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Brothers’ Away Week

The Guesthouse and Chapel will close after Evening Prayer on Sunday, 20 January and reopen in time for Morning Prayer on Tuesday, 29 January. This is one of our regular closed periods to allow Brothers time away for continuing education, retreats, family visits, and vacations.


Dr. Patrick Hornbeck Visits

Dr. Patrick Hornbeck was with the SSJE Brothers at the Monastery January 3-5 to discuss “The Question of Religious Freedom in America,” beginning with Thomas Jefferson up to the present. Patrick is a friend of SSJE and a Professor and Chair, the School of Theology at Fordham University, New York City.

Epiphany Traditions

There are a number of traditions associated with the Feast of the Epiphany. In some places a Kings’ Cake in served in which are hidden two beans. Those who find the beans become the king and queen of the feast. Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night takes place at Epiphany. House blessings are also a traditional event during Epiphany, and it is the custom in some places to bless chalk at the end of the Eucharist, so that people can take some home and write over their doors 20+C+M+B+19. The 20+19 stands for the year, and the C+M+B is either short for Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, the names which tradition gives to the Magi, or Christus Mansionem Benedicat which is Latin for May Christ Bless this House. You may want to google Blessing of Chalk or Chalking of Houses and find prayers to use at home for this form of house blessing. Another custom associated with Epiphany is the Announcement of Easter, when the date of Easter, and the various moveable feasts determined by the date on which Easter falls, was announced to the congregation. In some places this Announcement was sung to a tone similar to the Easter Exsultet. While this tradition comes from a time before everyone had access to a calendar, it remains a helpful reminder of the centrality of the Resurrection to our faith and the cycle of feasts and fasts that are determined by the date of Easter.

Twelve Days of Christmas Audio Book

This year, we Brothers hope you’ll join us in celebrating Christmas for twelve days by exploring an audio book by Br. Curtis Almquist on The Twelve Days of Christmas. This audio book, read by Br. Curtis and accompanied by carols sung by the Brothers, is not a bah humbug about Christmas customs and presents. It is an invitation to go deeper than the tinsel and wrappings, beyond the presents given and received, to the source of all the good gifts in life. Listen to the introduction >

Each day in Christmastide (starting Dec. 26), we will invite you to unwrap the next chapter and to join us in reflecting on the good gifts that God gives us. If you subscribe to “Brother, Give Us a Word,” look for each day’s chapter at the bottom of your daily email during the twelve days of Christmas. We hope this book will provide an anchor of joy and serenity during this Christmas season.

Christmastide Worship Schedule

Our complete listing of services for Christmastide is now online. Please consult the schedule for all the services we are offering during this festive and sacred season. We invite you to join us as often as you can! Please also feel free to invite family and friends to join you here for Christmas. We count on you, our friends, to make our presence known in the local community.

Christmastide Schedule >

Advent Observances: Eucharistic Prayer

The Eucharistic Prayer we will use on Sundays and Tuesdays in Advent is one of the new Eucharistic Prayers of the Episcopal Church. The language of the prayer is rooted in the wisdom language of Scripture, and while the identification of Jesus as the eternal Word and Wisdom of God is perhaps unfamiliar to us, it is evident in the New Testament and the writings of the Early Church. Note that the Memorial Acclamation (Dying, you destroyed our death…)and the concluding congregational sung doxology (Blessed are you now and forever. Amen.) are different than what we are used to. The words and music for them can be found in the service part of the bulletin.

O Root of Jesse: Come and Deliver Us

The final Tuesday evening in our Advent preaching series – entitled Lord Jesus, Come Soon – will be on Tuesday, 18 December, when Brother Geoffrey will preach on O Root of Jesse: Come and deliver us. A soup and bread supper will follow the Eucharist with informal conversation about the sermon. Please plan on joining us, and inviting a friend along.

You can also to listen to the earlier sermons in the series online:

O Wisdom – Br. Jim Woodrum

O Radiant Light – Br. Curtis Almquist

Saturday Evensong

Evening Prayer has been described as one of the glories of Anglicanism. On Saturday evenings, the community sings Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM. During Advent, there are special hymns, and antiphons for the psalms and the Magnificat (Song of Mary), which reflect the season. Why not make attending Saturday Evening Prayer one of the ways in which you prepare for Christmas?

Congratulations Brother David

Our Brother David Allen celebrates two significant anniversaries next week. On Wednesday, 19 December he celebrates his 89th birthday and on Friday, 21 December (the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle) he celebrates the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Following the Eucharist on Sunday, 16 December there will be a reception in his honor. Please help to celebrate these milestones in Brother David’s life.

Advent Observances: Wreath

The Advent Wreath, which by its nature is circular in form, reminds us that God’s love is endless, having no beginning or end. The greenery is a sign of hope, renewal and new life, especially at a time of year when everything seems to be dead and decaying. The four candles, a new one lit each week, marking the four Sundays of Advent, are visible reminders that as the darkness of the world (literally, as well as figuratively) descends upon us, that darkness cannot overcome the light which Christ brought into the world through His incarnation.

The wrought iron stand for the Advent Wreath was commissioned by the community as a memorial to our brother, John Goldring SSJE. During Easter, it can be converted into a stand for the Paschal Candle.