Advent 1: Advent Hope

Jen deCombeLiturgical Year, Prayer, Spiritual Practices

First Sunday of Advent: We blow out the candle of despair and in its place we light the candle of hope. Lectionary Readings: Isaiah 64:1-9, Mark 13:24-37 This year’s first Gospel reading of the Advent season comes as a shock to many of us. Unlike the images of Christmas that surround us, there are no joyful angels shining in the sky or three wise men bearing gifts. The only stars in this reading are the … Read More

Hanging of the Greens

Pressley CoxLiturgical Year

Growing up, I had never heard of a “Hanging of the Greens” service.  Preparing the sanctuary for Christmas was done by a group of women one Saturday morning.  The bulletin announcement the next day would be a thank you to those who “decorated” the church.  It wasn’t until seminary, that I began to understand the full theological meaning of preparing the sanctuary for the liturgical season of Advent and Christmas.  A Hanging of the Greens … Read More

Reformation Resources

Carol WehrheimLiturgical Year

Looking for ideas to help celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this year? Check out some of these: From PC(USA)  Adult Resources  Donald McKim: Reformation Questions, Reformation Answers  Donald McKim: Moments with Luther, Meditations  Steven Paulson: Luther for Armchair Theologians  Martin Luther: A Simple Way to Pray (introduction by Marjorie Thompson)  Glenn S. Sunshine: The Reformation for Armchair Theologians  Being Reformed study: The Protestant Reformation  Youth and Young Adults  Five-session survey of church history that includes a look at Martin Luther’s life and … Read More

An Imperfect Lineage: A Youth Reflection on the Genealogy of Jesus

Kaylee OsteenLiturgical Year

“An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”  Matthew 1:1 (NRSV) Over the past few years, the summer Montreat Youth Conferences have inspired me in a multitude of ways.  Escaping to the mountains of North Carolina provides an environment to help young people grow closer to God, to their church family, to meet new friends, and to reconnect with old friends.  Every year, as I hear … Read More