Passing the Vicar Baton, September 19 – November 21

Our launching Vicar, The Rev. Lisa Fischbeck, is retiring November 21. Our new Vicar, the Rev. Marion Sprott-Goldson, is already here!

To allow for a smooth transition, the Bishop and the Advocate Vestry have developed a model in which the in-coming Vicar and the out-going Vicar will work together for a season.  This is due, in part, to the fact that Advocate does not have an ongoing administrative staff or an established “old guard” to hold the history or the knowledge of the operations of the Advocate day to day and season by season. While the Advocate buildings and grounds are intentionally simple, the Advocate practices of hospitality and liturgy are relatively complex.

In the season of passing the Vicar baton, Lisa and Marion will have many conversations and walkabouts. Lisa will do her best to tell stories and pass along information. They will share leadership of the Sunday liturgy and Christian formation. Marion will start meeting and getting to know the people of the Advocate and how we have been church before and during Covid-tide.

All are invited to join us for the celebration of our Vicary with Lisa on Sunday, November 21. Details will follow.

In a time in which so much in our world is uncertain and shaky, we are hopeful that by God’s grace this model will help us to have a steady transition towards our Vicary with Marion ahead.

Our Next Vicar!

The Advocate Vestry is delighted to announce that Marion Sprott-Goldson has accepted our call to be our next Vicar. Her first Sunday among us will be September 19, so plan to welcome her then.

Marion comes to us from her current role as Associate Rector at St. Martin’s in Charlotte. At St. Martin’s she developed their newcomer ministry and took the lead in organizing digital worship and ministry, along with generally supporting the church and work of the Rector. She has experience as a Parish Administrator at St. Martin’s as well, several years back. She is also an accomplished musician who has served as an accompanist (piano) and a professional vocalist. And while these professional credentials and experience have served to prepare her to lead us, we also value her character and commitment to her faith, the church, and her vocation. She has taken in all we could offer about The Advocate and embraced it with great hope. She comes into this role with energy and joy, and also an eagerness to learn and to discern our collective calling alongside us.

The best way to get to know someone is to spend time with them. But, as these recent months have taught us, we can get a taste in other ways, and so we have prepared a video announcement featuring brief messages from Donya, Marion and Lisa, here:


August 5 – We announce who the next Vicar will be.

September 19 — The next Vicar arrives, just in time for the celebration of the Advocate’s 18th birthday!

November 21 – We bid Lisa, our current Vicar a very fond farewell.

Receiving the Cup of Salvation As We Transition from Covidtide

In September 2020, Advocates gathered safely at the Advocate pond to craft small clay cups from a single 25 pound block of clay. We used this cups for our Liturgy of Longing that Advent. One Maundy Thursday, 2021, we used our Advocate cups again, this time for our Maundy Thursday Agape Meal on Zoom.

Now, as COVID restrictions begin to loosen habit for those who are vaccinated and outdoors, we will use our Advocate cups (with the Bishop’s permission) as a way for us to receive the wine of the Eucharist, “the cup of salvation.”

Here’s the plan:

  1. The congregation gathers outdoors in a large circle or double arc.
  2. Each person/household has their own cup, placed reverently on a small clean cloth provided by the Advocate, on the ground and readily accessible.
  3. Rounds of bread, (and a gluten-free alternative), a flagon of wine, and a single chalice or cup are on the altar.
  4. A flagon of water is on the nearby credence table.
  5. The Presider, masked when required and having washed/sanitized hands according to Diocesan protocol, pours some wine from the flagon into the chalice/cup on the altar and pours a bit of water into both the chalice and the flagon.
  6. The Presider consecrates the bread and wine and breaks the bread.
  7. The Presider, masked when required, walks the arc, dropping a piece of the bread in each person’s hands. If there is contact, the presider re-sanitizes.
  8. After distributing the bread, the Presider invites those who would like to receive wine to pick up their cups and reverently hold them in the cup of their hands.
  9. The Presider, or another priest or deacon, masked as required, walks the arc, pouring a small amount of wine from the flagon into each cup, saying, “The blood of Christ. the Cup of Salvation (or, … keep you in everlasting life)”
  10. After serving others, the presider drinks from the chalice or cup on the altar.
  1. After all who wish to receive have received, The Presider/Deacon/Server walks the arc with the flagon of water, pouring water into each cup.
  2. The people perform the ablutions, circling the water in the cup and either consuming the water or pouring it reverently on the ground.
  3. Each household is responsible for taking their cup home and bringing it back with them when they return for worship.
  4. The clergy will maintain a supply of extra cups for visitors and/or households that forget to bring their cup from home.


Hybrid Liturgy: In-person and on Zoom!

Join us by the pond or on Zoom — Sundays at 10:30 AM!

In the spirit of the Advocate, the goal is to have the liturgy be as inclusive and participatory as possible. There will be singing: some live, some on Zoom. Some readings will be read by the pond, some on Zoom. Cameras and a screen will help the two parts of the congregation interact with each other. This Sunday, September 19, join us as we welcome our next Vicar, Marion Sprott-Goldson!

The Zoom link will be posted here on Saturday.

So we can better see one another, we’ll use a liturgy guide instead of viewing slides over Zoom. You may wish to print out the liturgy guide and music guide:

Rain Plan: If it rains, the service will only be on Zoom. If there is a chance of rain, an update will be posted Sunday morning at 8 AM.

At the pond, folks are encouraged to bring their own chairs and are invited to pack a picnic for lunch after the liturgy.

Masks are optional though recommended for those who have been vaccinated. A section of the outdoor space can be reserved for those who wish to sit with others who are masked and/or safely distanced by pod.

Questions and concerns can be addressed to

It’ll be good to see each other!

Advocates Helping Our Neighbors in Need

As we seek to find our way in these strange times, that way is off balanced if we don’t also respond to our neighbors in need. Many of you are already finding ways to do this. Here are some ways you can help via The Advocate.
Because we aren’t taking up our weekly food offerings on Sundays, we will be contributing to the food pantry at the Interfaith Council via bell tower drop-offs.

The Advocate Garden yielded 2 1/2 gallon bags  of sugar snap peas , one bag of chard, and 6 or so bags of lettuce, delivered to the IFC

As you are out shopping pick up any of the following to donate. You can leave food donations in the Advocate Chapel bell tower.

  1. Canned meat (spam, tuna, salmon, vienna sausages)
  2. Pork and beans
  3. Baked beans
  4. Pinto beans
  5. Chili
  6. Ramen
  7. Pasta
  8. Peanut butter
  9. Jelly
  10. Snacks
  11. Cereal
  12. Spaghetti
  13. Toilet paper
  14. Shampoo
  15. Liquid soap
  16. Coffee/tea/hot chocolate
  17. Juice
  18. Fresh or frozen chicken or turkey for take-out meals
  19. Olive oil and butter for take-out meal preparation

In the weeks ahead, we will once again collect food to assist the good people of the Rogers/Eubanks Neighborhood Association in collecting food for those in need in the neighborhood. They will supplement food donations with food purchased at discount in order to provide three meals to 250 different households. 

Screenside Chats Sundays at 11:15

Questions emerge out of this surreal time of life and faith and church. We can’t answer them all. But we can talk about a lot of them!

On Sundays after the 10 AM liturgy, the Vicar hosts a “Screenside Chat” 11:15 – noon.

Conversations started with what we miss most and why, and moved on to matters of race and racism, the election tide, homelessness in our region, then back to covidtimes. In Lent we will explore who we are as a faith community and begin to explore our land and the connections between land and people.

Join us as you are led.

Join the Advocate for Contemplative Prayer — online and in person

Join members of the Advocate online or in person on Wednesdays for contemplative prayer at 6 PM and 7 PM.

6 pm Contemplative Prayer In person in the Advocate Chapel and on Zoom
7 PM Contemplative Prayer In person in the Advocate Chapel
In the Chapel we will follow safety protocols, requiring a mask and safe distancing. We also need to know numbers ahead of time, so please write: if you plan to be there, and/or to request to be added to the weekly email with the meeting link information.

Learn more about Contemplative Prayer here!


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

House Dinner — now without dinner — Thursday evenings at 7 PM

The Thursday House Dinners (now on Zoom and without the dinner….) provide a place of shared food, shared stories, and deep fellowship. The hosts provide an atmosphere of welcome, mutual care, and good humor.

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”).

You don’t need to bring anything but yourself. All are welcome any time. If you are able, it helps if you can let the organizers know you are coming and if you can contribute food to the meal, so they can be sure the food and setting are gracious and welcoming.

The House Dinner takes place on Thursday, night at 7 PM.

Contact Debbie Wuliger <> if you want to join in the Zoom or if you have any questions.

Advocate long sleeve t-shirts available

Our Bishop, Sam Rodman, and our Vicar, Lisa Fischbeck, enjoy the shirt in red and in grey.

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:

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:

  1. Online. Send your mailing information and your size to:
    The Advocate Church Office <>
    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!
  2. Send a check and your size in the mail to:
    Advocate t-shirts
    8410 Merin Road
    Chapel Hill, NC  27516