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 Frederick L. Haupert.


9:00 Coffee Hour: Hosting today are Betsy Ridge Madsen with Tom & Carolyn McDermott. 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.

1:15 Coffee Hour: Hosting this morning are David Fisher, Maggie Eggert and Nick Westberg. 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).

Entr’acte.  Led by Rick Stone, “New Testament Perspectives on Old Testament Law” continues with “Paul and the Law.” The series concludes next Sunday with “Hebrews and the Priesthood of Christ.” Entr’acte follows 9:00 am and the 11:15 am Masses in the Hunnewell Room (Library).

The next Entr’acte series. On the first Sunday in Lent, Robin Landrith will begin a study of  “In the Beginning…’: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall.” This series of homilies was delivered by Pope Benedict XVI, then Joseph Ratzinger, during the Lenten season of 1981, and Lent remains a fitting time to renew reflections on the first principles of our world. Benedict’s homilies focus on Israel’s experience of God as Creator in the unfolding testimony of the Hebrew Scriptures, together with the ethical implications of belief in creation as recounted by the Bible as a whole—that is, in light of the fulfillment of creation revealed in Christ. This lens frames Benedict’s effort to render the creation account reasonable in light of the scientific and technological advances of our time, while also preserving the story’s strangeness and corrective force in the midst of challenges posed—in light of these advances—to the substance of Christian faith. The aim of this study, then, is to help us reflect, in preparation for our celebration of the Resurrection, on what it might mean to be a “new creation” by looking, in the words of Wendell Berry, “far backward as through clearer eyes / to what unsighted hope believes: / The blessed conviviality that sang Creation’s seventh sunrise.”

See “Looking Toward Lent” below for more Lenten offerings.

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.

Evensong & Benediction. This evening at 5:00 pm, Evensong will be sung by The Advent Choir, featuring “Like as the Hart” by Howells, and the new (to us!) Magdalene College Service and Responses of Kenneth Leighton. The service lasts no more than one hour, and is followed by a light supper and libation in Moseley Hall to which all are invited.

Mark Dwyer will speak to us during supper about Music and the Anglo-Catholic Revival, Part Two: “What did they sing and why did they sing it?” Concurrent theological, artistic, architectural and musical movements came together during the mid-nineteenth century to produce an ongoing search for the ideal sacred music: that which is beautifully fitting, and fittingly beautiful.

Barbara Bruns, our friend and neighbor from Christ Church, Andover, will play a Prelude Organ Recital at 4:30 pm, featuring works of Dupré and Franck and Howells. Barbara holds a Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance, magna cum laude, from Augustana College and a Master of Music degree, with honors, from the New England Conservatory. Recognized as an accomplished recitalist, accompanist, and conductor, she is the recipient of the “Outstanding Alumni Award” from Augustana College and has concertized extensively in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Since 1976 she has performed as soloist for national conventions of the Organ Historical Society, the American Guild of Organists, and the Association of Anglican Musicians.

Name Tags. If you have a nametag, please wear it at coffee hour. This helps us know each other better – and helps Fr. Anderson learn all our names.


A requiem will be said in the Lady Chapel with a special intention for the repose of the soul of Michael Terranova this Monday, February 17 at 3:00 in the afternoon. The interment will immediately follow in the All Souls’ columbarium. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, by the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Theology on Tap returns this Tuesday, February 18, at 7:00 pm at MAST’ Restaurant and Drinkery – The Lower Bar, 45 Province Street, Boston. The Rev’d Canon Alistair Macdonald-Radcliff will discuss How to Choose Your Heresy: An Introductory Guide to This Perennially Popular Primrose Path.

Rowan Greer,  the late Professor of Yale Divinity School and  distinguished church historian, used to be fond of saying of modern Episcopalians that, “We are all Pelagians now”. His ironic remark highlights the point that not being a heretic may be harder than many suppose for modern Christians. After all,  there is a marked strand in present Western culture which sees some degree of dissent from almost any historic tradition as a prerequisite of sophistication (and if used in its earliest sense this may be true).

Such considerations give interest, not only to the history of heresy in Christianity,  which is as long as the history of the Church itself, but also to the meaning of the concept and its distinction from apostasy and blasphemy. Moreover, far from being a merely historic concept,  it is increasingly evident that in an age of ever more strident idealogical puritanism the concept looks likely to have a new and even brighter future ahead. This presentation will look thus both at some of the recurring tendencies that have defined the most common forms of Christian heresy but also at the nature and continuing significance of the concept itself, thus enabling those still determined to go down the heretical path to make their choices in ways that are (in the spirit of a consumerist age) at least in some degree better informed.

An introductory course in Biblical Greek will be offered at 6:45 pm on Thursdays at 43 South Russell Street. Corey Rouse will lead a 1.5 hour course using Clayton Croy’s Primer of Biblical Greek. Registration not required! Email carignanrouse@gmail.com for more information.


Looking toward Lent

The solemn season of Lent begins Ash Wednesday, February 26. To make a right start of Lent, Masses will be offered at 7:30 am, 12:15 pm, and 6:30 pm. The Imposition of Ashes will be included at each of the Masses. It is not too early to be thinking and praying about taking on Lent disciplines. If you need help determining what your Lenten disciplines should be, you should contact and seek the counsel of one of the clergy.

Again this year we will also have a Parish Lenten Discipline published and available before Ash Wednesday. This Lenten program allows all of us to keep a Lenten discipline together with weekly Scripture readings, acts of self-discipline, and meditations we can all take on as a community. Please look for copies of the Parish Lenten Discipline as they become available in the west end of the Church.


“Septuagesima – seventy days
To Easter’s primrose tide of praise;
The Gesimas – Septua, Sexa, Quinc
Mean Lent is near, which makes you think.”

Septuagesima, Sir John Betjeman

Before the reforms of the 1960s, three pre-Lenten Sundays were part of the Church calendar. These Sundays, with the hard to pronounce names of Septuagesima, Sexagesmia, and Quinquagesima, denoted the seventieth, sixtieth, and fiftieth days before Easter. While we no longer keep “Gesimatide”, it does afford us an opportunity to begin thinking about what Lenten disciplines we might observe. Here are a few:

Mondays in Lent: Women’s Book Study at 6:00 pm. A five-week discussion of A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans.

Wednesdays in Lent: Readings in John study immediately following the 6:00  pm Healing Mass.

Thursdays in Lent: Stations of the Cross and Benediction at 6:00 pm.

All beginning the first week of March.

During Lent, Morning Prayer will be said at 8:00 am to encourage attendance at the Offices. The Wednesday Bible Study will also move forward one hour, to 9:00 am, during this time.

Reminder: Palms for Ashes. There is a basket in the All Saints’ Chapel to receive last year’s palms from Palm Sunday.


A special custom for the Epiphany season

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.

Discount parking vouchers for the Boston Common Garage are available for $9.00 each from Nola Sheffer or are also available at the Bookstore. 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.


Significant portions of the Church of the Advent archives were taken to the Boston Athenaeum decades ago, and later transferred to the Diocesan Archives on Tremont Street. As part of the 175th anniversary observations, these records, documents, artifacts, and artwork will be returned to their rightful home at 30 Brimmer Street. The letter below is part of that collection, and dates to the parish’s 1847 move to the Green Street meeting-house (also pictured below), described in the centenary history as “a substantial structure of brick, far from ecclesiastical in appearance, but, after undergoing the needed alterations, not ill-adapted to the requirements of the parish, being capable of holding not far from six hundred persons.” It is addressed to the parish’s first rector, the Rev. William Croswell, and signed C. G. Prescott. At this writing, no connection to the later, more well-known Prescott, Oliver Sherman Prescott, has been found.

[Ed. note: Green Street, which can be seen on this map, no longer exists. The Green Street church was located approximately where the Longfellow Place apartment building now stands.]

February 17-23, 2020

Monday, February 17
Janani Luwum (Parish Office Closed)
3:00 pm: Requiem for Michael Terranova

Tuesday, February 18
Martin Luther

6:00 pm: Community Supper
7:00 pm: Theology on Tap @ MAST’

Wednesday, February 19
10:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass
7:00 pm: Bellringing

Thursday, February 20
7:00 pm: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Friday, February 21
11:30 am: Rosary

Saturday, February 22
9:00 am: Cathedral Retreat
10:00 am: Advent Choir Rehearsal
10:00 am: Advent Flower Guild

Sunday, February 23
The Last Sunday after the Epiphany (Quinquagesima)
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

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