Algoma Deanery Week of December 12, 2022

Good day,

I have exciting news for anyone close enough to take advantage… 😀

St. George’s in Echo Bay will be hosting a Robbie Burns Supper on Wednesday, January 25!! Yes – we’ll be having haggis…No, the haggis won’t be disgusting. 😂 The plan is to make it from “normal” meat – ground beef and lamb…nothing weird. It’ll still taste like haggis. It’s the spices that make it delicious…nutmeg, allspice…

For people like me, there will also be a vegetarian option.  Tickets are just $20 and will include a hearty meal, yummy Scottish desserts, a toast to the haggis, and live music with a Scottish sing-a-long.  Only 40 tickets will be sold so contact me soon ( Doors open at 6pm. Dinner at 6:30pm.

A Liturgical Note For You:

This is the week in which we mark the three Advent Ember Days. Need a refresher on “ember days”?  Ember Days are the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of certain weeks through the Christian year – traditionally at the turn of the four seasons (so…during the 3rd week of Advent, the week of the first Sunday in Lent, the week after the Day of Pentecost, and the week after Holy Cross Day).  According to McCausland’s Order of Divine Service, these are days on which the church engages “in intentional and deep prayer for its whole ministry: for the mission of the Church, for the ministry of the Church, for peace, and for the unity of the Church.”  Okay, so if they occur at the “turn of the season” then why do Advent’s Ember Days happen during the third week of the Advent Season?  Well, this week does indeed correspond closely with the beginning of the winter season in our neck of the woods (although it has looked and felt like winter for a few weeks already).  Clearly, these particular days of observance are based on a western (northern hemisphere) sort of Christian experience with seasons.  

 Anyway, this is also the exciting time of Advent when the Church liturgy and mind set takes a turn as well…we begin to look forward with greater focus and longing to the birth of the Saviour – beginning especially on December 17 (the octave before Christmas). FYI: If your church plans on having a Christmas Lessons & Carols and a Christmas pageant before the Christmas season actually begins, it is wise to at least wait until this time during Advent. Advent is important and needn’t be usurped by Christmas. 

This is the time when the Church makes use of the Ancient Advent “O” Antiphons – the refrains that were sung (one per day) at the beginning and ending of The Magnificat at Evening Prayer.  We use these antiphons daily – or at least each Sunday – throughout all of Advent (They are the Prayers of the People in Advent in the BAS p.119). They are a powerfully transforming reminder that our God has many names by which we acknowledge God’s saving activity in our Great Story of Salvation – a very good reason why they are in our prayer book. 🙂  Here is a refresher on what the “O” Antiphons are:

The Ancient Advent Antiphons are used during the final week leading up to Christmas Eve (so from Dec.17 through until Dec.23). These are called the “O Antiphons” – because they all start with “O”. The McCausland‘s says, “They are addressed to God, calling for him to come as teacher and deliverer, with a tapestry of scriptural titles and pictures that describe his saving work in Christ.” We know that these were in use by the 700’s A.D. but we don’t know who wrote them or when. 

December 17th: O Sapientia: O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to the other mightily, and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence. 

December 18th: O Adonai: O Lord and leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

December 19th: O Radix Jesse: O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples; before you kings will shut their mouths, to you the nations will make their prayer: Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

December 20th: O Clavis David: O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel; you open and no one can shut; you shut and no one can open: Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house, those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

December 21st: O Oriens: O Morning Star, splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

December 22nd: O Rex Gentium: O King of the nations, and their desire, the cornerstone making both one: Come and save the human race, which you fashioned from clay.

December 23rd: O Emmanuel: O Emmanuel, our King and our lawgiver, the hope of the nations and their Saviour: Come and save us, O Lord our God.

For Your Devotions:

Thursday, December 15th is the commemoration of Simon Gibbons, First Priest from the Inuit, 1896. Simon was left an orphan at the tender age of six and spent the rest of his youth being cared for in an Anglican orphanage in Newfoundland. There he was educated and encouraged to seek ordination. He spent his first years as an Anglican presbyter as a missionary – regularly making the arduous 100 mile circuit – even during the frozen depths of winter – to hold services in isolated communities. Despite exhaustion and personal danger, Simon was always joyful in his service to the Lord.  These physically strenuous years took their toll on his health and he died at just 46 years of age.  To read more about this amazing individual, check out p.374 here:

In the hope of the coming Lord,


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