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 Advent wreath is given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Norman MacGregor Post, priest, and Jane Irene Post.


Serving as chaplain to Bishop Gates at the 9 o’clock service today is Valerie Cowart, a candidate for ordination to the diaconate in the Diocese of Massachusetts.


9:00 am: Coffee Hour: Hosting today are Bette Boughton and Jonnet Holladay.

10:15 am: Advent wreath-making in the Hunnewell Room (Library). Wreath-making kicks off with Father Welch offering comments on the tradition before the Bishop begins the first wreath. The Bishop will also bless the Advent 175 Time Capsule being assembled by the Church School. Special thanks to Tony Pulsone for handmaking the Christ candles.

1:00–3:00 pm (following 11:15 Mass): Gala Anniversary Reception in Moseley Hall. 

The Advent Bellringers will ring a celebratory quarter peal in the afternoon.

4:30 pm: Organ Recital by David Baskeyfield.

5:00 pm: Lessons & Carols for Advent. Childcare is offered.

6:00–8:00 pm: Please join us for a gala reception in Moseley Hall.


Thursday December 5 & Friday, December 6: CONFERENCE – Anglo-Catholic Roots III: Oxford Comes to Boston: 175 years of Anglo-Catholicism in America. Find details or register here.


The Rev’d Sarah Coakley, Assisting Priest and Theologian-in-Residence at the Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes in Washington, will preach at 9:00 am and 11:15 am on December 8.

Stewardship 2020: Our annual Ingathering of pledges will take place next Sunday, December 8. All parishioners are asked to submit their pledge cards and “Time & Talent” selections by then. Pledges can be received by mail, email, or in the offering plate. (See below for this week’s pledging report.)

Common Cathedral. We are looking for two or three more volunteers on December 8 for Common Cathedral, the outdoor worship service and meal for our homeless neighbors on Boston Common. We meet during coffee hour around 10:30 am to pack the lunches, then head over to the Common together around 11:45 to prepare for the service and meal. Everything wraps up around 2:30. If you are able to help with all or a portion of this event, please email Carolyn Lewis at carolynshadid@gmail.com.

Longtime parishioner David Lapin has recently authored an autobiography entitled The Education of Brainiac: A New Yorker’s Quest for the Good Life in the Hub of the Universe. Vignettes about the Advent abound! A kind of pilgrim’s progress for the twenty-first century, The Education of Brainiac is ultimately about discovering a pluralistic world where institutions of all kinds afford us common ground to express and respect difference in all its prisms. Copies of Brainiac will be available for $20 in Moseley Hall at the coffee hours after the 9 and 11:15 Masses on Sunday, December 8, and David will be on hand to autograph them. Consider adding one to your Christmas stocking!

Compline at the Advent: Join us next Sunday at 8:00 pm, for the ancient liturgy of Compline, preceded by Lucernarium, an evening service of lamp-lighting. We pray Compline, the service of prayer before bedtime in the custom of early Christian monasticism, on the second Sunday of every month.


A Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of Nancy Santeusanio Nickolds will be offered on Saturday, December 14, at 3:00 pm in the church, with interment in the Columbarium to follow.


Thanks to those who submitted pledges this week. As of this past Thursday we have received 104 pledges, pledging a total of $334,407. 40 have increased their pledges by over 15% average, and there are 8 new pledges. We have still to hear from 116 parishioners who pledged a total of $252,200 last year. You can pledge online by going to the parish website, https://www.theadventboston.org/pledging.


Advent Coat Drive extended to December 8. If you have been meaning to donate a coat for the coat drive, you still have an opportunity. Bring clean, functional coats (no broken zippers, ripped pockets, etc.) that will help keep people warm during the winter (think ski jackets, not dress-up jackets) to the church. Coats for children, women, and men all accepted. This year, all collected coats will be donated to Boston Health Care for the Homeless. If you don’t have an appropriate coat to donate, consider a financial contribution. Checks should be made payable to the Church of the Advent, but please put “One Warm Coat” in the memo line and either drop in the collection plate or mail to One Warm Coat Drive, 30 Brimmer Street, Boston 02108. If you have questions or would like to help out, please contact Chris Doty (christopher.doty@pm.me) or Harmony Witte (harmony.witte@gmail.com).


Book Store News. In Celebration of the Parish Anniversary, all Advent Choir CDs will be on sale for $10.00 each throughout the month of December. Also, Advent Calendars, Christmas cards and music, 2020 “Churchman’s Ordo Kalendars” and Christian Pocket Diaries are now available. The Parish Book Store is open after each Mass on Sundays in Moseley Hall.

Christmas Flower Memorials & Thanksgivings: The greens and flowers that adorn the Church at Christmas are funded entirely by donations from members and friends of the Parish. All memorials and thanksgivings will be listed in the service leaflets during the twelve days of Christmas. A form for donations is found on the back page of Sunday’s service leaflet. Completed forms and payment must be received in the Parish Office no later than 4:00 pm on Friday, December 20. Make checks payable to the Church of the Advent and write “Christmas Flowers” on the check. 

Advent Compline at SSJE: On Thursdays during Advent (December 5, 12, and 19), the monks of the Society of St John the Evangelist will offer a contemplative Compline service that is open to all. The service begins at 8:00 pm and is preceded and followed by 30 minutes of quiet meditation by candlelight. The monastery is located at 980 Memorial Drive in Cambridge, a short walk from the Harvard Square T stop.

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.


175 Years in One Liturgy

In honor of the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Church of the Advent, we offer an historic tour of some of the Advent’s treasures used in this service.

Crystal Crucifix. This processional cross is crafted of silver, crystal, and cut glass. It was given by the Sunday School sometime between 1885 and 1902.

Verger’s Staff (Virge). See full description below.

White Vestments. These are worn during the opening procession which celebrates the Parish’s Feast of Title and Dedication. Made for the parish’s 1944 centennial, their design traces the doctrine of the Incarnation from the Creation to the early years of the Church:

  • The tunicle worn by the subdeacon displays the symbols of prophets Isaiah and Malachi, who foretold the birth of the Messiah; and of Adam, Eve, and the Garden of Eden; and the Star of David.
  • The dalmatic and stole worn by the deacon contain symbols associated with the birth of Christ: St. Mary, St. Joseph, Gabriel, and the Star of Bethlehem.
  • The priest’s vestments fulfill the symbolism: the stole bears symbols of the Blessed Virgin (MR, Maria Regina), the front panels of the cope honor four theologians who defended and developed the doctrine of the incarnation at the first four ecumenical councils: St. Athanasius; St Gregory Nazianzus; St Cyril; St Leo the Great. The back shows Jesus reigning in glory.

Blue Vestments. Both blue and the more familiar purple are traditional colors for the season of Advent. Blue is also associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary; the embroidered roses on these vestments and on the frontal refer to Mary as the “Mystic Rose” who was to bear the Babe of Bethlehem. The frontal bears two large red shields mounted on crosses of gold. On one shield is IHS, a Latinized abbreviation of the Greek Iesous, for Jesus. On the other, the Latinized abbreviation, XRS, for the Greek Xristos, which means Christ. The vestments were designed in 2017 by Davis d’Ambly, who supervised their execution.

Silver Thurible. The thurible, with its companion boat and spoon, were given in 1913 by the Guild of St. Vincent in memory of Cecil Moreton Barlow, a “reverent, devoted, and faithful member of the Guild and Acolyte.” He was born in 1890, lived in Somerville, where he graduated from the English High School in 1910, and was employed as an electric meter reader. On August 7, 1912, he was killed by “an accidental shock of electricity.” The pieces were designed by Robert Turner Walker (1867–1931), an MIT-trained architect, faithful parishioner, and Vestry member, who instituted the Guild of St. Vincent in the parish. The silversmith is George Joseph Hunt (1866–1947), an Englishman who immigrated to the United States at age 20, became a member of the Society of Arts and Crafts in 1903, and established the “metalry” department at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. These are typically used at the Gospel procession and offertory.

Jeweled Silver Tankard. This large tankard is used on major feasts and was a gift from the congregation at large in memory of Fr. Henry A. Metcalf (1845–1911), who served as rector of five parishes in Massachusetts before becoming Curate at the Advent. The tankard was designed by Charles Carden Coveney (1894–1945), a church architect and member of the Advent’s governing Corporation, who was a principal at Brigham, Coveney & Bisbee. The tankard, of sterling silver with a hammered gold wash, was made by Gorham. The inscription reads Caro enim Mea vere est Cibus, et Sanguinis Meus vere est pontus (For my Flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed; John 6:55). 

Jeweled Chalice and Ciborium. In 1905 the congregation made this gift in memory of the Rev. George Frederick Daniels (1858–1897), who had served as a curate at this Parish; he died of pneumonia at St. Margaret’s Hospital on West Cedar Street. The vessels were designed by Brother Bernard, O.S.B., of Painsthorpe Abbey, Yorkshire, England, which was established in 1902 by Aelred Carlyle, a friend of Charles Chapman Grafton, rector of the Advent from 1872 to 1888. The chalice is inscribed: Calicem salutaris accopiam, et nomen Domini invocabo (I will receive the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord; Ps. 116:12).

Silver Chalices. From a set of English Communion ware bearing the hallmark of John James Keith, given by an unknown donor at Easter 1849. Keith produced large amounts of Gothic Revival church plate based on designs by William Butterfield, the leading architect/designer of the ecclesiological movement. Both chalices are inscribed, at the base, Calicem salutaris accipitam (I will receive the cup of salvation; Ps 116:2). One carries the legend Vere est potus sanguis meus (My blood is drink indeed; John 6:55); the other, Omnes eundem potum spiritualem biberunt (All did drink the same spiritual drink; I Cor 10:4).

The Anniversary Virge

Our new Anniversary Virge was designed by Tom Sopko and master silversmith and artist Vincent Wil Hawley, who also fabricated and engraved it. Hailing from Newburyport, MA, Vincent received a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 2006 and attended the Advent regularly while living in Boston. He went on to study and apprentice in Florence, Italy, and currently resides in Staten Island, NY. His other ecclesiastical commissions include sacred vessels for churches, sculptural elements for the Episcopal Diocese of New York, and numerous wearable liturgical pieces.A virge (< Latin virga, a branch or rod) was originally a bundle of branches used as a switch or riding crop; it later became a symbol of civil office. In modern times it is best known as the ceremonial staff of the lay officers in Anglican churches known as vergers (originally virgers), who once used it as a weapon to make way for outdoor processions, but now use it as a pointer to guide processions and escort people around the sanctuary.

The virge is hand-crafted, with a sterling silver finial and fittings on a shaft of American walnut. The obverse shows the shield from the parish seal. The trumpet refers to the trumpets that announce the Second Advent, when “the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” The three coronets allude to the seal of the Diocese of Massachusetts, which in turn took them from the arms of the city of Boston in Lincolnshire, England. In the upper left quadrant is the red cross of St George, symbol of England, surmounted by a circle of wavy blue and white lines, an heraldic device which represents a well or spring. This may allude to our roots in the Church of England, but cross + well is also a rebus for [William] Croswell, our first Rector. The text around the rim reads “Church of the Advent, Boston, 1844–2019.”The virge is given in honor of Kenn Stephens, former member of the Vestry and numerous parish committees, chairman of the 1998 Search Committee that called Fr. Warren, as well as the Liturgical Arts, Gifts & Memorials, and Advent 2000 committees, and founder, director, and mentor of the parish Flower Guild from 1992 until 2007.

The reverse features a plain golden cross and the parish motto “Lo, I come.” Both refer back to the earliest days of the parish in 1845, when the simple gilded wood cross that is now enshrined in the reredos of All Saints’ Chapel hung above the altar, with the motto above it. Author, lawyer, and abolitionist Richard Henry Dana Jr., one of the most prominent founding members, later wrote to his son, “[Dr. Croswell] held the first service on Advent Sunday. That led to its being called the Church of the Advent. I proposed the name, and suggested the cross over the altar, and the words ‘Lo I Come’ for the motto.”

The 1944 parish history states that “In the earlier years the duties of verger – or sexton – were undertaken by no less a personage than one of the wardens; but it is not to be wondered that after a time he found the burden of attending to the opening and closing of the church for services twice daily to be too great. About 1852 Hugh Taylor was appointed Verger, and held the position for nearly 40 years.” Ray Porter’s predecessor Marc Michelini (1927-2014) became verger at the age of 22 and served faithfully for 56 years. Since 1852 the Advent has had 14 rectors, but only 6 vergers!

December 2-8, 2019

Monday, December 2
Channing Moore Williams
7:00 pm: Girl Scouts Cookie Jamboree

Tuesday, December 3
Francis Xavier
9:00 am: Beacon Hill Garden Club
6:00 pm: Community Supper

Wednesday, December 4
John of Damascus
10:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass
7:00 pm: Bellringers
7:00 pm: Advent Choir Rehearsal
7:00 pm: Brimmer Street Garage Annual Meeting

Thursday, December 5
Clement of Alexandria
3:30 pm: Anglo-Catholic Conference Checkin
4:00 pm: Anglo-Catholic Conference Keynote
6:00 pm: Solemn Evensong & Benediction

Friday, December 6
Nicholas of Myra
10:00 am: Anglo-Catholic Conference Sessions
11:30 am: Rosary
12:15 pm: Low Mass
2:00 pm: Anglo-Catholic Conference Sessions
6:00 pm: Solemn Mass – Banquet

Saturday, December 7
Ambrose of Milan

8:30 am: Morning Prayer
9:00 am: Low Mass

Sunday, December 8
The Second Sunday of Advent
7:30 am: Morning Prayer
8:00 am: Low Mass
9:00 am: Sung Mass
10:15 am: Church School
11:15 am: Solemn Mass
8:00 pm: Compline

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