ADVENTure

Occasionally I will post writings by youth, youth ministers and others across the Episcopal Church who have an important message to share. The posting below was written by Jeremiah Shipman, a 9th grader who participated in a recent Episcopal Docese of Kansas event, ADVENTure. Over the weekend, 40 youth and 12 adults gathered at Grace Cathedral  in Topeka to learn more about the season of Advent.

Here is Jeremiah’s reflection on the event:

ADVENTure

ADVENTure was a great event.

Jocilyn and Cheyenne, two eighth graders and I, a ninth grader, came up with the idea the night after Fall Fun Festival, our fall youth event. We were talking about how much we were going to miss everyone, and decided that we needed to add a youth event for everyone between Miqra, our diocesan’s January event, and FFF. Our original plan was a more Christmas oriented event, but Steve Lipscomb, Dean of the cathedral, suggested that we change it to Advent.

ADVENTure

I am really happy that we did, because Advent is a season that I didn’t know all that much about.

Throughout ADVENTure I learned many things. One was that originally, Advent was a penitential season, a lot like Lent.

Another was that Saint Nicholas punched an Egyptian Bishop for saying that Jesus Christ was not God.

I really enjoyed all of ADVENTure. 

I do not believe that I could choose just one activity to call my favorite. The speakers were great, and the family time was awesome. Playing ultimate frisbee wearing a suit jacket was incredibly fun, as was making “gingerbread” houses. The dance party was great, with people having more fun than if it was a plain dance. Compline was awesome, like usual. The best part was probably seeing everybody, they are all such amazing people.

Observing Advent via Social Media

AdventObserving Advent in spiritual, faithful avenues via social media are being conducted by the Episcopal Church Office of Communication.

Advent is the liturgical season that occurs four weeks prior to Christmas, beginning on Sunday, December 2.  Advent is a time of reflection and preparation.

  • The Episcopal Church Facebook page and Twitter feed will feature special Advent and Christmas elements such as conversation-starting inquiries, a word of the day, and videos.
  • On December 2, an Advent Calendar goes live on the Episcopal Church “IAmEpiscopalian” Pinterest board.   The Office of Communication has partnered with the Brothers of the religious order The Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE) to create the Advent Calendar. Each day of Advent a new image will appear on Pinterest linked to a meditation from the Brothers’ brief daily devotional “Brother, Give Us A Word.”
  • To engage children in a more active role during worship this Advent, the Episcopal Church is offering a four-week series of lectionary-based children’s sermons at no fee, providing clergy and lay leaders with step-by-step instructions on how to help the children lead the adults in worship. The sermons are also available in Spanish on the Sermones que Iluminan website.
  • Episcopal Church Young Adult Ministries is offering an Advent Meditation Blog.
  • Youth ministries Office is offering the d365 daily devotional, for Advent through the Feast of the Epiphany in January.  Named “Following the Star”, the devotions are presented through an ecumenical partnership with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Presbyterian Church USA.

Following the Star: d365 for Advent

Beginning December 2, d365 becomes “Following the Star.”

Following the Star is a free daily devotional that carries you through the seasons of Advent and Christmas. Watch for features by Episcopal writers throughout the Advent Season.

Share this gift with others:

More Resources for Advent and the Liturgical Year

My colleague Ruth-Ann posted a listing of the Advent resources from Candle Press on her blog earlier today. The Advent Table Cards might be especially useful to anyone working with families with youth.

I also received these beautiful liturgical calendars from Jenifer Gamber. Although they aren’t specific to Advent, they are a great way to visually represent the liturgical seasons.

The calendars are available as a pdf download in both English and Spanish:

Calendario del Ano Eclesiastico

Liturgical Calendar

Advent Resources

With snow on the ground in Minnesota today it is feeling like we are inching closer to Advent and Christmas. Getting into the spirit, here are some Advent resources to help with pageants, programs and sermon preparation:

From Church Publishing:

Skiturgies: Pageants, Plays, Rite and Rituals offers many Advent & Christmas pageants, including new additions. Whether you are looking for a traditional tableau or a story involving aliens around the manger, you’ll find it on Skiturgies!

A Thrill of Hope: The Christmas Story in Word and Art features the masterful illustrations of John August Swanson and commentary by biblical scholars from Candler University. Perfect for youth and adults, the study contains six 7-8 minute sessions, each focusing on a portion of the biblical narrative. View a portion of the DVD on YouTube.

Slow down. Quiet. It’s Advent! A 2012 Advent calendar poster with 23 days of illustrations by Jay Sidebotham with ways to keep faith with the season. A great resource for sharing with families to help them prepare for Christmas besides the typical # of shopping days left.

Journey Through Advent is a 15-page Advent version to the Lenten Stations of the Cross, this devotional offers 12 reflections on the Advent journey from to the birth of Christ. Meditations feature devotions featuring Abraham, the Prophets, the Annunciation, Joseph & Gabriel, Elizabeth, John the Baptist, the journey to Bethlehem, a full inn, angels, shepherds, wise men, and the gift we receive today.

Growing Together (Volume 1: Sacred Celebrations for Fall & Winter and Volume 3: Secular Celebrations for Fall and Winter) offer a myriad of intergenerational activities for church, school, or home for seasons and holidays such as Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, Los Posadas, New Years, Epiphany and more.

From Leader Resources:

The Innkeeper’s Feast is a wonderful multi-generational program to supplement or replace traditional children’s pageants. Includes complete plans and recipes for hosting a madrigal feast that puts participants into the Nativity story as guests at the Inn where Joseph & Mary seek shelter. Come experience and celebrate the excitement and drama surrounding the birth of the Christ child!

Prepare Ye the Way is a bundle of creative Advent resources to make planning Advent events simple and less time-consuming, including:

  • A Children’s *No-Rehearsal* Christmas Pageant
  • NEW Adult formation: “Less Hectic, More Holy”
  • Advent wreath workshop plans
  • Advent wreath take-home sheets
  • Wassail recipes
  • Blessing the Advent Wreath liturgy
  • Weekly readings for Wreath-Lighting
  • Children’s classes (Sun or mid-week)
  • Advent artwork
  • Advent sermon

My colleague, Ruth-Ann Collins, Officer for Adult Formation and Lifelong Learning, has also posted children’s Advent resources on her blog, www.EpiscopalChildren.org. You might be interested in checking those out as well.

What are your best Advent ideas? Share them here.