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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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

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