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!

 

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: TheAdvocateChurch@gmail.com.
Just include your name and the amount you want to pledge to the Advocate for 2018.

Peace,

The Advocate Vestry

Denisé Dews, senior warden (ddews@unc.edu)

Shannon Gigliotti, junior warden (sg4jc@msn.com)

Coleen Cunningham (coleen.cunningham@duke.edu)

Paul Marvin (pmarvin64@gmail.com)

David McInnes (dmmcinnes0521@email.campbell.edu)

Molly Sutphen (mollysutphen@gmail.com)

 

Notes for the Season Ahead

IMG_1060
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! 

Sundays!
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 lisa.fischbeck@gmail.com

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 <sg4jc@msn.com> 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 
sg4jc@msn.com.  

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 TheAdvocateChurch.org for updates and additions)

Yoga in the Chapel Thursday evenings

Yoga ShadowOn Thursday evenings, from 6:30 PM – 7:30PM, all are welcome to an all levels Yoga class, led by the Advocate’s own, Kathleen Nolan.

All are welcome to this beginner’s yoga class in the beautiful Advocate chapel. Come as you are. If you have a mat, bring it along. Dress for comfort.
This is a “by donations class” — there is no set fee.
Questions? Contact Kathleen Nolan at untothewoods@gmail.com.

 

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.

IMG_0381Each 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:

September 13 :  Their Eyes Were Watching God
October 11: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
November 8: The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World
December 13: A Land More Kind than Home

For further information, contact Paul Marvin. pmarvin64@gmail.com

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

 

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.

A Teachable Moment

imagesA Teachable Moment is a thirty minute occasion to reflect on an issue or event in the life of the congregation, the wider community, or the world. It consists of about 10 minutes of presentation and about 20 minutes of conversation. While we have a cache of subjects to draw on, we also are ready to spontaneously respond to something current.

“A Teachable Moment … it’s worth your time. Our commitment is that the time spent in conversation with one another will be relevant, inspiring, and enriching, as we talk about the things that matter against a horizon of hope.”    Lisa and Nathan.

FAQ About the Weekly Schedule at the Advocate

signHere’s the Weekly Schedule through June:

Sundays:
9 AM
          Classic Episcopal (Holy Eucharist from the BCP and songs from the Hymnal 1982)
9:45-10:45 AM  A Teachable Moment* for youth and adults and Godly Play* for the kids
11 AM        Traditioned Innovation (TI)* A 75-minute Holy Eucharist with songs and innovations.
12:20 PM  
   Lunch fellowship (food provided)

And on Wednesdays:
5:30 PM               A simple, quiet Eucharist, with readings from Holy Women; Holy Men
6:15 – 7 PM          Contemplative Prayer

*Here are some emerging questions:

What’s Classic Episcopal is an experience of the basic worship in the Episcopal tradition, using the Eucharistic rite from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer and songs from the Episcopal Hymnal 1982. It is the foundation of our liturgy and worship life.

What is *Traditioned Innovation? TI (Traditioned Innovation) According to the theologians at Leadership Education at Duke Divinitytraditioned innovation is a way of thinking as a Christian that engages the past for the sake of the future. At the TI Service at the Advocate, this means that we take each of the various elements of the basic worship of the Episcopal tradition and consider how it might be made new or interpreted in different ways in different seasons or places or by different people. We use prayers and songs from throughout the Church and take seriously the ancient word for worship, liturgy, meaning “the work of people” such that our worship becomes the work of this particular people at this particular time in this particular place.

What’s A *Teachable Moment? A Teachable Moment is a thirty minute occasion to reflect on an issue or event in the life of the congregation, the wider community, or the world. It consists of 10 minutes of presentation and 20 minutes of conversation. While we have a cache of subjects to draw on, we also are ready to spontaneously respond to something current.

What’s *Godly Play? Godly Play is an educational experience for kids, in which they are lead to engage with the stories of the Christian faith and participate in simple practices together. The Advocate offers Godly Play for kids age three and up. To learn more, please contact our kids Christian Ed Coordinator: Becca Bland <rebeccagwbland@gmail.com>

How can lunch be provided? Do I need to pay? The table fellowship of the Advocate is an expansion of the Eucharistic Feast. Food each week is provided by a rotation of 6 volunteer groups, each group providing the meal once in six weeks for the community gathered. The Advocate encourages participation in these food-providing groups. To volunteer, please contact Martha Wheeler <martha.s.wheeler@gmail.com>.

#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

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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.

IMG_0434The 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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