston.org).


SAINT MICHAEL’S CONFERENCE: A Conference in the Anglican Tradition for Young Adults of All Christian Communions.

This educational conference for high school and college students is a week-long conference held in West Hartford, Connecticut from July 28 to August 3 this summer. We encourage every high school and college-aged student between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one to register and attend. Registration forms are available in the church or on the Conference’s website at www.saintmichaelsconference.com. Please see Father James, Betsy James, Rob Braman, Mark Dwyer, Gabriel Ellsworth, Sam James, or Harriet Lewis-Bowen if you are interested in attending.


ODDS & ENDS


From the Advent Archives —

An occasional offering of little known facts, amusing anecdotes, and miscellaneous wisdom, in honor of the 175th anniversary of this parish.

The holiday we know as Memorial Day originated as Decoration Day in the years following the Civil War when an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — designated a day in late May as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers, as we have done today on the plaque outside the library.

Martha Sever was baptized at the Advent by the Rt. Rev. Horatio Southgate on March 8, 1855, when she was 16 years old. Her father had died a month earlier. Southgate noted that Martha was “of sufficient age to answer for herself.”

During the Civil War, Martha was a nurse serving at Beverly, New Jersey, where she died of typhoid fever, age 25, in 1864. Before departing for New Jersey, she wrote her will: “Nov. 6, 1859. I give to the Church of the Advent for the building of a new church, ten shares in the Western Road, the interest to be used for the poor of the Parish till the time of the building of the new church. All this is provided it shall remain a free church; if not, one half shall be given to the Church Home for Orphans and the other half for a free bed (or beds) in the Massachusetts General Hospital.”

A tablet honoring her and her gift is on the wall inside the Mt. Vernon Street entrance:

Martha Sever (1839-1865)

LO I COME

To the glory of God and in memory of Martha Sever,
who died in the service of her Lord and country,
at Beverly Hospital, New Jersey, Nov. 13, 1864, aged 25 years.
This porch was built by money bequeathed by her, a member of this parish,
who had the building of a new church much at heart.


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT
May 27-June 2, 2019

Monday, May 27
Office closed in observance of Memorial Day.
No Morning Prayer.

Tuesday, May 28
6:00 pm: Community Supper
6:15 pm: Vestry
7:00 pm: Choir & Orchestra Rehearsal

Wednesday, May 29
10:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass
6:30 pm:  Adult Confirmation Class follows
7:00 pm: Choir & Orchestra Rehearsal

Thursday, May 30
Ascension Day
No 12:15 pm Mass
6:30 pm: Procession & Solemn Mass; reception follows

Friday, May 31
The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
10:00 am: Flower Guild
11:30 am: Rosary

Saturday, June 1
Justin Martyr
10:30 am: Ordination of Eric Fialho (Cathedral of St Paul)

Sunday, June 2
The Seventh Sunday of Easter
7:30 am: Morning Prayer
8:00 am: Low Mass
9:00 am: Sung Mass
11:15 am: Solemn Mass

Sermon Preached by the Rev’d Jay C. James at the Church of the Advent, May 19, 2019, the Fifth Sunday of Easter

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

Our calling is to show forth God’s love in the world until Christ comes again.

What do you want to be when you grow up?  When talking with children, that is one of the most frequently asked questions. We were probably all asked that question at some point, and we have probably posed the question to a child.  Of course, it would be of children we ask the question because it gets really awkward when asking a thirty-seven-year old.   It is a common question to ask children and appropriate because when it is asked, you can see children’s faces usually light up and become filled with hope and anticipation.  The world is wide open to them and they like imagining all the things they could be.  The answers too, are interesting. 

We are asking what they want to do, but are often provided with a response that is an indication of who they are.  Are they creative, nurturing, brave?  The child who wants to be a teacher may have a nature that is caring and nurturing.  The child who wants to be a first responder may naturally be courageous and caring.  What we want to do may be an indication of what we are like

What a privilege and blessing it would be to have one’s desired job and one’s character become the means of support and purpose in the world.  If a person loves what he is doing, and the job is actually forming his character, and he is being sustained and supported by doing it, then it would not be work at all.   How many of us have that privilege?

When I walk around the city and see the thousands pouring out of the T stations and making their way to the sidewalks to get to their jobs, or when I watch the traffic report and see the thousands of cars streaming into the city along the Mass Pike, or coming up from the Cape on Route 3, or down from the North Shore along Route 1 or 128, I think, “How many of the people in their cars are going off to work and have this privilege and blessing of doing something that they desire and is forming the person they are supposed to be? Are they like children that grew up and became what they wanted to be?  Are they doing something that is part of their true nature?”

When we consider what we do and how that relates to who we are, we are dealing with our vocation.  Vocation, from the Latin vocatio:  a call or a summoning.  To what are you called?  We place a lot of value and weight on our work and jobs, not only because they are a means of making a living, but because they are part of our identity.  Surveys have shown that the first two questions we ask of someone whom we have never met are:  “Who are you?” and “What do you do?”  There is nothing more personal to tell someone about yourself than your name.  Right on the heels of that very personal question is: “What do you do?”  To what has God called you to do with your life?

One of the vocations of the Christian is given to us in clear terms in this morning’s Gospel.  It’s more than a calling or asking. It’s put in such clear terms as a “commandment”.  It’s the New Commandment Christ gives to the disciples after Judas has left the Last Supper.  A New Commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.  Jesus is mandating this at a time when He knew He was facing betrayal, persecution, and suffering.  

This choosing to love must be necessary because the commandment is repeated in the Gospel by Jesus two more times after the Last Supper.  In John’s Gospel Jesus repeats the commandment verbatim in His instructions, prayers, and farewell to the disciples just before He is arrested, crucified and resurrected.  He repeats the commandment in John 15:12 and 15:17.  It is clearly what all His disciples must do to prove and reveal that they love Him.  They –  and we, if we’re going to be His disciples – must love one another,  and in truly following Jesus’ example we must choose to love even at times we find challenging and love the persons we find challenging.

Love is often an overused word for us these days.  The problem with this overuse is that the deep and rich and powerful meaning of love, certainly in the Christian sense of the word, becomes changed and lost.  Oh, I just love your dress. I love that apple cobbler.  Didn’t you love the movie?  The new blossoms are lovely.  I am in love with my new car!   These are all fine uses of love but despite the useful hyperbole they tend to diminish the true meaning of love.  The kind of love Jesus gives us and the love that He indeed is. 

We do not need to reinvent what love means, but we do need to discover or rediscover it.  The Gospel for today forces us to find out what Jesus means by it and to not just know it, but do it.   We are called to keep the Commandment.  In keeping this New Commandment to love one another we are doing what we are called to do and growing more closely into what we ought to be like.  In order to fulfill this commandment we must actually do something.

Action is in the very nature of this kind of love. Agape love, the Bible calls it.  Agape is the word used to describe the love of God and distinguishes it from the other two kinds of love like passion or friendship.  This love of God that Jesus wants shown between us and Him, and between us and God is something that is done.  We need to remember that Jesus is teaching us that love is an action.  It’s very easy for us to collapse love into a kind of sentiment, or warm, or even hot emotion.  Agape love may bring with it a good deal of emotion and kind feelings, but it is not that.  It is much more than that when it is shown.  in John 3:16 we get the true meaning of God’s love, agape love:  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  You can actually see, if you meditate on this passage, God taking action in the form of the Incarnation.  It is God reaching outside of Himself, without diminishing Himself in any way, to become as we are.  That is action.

Love, as something that is done, makes perfect sense too.  The witness we make of love must be shown or it is not love, and the action that shows love must match true self-giving.   A mother and father know that words are not enough to show love.  Their baby is not going to know love unless the parents show the love with a kiss.  Even if we can use words to show love, there still must be an action that matches true self-giving love.  Love is something that is done, is chosen, and reflects the love Jesus commands us to take. 

What is that love?  I think it’s mainly acts that bring unity, not estrangement.  Actions that reflect the oneness of God and His love for mankind.  The worship of Him, just as we are doing right now.  Prayer, and prayer that is in the name of and offered to the Trinity.  Christians moved to actions that are clearly in the service of others.  Loving those who may be lonely, some of whom are even in the midst of us.  Taking those kinds of actions that bring people both inside the Church and outside the Church together.  Working toward things that reflect the unity with Christ and His Father, with those of us who want to be His disciples, and unity between and among all people of good will.  It means those kinds of actions that would be the love Jesus commands us in the Gospel.   

May God continue to give us His grace to keep this New Commandment.  May we keep it until we leave this earthly life and our life here in the world is ended.  May we obey and keep the New Commandment until Christ comes back from His heavenly throne and claims His Church.  Either way, we as Christians will be doing what we are supposed to be doing when we grow up.  What do you want to be when you grow up?  If we keep Christ’s New Commandment of loving one another then we will actually be doing what we are called to do, growing more and more into the likeness of Christ, and in the end we will be what we are supposed to do because we will be at one with the Father.  We will be loving the One who is love.  In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen. 

Ascension Day Orchestral Mass

Thursday evening, May 30th at 6:30 pm, a Solemn Mass will be sung to celebrate the Feast of the Ascension. The Advent Choir and Orchestra will offer “An English Mass” by Herbert Howells. Our preacher will be the Rev’d Dr. Edie Dolnikowski, Canon for Ordained Vocations in the Diocese of Massachusetts. Mark your calendars and observe the Ascension on May 30th at the Advent! 

Herbert Howells
Herbert Howells

A gorgeous work for chorus, string orchestra, winds, tympani & harp, Howells’ “An English Mass” is rarely performed. We believe that this will be its North American Premiere by an all-professional choir and orchestra. The mass was commissioned for a 1956 concert of all-new works to celebrate Harold Darke’s 50th anniversary as organist & choirmaster of St Michael’s Cornhill, London. The title refers to the use (apart from the Kyrie) of the English text from the Prayer Book for the setting of the mass. In “An English Mass,” sonorous textures combine with sinewy melodies to create a mystical setting of refined beauty. Ecstatic outbursts of praise contrast with hushed melting solos. 

The Rev'd Dr Edie Dolnikowski
The Rev’d Dr Edie Dolnikowski

 

 

After completing a doctoral degree in medieval Church History, Edie Dolnikowski moved to the Boston area in 1990 to attend the Episcopal Divinity School. Since her ordination to the priesthood in 1996, she has served as an associate at The Church of Our Saviour, Brookline and St. Andrew’s Church, Wellesley.  In 2013 she was called to serve as the Canon for Ordained Vocations, where she works with the Commission on Ministry and those preparing for ordination as deacons and priests in the Diocese of Massachusetts.

Collect for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know thy Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leadeth to eternal life; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

This Week at the Advent, May 19-25, 2019

Welcome to the Church of the Advent! If you are new to the area, visiting, or seeking a church home, we are glad you’re here and hope to have a chance to greet you in person.

Child care is offered during the 9 am and 11:15 am services; an usher can guide you to the nursery.

Welcome cards are located in each pew; please fill one out so we can keep in touch.


9:00 Coffee Hour: Angie Corbet and Maggie Dunbar host this morning. Next Sunday Bette Boughton and Jonnet Holladay host. New coffee hour hosts are always needed, and many slots are available for the fall. Please contact Barbara Boles by phone, 617-501-7572, or email bbolesster@gmail.com if you’re interested or have questions about what is entailed.

11:15 Coffee Hour: Today’s hosts are Karen Chaney, David Fisher, and Ignacio Gama. We are always in need of more volunteers. To view the schedule of available dates and select a date to co-host, please go to http://theadventboston.org/1115-coffee-hour-signup/.  If you have any questions, please contact Roxy Hanson (roxenewu@yahoo.com), Frederick Ou (frederick.ou@gmail.com), or Kyle Pilares (kpilares.uk@gmail.com).


Today’s Entr’acte is a presentation about the renovation of the rectory now under way.  Property Committee chairs Tom & Carolyn McDermott will talk about the work being done. Finance Committee co-chair Thatcher Gearhart will discuss the financial aspects of the project and Junior Warden Paul Roberts will be available to answer questions on behalf of the Wardens and the Vestry.


At 4:30 pm, organist Jonathan Vaughn of Christ Church Greenwich will offer a half-hour organ recital. A brilliant performer, Jonny was the Associate Organist of Wells Cathedral for nearly a decade before coming to the States. He will play the Hollins: Concert Overture no 2 in C minor, Howells: Rhapsody no 1 in D flat and the rarely-performed Whitlock: Fantasie Chorale no 2 in F sharp minor.

A service of Solemn Evensong and Benediction will follow at 5:00 pm, sung by The Advent Choir. Music featured will be the Leighton: Second Evening Service and motets by Palestrina and Parry. Following the one-hour service, a light supper will be offered at 6:00 pm during which our own Eric Fialho will give a brief talk entitled “The Anglicanism of M. R. James—A Gently Revealed Suspicion.” A master of the macabre, Montague Rhodes James was a medievalist and life-long academic famed for his ghost stories, which display the supernatural on the periphery. Join Eric as he unravels James’ style which always showcased his curiosity of the dark side of nature and of the supernatural— something not always entirely recognized in the Anglicanism of his day.


THIS WEEK


ADULT CONFIRMATION CLASSES continue this Wednesday in Moseley Hall with a light supper following the 6:00 pm Healing Mass. This week’s topic is “Prayer Life: Public and Private.”

These classes are not limited to those seeking Confirmation. They are intended for those who have been confirmed in other communions and wish to be “received” into this Communion, and for those who would simply like to review some basic knowledge and information about The Episcopal Church. The Confirmation will be held Saturday, June 15 at 10:30 am at the Cathedral of St. Paul.


COMING UP


Ordination of Eric Fialho: We are pleased to announce that our Pastoral Assistant, Eric Fialho, will be ordained to the Transitional Diaconate on Saturday, June 1 at 10:30 am at the Cathedral of St. Paul. All are most welcome to attend. Eric has accepted a call to serve as Curate at St. Paul’s Church in Riverside, CT, and will be starting there in June. Eric has served The Church of the Advent as Seminarian and subsequently as Pastoral Assistant for the past three years.


SAINT MICHAEL’S CONFERENCE: A Conference in the Anglican Tradition for Young Adults of All Christian Communions.

This educational conference for high school and college students is a week-long conference held in West Hartford, Connecticut from July 28 to August 3 this summer. We encourage every high school and college-aged student between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one to register and attend. Registration forms are available in the church or on the Conference’s website at www.saintmichaelsconference.com. Please see Father James, Betsy James, Rob Braman, Mark Dwyer, Gabriel Ellsworth, Sam James, or Harriet Lewis-Bowen if you are interested in attending.


ODDS & ENDS


The flowers that adorn the Church are funded entirely by donations from members and friends of the Parish. There are IMMEDIATE openings for flower memorials or thanksgivings next Sunday, May 26 and Ascension Day, May 30 (Ascension Day flowers remain through Sunday, June 2). If you are interested, please contact the parish administrator (office@theadventboston.org).


A Word from the Walk for Hunger Team:

GOAL REACHED!!!  Many, many thanks to so many of our Advent parishioners that supported Team Advent and the Walk for Hunger this year. We made our goal this week and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Special thanks goes to those that
support this effort every year. We could not do this without you!

It has been particularly rewarding meeting so many of you at Coffee Hour and hearing your Walk for Hunger stories. From those who walked it for 20 years or more, to those who walked it when their families

were younger. Every story reminds me of how vital Project Bread is to helping those less fortunate in our community right here in Boston, and it has us inspired to take on the challenge again for next year, as so many of you have done before us !

Many thanks from the Briggs Kiernan Family and all of Team Advent 2019!

Walk for Hunger team


A message from Fr Welch:

As we prepare for the celebration of Advent 175, several parishioners have contributed to the Advent Archives through gifts of time, documents, and art. Look for displays featuring some of these items in the coming months.

  • Bob and Wilbur Kingston-Parrott: an original (circa 1926) watercolor by Robert Turner Walker, founder of the Order of St. Vincent
  • Tyson Miller: An order of service from Good Friday 1872
  • Barbara Moore (Mrs. Roger):The Oxford Movement: Twelve Years, 1833-1845 edited by R. W. Church
  • Adam Rutledge: printer’s block proofs from the Constitution of the Order of St. Vincent
  • Fr Allan Warren: an image of the church on Green Street
  • Ray Porter: vintage postcard; two color images of stained glass windows

In addition, Barbara Boles, Melissa Fox, Liz Hunter, and Frank Olney have brought their individual and considerable skills to the monumental task of inventorying, organizing, and otherwise bringing order to the archives. And finally, highest praise to David Russo, our Parish Archivist, and to Deacon Daphne B. Noyes, for their many hours of dusty work. They’ve come up with some real treasures. – Fr Welch


From the Advent Archives —

An occasional offering of little known facts, amusing anecdotes, and miscellaneous wisdom, in honor of the 175th anniversary of this parish.

From the Boston Globe, 6 April 1885:

At the Church of the Advent yesterday there was a very large attendance, filling the spacious building completely. The decorations were very beautiful and in fine taste. On the altar steps were two beautiful azaleas, in full bloom, at least eight feet high, while on the altar were a dozen vases filled with choice cut flowers. In front of the reredos were five tall vases of cut flowers and 200 to 300 pots of rare specimens of the floral world. The pulpit was very beautiful, being adorned with passion flowers and vines. The screen was decorated with Southern moss and laurel. The regular music was augmented by five stringed instruments. S. B. Whitney presided at the organ, and the soprano soloists were Masters Warren, Imling and Nichols.

Father Grafton was the preacher. He took for his text the words of our Lord when he met Mary at the tomb: “Touch me not, for I have not yet arisen.” The speaker then in very touching language showed that while Christ had not risen at the time He spoke with Mary He was risen today, and that all could draw near to Him and He would comfort and cheer them.

Undated Eastertide photograph of the high altar before 1891, when the reredos was installed.
This is the earliest image of the Brimmer Street church interior we have located thus far.


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT
May 20-26, 2019

Monday, May 20
Alcuin

Tuesday, May 21
6:00 pm: Community Supper

Wednesday, May 22
10:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass
                  Adult Confirmation Class follows
7:00 pm: Bell Ringing

Thursday, May 23
7:00 pm: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Friday, May 24
Jackson Kemper
11:30 am: Rosary

Saturday, May 25
Bede the Venerable
10:00 am: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Sunday, May 26
The Sixth Sunday of Easter (Rogation Sunday)
7:30 am: Morning Prayer
8:00 am: Low Mass
9:00 am: Sung Mass
10:15 am: Church School / Entr’acte
11:15 am: Solemn Mass