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 (http://hoffmannursery.com/plants/details/andropogon-gerardii) — “Big Bluestem”

Panicum virgatum ‘North Wind’ (http://hoffmannursery.com/plants/details/panicum-virgatum-northwind) — “Upright Switchgrass”

Sporobolus heterolepsis (http://hoffmannursery.com/plants/details/sporobolus-heterolepis) — “Prairie Dropseed”


Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Blue Heaven’ (http://hoffmannursery.com/plants/details/schizachyrium-scoparium-minnbluea-blue-heaven-pp17310) — “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.

IMG_0381Each month the book is announced at least three weeks in advance and the conversation is open to everyone and their friends.

Next month, August 9, we will gather at The Advocate House to discuss Mary Oliver’s, Thirst.

 

A Contemplative Prayer Retreat July 28-July 30

Char Sullivan and Paul Marvin will host our annual contemplative prayer retreat at Avila Retreat Center in Durham, Friday July 28 through Sunday July 30.  The retreat will begin Friday evening (check in and light supper is 5-7 PM, with the retreat officially kicking off at 7 PM) and end Sunday by noon.

There will be two or three sessions of contemplative prayer each day, the group will pray the Hours together (Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline), and will share the Eucharist on Saturday morning There will be a nice block of free time on Saturday afternoon.  All will take meals together in a gracious silence, and just generally slow down, listen, and be open to the presence of God and one another.

For those who are interested, there will be a book discussion. This year’s book is Thirst, a collection of poetry by Mary Oliver. 

The cost of the retreat is $170.00 per person (financial assistance is available!), which covers a single occupancy room, meals, bedding, and some drinks.To register, please complete the attached registration form and submit it according to the instructions on the form.

Registration, with completed registration form and check in hand, is due by July 14.
Space is limited to 20 people.

If you have any questions or need more information about the retreat, please don’t hesitate to contact:
Char Sullivan <charbsullivan@gmail.com>
or
“Paul B. Marvin” <pmarvin64@gmail.com>

Notes for the Season Ahead

img_7929Advocate Summer Schedule: July, August and September 3 

A Single Sunday Liturgy Sundays @5PM
See more here

[Note: On Thursday, July 20, the renovations of the Advocate House, including making it ADA compliant, will begin!]
Saturday, July 29
8 AM   A Piedmont Patch Event: Planting native grasses along the Advocate dam. See more here.
Friday July 28 – Sunday July 30
Contemplative Prayer Retreat
there’s still room! Financial assistance available!
See more here.

Friday, August 25
Advocate Bulls Night! Game starts at 7 PM. Contact Vicar@TheAdvocateChurch.org if your want tickets.

Sunday, August 27
7 PM  Pee Wee Homes @ The Advocate. Q and A in the Chapel.
check TheAdvocateChurch.org for updates and additions)

Summer Schedule Ahead: July, August and September 3

Easter SunTake Back the Sunday morning Sabbath
Advocate Church at 5 PM
July,  August, and September 3.

When the Advocate was launched in 2003, and for the eleven years that followed, our principal liturgy was held at 5 PM. This was an outward and visible sign of our commitment to be a church for those who might not otherwise be drawn to a more established way of being church, or who, because of work schedules could not worship on Sunday mornings. Among other things, what many of those who had been regular church-goers soon discovered, was a Sunday morning sabbath, a time of leisure and of rest.

We worshipped at 5 PM for 11 years, adding a morning option in 2009.

When we moved into our own building in Spring 2014, we determined to have one liturgy on Sundays for our “opening season”. That liturgy was at 10:30 AM.

We soon we added a 5 PM Contemplative Eucharist.

In the summer of 2015 we returned on a single Eucharistic liturgy at 5 PM, with morning prayer and Bible study at 8:30 AM.

In the summer of 2016, we held a morning Eucharist at 8:30 AM and an evening Eucharist at 5 PM, followed by dinner.

Returning to our 5 PM Eucharist and dinner for the summer allowed us to experience a kind of “summer Sabbath”. It allowed folks to visit us from other churches, to come to church after a weekend away, to try something different. It also helped us to live into our calling to keep our liturgy fresh.

Summer 2017

As we approach Summer 2017, we will return to a single Eucharistic liturgy each Sunday at 5 PM, July and August and the first Sunday of September. A single Eucharistic liturgy simply makes sense for a church our size, with people and clergy taking holidays and/or simply moving into summer spirit. Holding that liturgy at 5 PM stirs the hearts of many and allows for a seasonal hospitality that is engaging. It is also a part of our “liturgical DNA”.

Come join us!

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

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.

#AdvocateAdvocate Be the noun. Do the Verb

Advocate button

#AdvocateAdvocate. A campaign to digitally connect the people of God as we advocate for peace, justice and mercy.

Be the noun. Do the verb.

Since The Episcopal Church of the Advocate was launched in 2003, we have become keenly aware of our triptych:

  1. The Advocate is Jesus, who ascended to God’s right hand and advocates on our behalf (I John 1:2).

2) The Advocate is also the Holy Spirit (John 14: 25-27), the prodder and comforter, promised by Jesus, who comes among us with tongues of fire and in a gentle breath, uniting us and calling us to be God’s advocates in the world.

3) The Advocate is each of us, sent forth Sunday by Sunday, to work for God’s merciful justice, to make known God’s forgiveness, peace and love.

#AdvocateAdvocate is a hashtag to be used anytime we stand, post, work, pray, protest or sacrifice in the spirit of the Advocate. Anytime we Advocate (the verb), anytime we are Advocates (the noun).

Advocate buttons are available in the Chapel bell tower. (Donations gladly accepted in the alms box.)

Eastern Orthodox theologian Kallistos Ware writes:

Each social grouping –
family, parish, diocese, church council, school, office, factory, nation —
has as its vocation to be transformed by grace into a living icon of [the Holy Trinity],
to effect a reconciling harmony between diversity and unity,
human freedom and mutual solidarity, after the pattern of the Trinity.

Our belief in a Trinitarian God, in a God of social inter-relationship and shared love, commits us to opposing all forms of exploitation, injustice and discrimination….

When as Christians we fight for justice and for human rights,
for a compassionate and caring society,
we are acting specifically in the name of the Trinity.
Faith in the Trinitarian God, in the God of personal interrelationship and shared love, commits us to struggle with all our strength against poverty, exploitation, oppression and disease.
Our combat against these things is undertaken not merely on philanthropic and humanitarian grounds but because of our belief in God the Trinity.
Precisely because we know that God is three-in-one,
we cannot remain indifferent to any suffering, by any member of the human race, in any part of the world

The Advocate Pond — Hospitality and Fish

img_5461

IMG_0730The Advocate Pond — A Ministry of Place and People, Hospitality and Fish

In 2011 the Advocate acquired 15 acres of land in north Chapel Hill, in the middle of a hub of development in the next ten years – from extensive expansion of the University of North Carolina to the development of transitional housing ministries for the homeless, from residential and commercial build-out, to the possible placement of the growing town’s next middle school. Our 15 acres is also adjacent to what is known as The Historic Rogers Road Community, that settlement north of Chapel Hill, just outside the town limits, that has been home to generations of African Americans since the mid-19th century. The Rogers Road history includes a history of governmental racism, with roads and utilities slow to come or even denied, while the region’s landfill was placed there

On the fifteen-acre site, the people of the Advocate feel called to provide a space for hospitality, worship and contemplation, as well as a regional resource for collaborative social ministry and the arts.

In the middle of the 15 acres, there is a pond.

The pond existed long before it “belonged” to the Church of the Advocate. When the Advocate settlers first arrived, we quickly realized that the pond had a life and ministry all its own. From spring to fall, and especially in the summer, people from around Rogers Road came to fish for their for their pleasure, and for their supper. They had for generations. We learned that the man who had owned the land for decades before us used to stock the pond with bass, brim, and crappie. It was a peaceful and welcoming place.

In our first year on site, we realized that we had a lot to learn from the pond and its people — about regional history, about fishing, about life. And we realized that we had something to offer as well. Hospitality, for one thing. And also the church’s story, and the hope that is within us.

In 2013 though, as the Advocate site was prepared for parking and a chapel, the pond and its life were significantly disrupted. In order to meet requirements of the 1972 American Clean Water Act and various codes of the Town of Chapel Hill, the pond had to be drained and both a filter and an overflow drainage system installed. Turtles snuggled into the mud and most of the remaining fish found their way into the gullets of stalking herons.FullSizeRender 2

As we settled in to our second year of worshipping in the Advocate Chapel, we engaged in conversations with the people and the non-profit agencies around us, learning how we could be good neighbors in the neighborhood. One of the things we have learned is how much the people of Rogers Road miss the pond, miss the fishing. We heard that the elders of that community want to teach their grandchildren how to fish, they want their grandchildren to know that peaceful part of their ancestral way of life.

We also realized that the ministry of the pond can be expanded to include the residents of InterFaith Council’s Community House, a transitional housing program for men, that stands within a half mile of our site. For the people of the Advocate, this is a clear call to hospitality. And, like so much of the Advocate, it also has a strong appeal to our elders who are nostalgic for the past and to our young adults, who want to cultivate a simpler and more nature-centered life in the age of technology and internet. The Advocate Pond is a simple, peaceful, healing place.

IMG_1297The Advocate would like to develop the ministry of The Advocate Pond. We have learned what we can about how to clear the algae and re-stock the fish. We would like to be able to host fish dinners once a year to welcome the neighbors, maybe buy some rods and nets that those without them could use, and put up a little shed to store them in. Eventually we might even build a simple dock, so that people with unstable footing might access the pond and while others would be less likely to turn an ankle or fall in the water.

Our goal will always be to provide a natural setting and a place of peaceful hospitality. If you are led to support the Ministry of the Advocate Pond, please contact the Vicar.

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Plans to Re-Purpose the Advocate House This Summer!

deer at the houseRepurposing the Advocate House

This summer, the Advocate plans to re-purpose our house for be used as an ADA-compliant space for office and gathering. Currently, the house is a private residence and is not up to code as a public gathering space and office. Funds have been raised that will allow doorways and the large bathroom to be brought to ADA compliance. to add an access ramp and small deck off the Chapel side of the house, and to convert the living room/library’s east window into an accessible doorway.

In addition, the current office space will be converted more fully to a kids space, and one of the back rooms will become the office. Recessed lighting will be installed throughout the house, the linoleum floors will be replaced, and the exterior trim will be restored. If funds are available, the fireplace with be fitted with a gas log insert.

To complete our obligations to the Town of Chapel Hill for development of the site south of the pond, funds raised will also be used to finish a parking area with ten parking spaces behind the house, to add and additional handicap parking place, to bring sewer to the house, and remove the existing septic system.

All of these things will allow the People of the Advocate better to care for our children, to learn, pray, break bread and welcome the stranger more faithfully and graciously, and will be done at the same time as our preparation for three Pee Wee Homes adjacent to the House.

At some point in the future, we hope to extend a deck around the house, and perhaps transform the carport into a finished meeting space….

Online donations can be made here.

Checks written to The Episcopal Church of the Advocate with a Memo to Building Campaign may be sent to:
8410 Merin Road
Chapel Hill, NC  27516

Click to view the Advocate House plan with deck.