Readers Roundtable 2nd Wednesday at 7

IMG_0382The Readers Roundtable gathers the second Wednesday of the month, 7:00-8:30 PM in the Advocate House  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, Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River, Wendell Berry’s A Place on Earth,

Each month the conversation is open to everyone and their friends.

In the season ahead, here are the books that will be discussed:

Wednesday, September 12

Out of the Silent Planet

The first book in C. S. Lewis’s acclaimed Space Trilogy, which continues with Perelandra and That Hideous Strength, Out of the Silent Planet begins the adventures of the remarkable Dr. Ransom. Here, that estimable man is abducted by a megalomaniacal physicist and his accomplice and taken via spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra. The two men are in need of a human sacrifice, and Dr. Ransom would seem to fit the bill. Once on the planet, however, Ransom eludes his captors, risking his life and his chances of returning to Earth, becoming a stranger in a land that is enchanting in its difference from Earth and instructive in its similarity. First published in 1943, Out of the Silent Planet remains a mysterious and suspenseful tour de force.

 

Wednesday, October 10

Akata Witch

“Nnedi Okorafor writes glorious futures and fabulous fantasies. Her characters take your heart and squeeze it; her worlds open your mind to new things.” — Neil Gaiman, author of The Graveyard Book and American Gods.

Affectionately dubbed “the Nigerian Harry Potter,” Akata Witch weaves together a heart-pounding tale of magic, mystery, and finding one’s place in the world. Perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone!

 

Wednesday, November 14

TransAtlantic: A Novel

New York Times Bestseller • Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize • Named one of the best books of the year by Kirkus Reviews

In the National Book Award–winning Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann thrilled readers with a marvelous high-wire act of fiction that The New York Times Book Review called “an emotional tour de force.” Now McCann demonstrates once again why he is one of the most acclaimed and essential authors of his generation with a soaring novel that spans continents, leaps centuries, and unites a cast of deftly rendered characters, both real and imagined.

 

Wednesday, December 12

The Nightingale: A Novel

A #1 New York Times bestseller, Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year, and soon to be a major motion picture, this unforgettable novel of love and strength in the face of war has enthralled a generation.

France, 1939 – In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France … but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive…

 

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!

Notes for the Season Ahead! (an evolving post)

Sunday, September 9, Celebrate and Connect,  a “Mission Fare” from 10 – 10:50 AM, ahead of the 11 AM liturgy. Come a discover ways to engage with God, the community around us, and the Church of the Advocate in the seasons ahead!
The 9 AM liturgy will be added on Sunday, September 16.
See the regular Sunday schedule here.
Here are some other Dates to Note (this is an evolving calendar, please check back for updates!).
Saturday, September 8, Grass Plugging!  Once again, the Piedmont Patch at the Advocate has been gifted with 1000 plugs of native grasses that need to be planted as soon as possible. Join us, 8 AM – 11 AM, to plug these grasses into the ground!
Wednesday, September 12: 7-8:30  The Readers Roundtable talks about CS Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet. See more here.
Saturday, September 22, 10 AM – noon. The Piedmont Patch at the Advocate, in collaboration with the New Hope Audubon Chapter presents: Native Piedmont Birds. See more here.
Saturday, October 13, 9 AM – noon. An Advocate Site Stewardship autumn work day. Did somebody say “Mulch!”?
October 20-21, A Celebration of The Advocate’s 15th Anniversary, with music, food, festival liturgy, Piedmont Patch and Pee Wee Homes events. Our Bishop, Sam Rodman will join us Sunday morning.
Sunday October 21 at 1PM: Ribbon cutting for the Pee Wee Homes!
Other Good Things Ahead
Construction of the three Pee Wee Homes at the Advocate has (finally) begun. Volunteer Days will begin one the framing is up. To sign up to volunteer, see here.
A Study of the Hebrew Scriptures will begin September 23. See more here.

The Liturgy and Community — Teachable Moments September 16 – October 14. Details coming soon.

The Episcopal Church and The Advocate: Questions and Conversations.  7-8:30 PM, Wednesdays September 19 and 26, and October 3 and 17.

Readers Roundtable — Second Wednesdays — September 12, October 10, November 14, December 12. See more here.

Third Sunday Shape Note Sing  — August 19, September 16, October 21 — 2PM – 4 PM. In the Advocate Chapel. See more here.
check TheAdvocateChurch.org for updates and additions)

Horticulture as Therapy: A Piedmont Patch Event, Saturday, May 19

HORTICULTURE AS THERAPY
Featuring Amy Brightwood
Saturday, May 19, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
At The Episcopal Church of the Advocate, 8410 Merin Road, Chapel Hill

The Piedmont Patch Collaborative announces “Horticulture as Therapy,” on Saturday, May 19 from 10:00 am to 12:00 p.m. at The Episcopal Church of the Advocate located at 8410 Merin Road in Chapel Hill. The program, featuring Amy Brightwood, will provide an overview of the demonstrated benefits of gardening to promote individual mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and intellectual well-being. The long-standing Horticultural Therapy program at the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill has worked with groups of all ages, including patients suffering from brain damage, teenagers with eating disorders, and seniors suffering from senile dementia.

Amy Brightwood is completing the final stages of her training as a Horticultural Therapist with an internship at the North Carolina Botanical Garden. She will offer an introduction to the many benefits of Horticultural Therapy in general, and describe the teacher training program that she developed at Glenwood Elementary School in Chapel Hill. After her presentation, there will be a demonstration of potting native wildflowers and culinary herbs that will beautify sunny decks and patios while also serving as food sources for pollinators. The first 30 people to register for the talk via e-mail will receive a free native wildflower to use in the creation of their own container gardens.

“Bacteria in the soil emit substances that generate the brain chemicals that lift depression. Basically, there’s a biochemical reason gardening makes us happy,” said Catherine Bollinger, Volunteer Botanical Consultant for Piedmont Patch. “This program will help participants value gardening as a wellness activity.”

The Piedmont Patch is a collaboration of the Episcopal Church of the Advocate in Chapel Hill and various groups that promote the value and importance of native species, including the North Carolina Botanical Garden and the New Hope chapter of the Audubon Society. It promotes the restoration of native landscapes on private and public properties, one patch of Piedmont at a time. This event is one of a series of free quarterly educational events; there are also hands-on experiences like the recent Planting Day on April 14, that are planned to engage interested persons at any level of experience. For updates, follow the Piedmont Patch Collaborative on Facebook.

Pee Wee Homes Groundbreaking, Sunday, May 6, Rain or Shine at 12:30 PM!

 

The Episcopal Church of the Advocate invites all to join us to take part in groundbreaking activities for the building of three Pee Wee Homes on the church’s property.
The second of two Pee Wee designs for the Advocate site.
Smoked pork provided.
As you are able, bring a side dish to share.
Ground breaking ceremonies will begin at 1 PM.
 Music provided by
The Dogwood Blossom Band
and friends!

What Happens Maundy Thursday?

903630_10100328975028214_779556457_oOn the Thursday of Holy Week, also called Maundy Thursday, the Church universal remembers Jesus’ “last supper” with his disciples. Scripture tells us that they gathered in an “upper room” for the passover meal.  They feasted and enjoyed one another’s fellowship. The frescos of Da Vinci at the Vatican and of Ben Long in Glendale Springs, NC, capture the intimacy and the complexity of that night.
Jesus surprised them all, first by washing their feet, then by his strange words about the bread and the wine. The former practice is remembered with varying degrees of symbolism and formality by many congregations. The latter practice evolved quickly as the Eucharist, the Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper. And on Maundy Thursday we re-member both events.
Another practice of Maundy Thursday is “the stripping of the altar”. In this, vessels and cloths, of books and of banners, are all removed from the altar and its surrounding space. And the processional cross is veiled in black. It is as though the resurrection never happened. Death is the end. We move toward Good Friday, woefully aware of the disciples’ abandonment, and even betrayal, of Jesus, saddened by our own “standing by” while that crucifixion continues in other forms today.
In the first ten years of the Advocate, we had neither land nor building of our own, and we developed our Holy Week liturgies in such a way as to allow us to enter into Jesus’ last week as a human being as best we could in our time and place. We said “Carrboro becomes Jerusalem”. And we rented the Fleming Lodge at Camp New Hope to be our “upper room”. Maundy Thursday at Camp New Hope quickly became a favorite event in the life of the Advocate.
Each year we gather in the lodge for a festive evening of Middle Eastern food. Fresh tulips on every table, with a chalice of wine. and a basket of pita. Vestry members and other lay leaders serve the tables, and after supper offer the foot washing. An acoustic band leads us in favorite songs: All Who Hunger Gather Gladly, The Servant Song, Ubi Caritas, and more. At the end of the evening we clear the table tops and then the room itself. The transition is made plain. And we gather in the dark on the porch to hear Psalm 22, stand in silence, then go our separate ways into the night.
It is a night of friendship and faith. It is also a night of hospitality. We encourage visitors and friends to come on over and join us.
6:30 – 8:30 PM. Fleming Lodge, Camp New Hope. (off highway 86, 3 miles north of the I40-86 interchange).
Please come and join us for an evening of food, song and prayer. All are welcome.

 

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!

Unknown

images

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.

Reflections for the First Sunday After the Epiphany, January 8, 2017

Reflections on the First Sunday After the Epiphany
January 8, 2017
The Rev. Lisa G. Fischbeck, Vicar

“Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it, and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you…..” (Isaiah 42)

“I have taken you by the hand and kept you….”

Today marks the first Sunday in the season of Epiphany. Friday evening some gathered in the Chapel to celebrate the feast of the Epiphany itself. And we were reminded of the coming of the wise men, the sages from afar, to the birthplace of Jesus. By that story we are told that Jesus came, not just for a few, but for all. For all of “us” and for all with whom we share this world.

In the words of St. Peter in Acts of the Apostles: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality.”

And today, today we hear the story of the baptism of Jesus. (We had a little fast forward of 30 years in 30 hours…) In this morning’s Gospel, Jesus is full grown. A man.

Today’s story is not just the story of John the Baptist and the River Jordan and the cleansing ritual and Jesus.

Importantly, the Gospel story we hear today is also a story of the Holy Spirit, descending upon Jesus, in bodily form like a dove. It’s the story of a voice coming from heaven declaring, “You are my Son, the Beloved.”

That dove and voice bit is essential to the story. Because by it we learn, just as the witnesses of old learned, that somehow in this person Jesus God is made (here’s the good Epiphany word) God is made manifest in Jesus the man.

As the old hymn goes: “God in man made manifest”.

In this person Jesus,
God is.

And because God is in this person Jesus, in this human being born like one of us, in this human being dwelling on earth like one of us, because God is in this person Jesus, we understand that God has chosen to engage with us in an incredible, powerful, awesome and efficient way.

So that now we can hear the word of God in the prophet Isaiah and know it true,
“I have taken you by the hand and kept you.”

Throughout the season of Epiphany ahead we will recognize, embrace, celebrate, that God has taken us by the hand and kept us.
We will celebrate that God has been manifest in Jesus, and, as such, has engaged with us, closely.

In the season of Epiphany, we will hear story after story that reveals that manifestation of God in Christ. We will hear stories of Christ’s miracles, of Christ teaching with authority, of Christ shining with a holy glow like none other – in his transfiguration on the mountainside.

This is all very cool. And exciting. Not only because we are talking about God –
“the God who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it, and spirit to those who walk in it”.

But because we are talking about that God engaging with us. we who are frail and floppy, self-centered and arrogant, fearful and flailing.

Epiphany is not a story of God’s “outreach” — of God reaching out to us and giving us what we need. Epiphany is a story of God’s “engagement”. In Christ, God has engaged with us. And, in Christ, God has called us to engage with one another, and with the world in which we live.

It begins today as we hear the story of the Baptism of Jesus. And we consider again our own baptism. The Holy Spirit was present at both.

If we were in worship together this morning, we would renew once more our baptismal covenant, reminding us of what it means that we are baptized and what we are called to be and do because of it.
I’ve pasted that covenant below.

In Christ, God has engaged with humanity.
In our baptism, we have become engaged with Christ.
So it is that God has chosen to take us by the hand
and keep us close.

That is the stuff of the season.

Amen.

The Baptismal Covenant

Celebrant                  Do you believe in God the Father?
People                                    I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

Celebrant                  Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
People                                    I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Celebrant                  Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
People                      I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

Celebrant                  Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in the prayers?

People                      I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant                  Will you persevere in resisting evil, and , whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
People                      I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant                  Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?People                       I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant                  Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
People                       I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant                  Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
People                        I will, with God’s help.

 

 

The Sunday After Tuesday. A Nathan Kirkpatrick Sermon @ The Advocate

The Sunday After Tuesday
A sermon preached at the Episcopal Church of the Advocate
Proper XXVIII | November 13, 2016

In some strands of the Christian traditions,
The room that we are now in is called a sanctuary;
It comes from a Latin word that means “a place for holy things.”
Whoever the wordsmith was
who first called this place a sanctuary,
You know what she or he probably had in mind:
that this was a place where we were assured of God’s presence
Where reminders of God’s presence surround us.
This was the place where humble bread and simple wine
become Body and Blood,
Where water could claim and transform lives
through the power of the Spirit,
Where the tradition’s texts could be heard and God could still speak,
Where art and music could carry us
mystically into the presence of God.
This is a place for holy things.

It’s is an ancient idea.
You remember that the Israelites
in their sojourns carried with them a Tabernacle,
A physical place where God could be encountered;
As long as it was there, something was certain in an uncertain world.

When the Israelites settled into the Promised Land,
You remember that King Solomon built the most glorious Temple imaginable.
A physical place where God could be encountered;
As long as it was there, something was certain in an uncertain world.

Years later, when the Babylonians invaded Israel,
They destroyed Solomon’s Temple, destroying
The physical place that was a reminder of God’s abiding presence.
In its absence, things were even less certain in an incredibly uncertain world.

Years later, when the Babylonians were evicted,
the people built again, and in 515 BC, the Second Temple was completed.
A new physical place where God could be encountered;
As long as it was there, something was certain in an uncertain world.
It was a sanctuary – a place for holy things.

 

It’s why it was so disconcerting to hear Jesus talk about the coming collapse of the Temple.
The Temple was a sanctuary – a physical place where, in the midst of Roman occupation,
Jews could remember that God had not abandoned them, that God was with them.
In an uncertain life, you could see its shadow against the sunset and be assured
That you were not forgotten or forsaken.

And yet, Jesus says it’s coming down.
When some of his followers are bragging about how beautiful it is,
Jesus says that
that not one stone will be left standing on another.
That as nation rises against nation, as the world reels and rocks,
the sign and symbol of God’s abiding presence,
the place for holy things, would be no more.

To be sure, it’s one of Jesus’ least comforting sermons.
To the people of his day, this sermon would have been
As improbable as it would have been disorienting.

Without the Temple,
Would they ever feel safe again? Could they ever feel safe again?
Where could they know that God was with them?
Where could they ever feel like they belonged?
That they weren’t forgotten or forsaken?

In an already volatile and uncertain world,
In their already volatile and uncertain lives,
Without the Temple,
could they ever be sure of anything again?

Nothing would feel safe, nothing would feel sacred.
Stone-by-stone, the whole world would collapse.

 

And if you remember your history, that’s the way it happened.
In 70 AD, the Second Temple came down –
Leaving only a single wall, what we know today as the Wailing Wall, standing.
And the Jewish world despaired.

Now if you listen around the edges to his sermon,
it is as if Jesus is saying
that the future will require a different kind of sanctuary,
That the assurance of God’s presence will have to come through different means,
That a reminder of your value and worth as the people of God
would have to come from someplace other than the place where you had always known it.
The future will require a different kind of sanctuary.

Which is why Jesus entrusts us to each other.
It’s why Jesus gives us the Spirit – to knit us together –
As a single body, for one another, with one another.
Temples can collapse,
but the people of God will be sanctuary
for each other forever.

And across the early years of the church,
The people of God sheltered and shielded each other.
Lacking buildings, they hid together in tombs and catacombs.
They gathered around a simple meal and reminded each other that God was with them,
That they were precious in the sight of God.
When the Empire came with its spears and swords,
they surrounded each other with love and affection,
protecting the most vulnerable in their midst
with their own bodies if they had to.

The people of God became to each other a sanctuary,
Not made of stone or by human hands.
But a sanctuary made by the Spirit, the Advocate —
The people of God became a sanctuary of a common purpose,
A sanctuary of common love, a sanctuary of common heart.
The sanctuary – the place for holy things – was the community.

It was part of the way that the Church lived its mission:
To restore all people to unity with God and with each other in Christ.

Over time, as the Church secured structures and built buildings, and
The sanctuary of common heart became again a sanctuary of place.

In England, for more than a millennium, churches were actual sanctuaries for people.
People fearing punishment or retaliation or even earned-justice
All they had to do was cross the threshold
and they were safe and shielded from the world beyond.
They could not be touched as long as they were in a church.

Through history, churches became sanctuaries for immigrants and refugees,
Offering shelter and sustenance, remembering and imitating the welcome
that Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus received in Egypt
when they were fleeing the wrath of Herod at home.

In our own country’s history, more than thirty churches served as waypoints on
The Underground Railroad,
Serving as sanctuaries for people fleeing slavery for their freedom.

One of the problems in the Church, though, is that over time
our sanctuaries of buildings and places
erased our understanding of ourselves as a sanctuary of the Spirit
for one another.
We counted on walls to do our God-given work.

Yet, Jesus’ call remains.
In an uneasy and uncertain world,
We are called to be for one another and with one another,
A sanctuary people.
A sign of God’s presence and peace,
A refuge in an uncertain and volatile world.
A people of safety, a community of love.

This week, I wish Robert Putnam had been wrong.
In his controversial book Bowling Alone, the Harvard political scientist
Cataloged and predicted the decline of community in American life.
He pointed to the simplest of things –
He noted that, in the 20 years before the book came out – so 1980 – 2000,
the number of people who bowled in America had increased steadily
but that the number of people who belonged to bowling leagues
had declined steadily.
And if fewer people were bowling in bowling leagues
That meant that there was less interaction,
Less conversation, less engagement with people
with whom we might disagree
in a context where we can disagree
with fairly low stakes.

It wasn’t just bowling, of course.
He traced declines in membership and volunteering with
Religious groups, including churches and synagogues,
Labor unions, PTAs,
The League of Women Voters,
The Boy Scouts, The Girl Scouts,
The Red Cross,
The Lions, The Elks,
The Junior Chamber, The Junior League,
The Freemasons., The Rotary, and on and on it went.
Fewer members. Fewer volunteers.
Less interaction, less conversation, less engagement.

In the year 2000, Putnam warned that
we were becoming strangers to each another.
And without structures and regular practices of relating to one another,
He wrote that people would suffer,
That organizations and institutions would decline,
That our democracy would be imperiled.
That the very social fabric that had held us together would fray.

In the swirl of emotions that I’ve heard this week in the wake of the election’s results,
From elation and celebration and relief
to confusion and bewilderment,
to sorrow, sadness, anger and protest,
the thing that has become clear is that
as a country, we are strangers to one another.
Republican, Democrat.
Urban, rural. Blue state, red state.
College educated, Not college educated.
Blue collar, white collar. Male, female.
White, Black, Latino. Young, old.
Gay, straight. Trans. Well-to-do, not well-to-do.
Healthy, not healthy. Evangelical. Progressive.
The list goes on.
The priorities of one are perceived as a threat by the other.
The realities of one life are almost unimaginable for another.

This week, we witnessed a relay of fear.
Pundits – there are a few of them left standing –
tell us that millions of those who voted for Mr Trump voted from fear –
Fear of what we have become as a country, fear that we are unrecognizable from what we once were. Fear for self and fear for the world.
And when Mr Trump was announced as the winner, as that part of the country was allaying their fears, the fear was just handed over to so many others –
Fear of what we will become, fear that we will become unrecognizable from what we have been. Fear for self and fear for the world.

And as acts of intimidation and harassment followed, fear has been legitimized.
You have seen the stories:
In high schools and middle schools,
Children have built walls against children and racial epithets have been shouted,
In a college bathroom, a doll with darker “skin” was “lynched” in a shower.
On city streets, gay men have been beaten; women have been sexually assaulted.
Muslim women have been stripped of their hijab.
In our own dear Durham, graffiti-ed messages have demeaned our black and brown neighbors,
In Brier Creek, some twenty miles from here, a woman of Asian descent was told by a complete stranger that she needed to go back to China, that this was not her country (never mind that she is Korean).
You have seen the stories. We are strangers, threats, to one another.

And if that is to change, then we as people of faith must answer Jesus’ call.
Our future will require us to be a different kind of sanctuary.
As important as these walls are, these walls alone will not do our work.
We are called to be sanctuary for one another – with one another.
We are called to be a reminder to the world that God has not abandoned us,
Forsaken or forgotten us.
We are called to proclaim the holiness of all of God’s creations,
And safeguard the most vulnerable among them.
Our work has not changed this week.
The context has changed. Its urgency has changed.
But the work has not.

In March 1861, President Lincoln concluded his first inaugural address this way:
We are not enemies, but friends.
We must not be enemies.
Though passion may have strained
it must not break our bonds of affection.
The mystic chords of memory,
stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave
to every living heart and hearthstone
all over this broad land,
will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

For those better angels to do their work,
For us to nurture our common life,
For us to find community,
We must answer Jesus’ call.
The Temple may come down, for sure.
But we must be God’s sanctuary
In and for our wounded world.

Amen.

The Rev. Nathan Kirkpatrick, Priest Associate
The Episcopal Church of the Advocate

 

Pledge Drive for 2017

logo_red_advocate_tricolor

October 20, 2016

Dear People of the Advocate,

It is time again for the usual and necessary request to each and all for a financial pledge to the Advocate’s operating budget for the year ahead.

The Advocate’s operating expenses include maintaining the chapel and house, liturgical supplies, audit and accounting services, fellowship, Christian formation, and much more than we’ll attempt to cover here. The operating budget is also how we compensate our piano accompanists, our very part-time administrative assistant, our kids’ Christian education coordinator, our childcare providers, and Lisa, our vicar. (Nathan, our priest associate, is modestly paid by the Diocese.) We are fortunate to have many others volunteer their time and efforts to ensuring the Advocate is a wonderful place to be. And, as it has been since our launch, 10% of pledged and plate offering is given to those in need and to organizations that help those in need, through our Advocate Tithe.

It may seem we were just asking for your financial gifts, and we were—thanks to you all, we’ll be able to secure a generous matching donation and reduce the Advocate’s $180,000 debt by $80,000. Achieving this milestone is significant, and we’re grateful. But we’re also aware that this is one milestone on a long journey. We still have much more work to do by 2018 to raise the remaining funds to hit the $300,000 target for our Strength to Strength Campaign that seeks to retire our debt and make the house accessible and welcoming.

But while making progress on our multiyear Strength to Strength Campaign is important, just as critical is the need to make sure we continue to bring in enough each year for our operating expenses. Beyond maintaining what we currently do and provide, there ajre many opportunities to expand (e.g., through increased administrative support or additional kids’ Christian ed offerings to better support a range of ages), and we would love for 2017 pledges to allow us to plan for growth.

We need as many households as possible to pledge their financial support to the Advocate’s 2017 operating budget. Unanticipated donations in the basket on Sunday are helpful, but pledges are the foundation of our budget—they provide the basis for our decisions about what we can afford for salaries, stipends, and other expenses. The Advocate operating budget, like our liturgy, is truly the work of the people.

Know that your pledge makes a difference. A pledge form is available at church and online.

We ask that you make your pledge for the 2017 operating budget by the Sunday before Thanksgiving. November 20. We will celebrate God’s abundance with thanksgiving on that day.

Peace,

The Advocate Vestry

Celisa Steele, senior warden (celisa@steelcob.com)
Denisé Dews, junior warden (ddews@unc.edu)
David Pass (d.pass.unc@gmail.com)
Coleen Cunningham (coleen.cunningham@duke.edu)
David McInnes (dmmcinnes0521@email.campbell.edu)
Shannon Gigliotti (sg4jc@msn.com)
Molly Sutphen, treasurer (mollysutphen@gmail.com)