Photo by RomoloTavani via Canva
In what seems to be one of the longest and most trying calendar years of our lives, we find ourselves coming upon the season of Advent, a time of hope, joy, and peace. Below, we outline just a few of the resources we have found to help in your planning for and observing Advent and the upcoming Christmas season.
Cokesbury’s Incarnation Virtual Kit contains simplified leader guides for all ages that are designed specifically to resource groups meeting virtually, as well as guide individual and family reflections on the book Incarnation by Adam Hamilton. The kit includes the Incarnation e-book and a download bundle containing everything you need to plan your virtual Advent study this year. Learn more>
Virginia Theological Seminary, in partnership with Forward Movement, is offering 27 daily meditations and images via email and social media, beginning Sunday, November 29th, that offer a way to reflect and pause for the Advent season. Add your own images and reflections on social media to help populate this global advent calendar. Learn more>
Calm and inspiration during the season of Advent is the goal for this playlist put together by the Lifelong Learning team at Virginia Theological Seminary. Their goal is to help create space for the Spirit to move in your planning and carrying out of this important season in the church year. Learn more>
Webinars and Retreats:
Diocesan Advent Quiet Day Retreats for Clergy and Vestry
Through the Diocese of Central New York, Dr. Deirdre Good will join Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe to lead a virtual Advent Quiet Day retreat and bible study for clergy on Tuesday, December 1st from 4-6 p.m. And on Thursday, December 3rd, from 4-6 p.m., Carol Ackley will lead an online retreat for vestry members and other lay leaders. Please stay tuned for details on both the clergy and vestry retreats.
Thursday, December 3rd 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
From Virginia Theological Seminary, join in a dynamic conversation on being Christian in the public square in the wake of an historically divisive election. Rowan Williams states in this classic text, “Being Christian” that “the Christian life is a listening life.” How do we set up spaces to listen to the convictions and concerns of those with whom we disagree? What is the role of prayer in preparing for, participating in and walking (in love) away from hard conversations? How can we practice evangelism in a country with such defined and defended tribes and segregated communities?
Friday, December 11th 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
This year in particular, the Advent themes of exile and longing invite us to dwell more deeply in our experiences of brokenness and loss, darkness and “not yet,” always in the context of Christian hope. Spiritual Companion and poet Kathy Staudt will guide us – through poetry, journaling and guided prayer – to reclaim ways to live in hope and respond to this season’s holy invitations. Learn more>
“What have we learned about leading worship and music from six months of COVID-19 disruption? What is at stake theologically and pastorally? How are we being made new in this wilderness?” These are just some of the questions asked by faculty through Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary (Marty Wheeler Burnett, James Farwell, Judy Fentress-Williams, and Lisa Kimball), who invite you to view a webinar and resources presented on September 16, 2020. The goal of this webinar is to help you enter a new liturgical year with integrity, transformation, and sustained joy.
Resources that are not online
Complimentary zoom-less intergenerational Advent and Christmas activities are now available from Episcopal Relief and Development and the One Thousand Days of Love campaign.
- Three different DIY wreaths (one flame-free) with prayers and reflections by Christina Clark.
- A St. Nicholas lesson for December 6 created by Lisa Puccio.
- Three ways to make your own creche with images illustrated by Jay Sidebotham.
Be sure to also download the 2020 Gifts for Life Advent Calendar from Episcopal Relief & Development.
This activity pack for children and families from Church Publishing includes a variety of ideas from some of our favorite faith formation resources. Some of the activities are especially appropriate for young children, some are intended for intergenerational groups, some will work well in a virtual setting, and some are just right at the kitchen table or in front of the fireplace with family members of all ages. Learn more>
One of the many Advent resources offered by the Salt Project this year for Advent is this devotional. Biblical texts and simple, accessible practices interweave with Maya Angelou’s stirring vision of faith, freedom, and dignity. Week by week, as you wait, watch, and pray, you’ll walk toward Bethlehem – with Maya Angelou as your guide. Learn more>