For the time being, all church activities canceled

The following email was sent to the People of the Advocate by Priest Associate Nathan Kirkpatrick, on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Dear People of the Advocate — 

Social distancing. I had never heard that phrase before COVID-19 was the headline of every night’s newscast. Yet, it is a reality I have felt acutely for years now. I suspect you have, too.

As a country, we have witnessed social distancing between people who disagree politically – “red state” people and “blue state” people. We’ve seen social distancing between those who disagree theologically and ethically – what is the reach of grace? We’ve watched it happen between those in the top income brackets and those in the bottom. We’ve known it as feelings of loneliness and isolation rise even as we are more technologically tethered to one another than ever before. Social distancing.

Robert Putnam, the sociologist, saw this coming when he wrote Bowling Alone in the 1990s. What he observed in his research was that Americans had fewer encounters with people who differed from us, fewer opportunities to practice being in relationship with people who disagreed with us. We were becoming strangers to one another, and if strangers, we were becoming suspicious of one another. Social distancing.

It’s why being the people of the Advocate together matters. Week by week, we create real community with one another. We span generations and gender identities. We are gay and straight and everything in between. We cross political parties and theological beliefs. We are wealthy and comfortable and struggling to pay the bills all at the same time. We are healthy, healing, recovering and ill. We are hopeful, joyful, brokenhearted and anxious. But, week by week, when we come together, we reduce the social distance that so many of us know in other realms of life.

Now COVID-19 is requiring a measure of actual physical social distancing. As a people of faith and as a nation, we are confronted with a paradox. At a time when we need community the most, the tangible practices of being community must be adapted or suspended to slow the spread of the virus. As Advocate Peter Morris asked provocatively, “how will we adapt our life together to safeguard our people as best as we can while also continuing to provide real community?”

This is the question before us, especially since Lisa and I received word late this afternoon from our bishops that, effective immediately, all church activities across the Diocese of North Carolina are to be canceled for the next two weeks (through March 28). This includes Sunday and weekday worship, book studies, prayer groups, meals and meetings. The only exceptions the bishops offered are for funerals, food pantries, and churches that serve as shelters for housing insecure persons. In two weeks, the bishops, in conversation with the clergy of the diocese and appropriate health department officials, will reassess the situation to see if these cancellations will continue or will lapse. (You can read the bishops’ statement on the Diocesan website.)

Friends, to the best of my knowledge, these are unprecedented actions that underscore the seriousness of this moment. Lisa and I will be meeting tomorrow morning to discuss how we might gather for worship online and support one another generally in the weeks ahead. You will hear more from us before Sunday, and as you have ideas, please be in touch.

For now, though, it matters that we find creative ways to be community for and with one another even when we cannot gather face-to-face. It matters not just to the Advocate but to our neighbors and to the world. Our community is a witness of hope in the midst of fear, peace in the midst of panic, and faith in the midst of uncertainty.  

As ever, you are in my prayers. May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep all our hearts and minds. 

Peace, Nathan+

Let’s Walk the CROP Walk together March 29!

Help combat hunger in our own communities and throughout the world by participating in the annual CROP Hunger Walk on Sunday, March 29.  The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Hunger Walk steps off at 2:30 p.m.  at the Carrboro Town Commons.

Register and Raise funds in Person 
You can register in person by completing a Sign-in Sheet and Donation Envelope, available in the Advocate Bell Tower or from Team Co-captains Nancy Trueblood or Sallie Moore. 

Register and Raise Funds Online
Visit on Join Our Team (Advocate Episcopal Church) create your own account and learn how to share your online profile through a custom url, email, or on social media so that friends and family can donate to the walk through you.

Purchase a T-shirt
For $6 you can purchase a T-shirt to show your solidarity with our walkers.  See Nancy or Sallie, or email trueblood.nancy@gmail.comor sallie305@gmail.comso we can set aside one for you – even if you’re not able to walk, you can wear the shirt to show your solidarity with our team.


Walk/Run with our Neighbors at St. Pauls AME

Like to walk?  Love to run?  Ready to be part of a great community endeavor?

Here’s a wonderful opportunity to partner with our neighbor, the St. Paul AME Church, in support of the St. Paul A.M.E. Village, a mixed-use development and community resource, in the nearby Rogers Road Community.  

The St. Paul Community Walk and 5K Run will take place Saturday, March 7, 2020, beginning at 9 AM at McDougle Middle School.  Proceeds will benefit the St. Paul Village, with a portion being contributed to the Marian Cheek Jackson Center, dedicated to preserving the future of historically Black neighborhoods in Chapel Hill, and the Freedom House Recovery Center.


Register online at, call 919-967-3961, or email

Individual entry fee – $25. Family entry – $40.

Complete registration forms and information are available in the Bell Tower.

The 2019 Walk benefited the Pee Wee Homes.  Participate in this year’s Walk and show our gratitude!

Lent at the Advocate

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

Ash Wednesday, February 26.
12 Noon     Holy Eucharist with the Imposition of Ashes
6 PM          Holy Eucharist with the Imposition of Ashes and Hymns

Friday, March 6, the Chapel will host Songs of Hope and Courage, Celebrating Pete Seeger’s Legacy, with Annie Patterson and Mary Witt. 7:30 – 9 PM.  See the flyer here!

In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, all church activities will be cancelled through Saturday, March 28. The Advocate Chapel will remain open for individual prayer and meditation daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Saturday, April 4,Amanda Godwin will lead a Body Prayer workshop in the Chapel 10 AM – 2:30 PM.See the flyer attached and online here.

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. 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.  See more here.

Other Notes for Lent
The Rite of the Reconciliation of the Penitent (Confession)
Lent is a good season to engage in the Rite of Reconciliation of a Penitent – otherwise known as “making confession”. This simple yet powerful rite is in the Book of Common Prayer (pp. 447-452) and is required of none, recommended for some, and beneficial for all. It helps us to examine our lives, relieve the burdens of our souls, and prepare the way for the joy of Easter. It is private; it is confidential. The clergy of the Advocate are available to offer the Rite of Reconciliation, or to recommend other priests to you.

Numbering Our Days. A day of reflection and creativity in January

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a wisdom of heart.” – Psalm 90:12

How can we better lean into God’s vision for us as we enter into 2020? Spend the day with the Band of Sisters as we assemble cloth, paper, thread, and…voila!…create a personal notebook and calendar for the new year. This lovely, small format book will easily slip into a bag so you can capture your inspirations as you make your way through the days, weeks, and months of 2020.

9am-3pm on Saturday, January 11 at The Episcopal Church of the Advocate in Chapel Hill

Your $40 registration fee includes all materials for the day. (if you need assistance for the registration fee, please contact

Bring a bag lunch – we will provide coffee, tea, and water throughout the day.

The Band of Sisters is a group of women dedicated to providing opportunities for people of faith, especially women, to gather in a prayerful setting in order to learn about and share their experiences of faith. Our goal is to form and encourage a Christian community of women who seek to grow spiritually. While we are of the Christian tradition, we welcome people of all faiths. Our gatherings include days of reflection, retreats, and opportunities to serve others in need.

Visit and click on the Calendar Page to register.

Jobs posted at Farmer Foodshare and the IFC!

Farmer Foodshare is looking for an Executive Director. “Farmer Foodshare approaches hunger from both sides of the problem – small farmers struggling to stay in business, and disadvantaged populations who lack access to fresh and nutritious food. This is what makes them unique! Since 2009, Farmer Foodshare has fostered cross-sector partnerships to build a local food system in which all members of our community can have access to healthy, nutritious food, and those who labor in agriculture can make a viable living.”

See more about the Farmer Foodshare Executive Director job posting here!

Also, the InterFaith Council is seeking a Heavenly Groceries Food Ministry Coordinator. A terrific opportunity for someone who wants to work 15 hours a week for a very good agency. See flyer below.

Advocate Sweet 16 Celebration, Saturday, September 21

Join us Saturday, September 21, as we celebrate our 16th birthday. It’s a celebration in 6 parts!

1) 3 PM – 5 PM Visioning ahead. Come meet with our vicar and senior warden to begin a process of visioning for our future. As with so much of what we do, this will be the work of the people. And it will be what it will be because of who participates. So please come if you can!
2) 4:30 – 7:30 PM Fairy Hair and Face Paint and other kids activities. Sparkle Body Arts will provide fairy hair and face painting from 4:30 – 7:30. Only one person at a time, so we hope some folks will come early and others will be willing to wait and duck out during the talent show. 5:15 – 6:45PM. Once the Visioning gathering is over, around 5, we will also have bubbles and a costume photo booth during the cookout!
3) 5:15 – 6:45 ish. A cookout!. We will joined by the Dogwood Blossom Band as we gather for veggie burgers and beef burgers, with the the usual augmentations. Beverages provided. Please bring a side dish if you can. If you can help with the grilling, please contact “Paul B. Marvin”
4) 7 ish til….  An Advocate Talent Show in the Chapel! 
If you want to participate in the 2nd Annual Advocate Talent Show OR display some art work, please email Erin Dangler by Sept. 17th. Erin will send you a confirmation with all the details and getting participation information from you. Remember, Participation over Perfection! 
5) Campfire and S’mores. Here’s where we have dessert!
6) A pondside campout ! Those who wish can bring their tents and stay the night, then come to church in the morning.
Also…. Sunday at 10:50 we will dedicate our new Peace Pole!

The Way of Love

The Way of Love
is a way of life.

More than a program or curriculum, it is an intentional commitment to a set of practices. It’s a commitment to follow Jesus: Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest.

During A Teachable Moment between the 9 AM and 11 AM liturgies this fall, all are welcome to engage in The Way of Love. Each week we will explore one of the themes offered by our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

See the introduction and Bishop Curry’s invitation here.

Episcopal 101

Are you interested in learning more about the history, theology, liturgy, and structure of the Episcopal Church? If so, join us Sunday afternoons, September 8 – October 13, for “Episcopal 101,” a conversation-based introduction to the church. In each conversation we will be asking, “What difference does this make for us?”

Each week’s topic will be posted beforehand (see basic plan below). Any and all are welcome to join in any or all sessions.

Note: for these preparing for confirmation or reception in the Episcopal Church at the Bishop’s Visitation on Sunday, October 20, participation is expected.

Classes will generally be held1:15 – 2:30 PM at the Advocate.

If you are interested in being a part of the conversation, be in touch with the Vicar (

Episcopal 101, general plan:    
1) Jesus, Scripture and the early Church   
2) The Church in England and The Anglican Communion 
3) Anglican spirituality and The Book of Common Prayer  
4) Anglican Moral Theology
5) The Episcopal Church USA and how the Advocate fits in.