Advent is a season of waiting, preparing, expecting. It is a time to see the darkness around us and even to confront it and enter into it more deeply – with the spiritual grounding of courage and hope we so desperately need. In contrast to the noise and division so often part of the culture around us, this is a time for us to come together – quieting, centering, making ready – and watch the mystery unfold. Historically, the church has seen this as a penitential season, thus there are similarities with Lent. Yet it is different. Scripture texts urge us to be alert to our human weaknesses and inattentiveness – with reminders to turn from ruin and destruction to the promise of love breaking in. The “days are surely coming,” indeed. We turn our attention to Mary and the impending birth of the Christ Child. The final week of Advent dawns with news of incarnation, the mystery about to be revealed for all the world. Our Advent observance continues through December 24, until dark settles in and we draw close to the Nativity.
Worship gathers us in prayer and praise to God and shapes us to live as Christians in our daily lives. Using scripture, the Book of Common Prayer, music, and other resources, we come together in this sacred time to learn, to grow, and to give thanks to God. Covid-19 has changed the way we gather, yet not our common prayer. Worship materials are provided for home use and to support worship via video, Zoom, and phone.
Readings for Advent 1 – Sunday, November 29
Sunday, November 29 (Advent 1) readings setup for printing (2 pages to print front/back)
Reflection resources for this week’s readings, the First Sunday of Advent
A Liturgy of the Word worship service is video-recorded each week and posted on YouTube, for use on Sunday mornings. This link is provided in our weekly, digital newsletter, sent Saturday evenings, posted on Facebook on Sunday mornings, and available here for Sunday, November 29.
We gather on Zoom each Sunday morning at 10:40 a.m. to greet one another, watch our worship video and prayer together, and follow with a brief time of fellowship. Connection details are provided in our weekly, digital newsletter or by email. Our Diocesan Partnership offers a worship gathering on Zoom at 10 a.m. Sundays, to view a service alternating from our cathedrals in Buffalo and Erie; connection details are provided in our parish newsletter. These services will be posted on Facebook and YouTube each Sunday morning by 10 a.m.
IN PERSON WORSHIP
In-person worship is suspended at this time, due to increased rates of Covid-19.
THURSDAY MORNING PRAYER
At 7:45 a.m. Thursdays, Mother Twila offers a brief morning prayer service from the Genesis Center, just before the weekly food pantry begins, on Facebook Live. See the Genesis Center Facebook page.
Every week at St. Simon’s, we offer prayers for birthdays, for persons who are ill or in special need, and for those who have died, to ask God’s blessing at these special times. To add an intention to the prayer list, you may call the church office, 716-822-1900, ext. 20, or email.
WORSHIP IN THE WIDER CHURCH
Monday-Friday – Noonday Prayer with our Diocesan Partnership, 12 p.m. – Facebook Live (see p. 103, Book of Common Prayer, if desired, to follow along)
Sunday worship services are being live-streamed from the National Cathedral: link to services on YouTube. Watch the Facebook page for the Episcopal Church for additional updates on digital worship serviwces.
Throughout the year, we recognize God’s grace in the fullness of our lives with the sacrament of baptism, the uniting of couples in marriage, and the rites at death, into eternal life. For more information, contact The Rev. Twila Smith.