Dear Christ Church,
Today’s CliffNotes is bit longer than usual, but I want to ask for an extra moment of your time to read through something I’m really excited about coming up at Christ Church.
I have a strong sense of the Holy Spirit’s leadership as our pastoral team has been listening and planning recently. Let me tell you about what we are calling The Advent of Care.
These are isolating times, in an already individualistic society, and anxious times in an already restless culture. We have all lived through an unprecedented season, going on nine months, of a global pandemic, social and political turmoil, and the disruption of our home, work, and church life. It has had an impact on all of us. So this year during the Advent season, when Christians look toward God’s drawing near to us in Jesus to care for his broken world, we are going to join him by extending his care and presence. We, his very body, are going to draw near to each other, and those outside the church, with practical care. As we draw near to others, we will also experience the proximity of God himself with us.
The Advent of Care is an 11-day focus during which everyone at Christ Church will find ways to care for those around them—family, friends, neighbors, strangers—and have opportunities to be cared for by trained Care Ministers.
From December 7th–18th I would love for every single person in our parish to participate in one or both of these ways:
Care for someone in a tangible way.
Give care. Take someone a meal, check in on a lonely neighbor, serve on a Sunday with Church Under the Bridge. We’ll give you many more ideas to get your creative juices flowing of how you might offer love to your neighbor. Also, we’ll give you a way to share your experience with us and allow the community to celebrate ways God is working through us.
Pay attention to your own heart/life/soul with a Care Minister.
Receive care. This is an opportunity to pause, reflect on how you are doing and meet with a Care Minister to help you give voice to questions, anxieties, emotions or thoughts that are sometimes difficult to process on one’s own. In so doing, you will be stepping into a long history of God’s people reflecting, praying, and journeying together in community. This is not just for those of us that might be feeling especially weak or “on the edge.” This is for every one of us to have the opportunity to simply take stock, ask ourselves “how I am doing emotionally, spiritually, relationally, etc.,” in the trusted company of another.
Care Ministers are people within our parish who have received some level of training on how to listen well and hold people’s stories as precious. Some of these will be parishioners who have participated in our Stephen Ministry or Living Waters programs, while others will be counselors, spiritual directors, pastoral staff, or clergy.
During Advent we acknowledge our ache for the God who cared enough to come near, and who will come again. Our preaching series for the Advent of Care will focus on our participation with Christ in caring for others in the church, those outside the church, creation, and our own souls. Learn more and register here to participate in our Advent of Care.
One last thing, last Sunday’s outdoor All Saints evening worship was amazing! We are planning two more evening worship services (5pm): next week, Nov. 15, and then Dec. 6. I’ll also share with you in this Sunday’s service some steps we are taking to simplify registration for Sunday morning worship.