The Advent Project

The goal of this seminar is to work ecumenically for the expansion of the season from four to seven weeks. This seminar seeks to collect, collate and/or produce and provide appropriate Advent worship and homiletical resources for clergy, church musicians, and congregations; also to author as well as solicit scholarship that will support and interpret this proposal for liturgical renewal.

Convener

The Rev'd Dr. Elise A. Feyerherm
efeyerherm@gmail.com

Seminar Report 2020

Convener

The Rev. Elise A. Feyerherm, PhD, Associate Rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Brookline, MA, mentor to the Anglican/Episcopal Communi- ty of Learning and adjunct faculty at the Boston University School of Theology, and convener of the Liturgy and Music Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.

Members in Attendance

Deborah Appler, Elise Feyerherm, William Petersen

Description of Work

We met jointly with two other NAAL seminars.

Ecology and Liturgy. We attended this seminar to hear a paper on the interpreta- tion of readings from Luke 1 in the Advent lectionary, particularly the Song of Zechariah and the Magnificat. We were particularly struck by the theme of “turn-

ing the hearts of the fathers to their children,” as it brought questions of caring for the earth for future generations to the fore during the season of Advent. The active role of children (and adults) as embodied beings in liturgy raised significant ques- tions for us around how to continue to ensure that people of all ages and abilities are included and cherished in our Advent liturgies.

This paper also raised the question of how liturgy moves us to a new way of be- ing. Both the Advent Project Seminar and the Ecology and Liturgy Seminar work according to the premise that liturgy should lead us toward God’s realm of justice, peace, equity, and abundance, and caring for the earth is a part of that movement forward. How do our liturgies open us up and empower us to change our behavior toward God’s creation?

Liturgical Music. We joined with the Liturgical Music seminar for a paper on the characteristics of Advent hymnody and a singing session devoted to newly composed pieces for Advent. Advent Project member William Petersen presented a paper to the joint group on “Hidden Treasures: Discovering Unusual Advent Music.” His paper explored three hymns: O Day of God; Lord Christ When First you Came to Earth; and Joy to the World. Each stand as an unexpected Advent hymn, and each calls our attention to an under appreciated aspect of the Advent season, especially its eschatological character.

Other Work and Plans for the Future

We continue to work on updating our website; we also seek worshiping commu-

nities interested in observing a seven-week Advent season and contributing to the conversation about renewing Advent in the larger Church.

Seminar Report 2019

Convener

Elise A. Feyerherm: The Rev. Elise Feyerherm holds a PhD in Theological Studies from Boston College. She is Associate Rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Brookline, MA, and serves as mentor to the Anglican/Episcopal Community of Learning as well as adjunct faculty at the Boston University School of Theology. She is convener of the Liturgy and Music Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.

Members in Attendance

Deborah Appler, Suzanne Duchesne, Elise Feyerherm

Visitor in Attendance

Christina Ronzio

Description of Work

The seminar began by reviewing and updating the list of parishes that had participated in an expanded Advent season. We heard several presentations—one on the overall approach to expanded Advent, another on the implications of the image of the Tree of Life in Revelation for Advent eschatology, and another on the significance for preaching of ecological imagery in the Advent Eucharistic lectionary.

Our visitor shared her interest in visio divina – the contemplation of sacred images—and its potential for prayer and worship during Advent, with par- ticular interest in the St. John’s Bible.

Other Work and Plans for the Future

In 2018, Elise Feyerherm pub- lished an essay, “How We Wait—An Introduction to the Advent Project,” in Sacramental Life (Order of St. Luke).

We initiated conversations with two other seminars—Liturgical Music, and Liturgy and Ecology, with the intent of organizing joint sessions for the 2020 meeting.