News and Events

$30,000 Challenge to Friends of the Advocate for Debt Relief

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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 bunch of money (over $1.5 million), but not enough. So we took out two loans:

  • 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 are both budgeted in the Advocate’s Annual Budget. About $90,000 remains to be paid on this loan.
  • 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. $100,000 remains.

We have now been offered a generous $30,000 match for any gifts given by friends of the Advocate in 2017.  

Any gift given by a friend of the Advocate – or by a friend or family member of a member of the Advocate — towards the Advocate’s debt retirement in 2016 will be matched up to $30,000 this year.

If we can meet this challenge, we will reduce the $100,000 remaining on this debt by $60,000.

That’s huge for us.

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!

Music That Makes Community Workshop Ahead

Music That Makes Community is excited to make our first visit to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, sharing paperless music and leadership practices! Join presenters Marilyn Haskel and Paul Vasile for a one-day paperless music workshop at The Episcopal Church of the Advocate on Saturday, November 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Explore the basics of paperless music, learn new songs to enrich your community’s worship life, and reflect on strategies for cultivating participatory singing and liturgy.

We’ll gather in the historic, carpenter gothic Episcopal church building that was moved, lovingly restored, and repurposed by the congregation in 2012. The acoustics inside the nave have been described as being “like in the inside of a guitar,” perfect for unplugged instruments and a cappella singing.

Register HERE!

Registration Fee: $25
Refreshments, a light lunch, and workshop materials are included.

MMC will also host a free Community SING at the church on Friday, November 10 at 7 p.m. Singers of all ages and abilities are invited to learn paperless songs from diverse spiritual traditions, languages and cultures, led by a dynamic team of Music That Makes Community presenters.

Discounts are available for students, seminarians and seniors. Contact Paul Vasile in the MMC office to learn more.

WHEN
November 11, 2017 at 9:30am – 4pm
WHERE
The Episcopal Church of the Advocate
8410 Merin Rd
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
United States

Owning Up. Lent One Sermon by Nathan Kirkpatrick

OWNING UP
A sermon preached at the Episcopal Church of the Advocate | Lent One 2017

 One of the strangest realities about our life together as church
is the way we come together and say the hardest things to each other.
And then, somehow, when we have, we walk away a bit lighter.

It happened on Wednesday.
At noon and at 7, groups of us gathered in this place.
With ashes on our foreheads,
We looked at each other and said,
“remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”
Lisa put it as bluntly as possible in her sermon, we. Will. die.
And yet, on Wednesday evening, after the service,
I, for one, walked out into the rain and felt vibrantly alive.

It’s one of the strangest realities about church —
We come together and say the hardest things to each other,
And yet, there is in the saying of it some measure of liberation.

It happens here on Sunday mornings, too.
We gather together.
And we, perfectly lovely, perfectly nice people,
Come together and reveal the reality about our lives.
We come together and we pierce all our illusions and facades that we spend so much of the rest of our time constructing or protecting,
to acknowledge who we have become
and how we are and how we live in the world;
what we really hope for and what we really fear;
and whether it’s a simple or sprawling prayer of confession,
we acknowledge the evil we have done
and the evil done on our behalf.
We gather and sit with sin, our own and our own.
We say the hardest things about how our lives have gone.
And then we hear a word of liberation –
That the Lord has put away our sin,
that our transgressions have been forgiven,
that mercy embraces those who trust in God.
It’s one of the strangest realities of our life together as church –
We come together and say the hardest things to each other,
And find, when we do so, there is some measure of freedom.

This telling the truth is the hardest part of Lent.
As a child, I thought that the hardest part of Lent
was the giving up — the no chocolate, no candy, no cookies,
the no peanuts, pretzels or cracker jacks.
The no television, no video games, the no internet
(not that we had the internet when I was a kid,
Al Gore had not invented it yet; but you get the idea).
I thought the hardest part was the giving up.
But, what I’ve come to realize is
that the hardest part of Lent is
not the giving up but the owning up. 

It’s not that the giving up is easy,
but the owning up is so much harder —
it’s hard to tell the truth about ourselves,
not just because telling the truth, in and of itself, is hard,
but because we confront this tension
between who we were created to be and who we so often are.
We confront the truth that it’s easy to forget who we are created to be.

It’s why we begin our readings this morning in a garden,
Soon after the birth of all things.
You remember that, in the beginning of Genesis,
We hear of a God who creates everything that is
Not because God had to
but because God – in God’s own life –
Was overflowing with love.
And God births the universe out of love,
To share love, for the sake of love.
And the clearest way we know that?
Genesis tells us that we are created in the image of God,
as reflections of God in the world, to love –
To care for one another, to care for creation,
To walk humbly and justly before God.
That’s why we’re here.
It’s why we were made in the beginning.
It’s why creation carries on;
Love is why creation carries on.

But, we are told just a few verses in that this love gets sullied.
We heard the story this morning.
Now, I don’t want us to get hung up on the talking snake;
Whether or not there was a loquacious reptile is beside the point,
the story points to something profoundly true about the spiritual life:
the temptation for Eve and for Adam is to forget who they are.
The serpent – the craftiest of creatures –
whispers in the young woman’s ear –
“God knows that if you eat of this tree
your eyes will be opened and you will be like God.”
The problem with this reasoning is
That just a few short verses earlier
We are told that Eve and Adam
already were like God
In every way that mattered.
They were made from God’s love for God’s love to be love.
Their temptation is to forget.

The temptation is always to forget.
In the Gospel reading, we find Jesus, moments after his baptism,
Perhaps still a little damp from the full immersion in the river,
still reflecting on the dove and the voice from heaven,
Jesus is driven into the wilderness by the Spirit of God.
(My favorite cartoon of this scene shows Jesus strapped into the passenger seat of a Jeep with a ghost-like driver saying to him, “just two more hours.”)
Not what it means driven.
Jesus is moved, propelled into the wilderness by the Spirit of God.
There, after forty days of fasting and prayer,
Jesus meets the tempter,
The nagging voice, the shadow side, the adversary, Satan,
However you want to narrate it.
But there, in the wilderness, as the voice had whispered in the garden,
The tempter whispers to Jesus – “forget, forget, forget.”
The voice that whispers you are not enough and who do you think you are – what Brene Brown calls the twin tapes of shame. Forget. Forget. Forget.
“If you are the Son of God … turn these stones into bread.”
Forget that the Son of God came not to be served but to serve.
“If you are the Son of God … throw yourself down and let angels catch you.”
Forget that the Son of God came not for signs and wonders, for show and splash.
“If you are the Son of God … worship me and I will give you all the kingdoms of the earth.”
Forget that the Son of God came to announce a new kingdom that exists by God’s priorities and passions and not to lead the old ones.
Forget, forget, forget…

But we notice here the difference between Adam and Eve and Jesus;
It’s the difference Paul is calling our attention to in Romans –
If the temptation is always to forget; then the grace that is found in Jesus
is that he remembered.
He didn’t forget that love is the way, the calling, the reality of our lives.
And so, when the tempter, the nagging voice, the shadow side, the adversary, Satan – however you narrate it – comes and says “forget,”
Jesus says, “remember.”

And so, the hardest part of Lent is to remember, to own up
To who we are,
to who we are made to be,
and why we are here.
To remember that we are made from love,
for love,
to be God’s love in the world.
The hardest part of Lent is to remember that sin isn’t the truth
of who we are, but is what happens when we forget who we are.

And let’s not overlook the fact that some of us
Grew up in homes and with families that help us forget;
The language was of love but the acts were of harm.
Forget…
Some of us – many of us – still live and move in systems and structures
That enable us and encourage us to forget.
We live in systems and structures that
Reward the degrading of creation instead of the care for it,
And when we do, we pillage and pollute our own homes.
Forget…

We live in systems and structures that tell
persons of color and the poor and the prisoner
that they are less than,
and when we believe it or act from it, we are all diminished.
Forget…

We live in systems and structures that
Encourage us to seek our own welfare before the welfare of the city, the common good,
That make apathy an easier choice than love.
Apathy is the great challenge of our day, not hate.
And when we believe it, we lose.
Forget…

It’s a curious thing about our life together —
How we come together and say the hardest things to each another.
We do it so we don’t forget. It’s so we remember.

Lenten Quiet Day April 1

The Church of the Advocate contemplative prayer group invites you to share in a Lenten Quiet Day out at Megan and Jonathan Leiss’ farm, Spring Forth Farm, in Hurdle Mills on Saturday April 1st from 9:30-4pm.

The day will largely be self-guided quiet time with opportunities to engage in light meditative garden work and fellowship.  A noon meal is provided and will be a plain Lenten meal of soup and bread. 

Registration required as we can only host 20 folks.  Please register by Sunday March 26th.  

Suggested donation of $5 to cover supplies and tea and coffee, etc. 

Please come and join us in the quiet and beauty of Spring Forth Farm during this Lenten season.  

For more information or to register email Megan Leiss at leiss.megan@gmail.com or Paul Marvin at pmarvin@nc.rr.com.  

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HONOR Your Life Through Journal Writing

imagesSundays at 1PM March 12, 19, and 26.

HONOR your life through journal writing. Journal writing is not so much about writing as it is about self-understanding and self-discovery. If you’ve never kept a personal journal, join us and learn ways to dip into the wellspring of your inner thoughts. Discover your voice, even when you think you have nothing to say. Experience how journal writing can bring clarity to your thinking. If you’ve already discovered the life-enriching gifts of journal writing, join us and share your experience, knowledge, and wisdom. We will meet around 1:00, following the noon meal, on March 12, 19, and 26. Journals will be provided. Contact:  Hilda Bukowski at hldscll2@gmail.com or 919-904-7007.

Stations of the Cross Around the Advocate Pond

IMG_9692This Lent, The Episcopal Church of the Advocate invites our neighbors and friends, known and unknown, to participate in the ancient practice of prayer and reflection called the Stations of the Cross, around the Advocate Pond. Traditionally, the fourteen stations mark different events on the path that Jesus walked through the city of Jerusalem on the day of his death, from the house of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, where he was condemned to die, to the hill at Golgatha, where he was crucified. At each station, participants pause for a reading from scripture, a prayer, and a time of meditation.

From early times, each of the fourteen stations has been marked by a Roman numeral. At The Advocate, we have localized the stations by using discarded railroad spikes from the nearby tracks for the numerals, and affixing them to reclaimed local barn boards.

A booklet of the fourteen stations, with prayer and scripture readings, is available in a box by the outdoor altar. The first station is just to the east of the altar (towards the railroad tracks), and the stations proceed counterclockwise around the pond, ending with the fourteenth station just to the west of the altar.

The Stations may be walked and prayed at any time by any one. On Fridays in Lent, at 5:30 PM, someone from the Advocate will lead the way for any who wish to gather and participate in  the Stations together.

All are welcome.

Ash Wednesday Services March 1 at Noon and 7 PM

UnknownT.S. Eliot once wrote, “What we call the beginning is often the end and to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”

On Ash Wednesday, March 1, in services at noon and 7 p.m., we will gather in the Advocate Chapel,  to remember our mortality — that we are dust, and to dust we shall return. We will also mark the beginning of our Lenten journey, the forty day season of our preparation for the holiest days of the Christian year – Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. In so doing, we will anticipate – however paradoxically – the end of our Lenten journey even as it begins.

From that ending, we make our beginning, together as people of faith.

Come be a part of the journey.

The Day the Revolution Began. (Re)Discovering the Meaning of the Crucifixion

51DjeQtdfLL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_A Lenten Study
March 8, 15, 22, 29, and April 5, 7:00-8:30 PM

This is a Lenten study based on N.T. Wright’s new book The Day the Revolution Began: Rediscovering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion.  In these five sessions we will explore the Biblical accounts of the Jesus’ death (as well as the historical and cultural backgrounds of these stories) so as to see what Jesus’ death might mean for us today.

More about N.T. Wright here.

More about The Day the Revolution Began here.

 

Wake Up and Smell the Awesomeness: A Discussion of Anthony De Mello’s book Awareness

flame azaleaFeb 22, 7:00-8:30 PM

After a brief introduction to the life and thought of the Indian Jesuit Anthony De Mello, Jay Reeves will lead a discussion of De Mello’s classic book Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality.  Participants are encouraged to read the book ahead of time, but everyone is welcome whether you’ve read the book or not.

More about Anthony De Mello here.

The book, Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality

The Piedmont Patch Project

img_7929The Piedmont Patch Project: Restoring Native Flora and Fauna, One Patch of Piedmont at a Time

The people of the Episcopal Church of the Advocate have a dream. Since moving onto our scruffy 15-acre site in 2014, we have been working to transform it into a place of hospitality, worship, and contemplation, and a regional resource for collaborative social ministry and the arts. In 2015, The Advocate began collaborating with individuals and organizations outside the church to host three “tiny homes” on our site, for individuals who would otherwise be homeless (PeeWeeHomes.org ). Now we are beginning a second collaboration, the Piedmont Patch Project, to restore native flora and fauna displaced by the rapid urbanization surrounding the property, and to cultivate keepers of Creation.

The Piedmont Patch project will transform five acres of our site into a food-producing and natural habitat, create a network of involved neighbors and provide numerous opportunities to educate and engage people of all ages and backgrounds. We believe that in deepening connections with creation and with our community, mindfully tending and keeping the land and teaching others to do the same, we will honor God.

20170628_195951We imagine the Advocate Pond and grounds enriched with diverse well-adapted native plants that will attract and nurture an array of wildlife, including butterflies, bees, birds, frogs, turtles, and small mammals. Surrounded by rapid urbanization, the Church of the Advocate’s acreage can serve as a sanctuary for homeless wildlife increasingly displaced by bulldozers, asphalt, and concrete. Over time, such native plantings require less maintenance than traditional ornamental plantings, most of which do not meet the needs of native wildlife.

The project has an educative component, engaging school children and graduate students and inviting all who are responsible for patches of Piedmont land to learn how to create vibrant native sanctuaries that serve rather than harm God’s creation. Ideally, we can lead other congregations and other neighborhoods to adopt this concept of native sanctuaries, building refuges of hope for native wildlife and havens of peace and beauty for humans one patch of piedmont (and beyond!) at a time. The Project will also include education on invasive exotic species and their removal — why it is important, how it contributes to sustainability.

IMG_8563The Piedmont Patch Project is grounded in a belief that the environment and our natural resources will be better sustained, and even thrive, as organizations and individuals work to cultivate one patch at a time. The Project is envisioned as a collaborative effort of the church, the town, the NC Botanical Gardens, and individuals with knowledge and skills to share, such as Cathy Bollinger of The Piedmont Gardener.

We hope the Piedmont Patch Project (like the Pee Wee Homes Collaborative) will serve as prototypes that can be scaled and replicated in a variety of church, public, and private settings.

Here’s and article about native and non-native wildflowers and bees.