Calendar for Advent and Christmas at the Advocate

advent-photoIn these weeks of anticipation, contemplation, and celebration, please join us in the Advocate Chapel. 

Sundays, December 3, 10, and 17: Our regular Sunday schedule, with Holy Eucharist at 9 and 11, and Godly Play and A Teachable Moment at 10(ish), all followed by lunch.

Wednesdays with Holy Eucharist at 5:30 PM and Contemplative Prayer, 6:15 – 7 PM.

In addition:

Sunday, December 3: The Teachable Moment will focus on the Advocate’s Piedmont Patch Project and what it means for us as a community.

Wednesday, December 6:  All are welcome to join in an Open Meeting to determine the Advocate Tithe for 2017. See more here. 7 PM.

Sunday, December 10: The Teachable Moment will focus on the gospels that didn’t make it into the Bible. AKA The Nag Hammadi Gospels. What do we make of them??
Wednesday, December 13: The Readers Roundtable will talk about A Land More Kind Than Home, by Wiley Cash.  See more here. 7 PM.
Sunday, December 17: The Teachable Moment will focus on The Gospel of Mary. What??


Sunday, December 17: Third Sunday Shape Note Sing with NC Shape Note. All are welcome to come and join in. This month will feature a lot of great early American Christmas songs. The folks from NC Shape Note are really good singers and happy to share and teach. 2 – 4 PM in the Chapel.
Tuesday, December 19: Community House Christmas Carol Party!
All are welcome to share a Christmas meal and caroling cheer with our neighbors at the Community House, starting at 6 PM. (note that this will be different from our parties of previous years, perhaps better suited to the Community House environment, with more emphasis on fellowship, eating and singing together. As you are able, bring some Christmas cookies to share.
Provide a Holiday Dinner via The Interfaith Council? If you would like to provide a holiday dinner for a family in our community, see details here and donate online here!.
Friday, December 22: A Getting Ready for Christmas Party. 
Bring your unfinished craft projects, your anticipatory cheer or gloom, your self.
We’ll watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life.
If someone wants to tend a fire, we’ll have a fire. If someone brings snacks (very likely), we’ll have snacks!
And we’ll have a fairy hair specialist there to add sparkle to the tresses of the first 12 people who contact Debbie Wuliger <> to sign up.
[Note: The requested donation for the fairy hair specialist is $25, to help cover the cost, though anyone can sign up. If you can make a donation, write your check to The Episcopal Church of the Advocate, with Fairy Hair in the memo line.]
In the Advocate House. 7 – 9:30 PM.
Sunday, December 24, Advent IV: one morning liturgy at 10 AM.
Sunday, December 24, Christmas Eve: 
Holy Eucharist with candles and carols. 4 PM and 9 PM.
Kids of all ages are encouraged to bring critters from home to visit the baby Jesus in the creche.
Monday, December 25.Christmas Day. Simple Eucharist with carols. 5 PM.
Sunday, December 31. The First Sunday After Christmas. One morning liturgy: Holy Eucharist with Lessons and Carols. 10 AM.
Friday, January 6.The Feast of the Epiphany! Burning of the Greens (weather conditions permitting), songs, prayers and kings cake!. Starts 6 PM at the fire pit.
All are welcome to all.

Debt Relief in Sight!

photo_2Debt Relief in Sight!

In 2013, The Advocate was at the peak of our campaign to worship on the land. We had raised the funds to buy the land and to move what would become The Advocate Chapel, and we still needed to restore the chapel and to get the site up to code for use by a church (parking lot, sewer, pond repair, etc. etc.). We had raised a lot of money (over $1.7 million), but not enough. So we took out two loans:

  • A $180,000 loan from an anonymous individual loaner. This loan was without interest for one year, then a 1.5% interest rate and interest-only payments for 4 years. After five years, the entire $180,000 is due. This is what could be called “a balloon loan”. It comes due early in 2018.

In 2016, the people of the Advocate received a challenge to raise $40,000 toward the retirement of this second debt. With significant stretch, Advocates stepped up. In November 2016 our $40,000 plus the challenge gift allowed us to pay of $80,000 of that $180,000 loan.

Then, in January 2017, the Advocate received a challenge to raise $30,000 from friends of the Advocate. Friends responded, and in September we paid another $60,000 of that loan.

$40,000 remains.

Now, the loaner herself has offered to match $20,000 of the remaining $40,000, if we can raise another $20,000 in the months ahead.

Any gift given towards the Advocate’s debt retirement for the next $20,000, will be matched up to $20,000. This will pay off the loan.

  • A $150,000 loan from the North Carolina Episcopal Church Foundation. This loan is being paid at 2% interest over 10 years. The 10% payment and the 2% interest have both been budgeted in the Advocate’s Annual Budget for the past 4.5 years. At the end of 2017, $82,000 will remain to be paid on this loan. At this rate, we could pay it off in 5.5 years, in June 2023. We would sure be glad to pay off this loan sooner and be able to use that $15,000 each year to augment our life and ministry instead.

Checks should be designated for “Debt Relief” and written to The Episcopal Church of the Advocate (or ECOTA) and sent to 8410 Merin Road, Chapel Hill, NC, 27516.

Thank you!


The Advocate Tithe Applications

Each year, the Episcopal Church of the Advocate is committed to giving a minimum of 10% of our pledged income and of the plate offering received each Sunday to organizations in the community that help those in need and those working for peace and justice in the world. In other words, for every $10 given to us, $1 will be given to others. This offering is called the Advocate Tithe.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2017 Advocate Tithe distribution.
Applications are due to the Advocate by December 1.
Distribution of the Advocate Tithe is determined at the recommendation of a seasonal committee of Advocates meeting the first week of December.

The Advocate Tithe for 2017 will be about $16,000.

The Advocate Tithe for 2016 was distributed as follows:
The IFC                                                                  $2000
Orange Justice United                                            $1500
The Episcopal Farmworker Ministry                      $1000
Coalition for Peace with Justice                             $500
Compass Center                                                     $1000
NC Interfaith Power and Light                               $500
Johnson Service Corps                                           $1000
The Autism Society of North Carolina                   $500
Club Nova                                                              $1000
The Pee Wee Homes (C/o The Advocate)              $2000
The Community of the Franciscan Way                 $1000
The Jackson Center                                               $500
Nancy Murray for Iyad Burnat                               $200
Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina      $1000
Chapel Hill Service League Christmas House          $250
The IFC Community House Christmas                    $260
Vicar’s discretionary fund                                     $1790    
                                                                                                    Total Advocate Tithe in 2016 = $16,000  

Procedures for Requesting Support
  • An Application for Support from the Advocate Tithe is posted  below for those who would like to request support from the Advocate — whether that support be in the form of volunteer labor or logistical help, advocacy work, financial assistance, or other support from the church.
  • Completed forms may be sent to the church at: The Advocate Church Office <>.
  • Proposals will be evaluated by how closely they match the Advocate’s Core Values (Compassion, Justice, and Transformation) as well as the priorities for giving and involvement identified  by the congregation.

Decisions about supporting proposals are made by consensus among those present at meetings of the Community Engagement Facilitators. All proposals for financial or other support will be reviewed and approved on the basis of their fulfillment of our core values.

In our decisions about how to engage with the community around us, we prefer to:

  • Support projects that give voice to people who are marginalized and have very little voice.
  • Provide not only financial support, but also the time and talent of members of the congregation.
  • Support projects in which members of the congregation are already involved.
  • Support projects and organizations that are accountable, sustainable, and willing to teach us about their outcomes.
  • Support projects and organizations that are willing to send representatives to visit and help educate the congregation about their issues of concern.
  • Support groups that promote change, as well as those that meet direct needs.
  • 10% of our Tithe grants are given in the spirit of the Millennium Development Goals, usually supporting a ministry overseas.

tithe proposal form

Pledge Request for 2018

October 20, 2017

Dear Friends and People of the Advocate,

Fall is upon us and once again it is time for the usual & necessary request to each and all for a financial pledge to the Advocate’s operating budget for the year ahead.

The basic operating budget for the upcoming year is $209,000. The Advocate operating budget includes ordinary things like maintaining the chapel and house, audit and accounting services, land and pond upkeep, and utilities. Then there are the costs of providing faith and fellowship: piano accompanists and music, Christian education materials, and liturgical supplies. A portion of our budget goes to compensating a one-day-a-week administrative assistant, our children’s education coordinator, childcare providers, and of course, Lisa, our vicar. The vestry is hopeful, with your generosity, to go beyond basic.

The Advocate is at a pivotal time in our being. 2018 will be the first year we are 100% financially independent of the diocese and support from local parishes. We are grateful for the generous support received from both in previous years. This support allowed the Advocate to plant, blossom, and grow. Now it is time for each of us to give faithfully of our fruits.

We recognize people give time, talent, and treasure in a myriad of ways. Volunteers provide countless hours making church “happen” from baking the bread to ironing linens, from organizing Sunday lunch meals to providing refreshments for Teachable Moment, from mowing the lawn to tending the garden, the People of the Advocate are generous with their time. The People of the Advocate are indeed a talented group, we have artists who design and craft, singers and musicians who host special events, teachers who offer their expertise, and even a yoga instructor. We are grateful for these gifts of talent.

Which brings us to the gift of treasure. It’s always an awkward but essential ask. The vestry is asking each household to set aside one hour in the next few weeks to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider your financial contribution to the Advocate.  Our aspirational goal is that all families will pledge their financial support to the Advocate’s 2018 operating budget. Unanticipated donations in the basket on Sunday are helpful, but pledges are the foundation of our budget—they provide the basis for our decisions about what we can afford for salaries, stipends, and other expenses. The Advocate operating budget, like our liturgy, is truly the work of the people.

Know that your pledge makes a difference.

We ask that you make your pledge for the 2018 operating budget by December 1.

You can download a pledge form here.

Forms with envelopes will also be available in the bell tower of the Chapel.
Please place your pledge in the collection plate during the Offertory on Sunday, or mail it to:
       The Episcopal Church of the Advocate
       8410 Merin Road
       Chapel Hill, NC   27516

Or…. you can send any new pledge information in an email to:
Just include your name and the amount you want to pledge to the Advocate for 2018.


The Advocate Vestry

Denisé Dews, senior warden (

Shannon Gigliotti, junior warden (

Coleen Cunningham (

Paul Marvin (

David McInnes (

Molly Sutphen (


All Saints Sunday, November 5 at 10 AM

imagesSunday, November 5: All Saints Sunday. 

Please plan to join us for our celebration of the Saints – past, present and yet to come – at the Advocate on Sunday, November 5 at 10 AM.

The Festival of All the Saints is one of the 7 major Festivals of the Church Year, and (along with Pentecost) is truly a celebration of the Church.  As such, it is our custom to worship together for a single liturgy on this day.

img_9307It is also our custom to visually surround ourselves with images of the great Cloud of Witnesses, the Communion of Saints on All Saints Sunday. As you are led, please bring photos of those you have loved or admired who have gone before. We will post or place these photos and icons all around our worship space.

Also, if you would like prayers offered in the context of the Eucharist for particular loved ones who have gone before, please send their names to before November 5.

Kids of all ages are invited to dress as a favorite saint or hero(ine).

The liturgy will be followed by an All Saints Festival Potluck. As you are able, please bring a dish to share.  In honor of All Saints, consider (but don’t feel obligated) sharing a recipe used by a previous generation and passed on to you.

An Advocate Fall Quiet Day

An Advocate Fall Quiet Day

The Church of the Advocate contemplative prayer group invites you to share

in a Fall Quiet Day out at Megan and Jonathan Leiss’ farm, Spring Forth

Farm, in Hurdle Mills on Saturday October 28 from 10-3pm.

The day will largely be self-guided quiet time with opportunities to engage in

light meditative garden work and fellowship.

Feel free to come and go as

you wish but please plan to share the meal with everyone .

A potluck lunch will be shared at noon.

In lieu of a donation to cover supplies, please bring a vegetarian/vegan dish

to the potluck lunch.

Registration required as we can only host 15 folks.

Please register by Wednesday October 25th.

For more information or to register email Megan at

Please come and join us in the quiet and beauty of Spring Forth Farm during

this Fall season.

Spring Forth Farm



Notes for the Season Ahead

The Advocate House
 renovations are complete! We have a new deck with access ramp, the new floors are installed, the walls have been painted, and the house is ADA compliant! Yay! 

9 AM    Classic Episcopal. A Holy Eucharist from the Book of Common Prayer and Hymns from Hymnal 82
10 AM  Godly Play
begins for the kids.
            Teachable Moment begins for adults.
11 AM Traditioned Innovation. A 75-minute Holy Eucharist with variations (child care provided). Followed by a lunch fellowship. Food provided. All are welcome. 

The Episcopal Thing (aka Episcopal 101)
Wednesday Nights in September and October
Join us Wednesdays, September 20 and 27, and October 4, 18 and 25.
7 – 8:30 PM
These 5 classes are designed to introduce the Anglican Tradition and the Episcopal Church. We will consider the evolution of the Church from the days of Jesus and the apostles to the days of women bishops and the Advocate. We will learn about traditional Anglican spirituality and a thing called the Via Media. And we will dive into the riches of the Book of Common Prayer.
This short course is open to all. Participation is expected of those considering confirmation or reception at the Bishop Suffragan’s visitation on October 29.
If you are interested, contact the Vicar at

September 30 – October 1    Campout on the Advocate land!

An opportunity for community building and enjoying the outdoors!

On the evening of Sept 30th the Advocate will host a camp out on the land. Bring games and music as you desire or just come and relax.  There will be a campfire, and fishing is an option as well. Indoor toilets nearby!  It will be a good time. All ages are encouraged to participate. Campers can attend church in the morning right after the camp out, no shower necessary! (although one will be available in the house).
Please RSVP to Shannon Gigliotti <> and let her know if you need a tent or have a tent to share.
Wednesday, October 11
Readers Roundtable discusses The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
For more information, see here.
Sunday, October 15

Shape Note Singing in the Chapel  with NC Shape Note 2 PM – 4 PM. (instructions in shape note singing available at 1:45. This is the first of what will be regular third Sunday shape note sings in the Advocate Chapel. We are very excited to host NC Shape Note and to learn how to sing in this engaging musical tradition!
All are welcome!

Saturday, October 21   Buzz Saw Saturday     9 AM – noon.
BYOBuzz Saw and/or arms ready to tote the wood, and help us clear the dead trees from the front yard and near the dam. The decorative plums were beautiful when we first moved onto the Homestead Site. But they are now ready to make way for more gardens. We hope to have a chipper on site, and we plan to cut firewood for many to share.

Sunday, October 22  
Pee Wee Homes Q and A    1 – 2:30 PM.
Come and learn about the plans for the building of the three Pee Wee Homes on the Advocate site this winter. Meet with members of the Pee Wee Homes Board and and share questions and answers together.
Saturday, October 28
An Advocate Fall Quiet Day at Spring Forth Farm in Hurdle Mills
See more here.

Sunday, October 29   Advocate Bowling!

All are welcome to come out for the Advocate Bowling Night at AMF Lanes (on Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd). Half price games and good company. 6 PM.
Please RSVP to Shannon Gigliotti at  

Friday, November 10   Music That Makes Community Paperless Music Sing
s. See more here.
Saturday, November 11   Music That Makes Community Paperless Music Workshop. See more here.
check for updates and additions)

Orange Justice United Assembly, September 10

Assembly to Set a New Agenda
Sunday, September 10, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Lattisville Grove Missionary Baptist Church
1701 Jimmy Ed Rd, Hurdle Mills

Join us Sunday, September 10 as we vote to set Justice United’s new agenda. Reports are coming in from our countywide listening sessions that have engaged hundreds and identified top community concerns.

On September the 10th we will hear the results and use what we have learned to set our collective priorities for research and action to make Orange County a better place to live, work and worship. A full packet with more information will be sent shortly after the conclusion of our listening session campaign on August 31.

Your voice matters! Each JU member institution is asked to bring at least 5 – 10 leaders to represent their organization. Guests are welcome, but no media please. Please download and distribute the following flyer in your community: Internal Assembly Flyer

For more information or to carpool, contact Day Smith Pritchartt <>

Orange County Justice United

Native Grass Plugging: A Piedmont Patch Project July 29

IMG_0430Grass-Plugging for the Kingdom of God
A Piedmont Patch Project
Saturday, July 29, 8 AM – 10 AM.

The Church of the Advocate has received a gift of almost 500 native grass “plugs” for the area around the dam. This significant gift is an important next step in our Piedmont Patch Project, “to restore native flora and fauna, one patch of the Piedmont at a time. Previous steps have been to expand our vegetable garden and to stock the Advocate Pond with hundreds of fingerling bass, catfish and brim. The grasses owe have received will not only bring back native flora to the site, they will also serve an important role in maintaining the structural integrity of the dam.

However, the plugs need to be planted soon. So we’re looking for volunteers to come to the Pond,  Saturday, July 29, 8:00 AM-10 AM (hoping to beat the heat!) to plug and learn!

Planting logistics which will involve electric drills with bulb-planting augers, and teams of folks doing drilling, planting (“plugging”), and watering.

IMG_0431Project botanical consultant, Cathy Bollinger, and her associates have already begun to prepare the site for us. Cathy will be with us on Saturday morning, and, as always, will teach as we go. 
All are welcome!

Please contact Day Smith Pritchartt to sign up for the morning.
Here are links to photos of the beautiful grasses we have been given. Our dam will be singing its own Alleluia by next summer!

Andropogon gerardii ( — “Big Bluestem”

Panicum virgatum ‘North Wind’ ( — “Upright Switchgrass”

Sporobolus heterolepsis ( — “Prairie Dropseed”

Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Blue Heaven’ ( — “Little Bluestem”

Readers Roundtable 2nd Wednesdays at 7

IMG_0382The Readers Roundtable gathers the second Wednesday of each month to talk about a book selected by those who participated in the Roundtable the previous month. Books are largely fiction, but are not limited to fiction.
Books so far have included Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Mary Doris Russell’s The Sparrow, and Mary Oliver’s Thirst.

Each month the book is announced at least three weeks in advance and the conversation is open to everyone and their friends.

Looking ahead, here are the books that will be discussed:

61JpYJkvOwL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_January 10: The Ninth Hour, by Alice McDermott.
Amazon blurb: A magnificent new novel from one of America’s finest writers?a powerfully affecting story spanning the twentieth century of a widow and her daughter and the nuns who serve their Irish-American community in Brooklyn…
The characters we meet, from Sally, the unborn baby at the beginning of the novel, who becomes the center of the story to the nuns whose personalities we come to know and love to the neighborhood families with whose lives they are entwined, are all rendered with extraordinary sympathy and McDermott’s trademark lucidity and intelligence. Alice McDermott’s The Ninth Hour is a crowning achievement by one of the premiere writers at work in America today.


411KA8IcUTL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_In February and March, we will engage in a five-part Lenten Series using Hanging By a Thread, by Sam Wells. See more here.


51gB6GNAS-L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_April  11: People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks
Amazon blurb: The bestselling novel that follows a rare manuscript through centuries of exile and war, from the author of The Secret Chord and of March, winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
Inspired by a true story, People of the Book is a novel of sweeping historical grandeur and intimate emotional intensity by an acclaimed and beloved author. Called “a tour de force”by the San Francisco Chronicle, this ambitious, electrifying work traces the harrowing journey of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a beautifully illuminated Hebrew manuscript created in fifteenth-century Spain. When it falls to Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, to conserve this priceless work, the series of tiny artifacts she discovers in its ancient binding-an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair-only begin to unlock its deep mysteries and unexpectedly plunges Hanna into the intrigues of fine art forgers and ultra-nationalist fanatics.

51x9J2WZRwL._AC_US218_May 9: Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler
Amazon blurb: Parable of the Sower is a dystopian classic of terror and hope-the story of an African American teenage girl trying to survive in an all-too-real future-from the “grand dame” of science fiction, Octavia E. Butler.
When unattended environmental and economic crises lead to social chaos, not even gated communities are safe. In a night of fire and death, Lauren Olamina, an empath and the daughter of a minister, loses her family and home and ventures out into the unprotected American landscape. But what begins as a flight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny…and the birth of a new faith, as Lauren becomes a prophet carrying the hope of a new world and a revolutionary idea christened “Earthseed”.
Chilling and thought-provoking for adult and young adult readers alike, “…there isn’t a page in this vivid and frightening story that fails to grip the reader” (San Jose Mercury News).

For further information, contact Paul Marvin.

Whether you’ve read the book or not, all are always welcome to join in the conversation!