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 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  If you have any questions, please contact Roxy Hanson (, Frederick Ou (, or Kyle Pilares (


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.


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 (

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 Please see Father James, Betsy James, Rob Braman, Mark Dwyer, Gabriel Ellsworth, Sam James, or Harriet Lewis-Bowen if you are interested in attending.


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)


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.

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.