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.
The flowers in the All Saints Chapel are given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Maria Johanna Sanders.
The Blessing of Throats will be held after all Masses in the Lady Chapel.
If you are visiting or new to the Advent, we hope that you will feel welcome and at home. Please fill out a visitor’s/newcomer’s card so that we will have a record of your visit here and can keep in touch.
All persons baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit are invited to the Altar to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If you wish to receive a blessing, come to the Altar and cross your arms over your chest.
Childcare is provided for infants and toddlers during both the 9 am and 11:15 am Masses.
9:00 am — Infant nursery is located on the first floor in the room beyond the Parish Office. The Toddler nursery is located downstairs in Moseley Hall.
11:15 am—Infant and Toddlers are cared for on the first floor in the room beyond the office.
If you have questions or special needs we want to hear them. Contact Sarah Connor 617-480-3017 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
9:00 Coffee Hour. The hosts of the Coffee Hour this morning are Paul & Mary Roberts and Andra Mattaliano. The hosts next week hosts will be Tony Pulsone & Darcy Montaldi and Cassie & Jack Gurnon. New coffee hour hosts are always needed; please contact Barbara Boles by phone, 617-501-7572, or email email@example.com if you’re interested or have questions about what is entailed.
11:15 Coffee Hour. David Fisher hosts the coffee hour this morning. We have no hosts for next week’s coffee hour. We are in need of more volunteers to do the coffee hour. To view the schedule of available dates and select a date to co-host, please go to http://theadventboston.org/1115-coffee-hour-signup/. If you have any questions, please contact Marcos or Daniel German-Domingues (firstname.lastname@example.org or DGDomingues@outlook.com, or Frederick Ou (email@example.com).
Proclaiming the Moveable Feasts. Moveable feasts are those which are tied to the date of Easter, and since that date changes from year to year, these feast days are said to “move” through the calendar.
This morning, following the sermon at the 9 am and 11:15 Masses, we will hear the chanted proclamation or “Setting” of the Moveable Fasts & Feasts for this year. This seemingly quirky practice comes to us from very early in Christian history, when the Church Calendar was not the fixed and predictable scheme it is now. Customs varied from place to place on the dates of feasts and the length, or even the existence, of a Lenten, pre-Paschal fast. In the third century, the Patriarchs of Alexandria began sending their clergy “festal letters” stating the dates of the great feasts and fasts for the upcoming year; these dates were to be announced to the faithful on either the Feast of the Epiphany or on a convenient Sunday before the start of the fast. The practice—and with it, eventually, regulation of the liturgical calendar—spread throughout Christendom, acquired ceremonial and a chant, and, like many things in the liturgy, has long outlasted its original necessity. It is retained here at the Advent as an interesting historical remnant and a bit of fun before Lent.
Burying the Alleluias: Today being the Last Sunday after the Epiphany, the Easter Dismissal “Depart in peace. Alleluia! Alleluia!” is used to conclude the Mass. We will not hear the word “Alleluia” again until the Resurrection is proclaimed on Holy Saturday. As a dramatization of this liturgical practice, members of the Church School will bury the Alleluias following the 9 am Mass this morning. Placards decorated with the joyful word will be taken in procession with wailing and moaning and clanging from the Library to the All Souls’ Chapel where they will remain “buried” until Easter. This is a very old custom. Here is a description from the fifteen century:
All the choir boys gather in the Sacristy during the prayer of the Ninth Hour. At the end of the Service, they march in procession with crosses, tapers, holy water, and censers. They carry a coffin, as in a funeral. Thus they proceed through the aisle, moaning, and mourning, until they reach the Cloister. There they bury the coffin; they sprinkle it with holy water and incense it; whereupon they return to the Sacristy by the same way.
Because of the burying of the Alleluias, there is no Entr’acte this morning. It resumes next Sunday when Father Warren will discuss Ritualism as an important aspect of the Anglo-Catholic movement. Adam Rutledge will conclude his presentation of T. S. Eliot on Sunday, February 21.
Blessing of Throats: The feast of St Blaise was February 3, and from the eighth century he has been invoked on behalf of the sick, especially those afflicted with illnesses of the throat. This morning, in place of the usual healing services, Fr Wood will offer traditional throat blessings in the Lady Chapel after the Masses. St Blaise (also spelled Blase and Blasius) was a 3rd century physician who became Bishop of Sebaste, Armenia, during a time of great persecution under the Emperor Licinius. St Blaise hid out in a cave on Mt Argeus, and his cult spread throughout the entire Church in the Middle Ages because he was reputed to have miraculously cured a little boy who nearly died when a fishbone stuck in his throat.
Today is the Sunday known as Quinquagesima which, with its companion Sundays, Septuagesima and Sexagesima, make up the season formerly known as pre-Lent. In the current Prayer Book these Sundays were dropped and became just additional Sundays after the Epiphany. The logic for this was simple: since Lent is itself a season of preparation, to observe an additional time of preparation before Lent was unnecessary. Why prepare to prepare?
This may look good on paper, but it’s not quite true psychologically or spiritually, because, in fact, we often need to prepare to prepare. In this instance that is especially the case. You and I need to begin now thinking about what we will do during Lent. How will we use the season to our soul’s benefit? How will we exercise ourselves so that we grow spiritually during Lent. Let Sexagesima—and Quinquagesima—be a warning that that holy and intentional season is coming up, and it’s time to give it some thought. Prepare to prepare!
A note on names. Septuagesima: in context the word means seventy days before Easter. There is a problem here, however, for it’s not seventy days before Easter. It’s sixty-four. And yet, exactitude in this would have us saying sexagesima quarta and quinquagsima septimus, rather than septuagesima and sexagesima. And so in her wisdom and in order to avoid the long and cumbersome tags, the Church decided to number by tens rather than sevens. Who cares if it’s accurate? It’s easier to say.
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 10 this year.
Mission & Outreach Team Meeting—after the 9:00 am Mass: The Mission & Outreach Team will meet this morning after the 9 o’clock mass in the Frisby Room. Anyone is welcome to attend, so join us if you have ideas for mission, a heart for mission, or would like to get personally involved in the mission of the Advent to Boston and the world!
Scout Sunday at the Advent—Today is “Scout Sunday” at parishes across the country, and we’re happy to have some of our very own scouts assisting at the 9:00 Mass. Some of our Girl Scouts have actually been meeting right here at the Advent since the troop was formed in 2012 for girls from Beacon Hill and Back Bay—in fact, more than 70 girls meet here for Daisies (K-1st grade), Brownies (2nd-3rd grades), Juniors and Cadettes. Their focus is on fun activities with moral and civic teaching. Meanwhile our boys are working toward their “Duty Toward God and You” badge. While Scouts is non-denominational, all scouts are encouraged to learn more about their own faith and deepen their spiritual growth, and to seek to understand other faiths as well.
This afternoon at 4:00 pm—The Presentation of Our Lord (Candlemas)—Choral Evensong at All Saints Church, Ashmont. Parishioners of the Advent are most cordially invited to attend.
Lundi Gras Talent Show—Tomorrow! Monday, February 8, 6 pm. Mardi Gras is the traditional day of overindulgence and merriment before the fast of Lent. But, because of the Advent’s Community Supper, we must move the occasion one day back. So, Mardi (Tuesday) becomes Lundi (Monday). This year the Advent will celebrate Lundi Gras with a judge-free and non-judgmental Talent Show. We’d love to have wide participation from all three services: families, young ones, old ones, and individuals. Share your harmonica, guitar solo, whistling, recitation, tap dance, or favorite impersonations with us. This is a wonderful chance to enjoy the hidden talents of our Advent parish.
Dinner is potluck: Break out your favorite deviled eggs recipe, best hot dish, or store-bought loaf of sourdough! Please bring something to share: food or drink, or both.
Boston Theology on Tap returns on Tuesday, February 9, with a visit from Megan DeFranza—theologian, liberal-arts educator, speaker, peace-maker, and author of the newly-published Sex Difference in Christian Theology: Male, Female, and Intersex in the Image of God.
What does it mean to be “Intersex”? Intersex is a broad term used of persons whose bodies display some physical characteristics of both sexes—historically labeled “hermaphrodites,” and more recently as persons with Disorders [or Differences] of Sex Development (DSDs). Physicians estimate one in every 2,500-4,500 children is born intersex.
What about the Church? Some Christians welcome intersex within the rainbow of those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, but some more conservative Christians have yet to attend to the challenges intersex persons bring to their theologies and communities. Megan argues that, in order to justify heterosexual ethics, too many conservatives have turned a blind eye to the presence of intersex persons or argued that their bodies can and should be fixed through medical intervention. These same theologians regularly overemphasize sex differences, ignoring contemporary scientific research in order to justify “traditional” theology. But science is not so neat, and ancient Christians were not unfamiliar with differences of sex development. We can learn from their willingness to include all of God’s children in the community of faith. Megan argues we can do better—better by our intersex siblings, and better in our theological accounts of what it means to be human—male, female, and intersex in the image of God.
Megan DeFranza holds a PhD in religious studies from Marquette University, an MA in Theology and an MA in Biblical Languages from Gordon-Conwell Seminary, and a BA in Philosophy and Religion from Toccoa Falls College. She currently serves as a Visiting Researcher at Boston University’s School of Theology and a Research Associate with the Institute for the BioCultural Study of Religion’s Sex Differences Project. She has taught at Gordon College, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and at various seminaries, churches, conferences, and retreats. Megan lives with her beloved husband and daughters in Beverly, MA. Come out to the Rattlesnake Bar and bring a friend (or 4) to welcome Megan to Boston on February 9 at 7 pm!
Wednesday, February 10—Ash Wednesday: Said Masses at 7:30 am, 12:15 pm and Solemn Mass at 6:30 pm. Imposition of Ashes at all Masses. The Solemn Mass in the evening will include Allegri’s Miserere in addition to music of Guerrero, Tallis and Morales. Make a commitment to begin your Lenten discipline at a mass on Ash Wednesday.
Lent begins this Wednesday! Traditionally, Lent—the 40-day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter—was a period of preparation for those about to be baptized, and over time it became a period of penitence, self-examination and special devotion by all Christians as they prepared to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. Lent was more than just an individual discipline, however. It was something in which the whole community would engage together. This year we at the Advent will again recapture the corporate nature of Lenten practice, and we call on every member of the Parish to consider joining others in the following common discipline. Each week, those who wish will fast together from a particular pleasure, whether it’s sweets, coffee, entertainment, technology, etc., and we will all read the same scriptural passages and meditate upon the same theme each day.
A common devotional Guide, The Shape of Lent at the Church of the Advent, is available at the rear of the nave and online, and it lists the suggested fast for each week along with daily scripture readings organized around the Seven Last Words of Jesus from the Cross. The Guide contains a statement expressing your intention to take upon yourself this corporate discipline with others in the Parish. It can be included with the collection at the Masses today during which your intention will be offered and blessed at the Offertory of the Liturgy.
Engaging in communal fasts and corporate devotional practices will deepen our sense of community, as well as provide support and accountability for each of us in this rich liturgical season. If you have questions, please get in touch with one of the clergy who will be happy to discuss it with you.
Please note that this corporate discipline does not replace the public devotions which will be prayed here during Lent. Stations of the Cross and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament are prayed on Thursdays at 6:00 pm, beginning Thursday, February 18.
No Bible Study on Ash Wednesday—Because February 10 is Ash Wednesday, the weekly Bible Study will be cancelled for that day. The study will resume in the Library at the regular 10:00 am hour on Wednesday, February 17.
Pray the Rosary—Thursdays & Fridays at 11:30 am in the Lady Chapel: The word “rosary” is from the Latin rosarium, meaning “crown of roses,” the rose being one of the flowers used to symbolize the Blessed Virgin Mary. The term conjures images of the old woman fingering her beads, the oversized Rosary hanging from the waist of the wimpled nun, even the decoration cheekily hanging from a rearview mirror. While the Rosary is a particularly Roman Catholic devotional practice, it also has a long history of use in Anglo-Catholic parishes by people interested in enriching their individual prayer lives. Curious? Join a small group of Advent parishioners who pray the Rosary every Thursday and Friday at 11:30 am in the Lady Chapel before the mid-day Mass. All are welcome—no experience necessary!
Confirmation Classes: The Advent offers confirmation classes every year for those who wish to be confirmed or received into the Anglican Communion. The next Confirmation services are in May, so we are beginning classes in Lent. Adults and teens who are interested should email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to sign up. All are welcome to attend, even as a refresher course on Christian basics!
MISSION & OUTREACH CORNER
Volunteers Needed—Missions Opportunity in Dorchester—Fr Edwin Johnson (friend of the parish and a guest preacher for us last year) contacted Peter Madsen for help with a project at St Mary’s church in Dorchester. They need to rework the former fellowship hall, located below the main church, to make it suitable for a new tenant, and the first step is to insulate the windows. Peter has ordered 29 interior storm windows to be delivered in February, and the Advent donated a portion of the purchase price. The vendor’s website suggests that anyone who is handy can install them, so now we’re looking for some volunteers. If you’re interested in joining a team one Saturday this winter, please contact Fr Wood.
ODDS & ENDS
Discount Vouchers for the Boston Common Garage are available for $9.00 each from Nola Sheffer. You can find her 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: email@example.com.
THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT
February 8 – 14, 2016
Monday, February 8
5:15 pm Brownies
6:00 pm Lundi Gras
Tuesday, February 9
5:30 pm Community Supper
7:00 pm Theology on Tap
Wednesday, February 10
(imposition of ashes at all Masses)
7:30 am Low Mass
12:15 pm Low Mass
6:30 pm Solemn Mass
Thursday, February 11
10:00 am Play Group
7:00 pm Advent Choir Rehearsal
Friday, February 12
10:00 am Play Group
Saturday, February 13
10:00 am Advent Choir Rehearsal
8:00 pm AA Meeting
Sunday, February 14
The First Sunday in Lent
7:30 am Morning Prayer
8:00 am Low Mass
9:00 am Litany in Procession & Sung Mass
10:15 am Church School / Entr’acte
11:15 am Litany in Procession & Solemn Mass