|I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.… from the Book of Common Prayer Ash Wednesday liturgy.
Sundays in Lent
For the Season of Lent, we will have more silence in worship and we invite you to consider taking off your shoes when you enter the Chapel, as a way to acknowledge that you have entered a sacred space and time. If you wish to kneel, we invite you to bring a pillow from home, or to kneel on the floor. The liturgy each Sunday will begin with a penitential rite.
For the weekly schedule on Sundays and Wednesdays, visit TheAdvocateChurch.org
Ash Wednesday, March 6.
The House Dinner throughout the Season of Lent will happen on Thursdays at 7. As usual, please let Charles Rousseau <email@example.com> know if you plan to be there. See more about these occasions for fellowship and community here.
Lenten Study on Wednesday Nights at 7 PM: A Season of the Spirit, Readings for the Days of Lent. Join with others engaging in this helpful book by Martin Smith. For more information, contact “Paul B. Marvin” <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
The Teachable Moment in Lent. Sunday morning at 10:10. Exploring The Cross and the Lynching Tree. “The cross and the lynching tree are separated by nearly 2,000 years. One is the universal symbol of Christian faith; the other is the quintessential symbol of black oppression in America. Though both are symbols of death, one represents a message of hope and salvation, while the other signifies the negation of that message by white supremacy.” James Cone, a founder and leader of black liberation theology, introduces “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” with these provocative words.
Stations of the Cross Around the Advocate Pond
Saturday, April 6 Site Stewardship Day. We will plant and mulch around the Pee wee Homes, clear up the winter accumulations and make ready for Holy Week and Easter ahead. 9 AM – noon.
Other Notes for Lent
The weekly House Dinners move to Thursdays in Lent, when The Advocate House becomes a place of shared food, shared stories, and deep fellowship. Our Advocate resident, Charles Rousseau is the host, providing an atmosphere of welcome, mutual care, and good humor. We call it House Dinner.
House Dinner is a time of togetherness over a shared meal, concluding with an invitation to respond to an open-ended prompt, often about an idea or concept (e.g., “shelter,” “grace,” “Christmas spirit”).
All are welcome any time, But it helps if you can let Charles know you are coming and if you can contribute food to the meal, so he can be sure the food and setting are gracious and welcoming.
Contact Charles Rousseau <email@example.com>, ideally by Tuesday of the week to let him know.
The Hose Dinner takes place on Wednesday, night at 7 PM except for when other events are scheduled at the church on that night, such at the Readers Roundtable on second Wednesdays, or a seasonal book study, as in Lent. On those weeks, the House Dinner moves to Thursday night at 7 PM.
Check the weekly calendar on the Advocate website for clarity!
The Episcopal Church of the Advocate is committed to giving a minimum of 10% of our pledged income and plate offering received each Sunday to individuals and organizations in the community. In other words, for every $10 pledged, $1 will be given to those in need and those working for peace and justice in the world. This offering is called the Advocate Tithe for Community Engagement. Distribution of the Advocate Tithe is determined at the recommendation of the Community Engagement Facilitators.
Procedures for Requesting Support
- Here is the Application for Support from the Advocate Tithe: tithe proposal form
- Completed forms may be sent to the church at: The Advocate Church Office <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Applications are due by Sunday, November 25.
- Proposals will be evaluated by how closely they match the Advocate’s Core Values (Compassion, Justice, and Transformation) as well as the priorities for giving and involvement identified by the congregation. Priority is given to those programs an projects in which people of the Advocate are directly involved.
Decisions about supporting proposals are made by consensus among those present at meetings of the Community Engagement Facilitators. All proposals for financial or other support will be reviewed and approved on the basis of their fulfillment of our core values.
In our decisions about how to engage with the community around us, we prefer to:
- Support projects that give voice to people who are marginalized and have very little voice.
- Provide not only financial support, but also the time and talent of members of the congregation.
- Support projects in which members of the congregation are already involved.
- Support projects and organizations that are accountable, sustainable, and willing to teach us about their outcomes.
- Support projects and organizations that are willing to send representatives to visit and help educate the congregation about their issues of concern.
- Support groups that promote change, as well as those that meet direct needs.
- 10% of our Tithe grants are given in the spirit of the Millennium Development Goals, usually supporting a ministry overseas.
The Advocate Tithe for 2017 was distributed as follows:
Vicar’s Discretionary Fund $2500
Inter Faith Council $2000
Justice United $1500
Club Nova $1000
Community of the Franciscan Way $1000
EmPOWerment Inc $1000
Autism Society of North Carolina $1000
Compass Center $1000
Johnson Service Corps $1250
Jackson Center $750
Episcopal Farmworker Ministry $1500
Community Empowerment Fund $1000
Farmer Foodshare $500
Church of the Rec Sanctuary $500
Ahli Hospital, Gaza City Palestine $1250
Teachers salaries at St. Innocents Tickolette Haiti $500
To view distributions in previous years, visit here.
Interfaith Vigil and Prayer Service
Tuesday, October 30 @ 7:00 p.m.
1200 Mason Farm Road
Chapel Hill, NC
Join us as we mourn the victims of the mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in
Pittsburgh, and stand in solidarity against
antisemitism, bigotry and hatred.
There are two hymns that have been running through my head as I looked forward to today. “There’s a sweet, sweet spirit in this place …” and “Every time I feel the spirit …” There is something about today that makes me want to sing and dance, with you.
Now those last two words are the key words, “with you.” Not only am I too self-conscious to sing and dance without you, (remember I am, after all, a native of New England). But more important, the movement of the Holy Spirit is something that, by its very nature, is meant to be shared, to be experienced in community, to be celebrated together. As my seminary Professor Charlie Price used to say participation is a Holy Spirit word, and today is all about participation.
So many things to celebrate today, and such a joy to be with you. 15 years of the Church of the Advocate. 15 years of the gift of the Holy Spirit moving through you, through your community, through your leadership and your witness.
15 years of innovation and initiative grounded in the liturgical richness of our Anglican tradition. Or to borrow from the Orange County slogan – 15 years of living “around the corner AND ahead of the curve…”
Let me suggest a couple of visual images for today. One comes from our Presiding Bishop, who played a key role in your beginnings. Bishop Curry, in one of his first videos after he became Presiding Bishop, spoke about being asked what the Jesus movement looked like. And of course the video was filled on the streets of New York, and Bishop Curry is moving about walking and talking, and is in fact, himself, an embodiment of the Jesus movement. But he is also wise enough to know that we all need to be involved, to participate together. So he shared an image from our liturgy, of the moment, as the gospel is processed, where all the people turn together, to face the gospel. He said, that is an image of the Jesus movement. And you all here, have taken that to a deeper level with the opportunity to reverence, to touch or kiss the gospel as it moves through the community. For me, this captures a moment where the Jesus movement meets the movement of the Holy Spirit, in worship.
And as you well know, the Jesus movement is not just about what takes place inside the church. An equally vital dimension of the Jesus movement is what takes place outside the church. And here, the image that comes to my mind is the journey, literally the movement, of this building, which was St. Philip’s church, in Germantown, NC as it made its way to the Homestead Site here, in December of 2012. They had to remove the roof for the move, but the visual image of this church moving, on a flat bed truck, from that community to this one, is an icon of the church literally moving through the world.
The Holy Sprit is all about repurposing, reimaging, recreating and renewing. And in an age where many churches are struggling under the burden of what has come to be called our edifice complex, you were showing how the building itself can remind the church that we are called to be on the move: in, through, and for, the communities we serve.
And your name, Church of the Advocate, conveys this deep commitment, which is embedded in your missional DNA. You are the embodiment of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and you are all about what it means to be an Advocate – as your T-shirt puts it – “Be the noun, do the verb.”
And here there are numerous examples of the ways you have done just that. Compassion, justice and collaboration have been the values that stand at the center of your advocacy. And today, we celebrate with you two initiatives in particular, which have been at the heart of your connection to the community: the Piedmont Patch Collaborative and the Pee Wee Homes Collaborative.
The first is a model for how we are called to be good neighbors and stewards of the land, and the ways we can learn to “serve rather then harm God’s creation.” The second is an initiative which invites a broad cross-section of the community to collaborate in an innovative approach to affordable housing, partnering with town, county, individuals, organizations, and other non-profits, including Orange County Habitat for Humanity, to create another pathway to homeownership. This is the stuff of the gospel! This is what we are called to do and be!
Not that accomplishing all of this has always been easy. At times it has been discouraging, frustrating and disheartening. And occasionally, truth be told, bureaucratic impulses from within our own church structures have gotten in the way … imagine that. But here is where the Holy Spirit, the power of your commitment, faith in God, trust in Jesus, holding to your guiding values at the center have helped you to persevere and prevail.
Bishop Steven Charleston has written words which remind us that the spirit is at work even when we are facing challenges and resistance:
“Don’t let the dark clouds fool you. They may pretend to own the heavens, to stretch from horizon to horizon, ominous and commanding, a permanent shadow hanging over our lives, but don’t let the clouds fool you … there is world of sunlight behind them. One day, when the wind of change pushes them apart, that light will return to bathe the earth, to restore the vision of every person, to set right what has been broken. Stand firm then in what you know and believe. Look up and do not be afraid, for when you feel the first breeze of hope, you will know the clouds will soon be chased from the sky.”
The wind, the breath, the breeze, these are all signs of the Holy Spirit. And our readings today all celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. In Isaiah, the Spirit of the Lord is upon the prophet as justice, healing, and Good News are proclaimed. In I Corinthians, it is the variety of gifts that are celebrated, all in the one body. And Luke is a kind of backhanded affirmation if we, who are less than perfect know how to give good gifts, how much more does God gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit, when we ask.
The Holy Spirit is a relentless advocate for justice, for compassion, and the witness of the Holy Spirit for generations has been that this is work we must do together, in concert, as part of the Body of Christ.
And today, we celebrate this gift and the 15 year journey that has brought you to here. The winds of change are blowing through you in a way that has opened us as a diocese and opened the wider church.
Not coincidently, this week, the Standing Committee and Diocesan Council both voted to recommend that a new church plant, Christ the Beloved Community, in Winston-Salem, be recognized and received into communion with our convention next month. There was great excitement as we talked about this. Christ Beloved Community serves a Latino neighborhood and it has been a partnership with the Lutheran Church from the very beginning.
A couple of people said they couldn’t remember the last time this happened in our diocese. But you can! It was in January of 2004, back when our convention was held in January. You were that mission! And there is a connection between that moment and the one we will celebrate next month.
Justice, compassion and collaboration are part of their values, too. Your journey has inspired theirs. Without your witness and your trailblazing, who knows if this community would ever have been started. Their journey is part of your legacy.
The breeze of the Holy Spirit is stirring among you and within you. And those being confirmed and received today are a testimony to that movement. They are part of it. All seven of them, and Lisa counted them just before the service to make sure they were all here. And we are all part of this movement of the Holy Spirit.
It is a movement that invites and involves all of us. It means to be an Advocate/ to Advocate: be the noun, do the verb. It is the Jesus movement alive and well in this time and in this place.
And today we celebrate loud and long the gifts of the spirit that have made this possible, and the compassion, collaboration and justice that through you, has been born in our community and reborn in our church There’s a sweet, sweet spirit in this place, and we know that it’s the spirit of the Advocate. AMEN.
Advocate 15th Anniversary t-shirts in grey or red are available in kids small and medium, and in adults small, medium and large.
On the front, the shirts read:
BE THE NOUN
DO THE VERB
On the back, the shirts read:
Welcoming people of every kind of household and at every stage of life and faith and doubt since 2003 – The Advocate. (and there’s an image of the Advo-cat, Smoke)
A donation of $15 is requested for each shirt.
Cash or write checks to ECOTA, with T-shirt in the memo line.
Shirts are available at the Church House, especially on Sundays.
For an additional $7.50 plus you address, we will send one to you!
You can order in two ways:
- Online. Send your mailing information and your size to:
The Advocate Church Office <email@example.com>
Then go to our online donation page and donate $22,50 (or more!). For convenience, use the general operating fund designation. We will assume that gifts of $22.50 are intended for t-shirt purchase and mailing. But will need an email let us know where to send it!
- Send a check and your size in the mail to:
8410 Merin Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
We are grateful for this coverage of the dedication of the Pee Wee Homes construction at the Advocate on October 21.
We sure hope others will be inspired to help address the affordable housing needs in our community with the Pee Wee Homes model or other creative solutions.
The story of Advocate Loans and Debt
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
First, a $180,000 loan from an anonymous individual loaner. This is the loan that we paid off in January 2018, after a lot of hard work and generosity from Advocates and friends, including a final $20,000 from the loaner!
Second, a $150,000 loan from the North Carolina Episcopal Church Foundation. This loan was taken out in 2013, to be paid at 2% interest over 10 years, ending in 2023.
For 5 years, the $15,000 a year and the 2% interest were budgeted in the Advocate’s Annual Budget. In January, 2018, though, we began to accelerate the payments, knowing that the sooner we paid off this loan, the sooner we could use that $15,000 a year to augment our life and ministry instead.
When we had $50,000 left to go, a generous friend offered to match any gift given, up to $20,000, in time for the 15th Anniversary of the Advocate’s launch on September 21, 2018, bringing us within $10,000 of our final goal. And we did it!
But we still had $10,000 to go …
In the days that followed, enthusiastic support kept coming in. It was amazing. And sure enough, by the time of our official 15th Anniversary Celebration, October 21, the final $10,000 was in.
The Church of the Advocate is now DEBT-FREE!
This is, quite frankly, stunning.
Stanton Lanier, the Pianist of Peace, makes his first concert appearance in Chapel Hill right here at the Advocate at 7 PM this Saturday, August 25!
Lanier is an award-winning pianist-composer with a passion to touch lives through instrumental music. All 11 of his albums contain Scripture-inspired piano melodies that bring peace, rest, hope and healing to listeners around the world. His music touches five million listeners annually across 140 countries. You can listen to a music clip here. (link http://www.stantonlanier.com/walking-on-air-music-video/ )
All the proceeds go to the non profit Music to Light the World, through which the artist shares his calming, peaceful music to families with someone going through cancer treatment or other serious illness.