Spend Your Advent with First Church

Advent 2021: Already Here, Not Yet There…

This classic Advent theme seems to fit this year more than most! Indeed, we are stepping into a new season — not only Advent, but also in our mid-pandemic world. We are gathering for hybrid worship. We are already doing more with family and friends than we were a year ago. And yet, nothing feels quite the same as before. We are not yet back to how our lives used to feel. We are able to sing, but with masks. We have returned to school or work in person, but are struggling to find our way. We are worshiping together, but some of us are tuning in from home. We are already here, and not yet there!  In Advent, too, we celebrate that Christ is already here walking alongside us in our journey, and yet, we are waiting for that child who will change everything in the coming weeks. God’s kingdom is already here, and yet, we await the justice, reconciliation and healing that is to come.

Join us this Advent in exploring this feeling of being in between, of feeling as if we have arrived somewhere, but are still waiting for something more: of being already here, but not yet there.

Ways to Engage this Season

In addition to the opportunities below, throughout the season of Advent we will offer spiritual reflection videos from Pastoral Associate Jaz Buchanan for families and for the child within all of us, as well as access to the online spiritual practice guide ADVENT UNBOUND: A COMPANION TO PÁDRAIG Ó TUAMA’S “POETRY UNBOUND” through our all-church e-newsletter First Glance.

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Week One

Advent Gathering and Crafting
Sunday, November 28, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m., via Zoom

On the first Sunday of Advent, gather on Zoom after worship to hear more about our Advent theme – Already Here, Not Yet There. We’ll reflect on themes of feeling being in between, of feeling as if we have arrived somewhere, but are still waiting for something more: of being already here, but not yet there.

And in the spirit of our traditional Advent Workshop, we’ll have a breakout room for crafting! Find your Advent candle ring and pick up some candles and wreath-making supplies at First Church on Sunday, November 21, after the Fall Congregational Meeting (2:00 – 4:00 p.m.) or on Sunday morning, November 28, before we gather on Zoom. We’ll make our wreaths together and share ideas for simple Advent crafts to complete at home.

First Church Walk
Sunday, November 28 at 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Fresh Pond Reservation

 Join First Church member Susan Ohman for an easy walk at Fresh Pond Reservation. Walk 1-2 miles through Lusitania Meadows, the Butterfly Meadow, and along the main path by Fresh Pond to Maher Park and Blacks Nook. Depending on the group’s wishes, we can extend the walk to complete the loop around the pond. Occasional benches are available.

Meet at the entrance to Fresh Pond Reservation on Concord Ave. The closest parking is in the Alewife Brook Parkway lot that serves Trader Joe’s, CVS and other businesses.  Meet at the crosswalk across Concord Ave. from the Carewell Urgent Care. Questions? Contact Susan Ohman (617-388-9811)

Young Adults: Open Book Mic
Tuesday, November 30 at 7:00 p.m.
Ebony’s house

A time for Story Share! Bring a book you love and read a passage aloud to us. We’ll talk about what it means to you. Contact Ministerial Intern Ebony West for the address.

Week Two

Space to Listen: Reflecting on the Gospel of Luke with Brent Coffin
Sunday, December 5, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m., via Zoom

Who’s controlling the narrative today? Is it the Right or the Left? FOX or MSNBC? Or is it actually no one? Amidst all the clamor and competition, where do we find the space to listen deeply to our own narratives of where we are now, how we got here, and where we are hoping to go next?

The Gospel of Luke is just one of countless narratives. Yet for us, it is the primary text of the new Christian liturgical year beginning this Advent. Luke’s is a story we’ve all heard before—the virgin birth, angels, shepherds, etc.  But what if Luke’s narrative of our brother Jesus can be for us a living space—space for listening more deeply to our own narratives, and to those of our companions, as together we listen for what God is calling us and enabling us to be and to do?

Brent Coffin will offer some initial reflections on the Gospel of Luke as narrative space for discerning how God is calling us in our own unfolding narratives. The talk will follow worship on the second Sunday of Advent, December 5. After Brent’s remarks, there will be time for your questions and comments, as we begin the conversation.

Youth Group: Volunteer to sort gifts for City Mission Gift Drive
Sunday, December 5, 1:15 – 3:00 p.m., Margaret Jewett Hall

Each year City Mission collects thousands of gifts – clothes, toys, books and households goods.  Many of these donations come from members of FCC.  These gifts are made available to the City Mission’s Homelessness Prevention clients and other community partners who distribute gifts to their own clients. If you are a young person in 8th-12th grade, please join the Youth Group on the afternoon of December 5 to help sort these items for delivery.

Week Three

Saturday, December 11, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m., via Zoom

The women of First Church will gather together on Zoom for a time of worship, spiritual practice, reflection, and fellowship to observe Advent. Everyone who identifies as a woman is welcome to join! Come as you are to take time out of our busy weeks for rest, spiritual practice and reflection about being a person of faith in this uncertain time. To let us know if you plan on coming, please sign up here: https://forms.gle/nzPoGUSHw4GEA4KJ6

Questions? Contact Lexi Boudreaux.

Bishop Greene, Guest Preacher
Sunday, December 12, 11:00 a.m., Sanctuary and via livestream

We welcome longtime Cambridge pastor Bishop Brian Greene from the Pentecostal Tabernacle Church as our guest preacher during Hybrid Worship on December 12. For more than a year, members of First Church and Pentecostal Tabernacle (PT) have been gathering weekly on Tuesday afternoons for weekly Biblical Justice Prayer Zoom calls hosted by PT. In addition, Dan Smith and Bishop Greene have been meeting regularly about a deepening connection between our congregations.

Watch and Wait for more information about the UnPageant and how to observe the Christmas season with us. It’s coming soon!