Sunday, October 15, 2017

This Sunday featured our first intergenerational Sunday School!

We'll have one the third Sunday of every month from 10-11am, and disciples of all ages are invited.


Today's Sermon


Intergenerational Sunday School

Crafting, dancing, and coffee. Intergenerational Sunday School creates an opportunity for our whole community of all ages to explore faith together. We had our first one today, and these will continue on the third Sunday of every month from 10-11am. Join us next time!



Youth Group Mural Project

Our youth group is getting ready to install an epic mural evoking themes of acceptance, diversity, and inclusivity on the front doors of Advent. Today they warmed up with the Sunday School room.

Advent Lutheran Church
Sunday, October 8, 2017

On a rainy fall day, and the morning of Bobby Samuel's baptism, Pastor Danielle preached about how rain (any water, really) reminds her of her baptism, and why she needs to be reminded.



The baptism of Robert Lee Samuel IV on Sunday at 9am worship.

Advent Lutheran Church
Sunday, October 1, 2017

Today was a marathon of milestones.


Pastor Sudbrock preached on the 56th anniversary of his ordination as a pastor.

"I didn't create 'me.'" It was others. As I get older I think back to all the people who were go good to me in life. Now, I am called to give back to others." In his sermon on this special day, Pastor Sudbrock puts his own "accomplishments" into perspective, and focuses instead on owning and addressing the grim realities of white privilege. God loves all people unconditionally and equally, and God calls us to cry out and take action when that reality is not reflected in our society.

Listen to the full sermon below.

Pastor Sarah Brown baptized her own granddaughter.

Pastor Sarah Brown is a member of our congregation who happens to also be a pastor. Many years ago, it was another member of our church, Bill Ellis, who encouraged her to become a pastor. She doesn't often participate in a pastoral role in our congregation, but today she did, and in a very special way. Today she baptized Vivian Quinn Truitt-Brown, her granddaughter.

Quinn's family and godparents gathering around Sarah and Quinn at the baptismal font. In the silence between the practiced words of the Baptismal sacrament, you could feel how special this moment was for Sarah. In the words and water, you could feel God present and at work, affirming Quinn as God's own, blessed, forgiven, loved, called.



She couldn't stop smiling.


Our tradition after a Baptism is that the pastor "introduces" the baby to the congregation by parading them down the center aisle of the sanctuary. As she presented her baptized granddaughter to her faith community, the whole time Sarah was wearing one of the biggest smiles you've ever seen.



We celebrated the life of Alicia Papaleo.

 Alicia Papaleo was a pillar of this church for decades and a life-long Puerto Rican Lutheran. She passed away at the age of 98 on August 24, after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Today we celebrated Alicia's life just the way she would want us to -- with worship.

Listen below to Pastor Gary's bilingual sermon about Alicia and today's Gospel text, followed by the congregation singing one of Alicia's favorite hymns.


To Alicia, remembered and loved by her friends here at Advent.


And finally, we officially installed Pastor Danielle as the senior pastor of our congregation.

Pastor Danielle has been serving as our senior pastor since May -- so why is this installation such a big deal? It's not just that pastors and church leaders from all over the city (and beyond) come to witness the beginning of this new era in Pastor Danielle's ministry and Advent's leadership. Dozens of Advent members came early to help prepare for the event. When the Chorale sang, you could hear more excitement and passion in their voices than perhaps ever. "People sing fuller when their hearts are full," Aaron (Chorale director) said afterward. When the service was over, you could see the joy lighting up everyone's faces -- a congregation moved by the present and giddy about the future.

This installation ceremoniously marked a new beginning for us, for this community, for Advent. Celebrating that together was incredibly special. The Holy Spirit has breathed a fresh breath of life into this congregation through Pastor Danielle, and throughout this congregation so many of us can viscerally feel this new life, vision, and conviction to do God's work in the world in bolder and bigger ways. Hallelujah, Advent! Now, let's get to work.


Pastor Danielle's Installation in Photos: Before, During & After


Pastor Stephanie Kershner's Installation Sermon

Advent Lutheran Church
Sunday, September 24, 2017



What would you do if you met your childhood (or workplace) bully at the pearly gates? Did you think you would? "Are you jealous because I am generous?" the landowner, representing God, says in today's Gospel parable. In the parable, the landowner paid the people who are hired at the end of the day the same amount as those who began working in the morning. Sometime the fact that God's love is equally for everyone can seem unfair in our human sense of fairness -- but then again, we are the recipients of that same unconditional love, even in our worst moments. In his sermon, Pastor Gary reflects on this conundrum and calls us to a reflect such a love that defies deservedness or judgement.



Sunday School

Following our Celebration Sunday last Sunday, today we had our first regular Sunday School of the year. Parents and children wrote letters to people affected by Hurricane Harvey. Upstairs in the sanctuary, the danced and sang songs led by Pastor Danielle. Everyone was very proud of their letters, and that they were able to help make people who are hurting feel better.

Sarah, our new seminary intern this school year, assisted Pastor Danielle with leadership. She is looking forward to getting to know all our families this year!



Adult Conversation

Today's adult conversation was about our annual trip to El Salvador every July, and our sister church, Pueblo de Dios, in Calderitas, El Salvador. Norma, a leader among the group for many years, wore her Spanish 500th Anniversary of the Reformation T-shirt from El Salvador just for the occasion. Carlos, who's been on the trip several times, emphasized the powerful sense of community we have developed with our sister church, Pueblo de Dios, over the years. You leave feeling like you've reunited with your dearest friends, reminded of what relationships look like when life slows down. In the midst poverty and danger, the people around you and community and love matter more than ever. To the people of Pueblo de Dios in Calderitas, the fact that we visit them and experience of spending time together matters more than any service project or financial gift. Knowing that they are not alone, that they are cared for, prayed for, loved goes further than anything else. You're invited to experience community in a whole new way in El Salvador next summer! Click here to learn more.


Worship in Spanish

We got to hear the same sermon as Spanish-speaking members of our community today, from Pastor Gary. They also shared in Holy Communion. Here, you see Lorenza, Dolores, and Chandra walking up to receive the gifts of God, bread, wine, grace, forgiveness, and abundance.

Advent Lutheran Church
Celebration Sunday: Light the Fire, September 17, 2017

Celebration Sunday

Light the Fire


How is God calling you to be a light to the world?


After the tranquil months of summer, it was incredible to experience Advent buzzing with people and vibrantly alive. Balloons lining the sanctuary, interactive worship elements, even (*gasp) some clapping and dancing in worship. Through worship and intergenerational activities downstairs, we pondered together how God is calling each of us to be a light to the world. You're invited to continue diving into that query through the video, photos, and reflections here.


Pastor Danielle's Sermon

We know what forgiveness is (It's Christianity 101, right?) but too often, in real life, we get it upside-down. Pastor Danielle's sermon invites us to look again, and shows us just how wonderfully radical God's forgiveness really is. And when people see God's unbelievable forgiveness in us, God's light is shining through us.


9am Worship

9am worship began quietly. Then during the opening hymn, family after family shuffled into the sanctuary. By the end of worship, a multitude was clapping and following the pastors down the center aisle for our closing hymn.

Use the arrows to scroll through the pictures from 9am worship!


Celebration Sunday Activities

That morning, six activity stations were spread across the basement fellowship hall. Adults and kids alike were invited to gather in community in the fellowship hall. When you walked in, you were given a card saying, "How are you called to be a light to the world?", and a single "candle wick" (it was really a chopstick). At each station you would get a new piece of colorful paper to build your "candle," and at the final station, a pretty paper flame to top it.

Many kids immediately flocked the "Feeding of the 5000" station, where the activity was decorating cookies. The task was to make one cookie for yourself, and one to give to a friend. Each station being a light to the world through the lens of different Bible story.

For people who completed all the stations quickly or needed a break, not to fret, there was ice cream.

Use the arrows to scroll through all the Celebration Sunday activity pictures!



Jesus' Arms Cutout Portrait

One popular station was this cutout portrait inspired by the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Through this station, our aim was to remind kids (and adults!) that no matter who they are or what they do, there is always a place for them in the heart and arm of Jesus. After talking about the Bible story, we asked kids questions about all the different kinds of people they saw in Jesus' arms, and then invited them to join the crowd!

Use the arrows to scroll through the pictures of everyone who did the station!


11am Worship

The Advent Chorale joined us for 11am worship, singing "Climbin' Up the Mountain, Children" arranged by Moses Hogan, a fun and energetic piece to match the mood of the day.

During the Prayers of Intercession, everyone present was invited to light a candle, an act of prayer inviting God to illumine your life and illumine our world with love, mercy, forgiveness and justice. If you weren't able to be with us in worship (even if you were), we invite you to light a candle at work or home and lift up a similar prayer sometime this week.

The service ended with another lively procession, followed by conversations and community throughout the sanctuary.


12:45pm Worship in Spanish

Our final worship service of a whirlwind day. Spanish-speaking members of our congregation and community gathered for Pastor Gary's sermon, Holy Communion, and faith community. Volunteers, young and old, assisted with the readings, the offering, and more.

For our bilingual members out there, Pastor Gary's sermon video is included below.

For everyone else, you know our Conversational Spanish Class just started on Monday. We all have to start somewhere. The class is at 2pm every Monday, and all are welcome to drop in.



Pastor Gary's Sermon in Spanish

Advent Lutheran Church
Sunday, September 3, 2017


Have you ever wished life was as prescriptive as school? If the life Jesus calls us to constantly reroutes our expectations, how do we keep at it and keep faith? In today's sermon, Pastor Becca speaks to these questions, and offers a spirited, more radical perspective on the oft-dreary mantra, "bear your cross."

Advent Lutheran Church
Sunday, August 27th, 2017

Today was a day of swelling music, Christian rock paper scissors, environmental advocacy, and exploring how God is our rock and our foundation. Even when life is chaotic, what keeps you grounded and gives you peace? 


In today's sermon, Pastor Gary explores how Christ is the rock on which we build up our church and our lives. He explains how through Christ, we can become better people and work as a whole to better our society. Not by worrying about our own perfection, but by trusting in God, working together, and letting the Holy Spirit work through us.

Watch the full sermon video here.


In today's adult conversation, Advent member Dart Westphal led us in a discussion about local environmental advocacy in upper Manhattan. We learned about a number of great advances in environmental health (things like cleaner air), and problems we are still facing in making this are healthy for everyone who calls it home. Lastly, we considered joining WeAct, a local organization dedicated to climate action and public health in northern Manhattan. 

You can learn more about WeAct on their website.


After 12:45 pm Worship in Spanish, Dolores handed out more copies of our new Member and Friends directory. If you haven't gotten one, we still have more copies available in the church office. 


Photo Gallery

Advent Lutheran Church
Sunday August 20th, 2017

Today, in worship and in conversation, we reaffirmed our commitment to stand in solidarity with people who are victims of discrimination and hate, outwardly and subversively, in our country today. We praised a God who loves all people. People of all skin tones, races, cultures, sexual orientations, and gender identities. And we explored ways that we can bring more of that healing, unconditional love into this still painfully divided world.


In her sermon, Deacon Abby Ferjak, lamented the overt displays of hatred and racism shown earlier this week in Charlottesville, Virginia. As people who proclaim God's love for all people, we proclaim that racism, overt or covert, is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As people called to love all our neighbors, we commit ourselves to reject and dismantle white privilege, white supremacy, and racially biased systems and institutions.


In our Adult Conversation, Ross Murray (both an Advent member and program director at GLAAD) spoke with us about recent events related to LGBTQ advocacy, and the best actions we can take now to support the LGBTQ community. Among the most important things we can be doing now are:

  • Helping movements that share common goals stay united,
  • Showing up at marches and rallies,
  • Calling your elected officials to share your support of LGBTQ people
  • Supporting businesses with LGBTQ friendly policies
  • Following action-oriented LGBTQ organizations (which we will list below)
  • Reaching out to people you know to challenge cultural assumptions, familiarize them with the LGTBQ community, and advocate for your LGBTQ friends and neighbors

Some LGBTQ action-oriented organizations worth following and supporting include: HRC, National LGBTQ Task Force, Lambda Legal, PFLAG, GLSEN, Trevor Project, National Black Justice Coalition, National Coalition of Anti-Violence Project, Immigration Equality, Audre Lorde Project (NYC), Fierce (NYC), Housing Works (NYC)


After worship, many stayed and conversed in the pews.


More gathered downstairs after Spanish-language worship.

Advent Lutheran Church