Advent 2023 resources available now from UCC
Advent begins Sunday, Dec. 3 this year, and United Church of Christ resources are available now for churches, pastors and lay leaders to use.
This year, the UCC is collaborating with the United Church of Canada on “Advent Unwrapped” — resources for local churches, small groups and individuals to experience Advent as a season of reflection and anticipation.
For the second consecutive year, UCC/Baptist pastor the Rev. Mia M. McClain has been commissioned to write a new Advent-oriented song, with an accompanying music video. This offering, titled “Memory,” speaks of hope from remembering, God’s abiding presence, and the promise that God is doing a new thing.
McClain will also author the UCC Worship Ways liturgies for Advent and guest reflect for Sermon Seeds for the Second Sunday of Advent. The overall theme is “Tear Open the Heavens,” inspired by Isaiah 64:1. The roadmap for the full Advent season may be found here.
Pray with Nurture the Soul
A four-week webinar series from Nurture the Soul will delve deep into the Advent story, from escaping the violence of Herod to journeying through the desert to being left outside to give birth. Hosted by UCC’s Faith INFO team leader, the Rev. Tracy Howe, the series will feature guests from across the National Setting and local church pastors around the country.
“The scriptures that guide us through Advent are a profound testimony that God is with us, embodied in our vulnerability, amidst unimaginable circumstances — except maybe we can imagine because so many of the same things are unfolding in our world right now,” Howe said. “This series is a devotional space for us to gather and pray, engaging what we hope to be transformed with God and the promise of God with us. Together we will pray through Advent, we will pray through the unimaginable that is happening everyday, and we will hold to the surety that God is present.”
The series will begin Nov. 30 at 3:30 p.m. ET with “Praying Through Advent I: Escaping Herod.” Other titles will include:
- Dec. 7: “Journey Through the Desert – Praying with Migrants and Refugees”
- Dec. 14: “No Room at the Inn – Praying Through the Housing Crisis”
- Dec. 21: A virtual Advent worship event featuring The Many.
Register for the full Advent series here.
Advent calendar, devotionals and more
Join the Movement will be offering an Abolition Advent Calendar once again this year. This year’s theme is “Freedom for All Bodies.” Sign up to receive these daily offerings here or access them on the Join the Movement website.
And, once again for 2023, the Pilgrim Press Stillspeaking Writers Group and contributors have produced a daily devotional to guide us through the days of Advent and Christmastide, to the celebration of Epiphany. Glow includes candle-lighting liturgies for home use and daily readings with scripture and prayer.
“The glow we’re thinking of arrives from above and below: It is the dawning of earth-shaking liberation, which we expect to break through the clouds at any moment, and the throbbing embers of a watchfire beside which the faithful have warmed themselves for generations,” writes the Rev. Vince Amlin in the introduction.
Two UCC Officers have contributed to another devotional that will be available Nov. 20 from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Both the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, General Minister and President, and the Rev. Traci Blackmon, Associate General Minister, are among the writers featured in “Another Starry Black Night: A Womanist Advent Devotional” from PCUSA’s online journal, Unbound. This is the journal’s second such devotional, having previously published “Starry Black Night” for Advent 2020.
In addition to devotionals and calendars, the UCC Global H.O.P.E. team will again lead a Blue Christmas service on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. ET. More details to come.
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