Sunday, November 26, 2017

It's the weekend after Thanksgiving, and while many members of our community were likely still resting from successful Thanksgiving meals, traveling home from family reunions, or working to make up for extra days taken off for the holiday, many also gathered at Advent today for worship and community.

Pictured left, our Sunday Singers (a more casual version of the Advent Chorale with just one rehearsal the same morning) sang a upbeat, fun tune at 11am worship.

In his sermon, Pastor Gary reconciled the Lutheran theological tenet of "grace through faith alone" with a Gospel text that focuses on the importance of our works, how we engage with the world and treat others. Listen to the full sermon below.

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! See you next Sunday!


Pastor Danielle shared the mission and ministry announcements for the week. Sign up to help out and/or sing Christmas Carols at this coming Saturday's Christmas Tree Sale fundraiser here. If you plan to and haven't yet, you can complete your 2018 Stewardship Commitment card online here.


The Prayers of the People

Advent Lutheran Church
Sunday, November 19, 2017

Today was our third Celebration Sunday of the fall, with the theme: Thanks-Giving. We were invited to give thanks in special ways in worship, gathered for an intergenerational Sunday School at 10am, and for our own Thanksgiving meal in community at 12pm. Our Thanks-Giving potluck included a pie auction, which was a big success and a lot of fun!

Advent Lutheran Church
Sunday, November 12, 2017

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus and his disciples arrive in Jerusalem. The disciples ooo and ahh at all the grand temples, to which Jesus responds with a parable about running out of oil (surprise, the oil symbolizes something . . .). Deacon Ross Murray breaks this symbolism down for us and brings it to life in our context 2000 years later.

Advent Lutheran Church
Sunday, November 5, 2017

Today we lifted up all the uncelebrated, unnamed, unknown saints throughout history and today: people of color, women, LGTBQ, transexual, differently abled, and more sharing their gifts with the world and loving their neighbors.

Advent Lutheran Church
Sunday, October 29, 2017

Once Luther discovered in the Bible that God forgives and loves all people, not because of who we are but because of who God is, Luther knew he had to tell everyone. Today, there are still a lot of people who need to hear they are loved in the honesty of who they are . . . who is telling them?

In her sermon on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Pastor Danielle calls you to follow Luther's lead and raise up your voice to proclaim that our God is one who loves everyone. Because somewhere, your voice is needed.

Advent Lutheran Church
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