News and Events

The Advocate Chapel Hosts … Pete Seeger Legacy Concert, Stories Beyond Boarders, and more!

And 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!

Sunday, March 15: Third Sunday Shape Note Sing. 2 – 4 PM. The Chapel was made for this! All are welcome to come sing or listen! See more here.

Wednesday, March 18, The Episcopal Farmworker Ministry and the Advocate Chapel will host Stories Beyond Borders.

Stories Beyond Borders is an organizing initiative that uses documentary films to show a more complete picture of the attacks on immigrant families and communities. Beyond building empathy, these five short films lift up real stories of resilience and strength, while illustrating some of the ways people can give their time, energy, and resources to support organizing led by immigrant communities.

Saturday, April 4 (Holy Week eve): Workshop on Body Prayer led by Amanda Godwin. 10 AM – 2:30 PM. More information here!

ChurchLands

In 2018, the Episcopal Church’s General Convention passed Resolution D053: Stewardship of Creation with Church-Owned Lands, which affirmed that church-owned land holds the potential for ecological benefit, community healing, and ministries of discipleship and evangelism. The newly formed ChurchLands initiative seeks to inspire and equip church leaders who are tasked with the care of church-owned land. 

With our 15 acres of land, and a commitment to be good stewards of that land, The Advocate seems like a good prospective participant in the program!

The vision of ChurchLands is to inspire and assist churches in stewarding land in a way that is faithful to the Gospel: integrating discipleship, ecology, justice, and health. In its pilot stage, ChurchLands will develop a small group of Christian leaders learning and working together on land use issues in their local contexts.

This cohort has been selected, but we can still be involved!

In the seasons ahead, ChurchLands will offer regular in-person gatherings to explore Scripture, practical theology, and land use issues for Christians who care for land. An online ChurchLands Network will serve as a national platform to inspire and engage this work through network building and resource-sharing. The ChurchLands initiative will be managed through Plainsong Farm & Ministry in Rockford, Michigan, a ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan. 

Folks can participate by connecting with current cohort members, participating in webinars, or as prayer partners. For more information, contact Emma Lietz Bilecky emmalietz@gmail.com.

Teachable Moments in Epiphany

Here’s what planned for the Teachable Moment this season.

It is customary at the Advocate to seek opportunities in the Season of Epiphany to learn more about the community and world around us.

To that end, here is the calendar for the Teachable Moment in the weeks ahead:

Sunday, January 12 Justine Post tells about her ministry on death row.

Sunday, January 19 Marcia Owen tells about her work in restorative justice

Sunday, January 26 David Stanford from Re-Entry and William Ingram and Calvin Trollinger from the Orange County Correctional Institution, will help us to know more about Re-Entry.

Sunday, February 2 Campus closed due to breakdown of sewer pump.

Sunday, February 9 Annual meeting.
Hudson Vaughan will be rescheduled to another time when he can help us to know about the Marion Cheek Jackson Center and the racial history of our neighborhood and region.

Sunday, February 16 Rob Stephens will tell us about his work with the Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington to be held June 20, 2020.

Sunday, February 23 Adam Plant, actor with a Masters in Divinity from Wake Forest, will share his experience as a trans man in the church and in the world.

All are welcome! Child care and kids Christian ed provided at the same time.

Sankofa: African-American History on Wheels MLK weekend

Sunday, January 19 and Monday, January 20
Noon – 5:30 PM.
At the Rogers Road Community Center

101 Edgar Street, Chapel Hill.

This MLK weekend, The Church of the Advocate joins the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association, Community Center, the Marion Cheek Jackson Center, the Town of Carrboro, the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NCAAP Branch 5689, in bringing the Sankofa African-American History on Wheels to our region.

From the flyer:
Angela Jennings established SANKOFA in 1995 to teach young African Americans about their unique and rich heritage. It has emerged as an informative and engaging mobil museum of African American history for all ages and races.

Spanning the period of 1860 to the present, Sankofa takes audiences on a journey through slavery, the era of King Cotton, and the uplifting days of Emancipation. It also tells the stories of such notables as Ida B. Wells, the Negro Baseball League, the Tuskegee Airmen, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Ghanian term, Sankofa, tells us to “use the wisdom of the past to build the future.” This exhibit epitomizes the meaning of the term by educating, enlightening, and empower gin young and old alike with living history.

Plan to join others at the Roger Road Community Center this MLK weekend!

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 vicar@theAdvocateChurch.org)

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 bandofsistersraleigh.com and click on the Calendar Page to register.


Are You the One Who Is to Come?

A sermon by The Rev. Nathan E. Kirkpatrick. Advent III. December 15, 2019

If you have ever lost faith in something
– in a cause or a candidate,
   in an organization or an institution –
If you have ever given your all
       only to find that your all is not enough,
If you have ever found yourself despairing or disillusioned,
If you have ever found the road steep and the way hard
       And you have wondered if it is worth walking at all,
           Then you have a friend in John the Baptist.

Our morning gospel finds John in prison;
In fact, in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ life,
John has been in prison for almost seven chapters.
So long that he has missed
Jesus’ sermon on the mount, the Beatitudes,
   and The Lord’s Prayer.
He has been incarcerated as Jesus has already healed many,
Raised at least one from the dead,
   And stilled a storm at sea.
While Jesus was laying all the foundations of his public ministry,
John was a religious and political prisoner
   Of a narcissistic megalomaniac
       Who resented the fact that John
           tried to hold him accountable for his unethical behavior.
You remember John is in prison
Because he had publicly objected to Herod
Taking his brother’s wife as his own.
As the gospel of Luke tells it:
   “But Herod the tetrarch,
   being rebuked by [John]
   about Herodias, his brother’s wife,
   and about all the [other] evil things Herod had done,
   added this to everything else –
   he locked John up in prison” (Luke 3:19-20<https://biblia.com/bible/nasb95/Luke%203.19-20>).
And in prison, after more than a while in prison,
After missing all the foundations of Jesus’ public ministry,
A no-doubt weary John the Baptist
sends a question to Jesus,
one of the most haunting questions in scripture.
“Are you the one who is to come,
Or should we wait for another?” (Matthew 11.2).

To hear the pathos in the question,
to hear the heartbreak,
to really hear it,
we have to remember that this is John –
John, whose birth had been announced by an angel,
John, who, in utero, had been present
   to hear Mary’s song
       as Jesus’ mother sang it to John’s mother.
This is John whose own sense
of calling and purpose
was to fulfill the words of the prophet Isaiah –
   The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
   Prepare the way of the Lord,
   make his paths straight.
   Every valley shall be filled,
   and every mountain and hill made low.
   The crooked straight,
   and the rough places plain,
   and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
This is John who had preached to the masses
about repentance and transformation.
This is John who had said of himself,
   After me comes one who is mightier than I …
   I baptize you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit..
This is John who baptized Jesus,
and at that baptism, watched as the heavens were opened,
watched as the Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove,
and who had heard there a voice from heaven thunder –
“You are my Son; with you I am well-pleased.”
This is that John,
who now is asking,
“are you the one who is to come
or should we wait for another?”
As I hear it,
If John is not outright losing faith,
he is certainly losing heart.

Now, to be fair about it,
there are biblical interpreters who say
that this is more of a rhetorical question,
that John sends Jesus the question
on behalf of all the people
who had heard John’s preaching across the years,
who themselves may have begun to wonder,
who themselves may have begun to ask –
“John seemed so certain that this Jesus was the Messiah,
but look what’s happened to John.
Is Jesus really the One? Or was John wrong?”
So, these biblical interpreters suggest that
perhaps John is raising the question
not really for himself
but for all of these others
who might now have a doubt or two,
who might be wondering
if this is the One who has come to set all people free
if He can’t even get John out of Herod’s jail.
Sort of the opposite of
what most of us mean when we say,
“I’m just asking for a friend…”.

You can see, you can hear
what these interpreters are doing, right?
They’re wanting to protect John,
John, the one with the resume I just read to you,
from the possibility of doubt
precisely because of that resume.
They’re wanting to say,
“no, no, nothing to see here,”
because, perhaps
if a person with that resume
has doubts,
what does that mean for the rest of us mere mortals?
If John, after all of that,
could find himself despairing – even for a moment –
what would that mean for all of the rest of us
who have spiritual resumes that pale in comparison?

But, for a moment,
I wonder what would happen
if we don’t try to protect John.
If instead of saying,
“oh, that’s so sweet of him,
he’s faking some doubt
so that the crowd gets to hear Jesus say,
‘yeah, yeah, I’m the one,’
how benevolent of John” –
what if, instead,
what if we say
that maybe, just maybe,
John’s life, John’s circumstances
had made it hard for him
to hold on to belief even for just a moment?
I, for one, think that that
might make him more important for us rather than less.
I, for one, think that that
wouldn’t tarnish his halo or risk his sainthood at all,
but it might actually confirm his humanity and his sainthood.
Rather than the caricatured firebrand preacher,
John might be a bit more accessible to us,
a bit more familiar to us.
It may also help explain why –
as Fleming Rutledge, the preacher and scholar, notes –
John, not Jesus, is the central figure of Advent.
If we don’t try to protect John,
then, for any of us who have ever wondered
if Jesus is the One we have been waiting for,
for any of us whose lives have made it hard to believe,
then, for us, we have a newfound friend in John.

Here’s my hunch –
if I’m wrong, you can tell me at Teachable Moment or lunch.
My hunch is that most of us
at some point or another
have looked out at the world through
all kinds of prison bars -literal, metaphorical –
and have wanted to know
if we have put our faith in the right Messiah,
we have wanted an answer –
“Are you the One? Or shall we wait for another?”
Which is so much deeper,
so much harder,
than losing faith in a cause or a candidate,
in an organization or an institution,
it is so much harder than giving our all and finding it not enough,
so much harder than walking the road and finding it tough-going
because, in each of those moments,
if faith is true, then we have faith to lean on.
But, if faith falters, then, so, too, does the very hope that sustains us.
What if John is asking for himself
and giving us words for our experience, too –
are you the One or do we have to keep waiting?

It’s a perfect third Sunday of Advent kind of question,
when, in a normal year, the walk to Christmas starts to feel long.
When maybe we’re ready to be done with Advent hymns
as beautiful as they are and just sing a Christmas carol or two.
When maybe we’re done with waiting.
Two Sundays ago, I was with
the folks of the Episcopal campus ministry at Duke
for their Sunday evening Eucharist,
and several of the students
were talking before mass
by the advent wreath.
And at the Episcopal Center,
their Advent wreath
has different colored candles –
three purple and one pink –
for the Sundays in Advent.
And the students were discussing why there was a pink candle.
One of them finally said,
“did you ever think that maybe they were just tired of purple?”

Maybe you know something about being tired of purple,
tired of waiting for God; weary of wondering if or when life will change.
Maybe John’s question is yours:
Are you the One or do we have to keep waiting?

In Matthew’s Gospel,
Jesus answers John’s question.
“Go and tell John what you see …
that the blind see, the deaf hear,
the sick are healed, the dead live again,
and the poor have good news preached to them.”
For us, Jesus might answer it this way:
Go and tell what you hear and see –
that the community that gathers in my name
brings food for the hungry,
builds Tiny Homes for the homeless,
welcomes strangers and makes them friends,
cares for those who are hurting and for those who are healing,
marches for justice and prays for peace,
gives time and treasure to change the world.
If you have ever asked, if you have ever wondered,
if John’s question is yours today –
Hold on to what you hear and see,
because our waiting is almost over.
Amen.

The Rev. Nathan E. Kirkpatrick

Advent and Christmastide (12 Days!) at the Advocate

Calendar for Advent and Christmas 
at the Advocate 
In these weeks of anticipation, contemplation, and celebration,
please join us in the Advocate Chapel and House

Candlelight Evening Prayer
Sundays at 5 PM
In addition to our regular Sunday morning Schedule, in Advent we will offer a candlelight evening prayer with poetry, incense and chants. Join us in the chapel for this restful, prayerful time.

Sundays, December 16 and 23 
Our regular Sunday schedule, with Holy Eucharist at 9 and 11
At 10:10AM we will have intergenerational puppet theater with Debbie Wuliger!
All followed by lunch.
Monday, December 16. 
The annual dinner with cookies and carols a
t the Community House
(a residential facility for men experiencing homelessness).  The Advocate will provide the bbq and hush puppies. As you are able, please bring a side dish or dessert to share.
6 PM – 7 PM.
One Bread in Advent — For the Season of Advent, we will all share one bread in our communion. Rather than having a gluten free option for those who require it, we will all receive gluten free bread. Kerry Bullock-Ozkan bakes this bread. The ingredients are: coconut flour, tapioca starch, chia seed, olive oil, salt and water.
It won’t taste as sweet (please advise the children to be prepared), but it will hold a different kind of sweetness for us all.
As always, Christ is fully present in the bread and in the wine. Those who do not wish to receive the one, can receive the other. Those who do not wish to receive either, but would like a blessing (in which Christ is also present!), may fold their arms and receive a blessing.
Tuesday, December 24. Christmas Eve. Holy Eucharist with candles and carols. 4 PM. and 8 PM. Note: Children of all ages are invited to bring critters, plush, plastic or polished, to visit the baby Jesus in the creche).
Wednesday, December 25. Christmas Day. Simple Eucharist with carols. 5 PM.
Sunday, December 29. The First Sunday After Christmas. Holy Eucharist with lessons and carols. 10 AM.
Sunday, January 5. The Second Sunday After Christmas.  Holy Eucharist at 9 AM and 11 AM. Followed by lunch (provided)
Sunday, January 5. 12th Night, Epiphany Eve: The Burning of the Greens!As you are able, bring your greens from home — Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands — and we will burn them in the fire circle, while singing songs and staring in awe at the light coming into the darkness. Then we will return to the Chapel for Kings Cake and song!
6 PM. (Following 5PM Evening Prayers)
All are welcome to all.

The Book of Common Prayer in November

For the month of November, The Advocate will be using the Book of Common Prayer in our worship at both the 9 AM and the 11 AM. An essential (as in “of the essence”) aspect of Episcopal and Anglican worship is our common prayer. And while there are increasing options approved for worship in the Episcopal Church, many of which we use at our 11 AM liturgy through the year, the vast majority of Episcopal churches worship with the Book of Common Prayer.

The Episcopal Church website describes the Book of Common Prayer as: a treasure chest full of devotional and teaching resources for individuals and congregations, but it is also the primary symbol of our unity. As Armentrout and Slocum note in their Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, that “Anglican liturgical piety has been rooted in the Prayer Book tradition since the publication of the first English Prayer Book in 1549.”

We, who are many and diverse, come together in Christ through our worship, our common prayer. The prayer book, most recently revised in 1979, contains our liturgies, our prayers, our theological documents, and much, much more.

We use the Book of Common Prayer in our Sunday worship at the 9 AM each week.

The current Book of Common Prayer was approved in 1979 after more than a decade of discernment and trial rites. It replaced the previous BCP which had been in use since 1928. The 1979 BCP placed a greater emphasis on the Eucharist as the principle act of worship on Sundays, and also introduced options for the Eucharistic rites. These options have nuanced theological distinctions and histories.

There are 6 different Eucharistic Prayers in the Book of Common Prayer. Two are in the more traditional language, reminiscent of the language of the Kings James Bible and found in the the 1928 BCP. These are called Rite One. Four are in a language contemporary in the 1960s and 70s, capturing the beginnings of gender-inclusive language. These are called Rite Two. The Rite Two prayers also reflect a wider spectrum of theological influence. On All Saints Sunday, November 10 and November 24 we will use Rite Two prayers. On Sunday, November 17, we will use a Rite One setting. It will be, in some ways, archaic, penitential, gender-biased, and clergy-centric. In other ways it will be beautiful and nostalgic. Our hope is that it will offer an opportunity to reflect on the language of our liturgy and the language of our faith.

Come and visit The Advocate this month and see how the liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer expresses and forms our faith.