"Thank you to Reverend Laura Marie Piotrowicz for writing this Advent Resource for The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund". -- inside back cover.
"This Advent The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) invites you to take a few moments each day to reflect on what is feeding you through this busy time. We encourage you to slow down and enter into prayerful consideration of the meaning of the season. We invite you to join us in these Advent Reflections which encourage thought on issues on food security. Each Sunday we will connect the weekly Gospel theme with a PWRDF good news story. Monday through Saturday we offer reflections on those themes within the contexts of a feast and of local realities. We will then enter into prayer and encourage your own spiritual challenges." -- p. 3.
Contents: The Feast: Reflections for the Season of Advent 2012 -- Advent 1: Planning -- Advent 2: Preparing -- Advent 3: Inviting -- Advent 4: Serving.
Contents include four "PWRDF good news stories": [From Haiti] A Growing Balcony / Simon Chambers -- [From Bangladesh] Seeds of Hope and Joy / Denise Hambidge -- [From Tanzania] Clean Water Improves Health and Lives in Tanzania / Simon Chambers -- Archbishop Hiltz Visits PWRDF Project in Solomon Islands / Simon Chambers.
"Four Advent devotions, written by four leaders of the Anglican and Lutheran churches in North America, have been made available to members of all four churches". "On October 12-13 , Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, met with National Bishop Susan Johnson, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC); Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, of The Episcopal Church (TEC); and Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The meeting, held at the ELCA office in Chicago, was the four bishops' latest four-way dialogue, a tradition of informal annual meetings begun in 2010". "The [Advent] devotions are on the theme of next year's 500th anniversary of the Reformation: 'Liberated by God's Grace', and three of the theme's sib-headings: 'salvation not for sale, human beings not for sale and creation not for sale'." "The four also heard reports on the progress of the two Anglican-Lutheran ecumenical bodies in Canada and the U.S., the Joint Commission for Anglican Lutheran Communion in Canada and the Lutheran-Episcopal Coordinating Committee".
The author speaks to two church music directors about Advent and Christmas music and concerts: Ruth Widdicombe, at St. Margaret's Anglican Church in Winnipeg, Man., and Sandra Bender, at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Quebec City. "As for the Advent concert itself, 'it's a service that has no sermon', [Bender] the trained opera singer said. '[But] it's a lot like a concert', and choosing the music, for her, is a matter of 'how Advent-y versus Christmas-y you want to make it', choosing between choral pieces and hymns'." "I do see music as something that draws people to a church in a way nothing else can" says Bender. "Widdicombe agrees that there is something special about an Advent concert. 'The church is packed for the Advent Festival', Widdicombe wrote. 'The church is dark, with a few candles lit'. Even though everyone is welcome in the church at any time of year, on Christmas Eve, 'many people from the wider community attend these services, even whose who would perhaps not call themselves Christians', says Widdicombe".
Author is "a newspaper reporter and broadcaster who lives in Smith Falls, Ont."
"Among the glories of Canada's great landscapes are its mountains". "In the scriptures, mountains are places of encounter with God". "Fond of mountain imagery, the prophet Isaiah writes of that day when 'Many people shall come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths"(Isaiah 2:3)'. Advent is such a time -- an invitation to learn anew the ways of the Lord and to live by them". "In a world gripped by fear of terrorist activities at home and abroad, we dare to hope. In a year in which the world has witnessed some of the most atrocious crimes against humanity, we dare to pray. In a time in the history of humanity, darkened by so much malice and wickedness in the hearts of some, we dare to light the candles of the Lord and sing once again the carols that tell of his coming".
Primate Fred Hiltz recalls his first visit to the Anglican Church of the Redeemer in Toronto on the First Sunday of Advent several years ago when he noticed there was no conventional Advent wreath in the church. Instead there four large candles, mounted on wooden spools in the chancel, each decorated with evergreen branches. "At the beginning of the liturgy, the first candle was lit with prayers ... It was a lovely liturgical moment, but for all that, I thought those great candles seemed rather far apart from one another. But that perception was dramatically changed as the Offertory hymn was sung and the entire congregation began moving forward to gather around the altar for The Great Thanksgiving and Holy Communion. Filling in all the spaces between those great wooden spools, the people became living branches, joining candle to candle. .... It was a living wreath, alive with anticipation of the lessons and carols, the prayers and promises of this holy season".
"Advent -- a time for sober reflection or joyous celebration; a time when the church honours women in the gospel story or ignores them". "Canon June Hough, rector of the Church of the Ascension (Anglican), in London, Ont., has no doubt there is a problem: 'The women are supporting characters. Even at the temple, we have a Song of Simeon, and Anna is secondary .. A strong patriarchal spirit pervades most of how we interpret Scripture. But Canon Wendy Fletcher, principal at Renison College at the University of Waterloo, disagrees. 'Of course, women as the child-bearers in our world are at the centre of Advent's meaning .. The third Sunday of Advent, which focuses on Mary, her joy, her willingness to give everything for live, is an appropriate balance to Advent's call .. to 'repent'. Bishop Linda Nicholls of the diocese of Huron .... rejects the suggestion that male decision-makers have de-emphasized the role of women because of 'male mystification' around pregnancy". "Fr. Murray Watson, professor of theology, Huron University College in London, Ont., and a Roman Catholic priest, takes exception to the idea that there might be a male-dominated focus". Former United Church moderator, the Very Rev. Gary "Paterson suggests that in Advent "We are out of step with the cultural activities all around us .. and that's both good and bad. Good, because it presents a counter-cultural voice to the building frenzy of consumerism .. The invitation to focus on an inward journey that celebrates life (and yes, pregnancy), and peace and joy and hope and love feels so important. Whether we do that well is another question'."
Author is "a writer, editor and lyricist who lives with his wife, the Rev. Nancy Knowles, in New Hamburg, Ont".
Quarter-page colour advertisement from Primate's World Relief and Development Fund. "Throughout the Old Testament, stories of women exemplify themes of strength, resilience, love and caring. In this year's PWRDF Advent Resource, we connect these stories to our partners' work, as well as light the way to two women of the New Testament, Elizabeth and Mary. Visit pwrdf.org/advent2018 to subscribe and you'll receive a reflection in your inbox each day of Advent, or you can download the entire resource. PWRDF, The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund. The Anglican Church of Canada". [Text of entire article.]