Liturgy of Lament, Longing and Hope, with Eucharist, this Sunday

This Sunday, September 12, the Advocate will host a Liturgy of Lament, Longing and Hope, with Eucharist. This liturgy, created for the congregations of the Diocese of North Carolina, will help us to recognize where we are on the landscape of life and faith at this point in the long season of Covidtide. In a way, it is an update on the Liturgy of Longing that we engaged in at the Advocate last Advent.

In the words of the Diocesan website, “The Liturgy of Lament, Longing and Hope…helps us to experience the ways God’s love is holding us, Jesus is walking with us, and the Holy Spirit is moving among us, even as our long journey continues with its twists and turns.”

What to expect: A series of three reflections will replace the sermon.
Pondside: Each person will receive a liturgy guide, a few small rocks, a pen, a life experience map and a candle.
Zoom: Folks gathered on Zoom are invited to gather a candle, a rock and a pen, and to print the Liturgy Guide (includes life experience map and rock images).

With each of these symbols, we will be invited to name, in the silence of our hearts or aloud, our laments, our longings and our hopes in this time of pandemic, civil divisiveness, racial strife and future unknowing.

Please plan to join in this liturgy at 10:30 AM on Sunday, either on Zoom or pondside. It  will be good for us to pray, sing and be together at this time. The Zoom link will be posted Saturday. I will also host a Zoom conversation at 5pm for those wishing to share their laments, longings and hopes in conversation with others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Next Vicar!

The Advocate Vestry is delighted to announce that Marion Sprott-Goldson has accepted our call to be our next Vicar. Her first Sunday among us will be September 19, so plan to welcome her then.

Marion comes to us from her current role as Associate Rector at St. Martin’s in Charlotte. At St. Martin’s she developed their newcomer ministry and took the lead in organizing digital worship and ministry, along with generally supporting the church and work of the Rector. She has experience as a Parish Administrator at St. Martin’s as well, several years back. She is also an accomplished musician who has served as an accompanist (piano) and a professional vocalist. And while these professional credentials and experience have served to prepare her to lead us, we also value her character and commitment to her faith, the church, and her vocation. She has taken in all we could offer about The Advocate and embraced it with great hope. She comes into this role with energy and joy, and also an eagerness to learn and to discern our collective calling alongside us.

The best way to get to know someone is to spend time with them. But, as these recent months have taught us, we can get a taste in other ways, and so we have prepared a video announcement featuring brief messages from Donya, Marion and Lisa, here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrJ8HcjEt18

Timeline

August 5 – We announce who the next Vicar will be.

September 19 — The next Vicar arrives, just in time for the celebration of the Advocate’s 18th birthday!

November 21 – We bid Lisa, our current Vicar a very fond farewell.

Hybrid Liturgy: In-person and on Zoom!

Join us by the pond or on Zoom — Sundays at 10:30 AM!

In the spirit of the Advocate, the goal is to have the liturgy be as inclusive and participatory as possible. There will be singing: some live, some on Zoom. Some readings will be read by the pond, some on Zoom. Cameras and a screen will help the two parts of the congregation interact with each other. This Sunday, September 19, join us as we welcome our next Vicar, Marion Sprott-Goldson!

The Zoom link will be posted here on Saturday.

So we can better see one another, we’ll use a liturgy guide instead of viewing slides over Zoom. You may wish to print out the liturgy guide and music guide:

Rain Plan: If it rains, the service will only be on Zoom. If there is a chance of rain, an update will be posted Sunday morning at 8 AM.

At the pond, folks are encouraged to bring their own chairs and are invited to pack a picnic for lunch after the liturgy.

Masks are optional though recommended for those who have been vaccinated. A section of the outdoor space can be reserved for those who wish to sit with others who are masked and/or safely distanced by pod.

Questions and concerns can be addressed to Vicar@TheAdvocateChurch.org

It’ll be good to see each other!

Easter Day 4 PM Pondside Eucharist

Easter Day 2021
@The Advocate Pondside

 

Gathering Hymn         Jesus Christ Is Risen Today

Opening Acclamation
Presider          Alleluia! Christ is risen!
     People             The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!               

Collect for Easter Day
Presider          The Lord be with you.
     People             And also with you.
     Presider          Let us pray.
Almighty God, who through your only-begotten son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

LITURGY OF THE WORD

Isaiah 25:6-9 

Psalm 114
1 Hallelujah!
When Israel came out of Egypt, *
the house of Jacob from a people of strange speech,

2 Judah became God’s sanctuary *
and Israel his dominion.

3 The sea beheld it and fled; *
Jordan turned and went back.

4 The mountains skipped like rams, *
and the little hills like young sheep.

5 What ailed you, O sea, that you fled? *
O Jordan, that you turned back?

6 You mountains, that you skipped like rams? *
you little hills like young sheep?

7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, *
at the presence of the God of Jacob,

8 Who turned the hard rock into a pool of water *
and flint-stone into a flowing spring.

The Celtic Alleluia   (verses 1-2 plus chorus)

The Gospel                             Luke 24:13-49  

An A Cappella Alleluia

The Peace
Presider           The Peace of the Lord be always with you.
People             And also with you.
Presider           Let us share a sign of Christ’s peace with one another.

The Great Thanksgiving

Presider        The Lord be with you
People          And also with you

Presider        Lift up your hearts
People          We lift them to God 

Presider         Let us give thanks to God
People          It is right to offer our thanks and praise.

Presider          We praise you and we bless you, holy and gracious God, source of life abundant. From before time you made ready the creation. Your Spirit moved over the deep and brought all things into being: sun, moon, and stars; earth, winds, and waters; and every living thing.

You made us in your image, and taught us to walk in your ways. But we rebelled against you, and wandered far away; and yet, you would not forget us. Time and again you called us to live in the fullness of your love.

And so this day we join with Saints and Angels in the chorus of praise that rings through eternity, lifting our voices to magnify you as we sing (say):

All
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one
who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

The Presider continues
Glory and honor and praise to you, holy and living God.
To deliver us from the power of sin and death and to reveal the riches of your grace, you looked with favor upon Mary, your willing servant, that she might conceive and bear a son,  Jesus the holy child of God.

Living among us, Jesus loved us.
He broke bread with outcasts and sinners, healed the sick, and proclaimed good news to the poor.
He yearned to draw all the world to himself yet we were heedless of his call to walk in love.
Then, the time came for him to complete upon the cross the sacrifice of his life, and to be glorified by you.

On the night before he died for us, Jesus was at table with his friends.
He took bread, gave thanks to you, broke it, and gave it to them, and said:
“Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you.
Do this for the remembrance of me.”

As supper was ending, Jesus took the cup of wine. Again, he gave thanks to you, gave it to them, and said: “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is poured out for you and for all for the forgiveness of sins.
Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

Now gathered at your table, O God of all creation, and remembering Christ, crucified and risen, who was and is and is to come, we offer to you our gifts of bread and wine, and ourselves, a living sacrifice.

Pour out your Spirit upon these gifts that they may be the Body and Blood of Christ. Breathe your Spirit over the whole earth and make us your new creation, the Body of Christ given for the world you have made.

In the fullness of time bring us, with all your saints,
from every tribe and language and people and nation, to feast at the banquet prepared from the foundation of the world.

Through Christ and with Christ and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to you be honor, glory, and praise, for ever and ever.

All                   AMEN.

The Lord’s Prayer
Presider           As our Savior Christ has taught us, we now pray:
All                    Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name, your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

The Breaking of the Bread

The Priest breaks the consecrated Bread. A period of silence is kept, then:

Presider        Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.
People          Therefore, let us keep the feast.

Presider:      Behold what you are
People:         May we become what we receive

Post Communion Prayer

Presider        Let us Pray
All                 O God of our ancestors,
God of our people,
before whose face the human generations pass away:
We thank you that in you we are kept safe for ever,
and that the broken fragments of our history
are gathered up in the redeeming act of your dear Son,
remembered in this holy sacrament of bread and wine.
Help us to walk daily in the Communion of Saints,
declaring our faith in the forgiveness of sins
and the resurrection of the body.
Now send us out
in the power of your Holy Spirit
to live and work for your praise and glory.                  Amen.

The Blessing
Presider          
The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always.

All                     Amen.

 

Presider           Let us go forth in the Name of the Risen Christ.  Alleluia! Alleluia!
People:            Thanks be to God!   Alleluia! Alleluia!

Easter Troparian

All                   Alleluia!

 

 

Holy Week at the Advocate 2021

 

Holy Week 2021 

All are welcomed and encouraged to walk the Way with us.                                                      

March 28     The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

Note: Palm branches will be available for pickup on the Advocate deck in Chapel Hill and the Vicar’s front porch in Durham, starting Thursday at 3 PM.

9:15 a.m.   Online Kids’ Christian Ed

10:00 a.m.       A liturgy for The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday
To join the Zoom, click here.

As you are able, please have at hand:
a palm frond, branch or flowers to wave for the procession.

4 PM   Pondside Eucharist with Covid Safety protocols.
If you plan to come, please write Vicar@TheAdvocateChurch.org ahead of time.

8:30 PM  Compline
To join the Zoom, please contact Vicar@TheAdvocateChurch.org
The rite can be found here

March 29                         Monday in Holy Week                      

8:30 AM  Morning Prayer
To join the Zoom, click here.

8:30 PM  Compline
To join the Zoom, please contact Vicar@TheAdvocateChurch.org
The rite can be found here

March 30                         Tuesday in Holy Week
8:30 AM
  Morning Prayer
To join the Zoom, click here.

8:30 PM  Compline
To join the Zoom, please contact Vicar@TheAdvocateChurch.org
The rite can be found here

March 31                         Wednesday in Holy Week
8:30
AM  Morning Prayer
To join the Zoom, click here.

6:00 – 7:00 p.m.  Contemplative Prayer
To join the Zoom, Email advocate.contemplative.prayer@gmail.com for the link.

8:30 PM  Compline
To join the Zoom, please contact Vicar@TheAdvocateChurch.org
The rite can be found here

April 1                          Maundy Thursday

6:00 PM  A Liturgy for Maundy Thursday
To join the Zoom, click here.

As you are able, please have at hand :
A candle that can be lit
An Advocate clay cup or other “chalice” of wine or other beverage
A plate (paten) with some bread
A symbolic additional food, perhaps olives or almonds or feta cheese
A cross (simple and homemade is just fine!)

8:30 PM  Compline
To join the Zoom, please contact Vicar@TheAdvocateChurch.org
The rite can be found here

April 2                       Good Friday

Good Friday is a good day to walk the Stations of the Cross around the Advocate Pond, alone or with others. See more here.

12 noon    A Liturgy for Good Friday
To join the Zoom click here.
As you are able, please have at hand :
                 A cross
A candle

2 PM  Lacey Hudspeth will lead us in the Stations of the Cross around the Advocate Pond, with reflections from Praying the Stations of the Cross: Finding Hope in a Weary World, by Margaret Adams Parker and Katherine Sonderegger. Note: This will be in person only, with participants masked and safe-distanced.

8:30 PM  Compline
To join the Zoom, please contact Vicar@TheAdvocateChurch.org
The rite can be found here

April 3                      Holy Saturday
A Liturgy for Holy Saturday can be found here. No Zoom for this simple liturgy. As you are able, take some time to pray and reflect.

8 PM   The Great Vigil of Easter!

To join the Zoom, click here.
As you are able, please have at hand :
                     A candle
A cross
A bowl for water
A glass/pitcher of water
A branch or brush for your asperges
A bell or other cheerful noise-maker
A festive beverage

Followed by Compline 
To join the Zoom, please contact Vicar@TheAdvocateChurch.org
The rite can be found here

April 4           Easter Day!                 Let’s Dance!    10 AM
To join the Zoom for a short
and joyful celebration, click here.

As you are able, please wear a bonnet, hat, or other festive clothing.

4 PM   Pondside Eucharist with Covid Safety protocols.
Here’s the link to the liturgy guide
If you plan to come, please write Vicar@TheAdvocateChurch.org ahead of time.

8:30 PM  Compline
To join the Zoom, please contact Vicar@TheAdvocateChurch.org.
The rite can be found here

Book Launch for Behold What You Are — Thursday April 22 at 8 PM Eastern

All are invited to join the Zoom for the launch of Behold What You Are: Becoming the Body of Christ.
Thursday, Aprill 22
8 PM Eastern

Here’s the Zoom link.

 

Written primarily from her experience as Vicar of the Church of the Advocate, this book is in many ways the story of the People of the Advocate, formed by liturgy to be the Body of Christ, given for the world.

Advocate Sheryl Cornett will serve as host for the Launch, which will include readings from the book as well as shared experiences and learnings from a panel of current and former Advocates: Nathan Kirkpatrick, Sadie Koppelberger, Gabe Lamazares and John Wall.

You’re invited to have a celebratory beverage on hand for the Zoom reception following.

Please join us!

 

Annual Reports for 2020

The following Annual Report for 2020 were delivered at the Advocate’s Annual Meeting on Zoom, January 31, 2021

The Vicar’s Annual Report
The Rev. Lisa G. Fischbeck

What a difference a year makes. How often have the annual reports of the Advocate included this phrase.
What a difference a year makes!
Whether it was the year we were brought into union with the Convention of the Diocese of North Carolina, thereby becoming official,
And also realized we had outgrown our first worship space, the Unity Center of Peace and moved to the Kehillah synagogue (2004).
What a difference a year makes!

Like the year we started renting a real office in downtown Carrboro and actually had a sign out front, (2007)
Or the year we engaged fully with the people of Club Nova,
Providing programs, breaking bread together, forming friendships. (2008)
What a difference a year makes!

Oh, there was the year we signed a contract to buy the land and started dreaming of what might be, (2010)
Or the year we closed on the land, having raised over $1 million to pay for it,
and we put up the swings and started being on location (2012)
Or the year we moved and restored the Chapel (2013),
also known as the year of the mud.

2014 was the year of transplant,
2015 was a year to recover and rest,
And 2016 was the year of renaissance,
2017, was a year of finding our groove,
so that 2018 was the year of flourishing.
2019 was our Sweet sixteen and we welcomed the Pee Wee Homes.
What a difference a year makes!

Then there was 2020.
2020, the year of…. Well, 2020…
Looking at the annual report from a year ago,
Reviewing our liturgies and activities and calendar 
from January and February 2020,
Is like looking into a time capsule.
The assumptions we had that we would just keep going,
That the liturgies and lunches and house dinners and Teachable Moments and kids Christian ed would all keep thrumming along

While we started to grapple with the joyful challenges of growth
and to envision what God might be calling us to develop north of the pond.
In February, we had a presentation about prison ministry and started considering how we might get involved with people in prison again, but in a new way.
We had a presentation about the Poor Peoples Campaign and started preparing to go as a group to the march on Washington in June, maybe sharing bus rentals with our neighbors on Roger Road.
We were in conversations with the organizers of the Rogers Road Community Center about hosting the kids of their summer camp for a fishing day and maybe a campfire and campout, too.

Ash Wednesday, First Sunday in Lent,
I was taking a writing sabbatical for the month of March
And Nathan was in charge here at the Advocate,
When …. Whomp.

Shut down.

Driving home from Connecticut I heard that the ACC men’s basketball tournament had been cancelled because of COVID-19.
That’s when I knew this was serious.

Given the Advocate’s particular emphasis 
on expression and formation of the body in liturgy, 
there was no question which platform we would use for our Sunday worship during the pandemic. 
Zoom allowed us to be live, engaging, and participatory. 
With everyone on Zoom, we could see one another, 
hear one another pray, proclaim, speak, and sing. 
Unable to celebrate the Eucharist online together, 
we followed the liturgy of Morning Prayer, 
then later, the Liturgy of the Word, concluding with the Peace.

It took some weeks to work out the challenges. 
Previously shunned, PowerPoint was suddenly the means we needed. 
Nathan created a slide show that all could read looking at their screens while facing the camera, too.                   

At first, we were painfully aware of what we were missing—
the Eucharist, singing together, and seeing each other in person. 
Over time, though, as we moved from Lent to Holy Week to Eastertide, 
we found that the Prayers of the People were just as meaningful as they had always been, 
whether they offered aloud or in the chat box. 

And we quickly realized what we were gaining. 

Here was a way for us to be together when we weren’t able to leave our homes. And every week, people from The Advocate diaspora— those who had moved to other parts of the country or world— were able to join us. 
It was like a homecoming. 
The previously distinct 9:00 am and 11:00 am congregations worshiped together, connecting anew. 
Such excitement in those minutes before the liturgy started, 
as each new face appeared in the gallery onscreen.
Households with small children or others with physical limitations
could go to church without the stress of having everyone dressed, fed, and into the car. 
Participation remained consistent and strong – with 65-80 screens on the Zoom each week, and more than 100 people worshipping together.
There were no “low Sundays” and no summer travels, taking people away.

It took a while to sort out how we could sing together. 
Everyone singing unmuted wouldn’t work on the Zoom platform. 
And then along came Grace Camblos with skills and willingness and joy to organize and produce videos of virtual choirs to lead us. 
(PowerPoint and choirs, at the Advocate???)

I’ll always remember that first virtual choir song — All Who Hunger Gather Gladly – 
When Covidtime was still new, and we were feeling such loss,
Not to be able to gather together for Maundy Thursday….
Oh, what a gift!

In time, the Pondside Band cheered us.
Others recorded solo singing while playing guitar or piano. 
Cantors sang a cappella.
These diverse offerings engaged more people in our liturgical leadership, 
and helped to keep the liturgy fresh and expressive.
While we could not hear the entire congregation singing together, 
we could see each other singing. 
Robust singing in homes and on screened porches and decks across the region. 

Gradually we realized there was no longer anything “virtual” about our worship. 
It was real.

But there are some who haven’t been on the Zoom. 
Some who are unable or unwilling to worship digitally,
Others are on Zoom so much for work or school,
that when Sunday comes, they just can’t do more of it.
Clergy and lay leadership committed to finding ways to hold us all together, 

Early on, we created “virtual villages” and encouraged folks to meet for “virtual coffee,” a one-to-one online. 
The vestry sent personal postcards out to everyone, 
and there were phone calls and emails and safe distance visits
to check in with folks.

Grace Camblos and I created weekly videos for The Vicarage, Season One, The Women of the Cloud to share the stories usually told at mid-week Eucharists.

A desire for deeper connection led to the creation of “Advo-groups,” 
small groups meeting online or in person for prayer and mutual support and conversation around a shared need or interest: Cooking Together, Anglican Poets of the 17th and 20th Centuries, Connections With Nature, Creating a Regular Home Practice, Engaging in Social Change, Transforming Our Narrative About Race.
What a fabulous array!

The weekly house dinners went online, too,
And become “House Dinner Without the Dinner”
Still with deep fellowship and sharing of life stories.

Elizabeth Brewington kept the kids going on Zoom every Sunday morning, 
Even in the summer.
Who can forget The Prodigal Chicken!

The addition of Compline on Wednesday nights was initially 
simply to provide a way to gather and pray in the middle of the week, 
between the Sundays. 
Very soon it became clear that this online Compline was more than that. 
It provided a welcome, needed way to end the evening in peace 
and in the company of others. 
Within six weeks, Wednesday Compline became nightly Compline,
each night it is led by a different lay person. 
The regulars come from four different counties. 
After several attempts to pray the daily office as people of the Advocate,
Covid and Zoom gave us both the inclination and the means to do it.

The Advocate on Zoom included the emergence of the Screenside Chat.
Similar to the Teachable Moment of in-person Sundays,
The Screenside Chat gave us the opportunity learn and talk about matters at hand,
From hospitality to the homeless to racism in America,
George Floyd’s murder to how it felt to be in Covidtimes.

Antiracism claimed our attention in the summer and fall,
As we read and discussed White Fragility and Caste,
And hosted an evening with the local chapter of the NAACP to talk about race and the elections ahead.
We breathed deep and sang songs of inspiration through the election.
Then turned our hearts to Advent and thirst for things gone by and things to come,
Expressed in our Liturgy of Longing.
As diocesan and government restrictions eased, 
we held small, safe-distanced outdoor Eucharists on Sunday afternoons, 
but remained clear that the Sunday morning “Advocate on Zoom” 
was the primary gathering of the body.

In the thick of all this, Alice Graham Grant came among us as a “parttime lay Curate”.
Preaching, teaching, providing pastoral care,
Connecting us further with the Rogers Road community 
And sharing administrative responsibilities.
Her arrival and presence six months into Covidtime,
Was a gift of the Spirit and of the Bishop, (and of our own budget)
For which I am grateful.

Also in the thick of all this, households that had only just begun to attend the Advocate last winter, stayed on.
And new people came our way, bringing their beauty and life-living with them.
Thank you, Holy Spirit!

As diocesan and government restrictions eased, 
we held small, safe-distanced outdoor Eucharists on Sunday afternoons, 
but remained clear that the Sunday morning “Advocate on Zoom” 
was the primary gathering of the Body.

Christmas became the 4th principal Feast of the Church year celebrated on Zoom – Easter, Pentecost, All Saints and Christmas….
Bittersweet, each and every one,
Missing what we could not have, grateful for what we have….
Like… how about that video Christmas Pageant!!!

—————————-

2020 wound to a close with hope in the air.
What will 2021 be? 
The year of transition.
While vaccinations have started, 
we need to continue to exercise care and prayer for health and wellbeing.

We will likely continue with the Advocate on Zoom through Easter, even Pentecost.
But then we will start to transition from predominantly online worship to, 
we pray, 
predominantly in-person worship.

This will be exciting and challenging.
Will we all want to worship in person?
Or will some still feel safer at home?
What about the people of the Advocate Diaspora,
and others who have joined us one Sunday or another.
Will we develop a hybrid in-person and online liturgy?
What about church meetings and classes and conversations?


With people of the Advocate coming from across six counties,
Meeting online can allow for greater participation during the week.
As we transition back to the campus and Chapel,
The matters of growth and size will return.
Remember that we were filling the chapel for the 11 AM on Sundays before Covid hit.
It can only hold 100 vaccinated people safely.
And we were having parking troubles.
How many Eucharistic liturgies can we have on a Sunday?
What will those liturgies be?
Do we need to begin to plan to build a somewhat larger indoor worship space so more of us can worship together?


And what about our community engagement?
We’ve got the Pee Wee Homes and the Pond.
How will we transition to a more robust sharing of our resources with a wider community in need?
Some Advocates are beginning to explore the possibility of constructing a community woodfired oven for bread and pizza baking.
That could certainly be a draw.
And the Pondside Band is ready to develop a community venue on site.

Racism is a real and raw as ever in our world. 
And within us all.
How will we continue to work against it, unravel it?
In Lent we will integrate land and native people awareness into our liturgy and formation.
And if there is interest, Advo-Groups in Eastertide might carry our anti-racism further.
And maybe this will be the year for us to host the kids from Rogers Road and others for more fishing in our pond.

In 2021 we will also be transitioning to a new Vicar.
I am thankful that the Bishop will be working with us
To provide a process that honors the Advocate,
And is as smooth and life-giving as possible for us.
This process will provide us all with good opportunity to reflect on who we are and who we are called by God to be.
It’ll start with an online survey of the congregation, to be announced shortly.

Please take note, 
and take the time to fill that survey out this week!

————————

One thing we learned in the year of 2020
Is that we can never know what a year will bring
nor what difference it will make in our lives together.
But another thing we learned
is that The Advocate is good and beautiful community,
Even the Body of Christ,
Loving one another,
Given for the world.

So let’s say:
Glory to God
Whose power working in us
Can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.
Glory to God, from generation to generation in the church
And in Christ Jesus, forevermore.

The Senior Warden’s Annual Report
Prepared by Sara Paukovich, Senior Warden

One year ago, as a vestry, we were thanking Paul Marvin, our out-going senior warden, and Lacey Hudspeth for their service and welcoming both Donya Rose and Andrew Hammond as our newest members. I stepped up into the role of senior warden, alongside John Gillespie, our junior warden, Erin Dangler, our secretary, and Amanda Godwin. And we, as a church and a society, were in a completely different world than we now find ourselves. 

It wasn’t a perfect world by any means. It was a year we started with major concerns as our Vicar had just announced her cancer diagnosis and we all awaited anxiously to know how she was doing with treatment. At that point, the feeling in the church was this would be the big hurdle we would face as a community in 2020. However, as Lisa finished treatment and appeared to be doing extremely well and excited to go on sabbatical and finish her upcoming book the energy shifted in the church to an air of relief and Nathan Kirkpatrick took the reins for the month Lisa would be gone. 

In early March, Nathan and I sat down to plan out the vestry meeting agenda for that month. It may be hard to believe now, but we were face to face, in-person, maskless, and without fear and completely unaware how drastically the world was about to turn. Our plans at that time for 2020 were to continue with the visioning process that had been started the year before, but to use Nathan’s expertise to help take the process deeper.

Knowing Lisa was planning on retiring from parish ministry sometime in the not too distant (but still yet undefined) future we felt it prudent to get a sense of what the hopes of the congregation were moving forward. 

Nathan and I planned out the vestry meeting and then we happily parted ways with no comprehension of what the next few days would bring. Over those days the world flipped on a dime and we were in lockdown. We quickly realized visioning may be a moot point for the vestry for the foreseeable future. We had no idea what church was going to look like that Sunday, much less 1 month, 6 months or 1 year in the future. We needed to switch gears from the visioning process to maintaining our church community in the time of COVID-19. No small topic. And I say that because it has remained on the vestry agenda in one way or another for every meeting since and I would hazard a guess on Lisa’s daily agenda the entire year.

In that moment, the vestry focused on the immediate safety of the members of our congregation. So we teamed up with members of the AdvoCare team and other church members able to help and started contacting all the households in the congregation. 

We found from our discussions with church members the most imminent need in the short-term was more opportunity for social contact. So the vestry started the work of putting together weekly Virtual Village meetings for anyone interested in these fellowship opportunities.

After Lisa came off of her sabbatical early to start rebuilding the church from the ground up online, the vestry frequently functioned as a sounding board for her as the Zoom liturgy we experience today took shape. In addition, the vestry and its members have engaged in the following business often navigating many unknowns due to the pandemic:

Community Outreach-

  • At the vestry retreat, a robust discussion on dismantling racism was the main focus with ideas generated for our covid era and others put forth for once we are able to be in-person in the future.
  • Since the chapel was empty throughout the pandemic, the vestry agreed to allow it to be used on occasion for an individual to have a safe place to sleep and keep their belongings while waiting for permanent housing through local organizations. 

Position Changes-

  • The vestry bid farewell to Brian McGivern, our treasurer of nearly 3 years. We have much to thank Brian for in the organization of the finances of the church. One outstanding result of Brian’s time as treasurer was allowing the church to save a few thousand dollars a year by doing a self- audit. He put in many countless hours of work to form a structure so future treasurers would  more easily be able to perform the yearly self-audit to the standards of the Diocese and we are so grateful for all of his selfless work. 
  • As Brian stepped down Nancy Usher Williams stepped up into the role of treasurer. Nancy has a lot of experience with filling this position at other churches. Her knowledge of accounting and budgeting is deep and in just the 4 months she has been treasurer I have called on her many times. Since she’s seen so much in this arena before, she knows how to confidently navigate the waters of budgeting when relying on pledges. Her expertise in the role of treasurer is truly hard to overstate and she will be a fantastic anchor for the church during this transitional year ahead

Business-

  • The vestry updated our insurance policy by reviewing and adding a Child/Youth Protection Policy in September, slighting increasing our premium, but putting written standards in place to ensure the ECOTA youth are protected during official church activities.
  • We started transferring vestry documents to Google Docs, so important records can be kept in one place. This will be easier to share and access for vestry members going forward and will allow all important documents to be kept safely for the long term. Google Forms were also used for all surveys of the church this year at the suggestion of Donya Rose and for the pledge drive in place of pledge cards. These changes seemed to streamline the process for all involved.

Fellowship-

  • In addition to the Virtual Villages mentioned above, weekly dinner spear-headed by Debbie Wuliger and nightly Compline, Day Smith Pritchard and vestry member Amanda Godwin lead the way for the development of Advo-Groups. The planning committee also included myself, Donya Rose, Damon Williams and Daniel LaVenture. Although this was not a vestry project, it was “heavy” with vestry members and the progress was discussed at many meetings. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Day and Amanda for taking on the task of getting these groups off the ground and we all look forward its next evolution proposed for Eastertide. 

Financial Matters– Nancy Usher Williams will discuss finances in more detail in a minute

  • Over April & May, we debated the merits of applying for the Payroll Protection Plan Loan offered by the government. We had no idea what the pandemic may bring, so to protect the church financially and with the guidance of Nancy Usher Williams we applied and obtained the loan, so those funds would be there for us in the event of financial need later in the year.
  • During October and November, the vestry headed the pledge campaign. Again the unknowns of the pandemic were present, so we set two goals. The first was to at least achieve last year’s pledges of $215,000 and hold a steady course for the church, but additionally we set an aspirational goal of a 12% increase. Well, the people of the Advocate responded to these goals overwhelmingly. I would like to thank all those who pledged for your generosity in uncertain times and the vestry who explained the need for pledging in testimonials  that were equal parts heart and logic after the liturgy each week, as well as their time spent on e-mail outreach. We actually continued to have pledges coming in long after the pledge drive had officially ended. So by our January meeting a few weeks ago we had increased our pledges over last year by 22% with $261,000 from both members and Friends of the Advocate. This included a total of 90 households pledging, which is an increase of 10 over the previous year. 
  • One of the last acts of the 2020 vestry was to vote to raise Lisa’s salary. This decision was made to bring her on par with the median male senior/solo clergy salary, since Lisa is both a senior clergy and a solo clergy we averaged the salaries between those two categories. And you did hear me correctly, the vestry wanted to put her on par with the median male salary. As per the 2016 Church Compensation Report for the Episcopal parishes female clergy still make significantly less than their male counterparts. And thanks to the generosity the whole congregation showed during the pledge drive, the vestry was able to stand on our church’s principals of gender equality and do our small part here at The Advocate to help bridge that gender gap, as well as, give Lisa the compensation she truly deserves on par with her peers.

As the year progressed, it became increasingly clear to me that maybe we had not had to completely abandon the visioning process after all. Perhaps we were still, unwittingly, taking part in a visioning of sorts brought on by the pandemic. With Lisa leading, and the vestry and parishioners giving input, it was a continual process of deciding what was most important to us in our worship. And we have chosen to design our liturgical experience unlike any other Episcopal church in the area. 

This is not to make a judgement of any church’s choices, as those churches all have their own unique needs, but instead to make the point that how The Advocate has chosen to do church during COVIDtimes is a massive statement of who we are and what is central to our congregation. The fact we remained participatory, face to face (even if at a distance), comfortable in the discomfort of the learning process and with a focus on social justice all fall right in line with our church mission, but I think the pandemic has served to reinforce it. We do not just stick to these principles when everything is easy, but more importantly, we maintained these qualities when everything seemed to be falling apart and our future uncertain. 

This year may not have been the time to answer how we want to use the area North of the pond or any of the other creative ideas visioning may have birthed from the minds of our fellow Advocates, but the appropriate time to answer those questions will come. And if, as a church, through our collective answers to the upcoming survey going out today, we find a new vicar who understands all we have declared ourselves to be throughout this year they will be on board for whatever direction the future visioning process takes us. 

I would like to end by giving thanks to all those I had the privilege of serving on the vestry with over the past 3 years. For me, the time has been a joyful, open and collaborative experience with everyone bringing their own unique gifts to the table. One person who has been a huge part of that joy and collaboration has been Erin Dangler. Due to an unexpected, but exciting new move to Atlanta, she will be rotating off the vestry a year early. And I want to give a huge thank you to Erin for her skills as secretary and all the ways her joyful spirit and  unique talents have positively impacted the group. In her place, the vestry is happy to welcome Nate Bradford who will be taking over for Erin’s final year. 

And lastly, if the proposed timeline holds true, this will be Lisa’s last Annual Meeting, so I would be remiss if I did not say before signing off, it is not often you get to watch a master at work, but after 3 years that is the best way I can describe Lisa’s relationship with her calling to help plant and grow The Advocate. It was an honor to watch her thoughtful contemplation on all church matters down to the smallest detail while still allowing new ideas to flow in from all those present on the vestry and from the wider congregation. Her gift for immediately seeing the talents in others, acknowledging it, and putting it to use in creative ways is a major part of what has built this church. And I have to say when talking to past senior wardens last year, when I was contemplating taking this position, they all individually stated that being able to watch Lisa’s  mind up close, in action, was one of their favorite parts of the job and I would have to whole-heartedly agree. She has helped to set this church up incredibly well over her years of leadership. That fact, combined with the innumerable strengths of the incoming vestry and treasurer, I have complete confidence 2021 will be a year of reimagining what this church may be going forward while still holding on to the heart of who we have always been. And that attentive, caring, loving heart that I believe will always remain, will be a big part of our founding Vicar, Lisa’s, legacy as the Body continues to form around it on into the future.

The Treasurer’s Annual Report
Nancy Usher Williams

Hello, Everyone! I’m Nancy Usher Williams, the new Advocate Treasurer. I took over from Brian McGivern in August, and I really appreciate the help he gave me as I got started. All of you have made me very welcome this year. I love Zoom church if we can’t be together in person. I could talk more about that, but I suppose I should do the Treasurer’s Report.

In 2020 we had Revenues of about $256,000 (108% of Budget) and

                          Expenses of about $224,000 (94% of Budget).

This resulted in a surplus of about   $ 32,000.

We collected only 89% of our pledges, and this is not a surprise given the rapidly changing circumstances of a worldwide pandemic. Let this serve as a reminder that you can change the amount of your pledge upward or downward if your circumstances change during the year. When you know that things will be different, it would be really helpful for you to let me know that. My contact info is on the web page and in the directory, and Lisa and Alice both know where to find me.

The good news is the contributions in the POTA and FOTA accounts were $33,000 each while the budget for both was $15,000 total. We received a $2,500 grant to help with the expenses of having Alice with us for a year plus another $3,500 grant payable over 9 months beginning in October 2020. We got one-third of the $3,500 in 2020 and the remaining two-thirds will come in 2021. 

With the pandemic’s closings came a steep decline in our chapel use income to only $200 for 2020. However, overall 2020 was an amazing year, especially so since we were all dealing with the pandemic. The Vestry is using some of the 2020 surplus to fund some of the extra 2021 expenses that we’ll have because the outgoing and incoming Vicars will have a three-month overlap with us. We will be applying for the forgiveness of the Payroll Protection Plan loan and expect that forgiveness will be forthcoming. I’m waiting to see what legislation will make this process easier.

I’m still working on my review of the 2020 financial statements to eliminate classification errors. Once they have been finalized, they will certainly be available to anyone who’d like to see them.

Our 2021 pledge drive leads me to believe 2021 will be just as awesome as 2020. We had 89 pledges, which is 9 more than in 2020. They total $261,762, an astounding 22% increase from 2020’s total. That’s an almost $50,000 increase! 

The median pledge is $1,440. For those of you who don’t speak Statistics, the median pledge is the one in the middle. In other words, if yours is the median, then half the pledges are lower than yours and half the pledges are higher than yours. 

A note on paying your pledges: As a church we love automatic monthly payments. If you set this up through your bank’s bill pay app there is no cost to The Advocate and probably no cost to you as well. If that’s not an option, you can use our website to set up automatic payments. This does cost the church a small percentage of your donation. If it helps you pay your pledge on time, it’s worth it!

If you took advantage of automatic payments for your 2020 pledge, don’t forget to set them up for 2021. Also check to be sure the ones for 2020 stopped on December 31. I’ve known people who didn’t realize they had to set up again each year, and other people who kept paying the previous year’s pledge along with the current year’s pledge. They were the ones who couldn’t figure out why their bank balance was always so low!

Please let me know if you have questions. I will be glad to answer them.

I’m really excited to be here and to be doing the work of the Treasurer in 2021. More importantly, I’m excited to be doing the work of Being Church with all of you in 2021 and for years to come.

Lent 2021 at the Advocate

The Season of Lent begins Ash Wednesday, February 17 and continues through the following 5 Sundays. Lent is a season of reflection and penitence, a season in which we become more aware of the gaps between who we are and who God calls us to be. Through the Season of Lent this year, we will particularly pay attention to the gap between God’s people, including us, and God’s land, in Piedmont North Carolina and beyond. We will do this in our liturgy, in our Screenside Chats, in a shared book read and in a shared practice.

Our principal liturgy on Sunday will be on Zoom at 10 AM. We will also have a pondside Eucharist at 4 PM each week. Please write to vicar@TheAdvocateChurch.org if you plan to attend the Eucharist.

Wednesday, February 17   Ash Wednesday

We will gather at 6 PM on Zoom for prayers, hymns, sermon and a casting of dirt upon our feet to remind us of our mortality. Have some dirt and a sheet of Newspaper close at hand. Here’s the Zoom link.

Thursday, February 18  Orange Justice United Meeting  7:00 – 8:30 PM.

Learn about collective work to bring justice to our county.

See more about Justice United here.
Please register in advance here

Sunday, February 21   The First Sunday in Lent

Our Liturgy will start with the Great Litany. An intercessory prayer dating to the 16th century. See more about theGreatLitany here.

The Screenside Chat after the liturgy will be a presentation of the draft and a discussion of our Parish Profile for the Vicar Search led by the Vestry. Please stay for this discussion and add your thoughts!

In our liturgy on the remaining Sundays in Lent, we will begin with a land acknowledgmentSee more here!

We will include prayers for the native peoples of our land and for our own increased awareness of God’s Land and God’s People.

Our Prayers of the People will be more spare, with particular intentions written into the chat, and with prayers that call us to greater awareness of God’s land and God’s people.

Our songs will include hymn #382 from the Episcopal Hymnal 1982 Many and Great Are Thy Works, a hymn was written in 1942 in the Dakota Native American language by Joseph Renville. See more here.

In our Screenside Chats this Lent, we will confront the inheritance of the Doctrine of Discovery and of colonialism. We will learn about the native peoples of our region and reflect on how we might support them in their efforts for recognition and repect.

            Sunday February 28   Day Smith Pritchartt will lead us in a conversation in response to this 14 minute video about the Doctrine of Discovery and it’s lingering effects.

            Sunday, March 7   We will hear from Vickie Jeffires, the Tribal Administrator of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation.

            Sunday, March 14   Damon Williams will lead us in a conversation about this 14-minute video about colonialism and it’s lingering effects.

Sunday, March 21  We will reflect on what we have learned and how we might move forward with our gained insight and awareness.

The Stations of the Cross Around the Advocate Pond
This 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. 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 booklet is also available here:
https://theadvocatechurch.org/stations-of-the-cross/See more here.

Eco-penance: A group of conversation and practice, led by Jan Coerper
As we focus of God’s Land, God’s People, and our Penance this Lent, let us put our hearts and heads together to examine the ways our lifestyles, particularly consumption behaviors, endanger God’s creation and how we can faithfully and collectively act in response out of love for our Creator. The group will meet bi-weekly on Saturday or Sunday afternoons via zoom and possibly include a weekly practice done individually. 

Read a prayer for our eco-penance here.

The Read 
In keeping with our Lenten focus on people who stewarded the land before us, we will be reading Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering Goda book on faith written by a native person, Kaitlin Curtice.  See the Goodreads synopsis here. Our discussion, tentatively set for 7pm on Tuesday, March 23, will be facilitated by the Vicar on Zoom.

A Lenten Quiet Day March 13, 9:30a.m.-2p.m.: The Rev. Robert Fruehwirth invites all clergy and lay leaders to “Mercy Works: Lamentation and Healing with Julian of Norwich,” a virtual Lenten offering intended as a time set aside specifically to offer God the grief and hurt of the past year, allowing God’s mercy to work more widely in us. Julian of Norwich’s experience of mercy will frame our prayer and listening. When we offer the ways that we and our communities have shared in Jesus’ death, God can give healing, and new and unexpected life. Ample time will be offered for reflection, listening, prayer and private conferences. An optional compline will take place on March 12. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required. Register.

 A Lenten Quiet Day    March 20 The Spiritual Life Guild of the Chapel of the Cross will be offering a virtual Lenten Quiet Day with The Rev. Matthew Wright, CRC from St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Woodstock, NY. A  former intern at the Advocate, Matthews is a well-regarded retreat facilitator and up and coming leader in the contemporary contemplative world. Matthew’s topic for the day will be: Entering the Heart of Christ: Christianity as Participatory Mystery. More information and registration link to follow soon.

Site Stewardship Morning! March 20 9 AM – noon.
Bring a rake and a hoe and help prepare the Advocate site for Holy Week and Easter. As always, there will be mulch! If possible, please our Junior Warden and Site Steward, Andrew Hammond, know you are coming. Andrew Hammond ahammond2184@gmail.com

Notes for the Season of Epiphany

About the Season

Star Quilt by Barbara Rowan, for the Church of the Advocate

An Epiphany with a capital E is a divine manifestation — an event through which God reveals God’s self to the world. The Season of Epiphany begins with the arrival of the sages from afar to visit and pay homage to the infant Jesus in Bethlehem — the event through which God makes known that Jesus is the Light for the world, not just for a chosen few.
The Season continues with stories of how God was, and is, made known, again and again, in Jesus the man, Jesus the Christ. Throughout the Season, we celebrate the Light that Jesus has brought into the world. We strive to be more mindful of the world around us. and to realize our call to carry the Light of Christ and to make it known — in our homes, in our places of work and leisure, in our towns and counties, and beyond.

At the Advocate this season, we will be reflecting on the divisions in our nation and what it means to love our neighbor and to work for transformative justice. We will be learning more about our neighbors of the Rogers Road Community, and we will be returning to our work against racism.

Some dates to note:

Friday, January 15: Help distribute food to the Rogers Road neighborhood from the Rogers Road Community Center. If you can be there Friday morning between 8 am and noon, contact our curate, Alice Graham Grant Advocatecurate@gmail.com.

The Journey to Racial Equity:
Join others across the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina on “The Journey to Racial Equity: A Three-Part Series” consisting of two webinars and a 21-day challenge. The schedule for the first round:
Part 1: Jan. 11, “An Evening with Debby Irving,” 7p.m. (webinar)
Part 2: Jan. 17 – Feb. 6, 21-Day Habit Building Challenge
Part 3: Feb. 9, “An Evening with the Rev. Dr. William Barber, II,” 7p.m. (webinar)

Register for the webinars (you will need to register for each; the link for the Part Two 21-day challenge will be sent to those who register):
Part 1: “An Evening with Debby Irving,” Jan. 11 at 7p.m.
Part 3: “An Evening with the Rev. Dr. William Barber, II,” Feb. 9 at 7p.m.
For more information see here.

Thursday, January 21 — InterFaith Council Commons (virtual) Grand Opening!

Christmas 2020 at the Advocate

Join us on live Zoom on Christmas Eve at 5 PM.

Here’s the link to the Advocate Christmas Eve on Zoom. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89489989437?pwd=YlNUdGxzNWd6NFFJQlZuVnVJWTFtdz09

            Meeting ID: 894 8998 9437
            Passcode: Christmas
            One tap mobile
                   +13017158592,,89489989437# US (Washington D.C)
                    +13126266799,,89489989437# US (Chicago)

You are invited to have a candle close at hand for the sinigng of Silent Night.
Note that there will also be Compline at 8:30 PM Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and all of the 12 Days of Christmas. 15 minutes of simple fellowship and traditional prayers and readings. Here’s the link for the Compline Zoom each night. Note that this is a new link and we will no longer have the link on the website.
Our regular Sunday schedule will continue on the Sundays of Christmas, December 27 and January 3.