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, as well as an olive wood cross to carry as you go, are available in a box under the well house roof. 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.  All are welcome.

An Advocate Lenten Quiet Day at Spring Forth Farm March 10

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 March 10 from 10-4pm

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 noon 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 March 7th.

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 at
leiss.megan@gmail.com

 

Piedmont Patch has a logo!

Coordinators of the Piedmont Patch Collaborative are excited to present the new logo, highlighting native flora (a Purple Cornflower) and fauna (an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly).

Thanks to JY Visuals of Chapel Hill for the design.

 

Piedmont_Patch_Logo_Piedmont_Patch_c_Logo_Color

Expect to see more of the logo in the seasons ahead, and our programs and plantings expand!

For more information about the PPC, look here!

And for information about our first educational event, “Creating Wildlife Habitat with Pollinator Gardens”, featuring Debbie Roos, see here!

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The Advocate Awarded Stewardship of Creation Grant from The Episcopal Church

IMG_0461We are more than happy to announce that The Church of the Advocate was awarded a $9,600 Stewardship of Creation grant from The Episcopal Church for the Piedmont Patch Project, a collaborative social ministry dedicated to restoring native flora and fauna displaced by the rapid urbanization surrounding the property, and cultivating keepers of Creation.

See more on the website of The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina here.

If you want to be a part of this project — learning, teaching, planting, inviting, cultivating — please contact Day Smith Pritchartt <emaildayp@gmail.com>

Lenten Study: Hanging By a Thread

411KA8IcUTL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_Lent Study 2018

7:15 – 8:15PM     Wednesday Evenings

February 21, 28 and March 7, 14, 21

In the Advocate House

Everyone is invited to this year’s Lent study, focusing on Sam Well’s reflection on the Crucifixion entitled Hanging by a Thread: The Questions of the Cross.

Here’s the book’s Amazon blurb:

This brilliant series of theological reflections from internationally known scholar and Anglican cleric Samuel Wells reflects on the challenges of our understanding of Christ’s crucifixion that arise today using contemporary ideas in history, biblical studies, and philosophy. Wells deals with such questions as: “Does the improbability of one event having significance for everything, everywhere, for all time leave our faith hanging by a thread?” “Does the possibility that elements of the story did not actually happen leave our Christian heritage hanging by a thread?” “Does the history of persecution that flowed from the classical belief that the Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death leave our morality hanging by a thread?” After reflecting upon six biblical stories, Wells discovers that the cross has an enduring power to shape how we live, how we relate to one another, and how we allow ourselves to be enfolded in God’s story.

The format of our time together will be simple: each week we will review and discuss a couple chapters of the book. The chapters are short, 7-8 pages each, so the reading load will not be heavy.

Everyone is invited to the conversation.

To get a copy of the book or learn more about the series, contact Paul Marvin (pmarvin@nc.rr.com, 919.477.6974).

Artist’s Way and Yoga in the Chapel – Thursdays in Epiphany and Lent

51+zJL6EsjL._AC_US218_The Artist’s Way & Yoga in the Chapel, Thursdays, January 4 – March 22, 2018, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Beginning Thursday, January 4th, at 6:30 p.m. in the Advocate chapel is a 12-week creativity course called The Artist’s Way. The course was designed by artist Julia Cameron and has been used for 25 years by artists in many genres to identify and move past creative blocks.
Whether you are currently an artist with a specific project in mind or are a self-described non-creative type who would simply like to explore your creative side, join us Thursday nights from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. We’ll cover one chapter each week and meet to discuss our progress, blocks, and/or breakthroughs. Below is a link to the book:
If you would like to join the group and not purchase the book, contact Kathleen Nolan at untothewoods@gmail.com.
This course has been used both individually and in group settings. Julia Cameron has some guidelines on her site about “creative clusters,” which is what we’ll be here at the Advocate. See below:
********************
Yoga ShadowFollowing each Artist’s Way gathering will be a 45-minute gentle yoga class. Feel free to come to either or both!
This is a beginner’s class; all levels welcome. It is also a donation-based class. The suggested donation is $10.00, but do feel free to join us whether you’d like to donate or not!
For more information, contact Kathleen Nolan at untothewoods@gmail.com.

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!

 

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. 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.

Breaking News!!! The Advocate Awarded Stewardship of Creation Grant from The Episcopal Church!

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.