Dear People of the Advocate,
I come to you on Tuesday November 23, just a few days away from Thanksgiving and the liturgical season of Advent.
The season of Advent is marked by a mix of themes: longing and hope, fear and uncertainty, loss and sadness, and joyful anticipation. It is hard to take in all of these things at once, and perhaps you know what it feels to have a mix of emotions swirling around. We look around us and see a world still in pandemic, yet celebrate the vaccine availability to children ages 5 and up. We look around us and see a justice system that at its core privileges white supremacy. We cry out to God, how long, how long, at the same time grapple with how we can make a difference. We joyfully and tearfully said goodbye to Lisa, Lamar, and Becca and we, at the same time, look to a time with a new vicar and her wife. Advent contains all of this.
And Advent is when we are making a change in our worship at The Advocate. Beginning this Sunday, November 28, two services will be held inside the chapel: one at 8:45 and the other at 10:30 am. Both of these services are Holy Eucharist and the 10:30 service will continue to be hybrid. I know that some of you are more than ready to be inside our beloved chapel. However, I know that for some this means moving back to Zoom. I know that this is a hard decision for some to hear, but one in which I believe is best for our community as a whole. And while it may seem this decision was made hastily, I assure you that since I have been here at the Advocate this has been one of the main conversations we have been engaging. Lisa is fully supportive of this move inside.
Finally, l will link below to the guidelines that the Diocese of North Carolina lays out for our worshipping inside. We will be wearing masks while worshipping. We will have air purifiers running. Please be mindful of your own health and if you are not feeling well, please join that day by zoom. And I and others in the diocese meet weekly for a Covid briefing and we are watching the numbers. I am also meeting bi-monthly with Dr. Wesley Wallace and the clergy of Orange County. Dr. Wallace has been advising the clergy of this area since COVID began. With that in mind, here at the Advocate the following will be a guide: if we reach 7.5% positive test cases in our county we will be moving outside again. If we reach 10% we will move back to zoom.
I close with the collect for the first Sunday in Advent, please join me in prayer:
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Diocese of North Carolina guidelines
NCDHHS COVID-19 Response Dashboard