The Episcopal Church is one of the historic Christian churches that celebrates Advent. We’re not trying to be contrary but Christmas is a season that begins on December 24. Advent is a nearly four week period that anticipates the coming of the Child of Peace. In our churches we have no Christmas decorations up until Christmas Eve. We sing hymns and hear scripture lessons that tell us about waiting and expecting. We light one of four candles on an Advent wreath each Sunday before Christmas as our days get shorter and darkness comes as we ponder and pray for yet one more sign that God is with us.
In Advent we take a break from the shopping and party planning to find some quiet time to reflect. What place in our hearts is waiting for the Christ Child? How will we live differently in a world so filled with violence and hunger and poverty? In many ways things aren’t much different than the world was 2000 years ago. But we are a people of hope and faith and love. We are preparing with joyful anticipation to hear again of the coming of peace and goodwill in the person of Jesus.
Reflecting themes of Advent, our online Advent calendar contains daily meditations on presence, rather than presents and waiting, rather than being weighed down by the stresses and concerns of our secular pre-Christmas season.
In 2006, the Diocese of Maryland, in response to the call of the Episcopal Church in Convention, passed a resolution to support the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs are an international effort to end extreme poverty by 2015. As of 2013, significant progress has been made in meeting targets such as halving the number of people living in extreme poverty and the proportion of people living without sustainable access to drinking water. Fewer people are now living in urban slums. More people have access to health services and considerable gains have been made in the fight against malaria and tuberculosis. Primary education is now more available to children living in extreme poverty.
Many congregations in the Diocese of Maryland support projects to end extreme poverty and its effects in the poorest countries of the world. The Global Mission Committee of the Diocese of Maryland encourages congregations to apply for Global Mission grant funds for projects aimed at relieving poverty and improving health and education in the countries addressed by the MDGs.
Visit the Global Mission Page to learn more and apply for grant funds.
Maryland Church News Fall 2013 offers an update on the Bishop Suffragan search and plans for a Truth and Reconciliation Pilgrimage in the fall of 2014. Learn more about parish visits by Horizons teams and Latino Ministry in our diocese. A city parish is planing an urban orchard in Baltimore and ESC is on the move. All this and news and information from across the diocese in the print and online edition of the Maryland Church News.
We may not have all the answers, but we welcome all your questions. That's because we believe we all have something more to learn from one another - and always more to learn about ourselves and our world. Our ability to reason is a gift from God. The Episcopal Church does not ask you to check your mind at the door. COME AND LEARN more about who we are.
Do you have a question or comment? Use this e-mail address to send us a message.
Visit our Spiritual Resources page for online access to prayer webcasts and daily meditations
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Mentes para pensar, corazones para amar, manos para servir