Designed for people of any age, in any state of health, this interactive seminar provides knowledge and resources to help in navigating today’s complex healthcare system and prepare for the future. Upon completion of the seminar, participants will be able to:
Discuss the evolution of Christian understanding of illness and mortality; explore the integration of faith with decision-making
Recognize advances in public health and medical innovations that contribute to the complexity of choices faced by patients and families
Understand the nuts-and-bolts of advance directives, living wills, MOLST forms, DNR/DNI, health care proxy forms—what does each one mean, and which are legally binding?
Each participant will receive a comprehensive, resource-rich toolkit, described as “a fabulously complete set of information about every aspect of this topic,” including practical information for caregivers.
Faculty: The Rev’d Deacon Daphne B. Noyes, with two decades as a hospital chaplain; Christine Gryglik, RN, CNS, a critical care nurse with extensive experience in major teaching hospitals and the Air Force
What our alumni/ae say
“Excellent and very valuable program…a wealth of information that I find very useful…wonderful, useful, and practical…the toolkit is a fabulous resource – informative, even inspirational…Well done, I like the faith integration…fascinating, so informative…provided much insight…Christian/medical perspectives together are important”
Every service of Christian worship is a drama – a drama in which we enact, proclaim, and, as well, participate in the mighty acts of God. That’s what we are doing this morning; that’s what we do each time the Holy Communion – the Eucharist – is celebrated. Our drama today will be a little different, for we shall stop the action at certain points to explain its significance. We are doing this so that all of us may come to a deeper understanding of our worship and its meaning and, thereby, may participate with more enthusiasm, understanding, and joy – and ultimately with greater spiritual benefit.
Right now the stage is empty. The principal actors have not yet entered – though you and I are here and we are also actors in the drama. (Remember that. Never forget it. We too, are actors in the drama. We stand. We sit. We kneel. We speak and sing. We make various gestures which allow us to participate, enter into, and be involved in the drama of the Mass.) Soon, however, the principal players will arrive. They will make their entrance in procession as we sing a hymn.
There’s more to this entrance than just getting them in where they ought to be. It’s rather like the rising of a curtain as a play begins. The curtain begins to rise and we know that suddenly we shall be carried into another world, the world created by the play. The Entrance Hymn with its procession is just like that. It’s a sign. It signals to us that here in Church we are about to be swept into another reality – another world – not the ordinary world we live in day to day – but the extraordinary world of God, our world as He created and intended it to be.
II. After Entrance Hymn. Prayer Book: Rite I, pp. 323 – 325; Rite II, pp. 355-357
Ever since the Resurrection of our Lord, Christians have gathered together week by week, sometimes day by day, to perform one particular action – remembering His death and receiving His life with bread and wine and prayer. Many things in the Church have changed, but this one act has remained basically the same. It has been thought so essential that Christians have often risked their lives and sometimes lost their lives just to do this thing. It has been performed in innumerable different ways from the simplest gathering with bread and wine to the most complex and ornate ceremonial. It has been known by many names: the Holy Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, the Holy Communion, the Divine Liturgy, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Essentially, however, the action is the same, and it’s not at all forcing a point to say that the observance of this act is one thing that has formed a bond of continuity over the many centuries of the Church’s existence and across the painful divisions that separate Christians. The various Churches may think differently about the Eucharist and many perform it in different ways, but most agree that it is necessary and fundamental and commanded by our Lord.
A priest cannot celebrate the Eucharist alone. The Church forbids this, for the Liturgy is not a private thing. The Eucharist is the Church’s Act, and it can only take place in a community, performed communally by a part of the whole Church. Again, it is a drama: many people participating together in one action. From earliest times it has been called the Liturgy, from leitourgia, a Greek word which roughly translated means “work,” specifically, public work, a work of the people. The Eucharist is the Church’s work par excellence. In it the Church does all those things which make the Church what it is: it hears the word of God in the Scriptures, praises God for His majesty and love, offers prayer for the necessities of life, and partakes of the Sacrament of bread and wine which the Lord has ordained. The Liturgy is the Church’s work, and in this work the Church becomes in a very real and obvious sense what it is: God’s people, the Body of Christ gathered to acknowledge His real and living presence in Word and Sacrament and to feed upon the grace and power which Christ gives us through Word and Sacrament.
If a priest occupies a prominent place in the celebration of the Liturgy, this is because the Church has singled out particular persons to be her instruments and preside in the carrying out of this particular action. This morning Father Wood is our presider, the celebrant, of the Liturgy. He performs this function in the name of our Bishop who is the normal presider at every act within his jurisdiction. We have symbolized this already by the Processional Cross which brings the principal ministers into the Church. The Cross here is said to be a sign of the Bishop. The Bishop leads his people into the Church and to the Altar where they will meet Christ.
The celebrant, then, is the Bishop’s deputy in the Liturgy and, as such, has a specific function, a particular role, in the liturgical drama. The ancient vestment which he wears, called a chasuble, indicates this role. Supporting parts in the drama are played by the Deacon and Sub-deacon, who also wear vestments which indicate their function as assisting ministers. They and others at the Altar may be conspicuous by their dress, but they are no more important than you and me in the congregation. Because . . . again . . . the Eucharist is the action of the whole Church. It is always together that the Eucharist is celebrated – by a body, by a community. The congregation’s participation in hymn, in response, in prayer is absolutely essential.
The procession has entered now. The stage, so to speak, is set and full. And we begin our work by blessing God. The ordinary world around us does not bless God. The every-day world largely ignores God. But in this other world, this extra-ordinary and essential world of the Liturgy, God is indeed blessed. This sets the tone. “Blessed be God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” we say, “And blessed be His Kingdom, now and forever.” We then pray to God to prepare us for what is to come. We ask Him to send His Holy Spirit into our hearts – to make our intentions pure and to enable us to praise and love Him with all our being. Afterwards we acclaim and praise Him – merciful and glorious, glorious in His mercy and love for man. Depending on the season, one or the other or sometimes both of two very ancient hymns – dating from the fourth century – follow immediately. The Kyrie eleison (from the Greek for “Lord have mercy”) or the Gloria in excelsis (from the Latin for “Glory to God in the Highest”). Both of these come from the East and have been a part of the Church’s worship from earliest times. The Kyrie has a double emphasis. It was originally a shout of praise directed towards God or even an earthly ruler. It is like the Biblical words “Alleluia” or “Hosanna”. It can be understood as the joyful cry “The Lord is merciful!” In another context it can be understood as a plea for mercy from God. The Gloria which often comes next is a wonderful and ecstatic hymn of praise to God acclaiming His splendor and His majesty in Christ. Its tone is one of jubilant celebration, so much so that during the more somber seasons of Advent and Lent we leave it out of the Liturgy – to return on the great feasts of Christmas and Easter.
The Kyrie and Gloria ended, the celebrant calls us to prayer and prays on our behalf the collect for the day. This is a short prayer which refers to the feastday we may be observing or to the lessons which will next be read. It collects together or summarizes the themes which will be the focus of the liturgy.
III. After The Epistle. Prayer Book: Rite I, pp. 325 – 326; Rite II, pp. 357-358
The action of the Eucharist consists of Word and Sacrament. Both are fundamental parts of the life and faith of every Christian. At this point we are engaged in the Service of the Word. We have just heard a reading from the Old Testament – those books which record the history and yearning of the Hebrew people and which look forward to Christ – and from the Epistles – letters of instruction written to members of the early Church. This first part of the Service, together with the sermon, has its origin in the worship of the ancient Jewish Synagogue. Like that it is primarily a service of teaching and instruction.
Here at The Church of the Advent and in most Churches lay people who are members of the congregation read the first two lessons. One particular reading, however, has by an early tradition always been reserved to the clergy: the solemn reading of the Gospel. Doubtless you’ve noticed that we read the Gospel lesson at Mass in a manner very different from the lessons. For instance, the singing of a hymn or a chant and a procession precede this reading. Much more solemnity, more ceremony is involved in the proclamation of the Gospel. Why is this? Again, because the structure of our Christian faith is two-fold,Word and Sacrament. This doesn’t simply describe what Christianity is from the outside, but from the inside: how it works as a religion. It means something important and profound: that we seek and find Christ’s presence in the Word and in the Sacrament. At the reading of the Gospel Christ makes Himself present to us in his Word just as surely as he was present with his disciples two thousand years ago. For this reason before and after the proclamation of the Gospel we hail and acknowledge not the reading, but Christ himself, the Word of God, who is mystically present in these words of Scripture. We stand at the reading of the Gospel and face the Book in order to be addressed and encountered by the One who comes to us in His Word. “Glory to You, Lord Christ,” we say. Because the reading or singing of the Gospel is such a special act, it is reserved for members of the ordained ministry – a priest, a bishop, or a deacon. The Gospel Book, itself a symbol of Christ, is brought in the procession to the midst of the Church to symbolize the coming of the good news of Christ to His people.
At a Solemn Eucharist, the book is censed. The use of incense is deeply rooted in the Scriptures and in the traditional practice of the Church. At this point in the service it is derived from the practice of the ancient Roman Empire in which incense was carried before important personages as a mark of their rank. And so, before the reading of the Gospel we greet our Lord, our King, with incense – a mark of the respect and homage which He deserves.
IV. After the Gospel. Prayer Book: Rite I, pp. 358-359; Rite II, pp. 358 – 359
The lessons have been read; the Gospel proclaimed. At this point in a normal service the sermon would be preached. Afterwards we respond to God’s Word to us in Scripture and sermon by declaring our common faith in the words of the Nicene Creed. This is an outline of belief which the Church adopted some 1600 years ago in a council at Nicaea, a town in present-day Turkey. It was chosen then to be and probably still is the best statement of what Christians believe – a summary of the meaning and hope of the Faith. In the Creed we affirm our belief in the mighty acts of God for our salvation – acts of power and love – the reason we are here today.
V. After the Creed. Prayer Book: Rite I, pp. 359-360,; Rite II, pp. 383-395
The Liturgy continues with prayer. Prayer, for the Church and for every Christian, is like the bloodstream and the blood. It joins everything together and it brings life. Without blood the body dies. Without prayer our faith becomes boring, sterile, and dead.
In the intercessions we present to God in prayer our own needs and necessities, and the particular needs of those close to us, family or friends, who may be sick or troubled, and the needs of the Church and the world. Then in prayer we confess our sins – those acts in our lives which have denied and stifled Christ’s working in us and have taken us away from Him.
Christ promised to the Church the power to bind and to lose, that is, the power to forgive sins in his name. The celebrant, then, on behalf of the Church pronounces over us the Absolution, a formal declaration of the forgiveness of our sins which Christ promises and gives to every Christian. And then, assured of Christ’s forgiveness, we greet one another in His name. It is sin that separates us one from another. It is sin that destroys the peace between us. In Christ our peace is restored.
VI. Before the Offertory.
In the early years of the Church’s life, if you had not yet been baptized, at this point in the Mass you would be made to leave the building. The Liturgy of the Sacrament, the second part of the Eucharist, was considered too sacred for the eyes of those who had not been initiated into the mystery of Christ’s Redemption. The unbaptized were expelled and in some places the doors to the Church were locked. It was with great seriousness and even awe that the early Christians regarded the miracle of the Mass.
The action of the Liturgy now moves from the pulpit and the lectern – the place of the Word – to the Altar – the locus of Christ’s sacramental presence, as bread and wine are brought forward in the Offertory and prepared.
We are accustomed to think of the Offertory as the Collection – the collection of our offerings of money which we return to God as stewards, in thanksgiving, for the support of His Church. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this and the practice is to be encouraged! In the beginning, this was not the case. In the ancient Church money played no part in the Offertory. Rather the Offertory consisted of the gathering together and bringing to the Altar of bread and wine – bread and wine which often each person brought individually to the Church.
Bread and wine and the Offertory itself are powerful symbols. In the first place, bread and wine represent in microcosm the whole life of humanity – the life and work of men and women in the Creation, which God has entrusted to man’s care. The bread is not merely grain; the wine is not merely the juice of the grape. They are more than that. They go beyond simple nature. Rather, they are grain and grapes which have been transformed by human life and work. In the second place, we may see the Offertory as a symbol of the Christian life itself – these elements of bread and wine, like the life of the Christians, are given to up God to be received back infused and alive with the presence, and life, and grace of Christ. Members of the congregation – representatives of us all – bring forward the gifts which we shall receive back changed and transformed and which by the grace and power of Christ will transform us.
At a Solemn Eucharist incense is used at this point. Here the symbolism is very Biblical and Jewish, with its origin in the practice of the ancient temple in Jerusalem. The incense represents prayer ascending to heaven. The gifts of bread and wine, those serving at the altar, and the congregation are censed to signify that all of us together are being swept up into that movement of prayer and offering which is the Eucharist.
After the Offertory. Prayer Book: Rite I, pp. 333 – 338: Rite II, pp. 361-376
This last part of the Liturgy – its climax and conclusion – stems from the last supper of Jesus with his disciples. Strangely enough, we don’t know a great deal about the particulars of this meal, which has so often been repeated. The Gospels don’t tell us much. What we can say for certain is that Jesus commanded the Church to “Do this in remembrance of Me” and that Christians have remembered his command and repeated this meal over and over throughout the centuries. Their experience has always been this: that He was present with them when they obeyed His command.
This part of the Eucharist – the Liturgy of the Sacrament – begins with the celebrant’s exhortation to “Lift up your hearts.” “Be joyful,” the priest tells us, “Sursum corda!” “Lift up your hearts.” The key to the meaning of the Prayers to follow lies in what the celebrant says next: “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God,” for the Eucharistic Prayer is primarily a giving thanks to God for His acts of power in creation and redemption. This is, after all, just what Jesus did at that Last Supper: “He took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it . . . he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them.” This same action – the giving of thanks – is the celebrant’s and also our action in the consecration of the gifts of bread and wine. For this reason we call the consecratory prayer “The Great Thanksgiving.” In fact, this strange Greek word “Eucharist” which we’ve been using means exactly that – to give thanks.
We give thanks to God first by repeating in the Sanctus the hymn which Isaiah the prophet heard sung around the throne of God – “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might.” Next, we praise the one who will soon come to us in the Sacrament of his body and blood, repeating the words of the crowd which greeted Jesus as he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday – “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!” And in the prayer of consecration we give thanks to God for His mighty work in Jesus, the Christ. We pray that He will bless the gifts of bread and wine – that they may become the Body and Blood of Christ; that we, being made holy by the Spirit, may find our real food and real drink in His Body and Blood. This is the Christian sacrifice, the holy sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving in which we recall thankfully the sacrifice of God in Christ. Here at The Church of the Advent the tower bell is rung at certain points during this prayer, namely at the Words of Institution: “This is my body. This is my blood.” The bells have their origin in the medieval Church. Their function was then and is now to alert us and focus our attention on the central mystery and miracle of the Liturgy – the coming of Christ to His people. The bells are rung and the celebrant lifts high the host and chalice for all to see.
In the Episcopal Church we believe that something really occurs to the bread and wine when they are consecrated by the priest and the Church. In this we are joined by the great and historic tradition of Christianity – by the Orthodox Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran Churches, and several of the Reformed Churches. Some say that the Liturgy is only a kind of memorial: we eat bread and drink wine and remember Jesus when we do it. Certainly that’s true, but in the Anglican Communion we claim that there is more to it than that. We believe that when we gather together and give thanks over the bread and wine, Jesus Christ – as he promised – will make himself present to us, sacramentally, in the bread and wine. This is the faith of the Church. Moreover, and most important this has been the experience of the Church from the very beginning. The bread and wine become sacraments – instruments, signs effective in themselves – by which Christ Himself gives us his presence, and his power, and his life. God in Christ is always working to be near to us – to be close to us, and with us. He is, of course, continually present to us at every time and in every place, but in the Holy Communion He is as near to us as the food we eat and the wine we drink.
VIII. After the Communion. Prayer Book; Rite I, pp. 339: Rite II, pp. 365-366
We have received Christ’s Body and Blood. What else is there now to do, but again give thanks? We do so in a concluding prayer and the Liturgy ends as the celebrant blesses us and we are dismissed. We have celebrated the drama of God’s mighty acts; we have partaken of the Body and Blood of his Son; we have been swept into the extraordinary world of the Liturgy. We are dismissed to go out into the everyday world and take with us what we have received here, to spread abroad the love and power and presence of Christ. And what is our response to this? Once again – and how appropriate that these are the very last words spoken in the Mass! – “Thanks be to God.”
A Note about the term Transubstantiation
Many people equate the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist with the theory of Transubstantiation. They are, in fact, not exactly the same thing. The doctrine of the Real Presence asserts what the Church has believed, taught, and experienced since earliest times, i.e. that Christ is really and truly present to his people in the Sacrament of the Altar. Transubstantiation is one theory among the many which seek to explain how Christ is present; to articulate the mechanics, so to speak, of His presence. It was developed in the thirteenth century by St. Thomas Aquinas in order to combat rather crude theories of the Eucharist that gave rise to superstition. St. Thomas’ explanation depended, as did his theology, on the philosophy and metaphysics of Aristotle.
By the time of the Reformation an intellectual reaction had taken place against St. Thomas’ thought, which had become the official teaching of the Roman Church, and also against the Aristotelianism upon which it is based. Luther and the English Reformers protested that Aquinas’ doctrine of transubstantiation per se can nowhere be found in Scripture or the early teaching of the Church. They were right; it can’t. It was, in their view, an illegitimate development which was a departure. They never, however, denied the doctrine of the Real Presence; indeed, they defended it. It was not until the second generation of the Reformation came along that this fundamental and scripturally-based doctrine was questioned and by some denied.
Even if we regard the doctrine of Transubstantiation as simply one way of explaining the gift of Christ’s Real Presence in the Mass, there is still some value in continuing to use the word. All accounts of how Christ is present – even those which the Continental and English Reformers came up with – attempt to make it clear and undoubted that a miracle is taking place in the bread and the wine. For some in the Anglo-Catholic tradition, Transubstantiation – in a metaphorical rather than metaphysical sense – remains the best term to point to this miracle – the mystery of Jesus’ Real Presence with his people, veiled in bread and wine.
Be that as it may, a good way to end this discussion is to quote verses on the matter attributed to a very clever and crafty lady, Elizabeth I.
His was the word that spake it,
He took the bread and brake it;
And what that word doth make it,
That I believe and take it.
For many people – even many Episcopalians – the style of worship at the Church of the Advent will be unfamiliar, perhaps even rather strange. These questions and answers are intended to address some of the points that most frequently puzzle visitors and newcomers.
Where do our customs come from?
Worship at the Church of the Advent reflects our foundation in the tradition of the “Oxford Movement.” Beginning in the 1830s, several Church of England clergy, in reaction to what they perceived as the laxity and spiritual lifelessness the Church in their day, started a renewal which came to be known as the Oxford Movement (because most of them were associated with Oxford University). They advocated a restoration of the pattern of Catholic worship, devotion, and spirituality which originated in ancient times but was lost during the Reformation. The recoveries included an ornate liturgy, private confession, devotions addressed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and monastic orders, as well as the use of the name “Mass” for the service of the Eucharist.
Why do we call ourselves “Anglo-Catholic”?
The word “catholic” comes from a Greek word meaning “universal” and originally referred to essential beliefs held by all Christians. Over the course of history, as a result of various schisms and the consequences of the Protestant Reformation, it has come to identify Christians who hold a specific set of theological and sacramental views. Today, “Anglo-Catholic” describes the beliefs and practices of Episcopalians (Anglicans) who follow the ideas and practices born from the Oxford Movement.
Why is the worship so formal?
In addition to ceremonial recoveries, scholars of the Oxford Movement also led a rediscovery of classical Catholic theology, which included an elevated view of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, in which we believe Christ to be really present to us in the sacramental bread and wine – His Body and Blood. From a Catholic viewpoint, worshipping Christ present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist is an experience so profound that words become inadequate and ceremonial gestures, such as the Sign of the Cross and genuflections, serve to express some of what we cannot put into speech.
Is everyone supposed to make all these gestures?
Not unless you want to. The Sign of the Cross and other ceremonials are outward signs of reverence; expressions of deeply personal belief and practice. They are not requirements of our liturgy or “tests” for membership. If you feel comfortable with them, use them by all means. If you have questions, one of the clergy would be glad to explain these customs to you.
What are all the people at the Altar doing – why all the fancy vestments?
Our liturgy employs a number of ministers, ordained and lay, in roles that enhance our worship. The principal actors in the drama of the liturgy are the Sacred Ministers of the Mass – the Celebrant, Deacon, and Subdeacon. Their liturgical roles and distinctive vestments date back to early Church tradition. The Celebrant presides at the service and consecrates the bread and wine; the Deacon proclaims the Gospel and assists in the ministration of Communion; the Subdeacon reads the New Testament lesson and also assists at Communion. The Celebrant and Deacon are always ordained clergy; the Subdeacon is customarily a layperson who has been specially licensed and trained for this ministry. The other servers and choir play supporting roles in the action of the Mass, all of which draw the focus of attention to the liturgy of God’s Word and Sacrament. The vestments we use not only define the roles of the servers, but also express the corporate nature of our worship by minimizing individual distinctions.
Why do we use incense in the services?
The tradition of using incense in the liturgy goes back to ancient Hebrew worship, as recorded in the Psalms: “Let my prayer be set forth in Thy sight as the incense” (Psalm 141:2). As this verse suggests, incense symbolizes the prayers of the faithful rising up to heaven as the smoke rises to the rafters. Incense also appears in the Bible in association with visions of the Divine, most notably in the book of Isaiah and the Revelation to St John. The smoke itself is associated with purification and sanctification; thus, we cense the consecrated elements of the Eucharist to show that they are set apart, and when we cense people we are not only symbolically “purifying” them but also acknowledging that they are set apart by their Baptism.
Can I receive Communion here?
All baptized Christians are welcome at our Altar. In accordance with the Canons of the Episcopal Church, any person who has been baptized with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit may receive Communion in this Church. Please feel free to speak to one of the clergy if you have any doubts or scruples in this regard.
We hope this information deepens your understanding and enjoyment of our worship. If you have other questions about our liturgy or ministries, please speak to one of the clergy.
The art of change ringing is peculiar to the English, and, like most English peculiarities, unintelligible to the rest of the world. To the musical Belgian, for example, it appears that the proper thing to do with a carefully tuned ring of bells is to play a tune upon it. But to the English campanologist … the proper use of the bells is to work out mathematical permutations and combinations.
— Dorothy L. Sayers, The Nine Tailors
The Advent Bells
In 1900, eight bells in the key of E were cast for the Church of the Advent at the Whitechapel Bellfoundry in London through the gift of Robert Codman in memory of his wife, Catherine. At their dedication on October 7th, 1900 they “were pronounced to be of remarkable richness, dignity and mellowness of tone.” These marvelous bells, the lightest 666 pounds and the heaviest more than 2100 pounds, are still rung every week by the Advent Guild of Bellringers in the style known as English Change Ringing.
What is English Change Ringing?
“English Change Ringing” refers to the rhythmic sounding of a set of tuned bells in changing sequences that are determined by the mathematical principles of permutation. These sequences do not resemble either the tunes typically played on a carillon or the jangle of European style church bell ringing but instead are the majestic pealing that is associated with great English state ceremonies as well as humble village weddings.
From the 12th century, the chiming of tower bells had been customary in all English villages to tell the time of day and to call people to church services. Ringing changes on these bells first arose around the year 1600 in the eastern counties of England, having been made possible by two parallel developments. The motivating development was the desire for the bells to be heard more broadly over the countryside and for the ringers to have more control over the timing of the sound. The enabling development was the replacement of the rope and lever, which had been used from the earliest days to sound the bells with, first, quarter wheels and then, by stages, the full-circle wheels we still use today. The bells could then be rung by means of a rope running in a channel around the wheel’s rim down into the room below where it was pulled by ringer using a long, vertical, two-stroke movement. This arrangement allowed the bell to swing through 360 degrees and to sound just before it reached the balance, mouth-up, projecting its voice widely up and out of the tower. In just this same manner are change ringing bells hung and rung to this day.
Making the Music
In the ringing room, directly below the belfry, ringers stand in a circle, one behind each rope. The person ringing the lightest bell calls out the traditional alert: “Look to!” Then as she starts her pull, “Treble’s going!,” and finally as the bell begins to swing downward, “She’s gone!” Each other bell is then pulled off in rapid succession creating the mesmerizing sound of a descending scale, repeated over and over again, known as “Rounds.” The ringer who has been designated the conductor will soon announce the method to be rung by calling out, for example, “Go, Grandsire Triples,” and smoothly – if all goes well – the sequence of sounds will change from the descending scale to continually shifting orders while keeping to the steady, even rhythm.
The Patterns: Those changes in the order of the bells’ sounding that constitute a method are governed by four rules: (a) no bell may move more than one position at each change/row; (b) each bell sounds once in each row; (c) no row is repeated; and (d) the ringing begins and ends in Rounds.
So, in the first row the bells ring in order 123456, then in the next row, for example, adjacent pairs of bells might all switch positions and the order would become 214365. In the next row, the bells in the first and last positions might remain in place and all the others might switch producing the new order: 241635. Such switching would continue until the bells came back into Rounds. The diagram to the left shows the simplest of the methods, Plain Hunt on four bells, with a line drawn through the path – that is, the sequence of moves forward and backward in the order – that is followed by Bell #2.
Since eight bells can be rung in 40,320 different orders, enormous variety in the methods is possible. Ringers commit various methods to memory and shift within or among them according to directions from their conductor. The methods are collected in books – every tower has a copy of “Diagrams” and most ringers carry a copy of “The Ringing World Diary,” and, more importantly in this era of rapid development, virtually all methods are now available on-line through several different electronic archives. These archives, supported by the growing library of books and electronic tutorials about how to learn to ring, provide an invaluable resource for the study that is essential to making progress as a ringer.
The Manoeuvers: Neither great size, strength, nor physical effort is generally required for change
ringing on tower bells. Once the smooth, straight pull (shown in the photo at right) that guides the rope most efficiently in its path has been fully mastered, even small people can ring very large bells. Making a bell sound earlier or later in any given row, however, requires further refinement of rope handling skills. The small adjustments to the pull that are necessary to change the position of a bell in the row are accomplished by each ringer’s altering the position of her hands on the rope, the exact timing of the pull itself, and the energy applied.
For all the bells to be sounded exactly where and when they should be requires very close teamwork among all the ringers in the band. Since a bell sounds about ¾ of a second after the ringer has initiated the pull, achieving correct “striking” requires the development of reliable internal rhythm, fine attunement to the actual sound of the bells, and the ability to interpret the visible movement of all the ropes in the circle. Development of these essential skills for basic bell control typically takes some months for learners and achieving true mastery is a lifelong endeavor for most ringers.
The Language: One of the pleasures of change ringing is the rich language that ringers use to communicate with each other about what they are doing. Our bells are fitted with gudgeons and sliders, and our ropes with sallies and tails. The basic moves in our methods are dodging, hunting, and making places, while more complicated maneuvers have names like cat’s ears, bus tickets, and fish tails. In following the blue line we lead, lie behind, and take [another ringer] off the front. While ringing some methods we might be in the slow, or doing Long London, or being quick bell. When the conductor makes a call, we may run in, run out, or make the Bob. When our striking is poor, we may be admonished to keep the backstrokes up, or to widen the handstroke gap, and if we fail to do this, the touch may fire up. When the ringing is good, we can enjoy listening to the roll-ups or the tenors coursing. Most perfectly, our methods are classified as Plain, Surprise, or Delight!
Why Do They Do It?
Change ringers are often attracted to “The Exercise,” as it was called in earlier times, because of the unusual sound or the mathematical nature of its music as well as the antiquity of the art. They typically continue to ring because of their pleasure in the powerful combination of mental discipline, physical skill, and close teamwork that is required for it all to “work.” Added to that are the benefits of the relations among local and regional ringers and their participation in the wider international ringing community as well as, for parishioners, an opportunity to support their church in a practical and pleasurable way.
English Change Ringing is still generally practiced only in parts of the world that once constituted the British Empire. In England today about 40,000 ringers serve nearly 5000 towers, while on this side of the Atlantic more than 500 members of the North American Guild of Change Ringers ring in 45 towers. Similar numbers of ringers and towers are active in Australia and New Zealand and a much smaller number in South Africa. A weekly magazine, The Ringing World, is published in England to keep members of the worldwide community in touch with interesting developments, achievements, and milestones, while numerous web-sites and services form important linkages to both historical and current information.
Change Ringing Today at the Advent
After the Advent bells were dedicated, they were rung for only two or three years before they were silenced because of complaints about the noise. They hung unused in the belfry for 70 years until in 1972 Geoff Davies and Doug Brown rediscovered them and taught a band to ring them again in the English Change Ringing style. The bells had suffered from their long neglect, however, so in 1976 they were rehung in a new frame, somewhat lower in the tower, and with better sound controls. Their “go” was thus significantly improved and ringing at the Advent began to flourish. On July 4th, 1976, the Advent bells first joined the Boston Pops in performing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture for a national television broadcast, beginning an annual tradition that continues to this day.
The local band has been through many changes in the ensuing decades and for about ten years starting in the 1980s became the most active band in North America. They rang a record number of peals (three hours of continuous ringing), including some of such complexity that they have never been rung anywhere else, and also developed a network of friendships throughout the ringing world that still brings ringing visitors to the Advent regularly.
Today the band is building again. We continue to include and welcome people of all ages, genders, occupations, personal styles, and beliefs. We ring peals and quarters regularly, travel to other New England towers (the photo shows the band after ringing at the Groton School), and hold various events throughout the year to introduce more people to the great art of change ringing.
For More Information
Practice is held at the Advent on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. We also practice at the Old North Church – yes, Paul Revere’s church and the very bells which he, himself, rang – on Saturdays from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Everyone is welcome to attend either practice and “have a go.”
The band rings for Sunday services from 10:10 to 11:05 AM at the Advent and from Noon to 1:00 PM at Old North. Learners are expected to participate in regular service ringing once they have become independent and reliable in Rounds.
On Wednesdays we meet at the Advent Parish House door at 30 Brimmer Street until 7 PM, when that door is locked. Anyone arriving later should go to the door around the corner on Mt. Vernon Street and, when the bells are not sounding, ring the white buzzer located on the left-hand frame of the right-hand pair of doors. Be sure to hold it down for two seconds and someone will come down to let you in. On Sundays we enter the Advent through the Mt. Vernon Street door and then turn left immediately and go up to the tower through the library.
The Church of the Advent was born in 1844 from the inspiration of a group of Bostonians who desired to establish a new parish that would put into practice the ideals of the then-11-year-old Oxford Movement, which was attracting attention, converts, and controversy in England. The Oxford Movement called upon the Church of England to return to its historic roots in the undivided Catholic Church, including a restoration of liturgical practices which had fallen so far out of use that Anglican worship at the time looked little different from that of a Congregationalist church. The Movement’s ideas quickly spread to America, where these Boston gentry resolved to found a church that would espouse and preach them.
The Advent’s founders had one other idea that was even more radical in mid-nineteenth century Boston than any amount of liturgical elaboration: they refused to follow the widespread custom of renting pews, whereby those who had the means leased the best seats often from generation to generation, and servants and the poor were relegated to places in the back or in the galleries. In those days, before Canvass Committees and Stewardship Campaigns, pew rents provided incomes for churches but also effectively excluded those who could not afford them, thereby enforcing social distinctions contrary to the essential nature of Christianity. The Bostonians who signed the Advent’s incorporation papers were simply following an apostolic ideal. They wrote in the parish charter that their intention 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, in a manner free from unnecessary expense and all ungracious circumstances.”
The new parish got off to a fast start, and within less than a year had already sparked a controversy. Manton Eastburn, then Bishop of Massachusetts, making his first official visitation, was so offended at the presence of a cross and candlesticks on the altar that he refused to come back unless they were removed. This is a telling measure of how thoroughly “Protestant” Anglican worship was in that day. (The situation was much worse in England, where the Church was an arm of the state: priests who placed ornaments on their altars were in some cases actually sent to prison!)
The parish solved the immediate problem of pastoral deprivation by calling a former missionary bishop, Horatio Southgate, to succeed Dr. Croswell after his death in 1851. Bishop Southgate used his considerable influence in the House of Bishops to secure a provision in the Canon Law of the Episcopal Church requiring diocesan bishops to visit every parish in their jurisdiction at least once every three years (whether they wanted to or not). Thus chastised, Bishop Eastburn meekly returned to the Advent after an eight-year absence and there were no more rude remarks about altar ornaments.
Meanwhile, the tenets of the Oxford Movement were gathering interest and support both at home in England and in the growing United States. A young Advent parishioner, Charles Chapman Grafton, traveled to England to meet one of the Movement’s heroes, Richard M. Benson, and helped him establish the Society of St. John the Evangelist, the first monastic order for men in England since the Reformation, now popularly known as the Cowley Fathers (from the location of their first house in Cowley, near Oxford, England). After returning to Boston with other members of the order, in 1872 Father Grafton became the Advent’s fourth rector. It was during his tenure that construction began on the parish’s permanent home, the majestic Gothic Revival structure on Brimmer Street on the “flat” of Beacon Hill. Previously the congregation had moved from its first meeting space, an “upper room” in a building on Merrimack Street, to rented space in a building near Causeway Street, then to a church on Green Street in Boston’s since-demolished West End (see this 1842 map), thence to a disused Congregational church on Bowdoin Street on the other side of the Hill. Father Grafton was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in 1888 but returned in 1894 to preach and consecrate the completed Brimmer Street church on Advent Sunday, December 1 – fifty years to the day after the first services in the North End loft.
The Advent has always striven to witness to “the beauty of holiness and the holiness of beauty,” acquiring a worldwide reputation as a ‘shrine church’ of Anglo-Catholicism in the United States. In 1936 a parishioner, master organ-builder G. Donald Harrison of the Aeolian-Skinner Company, designed and installed a pipe organ which remains a world-renowned masterpiece of the art. Its reputation was such that no less a personage than Albert Schweitzer, on his tour of the United States in 1948-49, made playing it a highlight of his Boston visit.
To this day the Church of the Advent continues to contribute to the life of the wider Church. Two other rectors went on to become bishops. Innumerable clergy who served as curates over the years have carried the Advent’s teaching and liturgical style with them to other parishes. Other Anglo-Catholic churches in the United States may have taken the elaboration of ceremonial to an even greater degree, but the Advent remains a parish whose name is recognized throughout the world as an icon of Anglo-Catholicism in America.
The name of this corporation shall be the “Parish of the Advent”; and its objects are 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, in a manner free from unnecessary expense and all ungracious circumstances; and for this purpose this Parish accedes to the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship and the Constitution and Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, and to the Constitution and Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, and acknowledges their authority.
Article II: MEMBERSHIP
Any baptized person of the age of sixteen years or more, who acknowledges in writing the authority of the By-laws of the Parish, and by declaring the intention to support the Parish by regular attendance at public worship and by financial aid, shall be considered a member of the Parish and entitled to vote in its affairs. Any member who, for one year, shall have refrained from regular worship, and from contributing toward the support of the Parish, may, after due notice and an opportunity to be heard, by vote of the Vestry be removed from the list of members of the Parish. No person who disclaims or refuses conformity to the authority of the Episcopal Church shall be eligible to hold office in the Parish or entitled to vote in its affairs.
Article III: OFFICERS, DELEGATES AND ELECTIONS
Sec. 1. Officers. The officers of the Parish, all of whom shall be members of the Parish and at least eighteen years of age, shall include two Wardens, who shall be confirmed communicants of the Episcopal Church and shall be members of the Vestry, a Treasurer, a Clerk and ten other Vestrypersons. The officers, together with the Rector, shall constitute the Vestry of the Parish.
Sec. 2. Delegates. The Parish shall also have such Delegates to the Diocesan Convention and to the Regional Assembly as it may be entitled to under the relevant canons and rules. Delegates may also be members of the Vestry.
Sec. 3. Elections. The Treasurer, Clerk, Delegates and Vestrypersons shall be elected at each Annual Meeting of the Parish. The Senior Warden shall be appointed by the Rector from among the Vestrypersons at the first meeting of the Vestry following each Annual Meeting of the Parish, and the Junior Warden shall be elected by the Vestry from among the Vestrypersons at such meeting. The Treasurer, Clerk and Delegates shall hold office until the next Annual Meeting, and the Vestrypersons until the third Annual Meeting following their election, and all shall hold office until their successors are elected and qualify; provided, however, that at the meeting at which this Article takes effect four Vestrypersons shall be elected to hold office until the next Annual Meeting, four shall be elected to hold office until the second next Annual Meeting, and four shall be elected to hold office until the third next Annual Meeting, and in each case, until their successors are elected and qualify. The Wardens shall hold office until the first vestry meeting following the next succeeding Annual Meeting of the Parish, and until their successors are selected and qualify. Any Vestryperson whose second successive three-year term expires at any Annual Meeting shall be ineligible for reelection to the same office until the next succeeding Annual Meeting.
Vacancies in the office of either Warden shall be filled in the manner set forth above for the balance of the unexpired term. All other vacancies may be filled at any meeting of the Parish. Unless so filled, they may be filled by the Vestry until the next Annual Meeting of the Parish.
Article IV: MEETINGS OF THE PARISH
Sec. 1. Annual and Special Meetings. The Annual Meeting shall be held at such date, hour and place as the Vestry shall determine.
Special meetings may be called at any time by the Wardens or Vestry, and shall be called by the Wardens whenever so requested in writing by the Rector or by five members of the Parish.
Sec. 2. Warrant. All meetings of the Parish shall be announced by posting an attested copy of the Warrant calling the meeting at a public entrance of the church or place of worship occupied by the Parish. The Warrant shall be posted at least fourteen calendar days before the date fixed for an Annual Meeting and at least seven calendar days before a special meeting. No action shall be taken at any meeting of the Parish other than that set forth in the Warrant for such meeting.
Sec. 3. Presiding Officer. The Rector or in the Rector’s absence the Senior Warden shall preside and in the absence of the Senior Warden the Junior Warden shall preside; in the absence of all three, a moderator shall be chosen by the meeting. Fifty (50) members present shall constitute a quorum, and a majority vote of those present determine any matter presented except as provided in Article XIII respecting the amendment of these By-laws.
Article V: THE RECTOR
Sec. 1. Election. The Rector shall be elected for the Parish at a meeting duly called for that purpose by the Vestry. Such election shall not take place, however, until after all the steps required in Section 1 of Canon 15 have been taken. No person shall be eligible to the office of Rector other than a qualified priest of the Episcopal Church in good standing. The Rector shall have jurisdiction over the spiritual affairs of the Parish and supervise and direct the Parish staff.
Sec. 2. Vacancy. If the office of Rector becomes vacant or the Rector is incapacitated, the Vestry shall appoint an Interim after consultation with the Bishop, until such time as a new Rector is elected as provided under this Article in case of a vacancy, or until the termination of the Rector’s incapacity.
Article VI: WARDENS
It shall be the duty of the Wardens, when the Parish has no Rector, or in the Rector’s absence, to provide for the temporary performance of the Rector’s duties. In the absence or incapacity of either Warden, or of a vacancy, the powers and duties of the Wardens shall devolve upon the remaining Warden.
Article VII: TREASURER
Sec. 1. Duties. It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to receive and disburse all monies collected under the authority of the Vestry, to keep a true record of receipts and disbursements, and to present a full statement of these and of the financial condition of the Parish at Annual Meetings and at other times required by the Vestry. The Treasurer shall also maintain the records of all trusts and permanent funds belonging to the Parish, listing the source and date of such trusts and funds, the terms governing the use of principal and income, to whom and how often accounts are to be made and how the trusts and funds are invested.
Sec. 2. Voting of Securities. Except as the Vestry may otherwise designate, the Treasurer may act or appoint any members of the Vestry (with or without power of substitution) to act as proxy or attorney in fact for the Parish at any meeting of stockholders of any corporation, the securities of which may be held by the Parish.
Article VIII: CLERK
It shall be the duty of the Clerk to keep the records of the Parish and of the Vestry and to keep a roll of the members entitled to vote in its affairs. The Clerk shall make available a membership list for any member to inspect as long as the purpose of the inspection is related to the general affairs of the Parish.
Article IX: BONDS
The Treasurer and other custodians of funds as designated by the Vestry shall be bonded under a blanket bond maintained by the Diocese for that purpose. If such blanket bond is at any time not available, adequate bonds shall be procured by the Parish and each bond shall be placed in the custody of some officer other than the person who is bonded. (See Canon 17, Sec. 3)
Article X: VESTRY
Sec. 1. Authority and Duties. The Vestry shall exercise all its powers in accordance with the usage and discipline of the Episcopal Church, in compliance with the statutes of the Commonwealth and the provisions of these By-laws. It shall be the duty of the Vestry to manage the prudential affairs and to care for the property of the Parish; to provide for the furniture, books, vestments, and all things necessary for the celebration of public worship; to see that all buildings and personal property belonging to the Parish are adequately insured (see Canon 17, Sec. 3); to supervise the investment of funds of the Parish (see Canon 17, Sec. 1); to authorize and direct such purchases and sales as the Vestry may from time to time deem wise, and any and all transfers, assignments, contracts, deeds, leases, bonds, notes, checks and other instruments which may be necessary or proper in this connection; and to supervise and direct the officers in the discharge of their duties. The Vestry, in consultation with the Rector, shall authorize staff positions and the terms of employment.
The handling of all or any of the investments, including their purchase, custody, sale and transfer, may be delegated by the Vestry to the Wardens or Treasurer. The Vestry may delegate to the Wardens and/or Treasurer generally or in particular cases the authority to execute contracts, deeds, leases, bonds, notes, checks and other instruments which may be necessary or proper. The Vestry may appoint or authorize the appointment of any committee that it deems desirable. All such committees shall be accountable to the Vestry.
Sec. 2. Annual Audit. The Vestry shall cause to be made an annual audit of the accounts of the Treasurer and other custodians of funds of the Parish. The audit shall be made by a certified or independent public accountant or by any agency permitted by the Office of the Treasurer of the Diocese. Such auditor shall be appointed by the Vestry at least thirty days before the end of the year. (See Canon 17, Sec. 2)
Sec. 3. Restrictions on Alienation or Encumbrance of Real Estate. No consecrated church or chapel, nor any church or chapel which has been used solely for divine service, nor any property which is being used as a parish house or rectory, nor any land incidental to or regularly used in connection with any of the foregoing, shall be alienated or encumbered without the previous written consent of the Bishop, acting with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee. (See Canon 18)
Sec. 4. Meetings. Meetings of the Vestry may be called by the Rector or either Warden or any two members of the Vestry. The Vestry may schedule regular meetings and determine the manner of notifying its members. The Rector, or such other member of the Vestry designated by the Rector, shall preside. The records of the Vestry shall be open to the members of the Parish at its meetings. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum and a majority vote of those present shall determine any matter presented.
Article XI: ORGANIZATIONS
All formal organizations connected with the Parish shall be responsible to the Rector. Each organization shall present at the Annual Meeting of the Parish a report containing a summary of its activities and finances and a list of its officers. The funds of any organization which has not met for three years shall be turned over to the Treasurer of the Parish to be used as the Vestry may direct.
Article XII: GIFTS AND MEMORIALS
No object intended as a permanent addition to the Church or Parish property, or to be used therein during public worship, shall be accepted as a gift or memorial without the approval of the Rector and the Vestry. All objects so accepted may be removed when deemed necessary by the Vestry. The names of donors of such gifts and memorials, any terms and conditions, and the dates of acceptance shall be recorded in the permanent records of the Parish.
Article XIII: AMENDMENTS
These By-laws may be amended in the following manner: first, the proposed change shall be approved by vote of two-thirds of the members of the Parish present at a properly called meeting; next, the proposed change shall be submitted to the Bishop and Standing Committee with a copy of the By-laws; and finally, if they approve it as submitted or subject to specific revision, it may become effective immediately but only in the form so approved.
Article XIV: INDEMNIFICATION OF PARISH OFFICERS
The Parish shall, to the extent legally permissible, indemnify each person who may serve or who has served at any time as a Warden, Treasurer, Clerk, or other officer of the Parish (collectively “Indemnified Officers”), against all expenses and liabilities, including, without limitation, counsel fees, judgments, fines, excise taxes, penalties and settlement payments, reasonably incurred by or imposed upon such person in connection with any threatened, pending or completed action, suit or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative (a “proceeding”), in which that person may become involved by reason of serving or having served in such capacity (other than a proceeding voluntarily initiated by such person unless that person is successful on the merits and the proceeding was authorized by a majority of the Vestry). However, no indemnification shall be provided for any such person with respect to any matter in which that person is adjudicated not to have acted in good faith on behalf of the Parish; and further provided that any compromise or settlement payment shall be approved by the Vestry in the same manner as provided below for the authorization of indemnification.
Such indemnification may, to the extent authorized by the Vestry, include payment by the Parish of expenses incurred in defending a civil or criminal action or proceeding in advance of the final disposition of such action or proceeding, provided that the person indemnified agrees to repay such payment if that person is not entitled to indemnification under this Article; the repayment agreement may be accepted without regard to the financial ability of such person to make repayment.
Any payment shall be conclusively deemed authorized by the Parish under this Article, and each officer of the Parish approving such payment shall be wholly protected, if:
(i) the payment has been approved or ratified (1) by a majority vote of a quorum of either (a) the members of the Parish who are not at that time parties to the proceeding or (b) the members of the Vestry who are not at that time parties to the proceeding or (2) by a majority vote of a committee of two or more Vestry members who are not at that time parties to the proceeding and are selected for this purpose by the full Vestry (in which selection Vestry members who are parties may participate); or
(ii) the action is taken in reliance upon the opinion of independent legal counsel (who may be counsel to the Parish) appointed for the purpose by vote of the Vestry in the manner specified in clauses (1) or (2) of subparagraph (i) or, if that manner is not possible, appointed by a majority of the full Vestry then in office; or
(iii) the Vestry members have otherwise acted in accordance with the standard of conduct applied to directors under Chapter 180 of the Massachusetts General Laws; or
(iv) a court having jurisdiction shall have approved the payment.
This indemnification shall inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors and administrators of Indemnified Officers entitled to indemnification.
The right of indemnification shall be in addition to and not exclusive of all other rights to which any person may be entitled. Nothing contained in this Article shall affect any rights to indemnification to which Parish employees, agents, Vestry members and other persons may be entitled by contract or otherwise under law.
This Article, as amended, constitutes a contract between the Parish and the Indemnified Officers. No amendment or repeal of the provisions of this Article which adversely affects the right of an Indemnified Officer under this Article shall apply to the Indemnified Officer with respect to the Indemnified Officer’s acts of omissions which occurred at any time prior to such amendment or repeal without the Indemnified Officer’s written consent.
Adopted by unanimous vote of the Vestry of the Parish of the Advent this nineteenth day of March, 1996. ATTEST ______/s/___________ Henry G. Stewart, Clerk