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Get Ready to Get Ready: Advent Ideas

Advent is around the corner and is a great liturgical season for spiritual formation for all ages. Be intentional around the offerings at your parish. How are members and visitors alike invited into preparation, reflection, and action before Christmas? The mindful, spiritual focus of Advent is quite counter-cultural to the consumerism of our American life, and many folks are spiritually hungry for something to counter the onslaught of consumer driven messages. Check out this video that explains Advent in 2 minutes

There are some easily accessible ways to keep Advent at home -- to help you slow down and notice the season. With some special attention to ritual, time, and your own awareness, Advent can become a special time of waiting on God in your life.

Advent Wreath Making: The object of the wreath and candles helps families to focus on the season. Here is an Advent Wreath Liturgy appropriate for your church and a great explanation of the Advent Wreath with prayers for the home.

Pray Together: If this isn't a daily habit, use the season of Advent to start this practice of praying together as a family. If you don't have an Advent Wreath, then just light a candle and use a simple prayer. You can start with the prayers from the Book of Occasional Services 

Read the Nativity Story: Pick a children's Bible, a favorite Christmas storybook, the Bible passage, or look at this Online Interactive Nativity story for a modern retelling. 

Set Up a Nativity Scene or Creche: Create a special corner where you set up the family nativity set. There are all kinds of creative ways to make a creche on Pinterest. Check out my Advent Pinterest Page for some downloadable designs. This particular post is both creche and Advent Calendar

Serve Together: Pick a service project to do together as a family. It gets the focus off "stuff" and on to helping others. But more than that - it is a chance for families to do something meaningful together. This Advent Calendar based on service projects is a good place to look for inspiration. 

Theater for Advent: I used to belong to a group called “Covenant Players” – a Christian Drama Ministry. My friends, Kurt & Cathy Purucker, still offer plays and programs around the themes your organization chooses. They will be in the area for Advent and Christmas – please contact them for your church or perhaps sponsor a program at a prison, school, or some other group.  Contact them at:

Other Online Resources: Available on our website

If you've got resources, pageant scripts, family prayer ideas you'd like to share, please add them in the comments on the DioCal website (link above)

...
- Amy Cook

Amy Cook
Working Group Head for Faith Formation
Caren Miles
Associate for Faith Formation

From your Resource Center: Stewardship

Grace on the Go: Powerful Prayers to Ease Money Worries by Barbara Bartocci 
Designed to present simple connections and time for prayer in the ordinary moments of our busy, hectic lives. This guide addresses the challenges of dealing with money worries. 
Not Your Parents' Offering Plate: a New Vision for Financial Stewardship by J. Clif Christopher
Hearing a young attorney speak of the faith based reasons for which he had just made a substantial monetary gift to a community youth center. Not Your Parents' Offering Plateprovides practical guidance to all who seek to help God's people be better stewards of their resources.
Last stop on Market Street words by Matt de la Pecola
Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn't he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty -- and fun -- in their routine and the world around them. A great book to teach stewardship to young children.
The Suitcase: A Story about Giving by Jane G. Meyer
This book celebrates a young child's enthusiasm to put into practice the words of Christ: to feed and clothe the poor; help the needy; and love one's neighbor. As Thomas shows his family the items that he has packed into his suitcase after hearing a stirring homily at church, they marvel at his inventiveness and loving heart. Thomas is traveling to the Kingdom of Heaven, and he knows what it takes to get there! Along with his suitcase, Thomas and his family figure out a way to accomplish the almost impossible goal. 

Beloved Community Confirmation 

There will be a diocese-wide confirmation service at St. Augustine’s, Oakland on Saturday, November 3 at 2:00 p.m. Registration forms are filled out by the parishes, not by individuals. Forms are here. Please arrive in the Parish Hall by 1 p.m. to meet with Bishop Marc and receive your instructions for the service. The service begins at 2 p.m. There will be a light reception afterwards.

When: Saturday, November 3, 2 p.m.
WhereSt. Augustine’s, 525 29th Street, Oakland
Register: Registration forms are filled out by the Parishes, not by individuals. Forms are here.
Registration deadline: Monday, October 22
Contact: Caren Miles, Associate for Faith Formation,

 Safe Church Updates

New Model Policies for the protection of youth, children, and vulnerable adults will be available soon. 

The updated training is available both online and in person. Caren Miles, Associate for Faith Formation has all the information you could need (and so does the website)

In Person trainings are a great way to get your vestry, formation team, staff, and parish leaders all on the same page about the protection of everyone in our congregation. 

Contact Caren to schedule training or to set up your online system.


Good Will Camp

(For ages 11-18) Do you have service hours you need to complete for school? Would you like to spend a weekend hanging out with friends and eating great food? Come for a weekend away at St. Dorothy’s! Together we’ll enjoy the peace found in the redwoods, do arts & crafts, play games, reflect, pray, make new friends, and do service work on St. Dorothy’s property and community work in the surrounding area.

When: Friday, November 9 to Sunday, November 11
WhereSt. Dorothy's Rest, 160 St. Dorothy Ave. Camp Meeker
Scholarships Available (within the Diocese of California):

Save the Date - Winter NightWatch 

We're having a youth overnight in the Peninsula Deanery!
Transfiguration, San Mateo and Holy Family, Half Moon Bay will be hosting a great event for youth in 6th to 12th grades.
More details coming in November.
When: Saturday, December 15 to Sunday, December 16
Where: Transfiguration, 3900 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo & Holy Family, 1590 S. Cabrillo Highway, Half Moon Bay
Cost: $10
Contact: Caren Miles, Associate for Faith Formation,

Other Upcoming Events

19 to 20 | Diocesan Convention 2018 | San Francisco
27 | Eucharistic Minister/Eucharistic Visitor training in the Marin Deanery | Belvedere

3 | Beloved Community Confirmation | Oakland
9 to 11 | Good Will Camp, St. Dorothy's Rest | Camp Meeker
10 | Eucharistic Minister/Eucharistic Visitor training in the Southern Alameda Deanery | Fremont
28 | Leadership and Anxiety in the Church, a practical interdenominational training event for church leaders | Palo Alto


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