Collect for Candlemas

Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thy Majesty that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in the substance of our flesh, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

This Week at the Advent, February 2-8, 2020

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 Frank Leighton.

The flowers at the crossing are given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Polly Warren.


TODAY


On this Feast of Candlemas, we welcome the Rev’d Douglas Anderson, the Sixteenth Rector of the Church of the Advent. Fr. Anderson preaches and celebrates at both the 9:00 and 11:15 Masses, and we have the opportunity to greet him at festive potluck coffee hours (contributions welcome!) following each. We also expect a celebratory quarter peal by the Advent Bell Ringers around 2:00 pm.


Saint Blaise Day. We will remember and observe our Saint Blaise Day custom of the Blessing of Throats in the Lady Chapel after each of the Masses. Saint Blaise is the patron saint of wool combers and throat disease. He is a fourth-century saint from Sabaste, Armenia to whom is attributed many healing miracles. Saint Blaise healed a boy who was choking on a fishbone, even while the saint was being taken to prison, where he eventually met his martyrdom. It has become the tradition for throats to be blessed on this day to maintain health from diseases affecting the voice and heal injuries and cure diseases of the throat. Those wishing to receive The Blessing of Throats are asked to kneel at the Lady Chapel Altar rail immediately after our 8:00, 9:00 and 11:15 Masses. 


We continue our Candlemas celebration this afternoon with our sister parish, All Saints’, Ashmont. Everyone is encouraged to join the members of All Saints’ at 3:00 pm this afternoon for Solemn Evensong, a Solemn Procession, and Solemn Benediction. The choir of Men and Boys at All Saints’ will be joined by the choir from All Saints’, Worcester, Massachusetts. Father Michael Godderz will be the preacher. The choir pieces will include the Short Service by Orlando Gibbons, Preces and Responses by Gerre Hancock, Psalm 84 (Anglican Chant) by A.H. Brewer, When to the Temple Mary Went by Johann Eccard, and Air (Suite) and Toccata (Suite) by Florence Price. Please join our sister parish family and give high praise and thanksgiving for the Presentation of Our Lord, enjoy hearty Christian fellowship, and delightful refreshments. All Saints’ is easily reached by the T’s Red Line to Ashmont station.


NEXT SUNDAY!


Entr’acte Resumes next Sunday. After the holiday hiatus, Entr’acte will be back beginning February 9. For those new to the Advent, Entr’acte (“between the acts”) is our series of adult-education presentations held between the 9:00 am and the 11:15 am Masses. They are generally led by the clergy with occasional presentations by parishioners or guest speakers with knowledge in particular areas of expertise or interest.

To kick off this season, our own Rick Stone will lead a series of three sessions entitled “New Testament Perspectives on Old Testament Law.” Continuing February 16 and 23, these presentations begin with “The Synoptics (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and The Great Commandment”, continue with “Paul and the Law”, and conclude with “Hebrews and the Priesthood of Christ.”


COMING UP!


We will “rise against hunger” again on Saturday, February 15, from 10:00 am to noon in Moseley Hall. The Advent is once again hosting a Rise Against Hunger event with the members of our Diocese in the Boston Harbor Deanery. We are looking for five or six volunteers from our parish to join volunteers from other parishes around the Deanery to prepare 10,000 meals. These are dry food packages — one complete meal in each package — that will be sent somewhere around the world where people are hungry. The goal of Rise Against Hunger is to see an end to hunger in our lifetime — a very lofty goal, and we can do our part by stepping up and helping on February 15. If you have helped with this event over the past few years, then you already know how much fun it can be. There’s music, some dancing, bells ringing to announce how many meals have been created, and just a good sense of satisfaction knowing that we are reaching out to others in need.

We ask those who volunteer to arrive at 9:45 on that day. We are also looking for donations to offset the $3,500 it takes to put on the event and meet the cost of the food and materials. Any gifts and donations to help with this cause will be greatly appreciated. If you are interested in helping or making a donation, please contact Father James. For more info, go to www.riseagainsthunger.org.


Wednesday Evening Lenten Study, beginning March 4: Readings in John. This short Lenten study will consider selected passages in both the Gospel and Epistles of John. We will look at themes of light and darkness, faith and unbelief, and the famous “I am” statements of Jesus. With the Rector, immediately following the Wednesday healing Mass in the Library.


NEWS


At the Annual Meeting of January 26, the following persons were elected to serve on the Parish Vestry for three-year terms: John Boyd, Thatcher Gearhart, Philip LeQuesne, and Carolyn McDermott.

Frederic Ou was elected to a one-year term as Clerk of the Vestry; Adam Rutledge was elected to a one-year term as Treasurer.

Julianne Turé and Nick Westberg were elected Delegates to Diocesan Convention and the Deanery; Robb Scholten was elected Alternate Delegate.

Congratulations to the above persons and our gratitude, as well, for their willingness to serve the Parish.


STEWARDSHIP


Thanks to all those from whom we have received pledges. We have received 196 pledges, pledging a total of $542,407.40. 71 have increased their pledges by an average of 17.5%, and there are 26 from those who did not pledge in 2019. We have yet to hear from 39 parishioners who pledged a total of $48,776 last year.

Reminder: Some giving envelopes are still awaiting pick-up in the back of the church.


ODDS & ENDS


A special custom for The First Sunday after The Epiphany

Saint Matthew tells us that when the wise men arrived in Bethlehem to visit Jesus, they found him and his mother in a house, not the stable where they had found their first temporary shelter. This is a cue that our Epiphany celebration should focus on our own houses, and it is a very old custom to bless houses on Epiphany. In the East, in particular, it is the custom for the parish priest to go through the parish blessing houses — not the elaborate blessing of a new home, but a special blessing that is also often given at Easter, a renewal of the homes in which the people of God dwell and live out the mystery of faith day by day. In recent years, this custom has been revived in some places in the West, and the Book of Occasional Services of The Episcopal Church provides forms for this blessing. However, there is another way of blessing homes at Epiphany that begins in church, but does not require the priest to go from house to house — something that would be quite impossible in non-geographical parishes like ours. This custom involves chalk that is blessed by the priest and taken home by families to mark the doors of their homes.

There is a basket of blessed chalk on the table near the main door of the Church. The chalk is to be used to hallow all our homes throughout our parish and our city. Please take some home with you. The initials of the legendary names of the wise men are written with blessed chalk on the lintel above the front door of the house, framed by the numbers of the new year, in this way:

20 + G + M + B + 20

After making the inscription, the following prayer is offered:

Leader: The Lord be with you.
People: And with thy spirit.
Leader: Let us pray. O Lord, holy Father, Almighty, everlasting God, we beseech you to hear us and vouchsafe to send your holy Angel from heaven to guard and cherish, protect and visit, and evermore defend all that dwell in this home. I call upon thy Saints Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar, to protect my family, friends and all who enter here from every harm and danger, and I place this mark over my door to remain as a reminder to us that my home is truly the House of the Lord. O God, make the door of my house the gateway to thy Eternal Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Lord.  
All: Amen.


Palms for Ashes: There is a basket in the All Saints’ Chapel to receive last year’s palms from Palm Sunday. They will be burned to make the ashes for the liturgies of Ash Wednesday, which falls on February 26 this year.


Parish Directory. Copies of the parish directory were distributed last Sunday in conjunction with the annual meeting. However, as the information in the directory is constantly changing, we keep monthly updates in the parish office. Contact the office if you would like to have a copy to pick up or have sent electronically (please specify).


Missing coat. Fr Macdonald-Radcliff is missing a black raincoat that disappeared from the coat room on January 12. Since a similar coat (but with epaulets) was left hanging there, we assume that someone simply grabbed his by mistake. If you can help us solve this mystery, please see Fr Macdonald-Radcliff or contact the church office.


FROM THE ADVENT ARCHIVES


The story of Charles Chapman Grafton’s tenure as rector of the Church of the Advent (from 1872 to 1888) and subsequently as Bishop of Fond du Lac has been well-documented; a less well-known aspect of his life concerns his family, most especially his younger sister, Maria Josephine Grafton (1830-1893). In her unpublished manuscript on the history of the Sisterhood of the Holy Nativity, Kathleen Reeves cites Maria and her daughter Grace as two of the women who supported and assisted the order during its early days. The record of the work they did in this regard is scanty at best, the Sisterhood having been dissolved in the late twentieth century, and their Fond du Lac convent was destroyed by fire in 2015. Maria was the only daughter of the seven children born to Joseph Ward Grafton and Anna Maria Gurley, three years younger than her brother Charles. She attended the Abbott Female Academy, incorporated in 1829 for the “exclusive work of educating women.” The school was founded during a time when the prevailing view was that women’s education “should always be relative to men,” with some believing that study of “higher subjects” such as philosophy and mathematics might cause infertility. The school’s constitution defined one of its goals: “to regulate the tempers, to improve the taste, to discipline and enlarge the minds and form the morals of youth.”

In 1857, she married Charles Henry Minot (1819-1900), a shipping merchant in the firm of Weld & Minot. In the 1860s he became a partner in, and treasurer of, the Tudor Company in Boston, a firm specializing in the worldwide shipping of ice. The firm was founded by Frederic Tudor (1783-1864), “the Ice King.” Their first two children were born in New York at 285 Fifth Avenue: Joseph Grafton Minot, born in 1858, and Grace Josephine Minot, in 1859. Charles Henry, Junior, was born at in 1862 at the house they leased at 149 Beacon Street. Within a few years they moved to a new house they had built at 301 Berkeley Street. The 1870 census finds them all “travelling in Europe”; helping maintain the household were three Irish domestic servants, Kate Carley, 25, Julia Healy, 45, and Bridget Sullivan, 25.

Mrs. Reeves writes, “In 1883 [Grafton] had the pleasure of seeing tangible evidence of his labors…the completion of the Advent’s magnificent new sanctuary on Brimmer Street. He had raised much of the money for it himself and given $10,000 out of his own funds.” His sister and Mrs. S. H. Bertram (listed in the 1883 Boston Blue Book as a resident of the Hotel Brunswick) donated that same year the Advent’s metal choir screen and rood; Mrs. Bertram is included in the list of Associates of the Sisterhood of the Holy Nativity.

The Advent’s building is rich with memorials and gifts from the Grafton-Minot families. In 1887, Maria gave a silver-gilt paten in memory of her 25-year-old son, Charles Henry Minot, Junior, a student at Harvard law School, who died of typhoid fever and septic poisoning; the three windows over the high altar were given in his memory by his mother and father.

After Maria died of cancer in 1893, The Lady Chapel’s altar and reredos stalls and two standard lights were given in her memory by her brothers, Joseph Grafton (1819-1900) and John Gurley Grafton (1823-1895); her husband; their son, Joseph, and daughter, Grace. They also gave an Altar Book and Office Books for the Lady Chapel in her memory.

Bust of Fr Grafton in the Lady Chapel

The stone lectern was given by Charles Minot in 1902, in memory of Mrs. Lillian Dunbar and Margaret Lothrop. In 1907, Joseph Grafton Minot and his wife, Honora Elizabeth Temple Winthrop, gave a silver-gilt censer in memory of Honora’s sister, Mary Winthrop Mason, 30, wife of Phillip Dana Mason. The couple had been married just two years earlier by Bishop William Lawrence at his 122 Commonwealth Avenue home. The Newton Graphic of Friday, April 5, 1907, reported that she died “in Groton, following an operation for appendicitis.” After his death in 1912, Bishop Grafton was memorialized with a bust (now in the Lady Chapel), a Standard Prayer-book (now in the Advent Archives), and a photograph given by his nephew Joseph Grafton Minot.

The last documented Grafton-Minot gift is a memorial tablet to Joseph Grafton Minot, given by his wife, Honora Winthrop Minot, in 1939.


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT
February 3-9, 2020

Monday, February 3
Anskar of Hamburg

Tuesday, February 4
Cornelius the Centurion

6:00 pm: Community Supper

Wednesday, February 5
Martyrs of Japan

10:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass
7:00 pm: Bellringing

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

Friday, February 7
11:30 am: Rosary

Saturday, February 8
10:00 am: Advent Flower Guild

Sunday, February 9
The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
7:30 am: Morning Prayer
8:00 am: Low Mass
9:00 am: Sung Mass
10:15 am: Entr’acte/Church School
11:15 am: Solemn Mass
8:00 pm: Compline

Sermon Preached by the Rev’d Daphne B. Noyes at the Church of the Advent, Sunday, January 26, 2020, the Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Today’s gospel contains a message about vocation, about calling. Well, it contains many messages about many things, but let’s focus on vocation. The vocation of four fishermen, and you and me, and the Church of the Advent.

When Jesus encounters the four fishermen, is there anything remarkable about them? At that point in their lives, probably not. They were just guys with boats and nets and mouths to feed and skills they had inherited or been taught, skills at which they might have excelled or might not. I suspect Jesus called to them based more on their potential than on their accomplishment. This is good news for all of us: Jesus is not looking for what you’ve done in the world but is counting on you for what you can join him in doing.

Once they heard the voice of Jesus, I imagine it wasn’t simply a matter of “Follow me.” — “Oh, okay.” There was a bit of conversation that ensued; and here is a blank page in the story — an empty space where each one of us can reflect on the particularities of what happens in our lives when we hear that voice, or, better yet, feel the ineffable tug that comes from being called.

Remarkably, all four of these people, just as they are, follow after this stranger who interrupts their daily routine. All that is asked of them at this point is simply that they follow: as they are, from where they are, being who they are. As is true for the followers of Jesus who come after them, the meaning of their choice will unfold only over time.

The questions or doubts or hopes or fears of those fishermen and so many others (including you and me) — as compelling or disturbing or inspiring as those factors might be — are not really the point here. Rather, no matter what the response is to hearing that voice or feeling that tug, it must inevitably lead to the realization that if God speaks to us at all in this world, if God speaks anywhere, it is into our personal lives. The words of the psalmist bear this out: “You have searched me out and known me … you discern my thoughts from afar.”

One way to think about vocation is as the possibly overlooked place where neither function (what do you do) nor identity (who are you) alone can carry the fulness of your being.

The theologian Frederick Beuchner has written, “Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” This paints a pretty rosy picture of vocation: “deep gladness” is a characterization with which some — including me — might quibble. But none could argue that the world is not a place of deep need. The desire to respond to that deep need led to the founding of this parish 175 years ago. It was conceived not as a shrine but as a place that existed theologically before it existed physically. One founder commented that Boston’s Episcopal churches … “had the prayer-book, but hardly its spirit; they did not follow its principles.”

The founders proposed that the best way to follow those principles was “to secure to a portion of the City of Boston the ministrations of the Holy Catholic Church, and more especially to secure the same to the poor and needy…”

Through the decades, the founders and those who came after them bore witness that deep need endures. It is not restricted to the poor and needy. It can be elusive. Just over one generation ago, the parish’s rector noted that “The Church of the Advent is a parish which, above all, is grounded in a vocation that has to do with the burden and the joy of history.”

From the Advent’s very beginnings, the burden has been closely felt by some; others have been been embraced by the joy; many have experienced both. This is meet and right: Even before the Advent was founded, William Croswell acknowledged that he would come to Boston as the new parish’s first rector, willing, he said, to “[identify] myself with the good or evil that is in store for the church.” We detect no sign of rose-colored vocational glasses in those words.

Making decisions about our individual vocations and the vocation or vocations of our beloved parish is not restricted to check marks on a ballot or motions at a meeting. Discerning our individual and communal vocations is an exercise most effectively undertaken together, face to face, eye to eye, heart to heart, with care and honesty and hope and love. Today, as 175 years ago, as Jesus walks the rugged shores and dusty streets of our lives, he calls to us, again and again and again, Follow me. Follow me. Follow me.

Those who hear and respond to the call learn in a visceral way that in order to walk toward something — even the unknown — one needs to turn and walk away — even from what is most familiar and precious. And that often for things to come together, they must first fall apart.

All this leads to the eternal truth which will over time emerge:

The peace of God, it is no peace / But strife closed in the sod / So let us pray for but one thing / The marvelous peace of God.

Amen.

This Week at the Advent, January 26-February 1, 2020

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 thanksgiving for the ministry of the Rev’d Daphne B. Noyes — deacon, chaplain, preacher, teacher,parish historian, fund-raiser, and cherished friend.

The flowers at the crossing are given to the Glory of God and in thanksgiving for the generations of faithful parishioners, talented designers, and skilled artisans and craftspeople whose devotion, generosity, and handiwork have immeasurably enriched the Church of the Advent.

The flowers in the Lady Chapel are given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Norma Dampman on what would have been her 96th birthday.


TODAY


The 9:00 Coffee Hour resumes next Sunday. 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. We are always in need of more volunteers; to view the schedule and select a date to co-host, visit www.theadventboston.org/1115-coffee-hour-signup/. If you have any questions, please contact Frederick Ou (frederick.ou@gmail.com), Roxy Hanson (roxenewu@yahoo.com) or Betsy James (ejames4@nc.rr.com).


Today, we welcome the Venerable Christian (Chris) Beukman, Archdeacon, Diocese of Massachusetts, who joins us to recognize Deacon Daphne B. Noyes as she begins a well-deserved retirement as our deacon. A native of the Netherlands, he attended Harvard Divinity School and Andover-Newton Theological School. The pastoral ministries manager of Linden Ponds Retirement Community in Hingham, he was ordained a deacon in 2009, has served parishes in Quincy, Walpole, and Franklin, and was appointed archdeacon in December 2018.


The ANNUAL PARISH MEETING is at 10:00 am this morning. Please go to the Hunnewell Room (Library) and sign in, get your ballot, a copy of the 2019 Annual Report, and a new edition of the Parish Directory. You may vote after you sign in, or during the meeting.

If you would be willing to help count votes, please come to the Library at the conclusion of the 11:15 Mass.


Missing coat. Fr Macdonald-Radcliff is missing a dark gray raincoat that disappeared from the coat room last Sunday. Since a similar coat (but with epaulets) was left hanging there, we assume that someone simply grabbed his by mistake. If you can help us solve this mystery, please see Fr Macdonald-Radcliff or contact the church office.


THIS WEEK


Theology on Tap: Tuesday, January 28, 7:00 pm. Fr Michael Godderz, Rector of the Parish of All Saints, Ashmont, will speak on devotional societies. The Catholic Societies have played a significant part of the Anglo-Catholic movement. They have united devout and earnest souls within parishes as well as throughout the church, indeed, throughout the Anglican Communion. Further they have helped provide greater exposure to and support for various forms of catholic practice. We’ll consider the older, traditional Catholic Societies as well as a glance at the more recent as they have sought to promote catholic theological positions and devotional practices, and claim for this catholic-minded spirituality an acceptance and place in the Anglican Churches.


Organ Recital. This Friday, January 31, 7:00 pm, International Concert Organist Arvid Gast will present an organ recital on our renowned Aeolian-Skinner organ. Born in Bremen, Germany, Arvid Gast is director of the Church Music Institute at the Musikhochschule in Lübeck. In addition, he is titular organist of the historic organs in St. Jakobi Lübeck, and held the same position at the Concerthall “Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen” in Magdeburg. He is the founder of the International Dieterich Buxtehude Organ Competition in Lübeck, and last spring served as visiting professor of organ at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. This summer, he will chair the jury of the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig. In 2018 he was chair of the jury in the first Boston Bach International Organ Competition. His recordings, concert invitations, and interpretation courses at home and abroad attest to his abilities as an eminent recitalist and pedagogue and he remains a foremost interpreter of German Romantic music. Professor Gast’s program will feature the famous Fantasy and Fugue on the Choral “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam” by Franz Liszt, as well as music of Karg-Elert, Reger and Widor. Free-will offering.


NEXT SUNDAY!


Next Sunday, February 2, the Feast of Candlemas, we will welcome the Rev’d Douglas Anderson, the Sixteenth Rector of the Church of the Advent. Fr. Anderson will preach and we will have the opportunity to greet him and his wife, Traci, at festive coffee hours following the Masses.


COMING UP!


Entr’acte Resumes. After the holiday hiatus, Entr’acte will be back beginning February 9. For those new to the Advent, Entr’acte (“between the acts”) is our series of adult-education presentations held between the 9:00 am and the 11:15 am Masses. They are generally led by the clergy with occasional presentations by parishioners or guest speakers with knowledge in particular areas of expertise or interest.

To kick off this season, our own Rick Stone will lead a series of three sessions entitled “New Testament Perspectives on Old Testament Law.” Continuing February 16 and 23, these presentations begin with “The Synoptics (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and The Great Commandment”, continues with “Paul and the Law”, and concludes with “Hebrews and the Priesthood of Christ.”


We will “rise against hunger” again on Saturday, February 15, from 10:00 am to noon in Moseley Hall. The Advent is once again hosting a Rise Against Hunger event for the members of our Diocese who are in the Boston Harbor Deanery. We are looking for five or six volunteers from our parish to join volunteers from other parishes around the Deanery to prepare 10,000 meals. That’s right, we will prepare dry food packages, one complete meal in each package with the necessary vitamins and nutrients, that will be sent somewhere around the world where people are hungry. The goal of Rise Against Hunger is to see an end to hunger in our lifetime – a very lofty goal, and we can do our part by stepping up and helping on Saturday, February 15. If you have helped with this event over the past few years, then you already know how much fun it can be. There’s music, some dancing, bells ringing to announce how many meals have been created, and just a good sense of satisfaction knowing that we are reaching out to others in need.

We ask those who volunteer to arrive at 9:45 on that day. We are also looking for donations to offset the $3,500.00 it takes to put on the event and meet the cost of the food and materials. Any gifts and donations to help with this cause will be greatly appreciated. If you are interested in helping or making a donation, please contact Father James. For more info, go to www.riseagainsthunger.org.


ODDS & ENDS


A special custom for The First Sunday after The Epiphany

Saint Matthew tells us that when the wise men arrived in Bethlehem to visit Jesus, they found him and his mother in a house, not the stable where they had found their first temporary shelter. This is a cue that our Epiphany celebration should focus on our own houses, and it is a very old custom to bless houses on Epiphany. In the East, in particular, it is the custom for the parish priest to go through the parish blessing houses — not the elaborate blessing of a new home, but a special blessing that is also often given at Easter, a renewal of the homes in which the people of God dwell and live out the mystery of faith day by day. In recent years, this custom has been revived in some places in the West, and the Book of Occasional Services of The Episcopal Church provides forms for this blessing. However, there is another way of blessing homes at Epiphany that begins in church, but does not require the priest to go from house to house — something that would be quite impossible in non-geographical parishes like ours. This custom involves chalk that is blessed by the priest and taken home by families to mark the doors of their homes.

There is a basket of blessed chalk on the table near the main door of the Church. The chalk is to be used to hallow all our homes throughout our parish and our city. Please take some home with you. The initials of the legendary names of the wise men are written with blessed chalk on the lintel above the front door of the house, framed by the numbers of the new year, in this way:

20 + G + M + B + 20

After making the inscription, the following prayer is offered:

Leader: The Lord be with you.

People: And with thy spirit.

Leader: Let us pray. O Lord, holy Father, Almighty, everlasting God, we beseech you to hear us and vouchsafe to send your holy Angel from heaven to guard and cherish, protect and visit, and evermore defend all that dwell in this home. I call upon thy Saints Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar, to protect my family, friends and all who enter here from every harm and danger, and I place this mark over my door to remain as a reminder to us that my home is truly the House of the Lord. O God, make the door of my house the gateway to thy Eternal Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Lord.  

All: Amen.


The flowers that adorn the Church are funded entirely by donations from members and friends of the Parish. There is an opening for flower memorials or thanksgivings on February 9. If you are interested, please contact the parish administrator (office@theadventboston.org).


Palms for Ashes: There is a basket in the All Saints’ Chapel to receive last year’s palms from Palm Sunday. They will be burned to make the ashes for the liturgies of Ash Wednesday, which falls on February 26 this year.


Contribution Statements for 2019 will be mailed this week. If you fail to receive one, or find an error on yours, please contact the church office. Note also that a few boxes of pledge envelopes are still waiting to be picked up.


FROM THE ADVENT ARCHIVES


Many people are familiar with the historic relationship between the Church of the Advent and the Society of St. Margaret, formerly housed in their convent in Louisburg Square, now in Duxbury.

Far fewer (this writer suspects) have heard of the Sisters of the Holy Nativity, or are aware of the order’s connection with the parish. From the archives, here are selections from an unfinished manuscript by Kathleen Reeves, used with her gracious permission:

Sr. Ruth Margaret SHN (see below).

When the Society of St. Margaret learned of Grafton’s release [from the Society of St. John the Evangelist in 1882], they immediately requested his resignation as their chaplain. …At the convent, pandemonium reigned…the sisters were anything but neutral about Grafton. Dismissing him had polarized them into two camps. There began to be talk of a new order of sisters, to be founded by Fr. Grafton. In the end, three of the sixteen professed sisters and seven of the fourteen novices elected to follow their former chaplain. Sister Katherine, then a novice, recorded their convictions succinctly: “I would go to any house Father started.” The turmoil and anguish on both sides was desolating. There were wounds such could be healed only by time and prayer and much love. Thus, as the heartbroken Grafton said, “amidst much suffering” did the Sisters of the Holy Nativity have their beginning. […]

Undergirding the [members of the new order] were the enthusiastic women who would become the first Associates. It is not too much to say that these Associates were co-founders of the Sisters of the Holy Nativity, for from the first tumultuous days Mesdames Codman, Bertram, Minot (Fr. Grafton’s sister), Cobb, and Davis as well as Miss Andrews and the daughters of Mrs. Codman and Mrs. Minot took an active role in the financial and physical welfare of the fledgling order, even loaning the Sisters suitable clothing until new habits could be devised, since, of course, they had no clothing except their St. Margaret habits. A relationship of mutual love and support was thus initiated.

To be continued …

Pictured above: Ruth Margaret Vose (23 January 1826–26 May 1910). In 1881, at the age of 56, she made her life profession in the Society of St. Margaret. “She was not…an idealistic young girl,” writes Mrs. Reeves, “but a mature, realistic woman when she decided to cast her lot as well as a substantial inheritance with Charles Grafton.” After Fr Grafton was dismissed as chaplain to the Society of St. Margaret, Sister Ruth Margaret left that order and became the “mother foundress” of the Sisters of the Holy Nativity.


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT
January 27-February 2, 2020

Monday, January 27
John Chrysostom
6:00 pm: Girl Scout leaders

Tuesday, January 28
Thomas Aquinas

5:30 pm: Bellringers
6:00 pm: Community Supper
6:00 pm: Boston Harbor Deanery
7:00 pm: Theology on Tap @ Silvertones (69 Bromfield Street, Boston)

Wednesday, January 29
10:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass
7:00 pm: Bellringing

Thursday, January 30
7:00 pm: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Friday, January 31
11:30 am: Rosary
7:00 pm: Organ Recital: Arvid Gast

Saturday, February 1
Brigid of Kildare
10:00 am: Advent Flower Guild

Sunday, February 2
The Presentation of Our Lord (Candlemas)
7:30 am: Morning Prayer
8:00 am: Low Mass
9:00 am: Procession & Sung Mass
10:15 am: Church School
11:15 am: Procession & Solemn Mass

Sermon Preached by the Rev’d Canon Alistair Macdonald-Radcliff at the Church of the Advent, January 19, 2020, the Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Central panel of the “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” altarpiece by Hubert & Jan van Eyck, c. 1430
The Shepherds of Arcadia (Et in Arcadia ego), Nicolas Poussin, 1637

 

From today’s Gospel:

When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them,  “What are you looking for?”

 In the name of the Father Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Familiarity is a fine thing but today,  as you were listening to words “Behold the lamb of God” three German words might have formed in your mind: namely sitz im leben  and with them the that fine German name Herman Gunkel.

Indeed you might even have been thinking “Wo ist mein Gunkel,wenn ich ihn brauche?” (Where is my Gunkel when I need him?)

This fine phrase – sitz im leben — much beloved of certain Biblical Scholars for the last hundred years or so [1] essentially means ‘setting in life’. It points to the very interesting question of what something means in its context – be that social, cultural, literary and beyond….

Which brings us to the question of: what do you suppose that phrase, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’ meant to John the Baptist and his hearers when he made this exclamation? And what does that mean for us? And how do these meanings connect?

Moreover, as the academic J. H. Roberts puts the matter, at one level [2]:

Though the message of John. 1 : 29, 36 may be pretty well understood by the average reader of the Bible, it presents the scholar with quite baffling problems …

For example:

  1. There is the point that nowhere else in the Fourth Gospel is the idea suggested that Jesus is the paschal lamb.[3]

Then again,

  1. The Greek word amnos is not the term for the paschal victim in the Old Testament, and
  2. it was not the function of this victim in any case to take away sin

 – and so on and so forth.

Yet, transcending all these academic issues is surely a quite fundamental overarching point about the Evangelist author himself,  namely,  that St John wrote his Gospel after and in the light of  the suffering, death and exaltation of Jesus.

In the face of such utterly transformative events, it was both natural and right to interpret the earlier events in the life of Christ in the light of what happened in his passion and resurrection

Thus, St John was able, quite justifiably,  to see in the Baptist’s cry: “There is the Servant, the kingly Messiah’ in accord with the larger meaning of Isaiah. 52/53[4]:

Surely here indeed,  the kingly Messiah had brought about the salvation of God’s people by means of his suffering and death ‘like a lamb to the slaughter’ [5]

By accepting such an overarching meta-narrative approach, any limited effort to find merely one definite Sitz im Leben can quite appropriately set aside a move that allows a much greater richness of approach– for both the author of the Gospel and as today – in a manner which transcends such narrow questions  as what john the Baptist himself believed at the time of the events reported. (Which remains an interesting academic matter but not one that is vital for us.

Hence the Gospel message concerning Christ viewed from the perspective of the gospel as a whole includes

  • the idea of an offering/sacrifice;
  • and the idea of the redemptive-historical work of salvation by God –which is enriched and illumined by the imagery of the paschal lamb (and the sacrifice made by the Israelites before the flight from Egypt)

While there is later the further idea added of the lamb as leader of the flock, (which is recurrent in the Revelation of St John), a perspective that stands in close relationship to this preaching about the Servant who was destined to be exalted in glory as Ruler, God’s kingly Messiah.

When taken together this collectively entails that in the image of The lamb of God we have an image which, through time,  has come to possess and disclose extraordinary power.

All of which clearly invites complex visualization and it is that which brought to mind

The Ghent Altarpiece   sometimes also known as the Polyptych of the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb) [6]

Quite appropriately it is a highly complex work.  In what we may, for present purposes, think of as the main painting (of the lower tier of the interior as it were — which becomes visible when the main panels are opened)  we see the single large painting, from which the altarpiece takes its name.

This shows, in a highly sophisticated manner, the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Mystic Lamb (which is the symbol of Christ as actually present), placed on an altar surrounded by fourteen angels and set in a rich and fertile hedged meadow, on the outskirts of an urban context that looks remarkably like Ghent or Bruges….

Four groups observe, in this meadow. On the top left, there is a procession of bishops and cardinals. On the top right, comes a group of women martyrs bearing palm leaves as the symbols of their martydom.

On the bottom left, we see a group of kneeling Jewish prophets behind whom are great pagan philosophers and scholars drawn from all over the world, as evidenced by their different styles of attire.

And then, on bottom right, we see the twelve Apostles, followed by Popes and other clergy. Saint Stephen is shown carrying the rocks of his martyrdom.[7]

All these groups are looking towards the altar in the centre of the meadow which is thus the central point of the entire painting in every way                                                                                                             

The angels surrounding the altar hold the instruments of the Passion

  • the pillar against which Christ was lashed,
  • the nails used to fix him to the cross,
  • the sponge dipped in vinegar.

Then in the very center, we see that blood is pouring from the lamb’s body into a chalice a last detail which–while small in scale– is absolutely central to the real meaning of the entire work, which is all about

  • sacrifice,
  • blood,
  • and indeed the role of the church visible with the priesthood–at one with Christ– in effectually administering the holy sacraments.

Meanwhile, in front of the altar there is what might at first seem something strange – namely a fountain—but this of course is nothing less than the ‘Fountain of Life’ from which a trickle of the water falls out towards us the viewers of the painting —who are thereby also brought into its drama, wherein —through its central act,  the blood of Christ gives us life through this divine economy into which we are called.

And as one further but important  detail I may appropriately note here – at this time when we are celebrating the long and important ministry in this parish of Deacon Daphne, that in classical mythology Daphne was that mysterious thing known as a nymph – perhaps best described as “a force of nature reified”.

The ancient Greek Daphne was a daughter of the river god Peneus and the nymph Creusa in Thessaly and as such always associated with fountains, wells, springs, streams, brooks –and other bodies of fresh and flowing water – so may we not see in that fountain of life in the foreground of the painting some adumbration of the vital Diaconal role and ministry in the church and indeed general economy salvation !

But to press on further here, we must note finally here, the inscription on the altar which states in Latin the key text of today’s Gospel:

“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

All of this when brought together, brings us to a fascinating tension in this work between

  • the realism of the style

and the

  • deeply analogical and metaphorical character of the meaning, it is intended to represent.

This invites reflection on those two great and deep Greek words of mimesis and anamnesis which I have referenced here before and which can be loosely rendered respectively as imitation and representation   versus recollection, calling to mind – with the latter being  daily iterated in the words of the Eucharist itself; ‘do ye this in remembrance of me’

But when we think about the realism of the painting how far does that go?

For there is here

  • realism of form , whereby aspects of the world of our experience are represented

and

  • more deeply perhaps, a realism of meaning: whereby a transcendental and spiritual reality– lying behind the world of experience– is somehow captured or adumbrated through elements of this created world that are here visual (and elsewhere verbal as in the word of  Scripture)?

So it is with all that in mind, that I  now would like to consider briefly a quite different and much later painting  by Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665)[8], The Shepherds of Arcadia

This painting – which is, in its own terms, quietly obscure –  has come to prove quite fascinating over time, because of the challenge of how to interpret it.

In basic terms,  as we look at it, we see quite simply three shepherds and a rather grand woman –for whose presence it is hard to derive an obvious reason– all placed by something that seems to be a tomb.

The wider symbolism (as evidenced by the chitons, chaplets and sandals) discloses that this is all taking place in Ancient Greece. More specifically,  it is set in the lushly beautiful land of Arcadia,  which was a real place in ancient Greece that later became idealized.[9]

It seems that the first visual representation of all this –under the familiar memento mori theme (popular in 16th-century Venice)  made concrete via the inscription ET IN ARCADIA EGO, was by the artist Guercino in his earlier version of the scene, painted between 1618 and 1622[10]. There the memento mori message is reinforced by a skull placed in the foreground, beneath which the famous words are carved et in arcadia ego—but once again,  what do they actually mean?

In one sense, it is simple enough and can be rendered:

‘In Arcadia, (there) am I’.

(And the usual initial interpretation is that the “I” refers to Death, and “Arcadia” means a current utopian land outside our here and now.

Yet,  Poussin’s biographer, André Félibien,  interpreted the phrase to mean an implicit past,  such that “the person buried in this tomb once lived in Arcadia” (as in ‘I also was in Arcadia’) where Arcadia is THIS WORLD rather than any other—but one experienced by the person in the tomb in the past.   In this interpretation,  the meaning is that the person in the tomb once enjoyed the pleasures of this life, in our world.[11]

Nowadays, as befits an era of alienation and secular nihilism it is the (former) interpretation where the word ‘ego’ refers to Death that seems generally preferred.[12]

(Common to both interpretations is a wider deeply ironic contrast which is being drawn in the painting: between the shadow of death and the usual idle merriment that the lives of those in ancient Arcadia were thought to embody.)

But then again, we need to remember that it was Poussin as one of the greatest classical artists of France who painted this picture and that points to something further.  And when we look at what is happening in the picture very closely we can indeed see something more. For one of the two shepherds is recognizing the shadow of his companion on the tomb and seems to be circumscribing the silhouette with his finger.

And why might that be so significant ?

The answer to this,   goes back as far as that great grandee of the ancient Roman world, Pliny the Elder, who (in his Natural History) XXXV 5, 15), sees this moment of adumbration as the moment in which the very art of painting itself is first discovered.

Thought of in this way, the shepherd’s shadow is the first image in art history.

But the shadow on the tomb is also a symbol of death (in the first version symbolized by a skull on the top of the tomb).

Thus perhaps,  we are invited to see that,  from the prehistorical era of the earliest cave painting onward, the discovery of art and the engagement (and projection of meaning that it allows), has been the enduring creative response of humanity to our human condition and the shocking fact of our mortality.

Thus we can see here death’s claim to rule even Arcadia as challenged by art (arguably symbolized by the beautifully dressed but otherwise mysterious woman in the painting). Thus she stands as revealed in Arcadia with the universal significance of meaning itself – whose prerogative death has only the power to usurp.

This casts art as standing in the face of death as enabling anamnesis through mimesis and so allowing us to recall absent loved ones, and a consolation in the face anxieties and angst, able to evoke and reconcile conflicting emotions, and overcome in some measure the individual human condition of isolation, and indeed to facilitate the expression of the unutterable[13]

Yet here perhaps there is one very subtle gesture in the painting that merits thought for we see (on looking carefully) that the woman has placed what seems to be a calming hand upon one of the shepherds in such a manner as suggests an invitation to the calm of resignation –in accepting that such is the way of things.

For in the end here art and its projections of meaning may go on,  but however long we flourish, each one of us must ultimately die…..

Poussin’s painting  is very much NOT a Christian one, even though it makes a very deep point about meaning and the place of art in sustaining it.

And that takes us back to the first painting.

For Art there,  makes possible a uniquely powerful expression of the meaning and ultimate telos of goal that is at the heart of the Gospel and Christianity, even though that meaning ultimately transcends art as well: for the meaning of Christianity must always transcend (i,e be greater than) the temporal media through which it comes to expression,  in this life.

Where Poussin offers resignation van Eyck speaks to that fuller and eternal reality of Christian hope

And that is why we can be helped through the van Eyck to affirm the words in the Gospel when Andrew says to Simon, just as the Wise men did of the epiphany and those other Shepherds in Bethlehem before them:

“We have found the Messiah”….

AMEN


[1] Evidently, the term Sitz im Volksleben (‘setting in the life of the people’) was employed first time in 1906 and then later the phrase, Sitz im Leben in 1918. The latter term being used by classic form critics. See Chris Tuckett,, Prophets and paradigms: essays in honor of Gene M. Tucker ed. Gene M. Tucker, Stephen Breck Reid 1996 p. 113,  Form-Criticism of the Old Testament (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 197; and Christopher Mark Tuckett:  Reading the New Testament: methods of interpretation 1987 – 2014″

[2] “The lamb of God”,  Neotestamentica, Vol. 2, The Christ Of John: Essays On The Christology Of The Fourth Gospel (1968), pp. 41-56

[3] While one passage might be quoted in support in John. 6 (where Jesus is said to be the Bread of Life,  which some would argue points toward the idea of the Passover)  C.H. Dodd argued instead that the comparison made there is to the manna in the Sinai and not to the Passover.

But this argument,  even if true, does not exclude the idea of the lamb being seen as the paschal lamb,  and Dodd himself grants that chapter 6 does seem to be related to the eucharist and this certainly was related to the paschal meal.  Moreover St John at least had in mind (via the tradition of the date of crucifixion) that Jesus died as the paschal lamb.

[4] ….he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed…..;
and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth:
he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,
so he openeth not his mouth.

[5] This is assured by translating whatever prior Aramaic term the Baptist used, with ho amnos tou theou – a move which allows combining the various lines of thought associated  with the Servant

  • his atoning sacrifice
  • the slaughtered lamb
  • the glorious triumph attained by the Servant.

As an interpretation of the Evangelist’s  airov would then have the connotation of substitutionary bearing of sin,  53 and tou kosmon 54 would emphasise the universal value of

the substitutionary and expiatory death of the Servant: the nations and kings of the world would be brought to do homage to the Servant-King,55 for his death was to be not only for Jewry, but with a view to the gathering of all God’s scattered children (John 11:52).

When the solution of the problems of St John’s gospel (1 : 29, 36) is sought in this direction, it becomes clear that these verses are in line with the tradition of the earliest congregation as depicted in the first part of Acts.

There are many indications that the Pais-christology was far more widespread in the early church than can commonly be understood by reading a translation of the N.T. or even by a cursory reading of the Greek text itself. We have found that knowledge of this earliest tradition by John the Evangelist is at least to be seen in 1 : 29, 36.

[6] This astonishing work was commissioned by the prosperous merchant Jodocus Vijd, deputy burgomaster of Ghent, and was begun in 1425 by Hubert van Eyck, who however died before any significant work had been completed on it and  Jan van Eyck took it over.

[7] The further side panels on this tier show various groups of saints (with, to the left, Judges and Soldiers of Christ; and on the right, pilgrims and hermits) all painted against a backdrop of a single landscape with verdant slopes but a stony path. (and on the extreme right there is a towering figure of St Christopher, patron saint of travelers —but we must not digress).

[8] Who was himself almost the life’s work of Anthony Blunt, sometime Keeper of the Queen’s paintings – notoriously exposed late in life under Mrs. Thatcher as one of the notorious Cambridge spies but I digress….

[9] The first literary record in the Western canon of a tomb with a memorial inscription[9]  set amid the idyllic settings of Arcadia is to be found in Virgil’s Eclogues V 42 ff.   It was this idea that was taken up anew and revived much later during the Florentine Renaissance and the time of Lorenzo de’ Medici in the 1460s and 1470s, and  by 1504, Jacopo Sannazaro had established the Early Modern concept of Arcadia as a lost world of idyllic bliss, only now to be remembered in regretful dirges.

[10] Now in the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Rome

[11] This reading was common in the 18th and 19th centuries, e.g.  William Hazlitt who wrote that Poussin “describes some shepherds wandering out in a morning of the spring, and coming to a tomb with this inscription, ‘I also was an Arcadia’.”  See “Why the arts are not progressive – A fragment’, in The round table: a collection of essays on literature, men, and manners, by William Hazlitt. Edinburgh and London: Constable. 1817. p. 258.

[12] The vagueness of the phrase is famously discussed by the art historian Erwin Panofsky in his essay: Meaning in the Visual Arts. University of Chicago Press, 1983.

[13] See, Becht-Jördens, Gereon; Wehmeier, Peter M., Picasso und die christliche Ikonographie. Dietrich Reimer Verlag, Berlin 2003, pp. 181–209.

Collect for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that thy people, illumined by thy Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

This Week at the Advent, January 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. 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 on the High Altar are given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Peter Ward Britton.


TODAY!


9:00 Coffee Hour: Hosting today are Bette Boughton and Jonnet Holladay. 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: Hosting this morning are Christopher Laconi, Kyle Pilares, and Steve Kies & Jonathan Maldonado. We are always in need of more volunteers; to view the schedule and select a date to co-host, visit www.theadventboston.org/1115-coffee-hour-signup/. If you have any questions, please contact Frederick Ou (frederick.ou@gmail.com), Roxy Hanson (roxenewu@yahoo.com) or Betsy James (ejames4@nc.rr.com).


10:15 Meeting about Saint Michael’s Conference. Father James will lead a presentation in with the help of parishioners who have attended the conference, served as counselors, or are senior staff members. Every young person who is between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one ought to attend this presentation, but more importantly, the parents ought to attend too. This week-long conference for teaching, learning, worship, and recreation has been offered each year since 1960 and has been a force in the spiritual lives of thousands of high school and college-aged students. Come and find out why. The meeting will take place in Fr. James’s office on the second floor of the Parish House.


Advent Tour. Today following the 11:15 Mass, our Verger, Raymond Porter, will give a 10–15 minute tour of the church building Meet him in the Baptistry immediately following the Postlude and learn about our fascinating, complicated, historic building. Tours occur regularly on the third Sunday of each month.


Organ Recital. Today at 4:30 pm, King’s Chapel organist Heinrich Christensen will play the complete Symphony III of Louis Vierne, in honor of the 150th anniversary year of Vierne’s birth. A fiery and compact piece, it is unusual to hear the Symphony played in its entirety, rather than merely as excerpted movements. Our glorious Aeolian-Skinner organ and rich acoustics perfectly suit the character of this music.

Following Mr Christensen’s recital, The Advent Choir will sing Evensong at 5:00. The canticle settings will be by the Spanish Renaissance masters Sebastian Aguilera de Heredia and Tomás Luis de Victoria. While Victoria is well-known to 21st century listeners, Aguilera de Heredia from Aragon is not nearly as celebrated, and yet he is considered the first major figure of the Aragonese School of music. He was first the organist at the cathedral in Huesca, and then moved to the more prestigious position of Maestro de Música at La Seo Cathedral in Saragossa, a magnificent and ancient cathedral which one can visit today, with a very colorful and tumultuous history. His double-choir Mode VIII Magnificat is joyful and multifaceted, very much like the architecture of the unique La Seo Cathedral itself. Weelkes’s spectacular “Alleluia, I heard a voice” with words from Revelation, and Charles Wood’s festive “Hail gladdening light”, will round out the evening’s musical offerings.

Following Evensong and Benediction, there will be a light supper and a talk in Moseley Hall by Deacon Daphne Noyes. The title is “William Croswell: Begun, Continued and Ended in Thee”, about the life and times of William Croswell (1804-1851), first rector of the Church of the Advent. Croswell is rarely mentioned without placing at the center his conflict with Bishop Manton Eastburn, which marked nearly his entire tenure as rector. But there is more to his story which can help round out our understanding of the man and the parish he was so instrumental in forming. Deacon Noyes will offer a portrait of the William Croswell you (probably) never knew, drawing on his copious correspondence with his mentor, the Right Rev. George Washington Doane, and other contemporary sources. Rarely-seen artifacts from the Advent Archives provide additional context and round out the presentation.


The Twelfth Night Silent Auction. As we prepare to close the books on our Twelfth Night Silent Auction, we are pleased to report that $4,247.87 was raised for Advent 175 conservation efforts. If you placed a bid at the auction and have not yet paid for or picked up your item(s), please see Deacon Daphne or Robb Scholten. For those paying by check, please be sure to indicate “Advent 175” in the memo line. Thanks to all who contributed to the success of this event!


Missing coat. Fr Macdonald-Radcliff is missing a dark gray raincoat that disappeared from the coat room last Sunday. Since a similar coat (but with epaulets) was left hanging there, we assume that someone simply grabbed his by mistake. If you can help us solve this mystery, please see Fr Macdonald-Radcliff or contact the church office.


Reminder: for those who have requested them, pledge envelopes are available for pick-up in the back of the church.


A note of thanks from Father Welch:

Now that I’m back in my beloved cabin in the Maine woods, I want to thank the congregation of the Church of the Advent for all the kindness shown to me during the interim year. From the very first telephone conversation with Tom Brown and Paul Roberts in the autumn of 2018 until last Monday, when I turned in my keys to Jim Singletary, I couldn’t have asked for a more congenial place to work and lovelier people to work with.

Special thanks should go to my clerical colleagues, Father James, Father Hanson, and Deacon Noyes, who overlooked my occasional grumpiness and covered for my more than occasional shortcomings. Each of them has extraordinary gifts for ministry and you are indeed fortunate to have had them among you. And let me note that Father Allan Warren brought each of them to the Advent, once again showing his remarkable gift for finding just the right people. Thank you, Allan. It was a privilege to follow you in ministry, first at Good Shepherd, Waban, and finally at the Advent.

Not having been an interim before, I was unprepared for what I now know is the major problem with interim ministry, which is that just as you feel like you’re beginning to know people (and remember their names!) it’s time to go.

Even though my time at the Advent was short, I pray that I was able to return some of the kindness shown to me and to express the gratitude I felt and still feel for the unexpected blessing of ending my priestly ministry in such a place and among such people. My heartfelt thanks to you all.   

Fr Truman Welch


NEXT SUNDAY


WARRANT FOR THE ANNUAL MEETING

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE CLERK:

The Vestry has set the next Annual Meeting of the Parish for Sunday, January 26, 2020. At that meeting there will be elections for Vestry and for Diocesan Convention. To qualify to vote in a Parish election, you must be a baptized Christian, at least 16 years of age, who makes a regular, recorded contribution to support the Parish for the preceding year. You must also subscribe to the authority of the Parish By-Laws and the Canons of the Diocese.

Under the By-Laws of the Parish, the Clerk is responsible for maintaining the Electoral Roll. The Electoral Roll for the upcoming Annual Meeting is now posted outside the Parish Office. It consists of those who have pledged or made a similarly recorded qualifying contribution to the General Fund of the Parish during the past year. Your name must be on the Roll in order to vote. Any changes to the Roll must be made before the Parish Meeting commences. Please inspect the list and let the Clerk know if you think there is an error.

The Advent needs and values the participation of new parishioners, both in Parish life and Parish governance.

In accordance with Article IV, Section 2, of the By-Laws of the Parish of the Advent, the Clerk has posted the Warrant for the Annual Meeting in the lobby of the Parish Hall, The Vestry has called the Annual Meeting for Sunday, January 26, 2020, at 10:00 am.

Faithfully yours,
Frederick Ou, Clerk

REPORT OF THE NOMINATING COMMITTEE

The following have been nominated for election at the Annual Meeting:

For Treasurer (One year term): Adam Rutledge (incumbent)         
For Clerk
(One year term): Frederick Ou (incumbent)

For Vestry (Four seats, three year term):

Christopher Laconi (incumbent eligible for re-election)
Philip LeQuesne (incumbent eligible for re-election)
John Boyd
Thatcher Gearhart
Betsy Ridge Madsen
Carolyn McDermott

For Delegate to Diocesan Convention:

Julianne Turé (incumbent)
Nick Westberg

For alternate delegate:
Robb Scholten

More about the Annual Meeting:

The voting roll is posted outside the church office for review. If you believe there is an error of omission or commission, please contact the Clerk and the Wardens by the end of the day on Thursday, January 23.

So that all members to attend, there will be no Church School or childcare during the meeting.

In addition to the annual report, we will be distributing the latest update of our parish directory. If any of your contact information (address, phone, email) has changed recently, please be sure to contact the office by Tuesday, January 21.


Deacon Noyes Appreciation. Next Sunday, January 26, the Rev’d Daphne Noyes will serve her last Sunday as our Deacon before her retirement. We will plan an appropriate celebration of Daphne’s ministry later in the spring. In the meanwhile, we will be collecting a purse to provide a farewell and thank-you gift from the Parish family. To make a contribution, you can find envelopes at the back of the Church, marked “Deacon Noyes Purse”, or you may send a check to the office with that memo. Please be generous.


A special custom for The First Sunday after The Epiphany

Saint Matthew tells us that when the wise men arrived in Bethlehem to visit Jesus, they found him and his mother in a house, not the stable where they had found their first temporary shelter. This is a cue that our Epiphany celebration should focus on our own houses, and it is a very old custom to bless houses on Epiphany. In the East, in particular, it is the custom for the parish priest to go through the parish blessing houses — not the elaborate blessing of a new home, but a special blessing that is also often given at Easter, a renewal of the homes in which the people of God dwell and live out the mystery of faith day by day. In recent years, this custom has been revived in some places in the West, and the Book of Occasional Services of The Episcopal Church provides forms for this blessing. However, there is another way of blessing homes at Epiphany that begins in church, but does not require the priest to go from house to house — something that would be quite impossible in many non-geographical parishes like ours. This custom involves chalk that is blessed by the priest and taken home by families to mark the doors of their homes.

On this, the First Sunday after Epiphany, we have a basket of blessed chalk on the table near the main door of the Church. The chalk is to be used to hallow all our homes throughout our parish and our city. Please take some home with you. The initials of the legendary names of the wise men are written with blessed chalk on the lintel above the front door of the house, framed by the numbers of the new year, in this way:

20 + G + M + B + 20

After making the inscription, the following prayer is offered:

Leader: The Lord be with you.

People: And with thy spirit.

Leader: Let us pray. O Lord, holy Father, Almighty, everlasting God, we beseech you to hear us and vouchsafe to send your holy Angel from heaven to guard and cherish, protect and visit, and evermore defend all that dwell in this home. I call upon thy Saints Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar, to protect my family, friends and all who enter here from every harm and danger, and I place this mark over my door to remain as a reminder to us that my home is truly the House of the Lord. O God, make the door of my house the gateway to thy Eternal Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Lord.  

All: Amen.


COMING UP!


Entr’acte Resumes. After the holiday hiatus, Entr’acte will be back beginning February 9. For those new to the Advent, Entr’acte (“between the acts”) is our series of adult-education presentations held between the 9:00 am and the 11:15 am Solemn Masses. They are generally led by the clergy with occasional presentations by parishioners or guest speakers with knowledge in particular areas of expertise or interest.

To kick off this season, our own Rick Stone will lead a series of three sessions entitled “New Testament Perspectives on Old Testament Law.” Continuing February 16 and 23, these presentations begin with “The Synoptics (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and The Great Commandment”, continues with “Paul and the Law”, and concludes with “Hebrews and the Priesthood of Christ.”


We will “rise against hunger” again on Saturday, February 15, from 10:00 am to noon in Moseley Hall. The Advent is once again hosting a Rise Against Hunger event for the members of our Diocese who are in the Boston Harbor Deanery. We are looking for five or six volunteers from our parish to join volunteers from other parishes around the Deanery to prepare 10,000 meals. That’s right, we will prepare dry food packages, one complete meal in each package with the necessary vitamins and nutrients, that will be sent somewhere around the world where people are hungry. The goal of Rise Against Hunger is to see an end to hunger in our lifetime – a very lofty goal, and we can do our part by stepping up and helping on Saturday, February 15. If you have helped with this event over the past few years, then you already know how much fun it can be. There’s music, some dancing, bells ringing to announce how many meals have been created, and just a good sense of satisfaction knowing that we are reaching out to others in need.

We ask those who volunteer to arrive at 9:45 on that day. We are also looking for donations to offset the $3,500.00 it takes to put on the event and meet the cost of the food and materials. Any gifts and donations to help with this cause will be greatly appreciated. If you are interested in helping or making a donation, please contact Father James. For more info, go to www.riseagainsthunger.org.


STEWARDSHIP


Thanks to those from whom we have recently received pledges. As of Friday we have received 181 pledges, pledging a total of $515,667. 61 have increased their pledges by an average of over 15.6%, and there are 25 from those who did not pledge in 2019. We have yet to hear from 57 pWe have received 190 pledges, pledging a total of $531,327. 66 have increased their pledges by an average of over 16%, and there are 25 from those who did not pledge in 2019. We have yet to hear from 45 parishioners who pledged a total of just over $57,000 last year.


ODDS & ENDS


The flowers that adorn the Church are funded entirely by donations from members and friends of the Parish. There is an opening for flower memorials or thanksgivings on February 9. If you are interested, please contact the parish administrator (office@theadventboston.org).


Palms for Ashes: There is a basket in the All Saints’ Chapel to receive last year’s palms from Palm Sunday. They will be burned to make the ashes for the liturgies of Ash Wednesday, which falls on February 26 this year.


Bells Rung for Fr Welch. In honor of Fr Welch’s year as interim rector, on Sunday, January 12, the Bell Ringers Guild rang a quarter peal, consisting of 1,342 changes. A list of those who rang is posted in the Parish House.


Discount parking 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 or Entr’acte. 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


How long will you keep us in suspense?

Title page from “The Practice of Piety, directing a Christian how to walk that he may please God” by Lewis Bayly (d. 1631), bears the name Mary Flagg – she who in 1774 became Mary Wilder. The book and Mary’s journal are part of the Advent Archives.

This plaintive question from John’s Gospel (10:24) marks the conclusion of our History/Mystery series, although not the end of either history or mystery. We will begin, perhaps counterintuitively, at the end: Many people have noticed and commented that Mary Wilder was the name of our former rector’s wife, known to us as Polly. Is there a connection? Yes, indeed. Allan Warren’s wife, Polly, was the third-great-granddaughter of the Mary Wilder who in 1799 wrote her name in the journal. Painstakingly delving into the Wilder family tree does establish some hitherto unknown connections, while leaving some questions unanswered.

  • Who are the “Mr. White” and “Hannah” referred to in the letter found with the book? (“After Mary’s death [in 1811], Mr. White gave the book to Hannah to treasure.”) This must be Mary’s husband, Daniel Appleton White (1776-1861), and Mary’s cousin, Hannah Flagg Gould (1789-1865), a well-known poet of the nineteenth century.
  • Who is the “Mr. Foote” to whom the letter is addressed (“[the book] seems closer to your family than to mine”)? The most likely candidate is Henry Wilder Foote (1875-1964), named after his father, who was the minister of King’s Chapel and the son of Mary Wilder White (1810-1857), daughter of the Mary Wilder of the journal, and Caleb Foote (1803-1894).
  • Who is the Albert Thorndike who wrote the note accompanying the journal? Albert Thorndike (1860-1935) was a financial agent in Boston who married Mary Quincy Gould (1872-1927), the first cousin twice removed of the Mary Wilder of the journal.
  • How, and when, did the book come to be at the Church of the Advent? At this writing, those questions must remain open, as connections between the Advent and Thorndikes, Footes, Whites, and others continue to be sought.
  • Finally, Thorndike’s letter to “My dear Mr. Foote” appears to be dated 1935, not 1925 as stated earlier. This means it was written just three months before Thorndike’s death.

How fitting, then to conclude with this excerpt (below) from “Daily Strength for Daily Needs,” first published in 1884, compiled by Mary Wilder Tileston, a great-granddaughter of Mary Wilder. She died in 1950 in Pima, Arizona, aged 84; her occupation is listed as “Deaconess.”

Long though my task may be,
Cometh the end.
God ‘tis that helpeth me,
His is the work, and He
new strength will lend.


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT
January 20-26, 2020

Monday, January 20
Fabian, Bishop & Martyr  (Parish Office Closed)

Tuesday, January 21
Agnes

5:30 pm: Bellringers
6:00 pm: Community Supper

Wednesday, January 22
Vincent of Saragossa

6:00 pm: Healing Mass
7:00 pm: Bellringing

Thursday, January 23
Phillips Brooks
5:15 pm: Property Committee
7:00 pm: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Friday, January 24
8:15 pm: Advent School Community Share
11:30 am: Rosary

Saturday, January 25
The Conversion of St Paul
10:00 am: Advent Flower Guild

Sunday, January 26
The Third Sunday after the Epiphany
7:30 am: Morning Prayer
8:00 am: Low Mass
9:00 am: Sung Mass
10:00 am: Annual Parish Meeting
11:15 am: Solemn Mass

Sermon Preached by the Rev’d Dr Jeffrey A. Hanson at the Church of the Advent, January 12, 2020, the First Sunday after the Epiphany

Today the church asks us on the first Sunday of the Epiphany season to meditate on the baptism of our Lord.

The great puzzle about this event is why Jesus should undergo baptism at all. John the Baptist certainly seems puzzled. Jesus Christ has no sin to repent, so why does he need John’s baptism of repentance?

Well, for one thing, I think it reasonable to suppose that Jesus intends to share every part of our lives with us, to enter into every aspect of human existence, a fact that we celebrate in the incarnation that we especially remember at the recently passed Christmas season. In coming to John to be baptized, Jesus in yet another way identifies himself with us and follows a pattern that we need even though he does not.

For another thing, Matthew is at pains to show that Jesus and his family are perfectly adherent to the law of Israel. Jesus has not come, according to Matthew, to abolish the law but to fulfill it. By being baptized by John, Jesus shows his readiness to “fulfill all righteousness” as he puts it, to honor the requirements of religious life even though they are not in fact required of him.

Finally, and I think most important of all, our Lord’s baptism is an opportunity to establish with clarity and certainty who he really is and why it matters. In this moment the three persons of the Holy Trinity seem to align, together breaking into the horizontal line that is human history: The spirit descends upon Jesus, and the Father speaks those definitive words: “This is my beloved Son.”

So begins the drama of Christian salvation. And that drama continues today, here at the Church of the Advent, because we will baptize another young person, baby Keza, into the faith.

To appreciate how the drama of salvation continues through baptism, I want to turn to Peter’s preaching in today’s reading from Acts. I do so because Peter’s preaching ties directly to the baptism of Christ and shows us how the salvation that Christ offered was understood in the earliest days of the church.

You will notice that Peter says God sent his own word to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ and that this process began in Galilee after the baptism offered by John. And Peter informs his listeners that it was precisely at that baptism that God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit, just as we read in Matthew.

Yet the consequence that Peter draws from this reminder is what I want to focus on. And that crucial consequence appears at the very beginning of his sermon: “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality.”

Why does he say this? The context of this sermon from Acts chapter 10 never appears in our lectionary and yet is vital to our understanding, so I want to talk about it now.

The context is that Peter is in Jaffa, a seaside village close to modern-day Tel Aviv. He has been staying at the home of a friend called Simon who is a tanner.

Now a tanner works with leather and animal hide, and that means a tanner works with dead bodies, and this is unclean. That Peter is staying in the home of a man whose work makes him continually unclean by ceremonial law is proof that Peter is already loosening his attachment to the particular laws that govern ceremonial cleanliness.

But Peter’s attachment to these particulars is broken entirely when Peter has a vision in which God invites him to eat animals that are ceremonially unclean. When he resists, God tells Peter that what was formerly unclean God now declares clean.

This is a revolutionary change. And another one follows: Another man, in Caesarea, about 40 miles up the coast from Jaffa, has a vision at around the same time as Peter. In his vision an angel tells him to summon Peter from Jaffa and listen to what he has to say. That man is named Cornelius, and there are two strikes against him. He is a Roman centurion and a Gentile.

As Peter is pondering what to make of this new revelation from God, Cornelius’s men arrive at the house of Simon the tanner and invite Peter to Caesarea to meet Cornelius. And so he goes.

Finding Cornelius surrounded by family and friends at his home after the journey, Peter speaks these words: “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit any one of another nation; but God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”

Now strictly speaking, in the vision that God showed Peter in Jaffa, he learns that he should not call any animal unclean. But the further implication is apparently immediately clear to Peter. It’s not just the case that no animal is unclean. Much more is it the case that no person is unclean.

And that is why he says, “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality.” This is the radical message of Epiphany, that Christ and his salvation is revealed to the Gentiles, and it is the radical message of baptism, that salvation through Christ is available to everyone today because God shows no partiality.

I have actually been to Jaffa.

Last year when I was in Israel I went to church at the Immanuel Church, which was founded by Lutherans in 1904 but because the Christian community there is so small, today the church serves basically all liturgical Protestants. Parts of the service were taken right out of the Book of Common Prayer, so it felt somewhat familiar.

Other parts were not so familiar.

For instance, they had a stained glass window that depicted a scene from Scripture that you hardly ever see: The baptism of Cornelius the Roman centurion. Here was a rare and remarkable image—the acceptance into the family of God the first Gentile. [See https://www.flickr.com/photos/39631091@N03/6035478353/]

Seeing that image made me think about where I was and the experience of these Christian people, who had been here for barely over a hundred years in a village that was already almost two thousand years old when Peter stayed at Simon the tanner’s house.

I thought about how few churches there were, how far I had to walk to get to this one, and how nobody took Sunday off from work.

And I realized that for once in my life I was in church in a country that was not organized around the Christian faith.

For once, I was the outsider. For once, I was the one who did not belong.

Now I did not get my feelings hurt by this recognition. Quite the opposite. I was grateful. And I think the people at the church in Jaffa were grateful. They remember Cornelius in their stained glass window because they and we are the children of Cornelius, who by baptism join in the great family of God wherever it may be found.

Epiphany is about gratitude for Christ’s revelation to those who are outsiders. And that’s us.

In a place where Christianity is everywhere, with a church on every corner, like where I grew up in Texas, it’s pretty easy to feel like God’s favor must amount to God’s favoritism. But just the opposite is true. In the words of the great Presbyterian preacher James Montgomery Boice, “God has shown favor to us precisely because he does not show favoritism.”

The lesson of the baptism of Christ that Peter understood right away is that baptism is the way to a salvation that lies open to all. Jesus comes into our world to identify with us. All of us. From Christ himself to Peter and throughout the chosen people of Israel and then, through the first Gentile, Cornelius the centurion, and from him to the rest of us down to little Keza. God does not show favoritism. Not even to Anglo-Catholics. And thank God for that. Because God does not play favorites, God shows favor to everyone. Amen.