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During the course of my many local church visits I’ve seen some meaningful change over the years, but some issues I’ve noted every year seem to be impervious to change.
Regardless of your religious background, consider experiencing the Christmas celebrations of other faith traditions.
Here's how three Anchorage churches that don't observe a traditional Advent worship in the weeks leading to Christmas.
And some Anchorage area churches are doing a good job emphasizing the true spirit of the season.
A pair of similar events this weekend exemplify how local faith organizations are gearing up to help others in our community during the holiday season.
Advent, properly observed, can provide a buffer from the Christmas-driven consumerism which plagues so much of Christianity.
Thanksgiving will be celebrated soon. This started me thinking about local faith community practices at this time of year. Last week, I noted Thanksgiving Blessing, a huge effort by the faith community and the Food Bank of Alaska. It takes many people to make this event a success and I’m thankful for those in our community … Continue reading Thanksgiving’s a time for thanks—what are you thankful for?
Advent in the various Orthodox traditions is observed somewhat differently and at different times than Western Christianity. One significant difference is that Advent for Antiochian and Greek Orthodox begins Nov. 15, two weeks earlier than non-Orthodox faiths. Orthodox practice is to begin Advent 40 days before Christmas; this period is called the “Nativity Fast,” and … Continue reading Orthodox Advent is almost here
Why am I writing about Christmas now since it’s not even Thanksgiving? So many retailers have had Christmas items for sale as early as August or September this year. Plainly stated, it’s marketing greed in a rush to capitalize on every Christmas dollar to be spent. The time to plan for a proper Christmas is now, … Continue reading Advent Conspiracy is an antidote to the over-commercialization of Christmas
Thomas Merton’s life and writings have had a huge influence on millions of people for the past 70 years. Before his untimely passing in December 1968, Merton visited Alaska looking at potential new retreat sites during September of that year. “Merton in Alaska,” published posthumously, documented his wide-ranging travels in Alaska, many talks, and ruminations … Continue reading Thomas Merton a focus of upcoming lecture series at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
It’s been a great gardening season for local gardeners, if not without some challenges. A very late fall has stretched out the growing season almost a month longer than normal. Leaves have now fallen and the soil is quickly freezing, but not before some local church gardens managed to reap marvelous harvests benefiting those who … Continue reading The church gardening year is over with some astounding results
As I visit churches, many sermons I hear lack practical application to our daily lives with demonstrable clear takeaways. They don’t give biblically down-to-earth advice and admonition to guide the daily lives of Christians, to encourage and enable them to be as distinctive as were the early Christians. In my church visits here, I recall … Continue reading How to show Christian values at work — without talking about religion
A few years back, I visited a church that prayed for another church in the community. I was taken aback, as I’d not ever seen this practice in my many years of church visits. The church they prayed for that day was All Saints’ Episcopal Church. Curious, I asked members if something was happening at … Continue reading Churches praying for other churches — an excellent idea
As the hearse pulled away from All Saints Episcopal Church Sept. 19, I finally realized I’d no longer be seeing my friend the Rev. Norman Elliott; I’d seen him for the last time. His service was attended by a wide range of friends and family. All Saints Rector David Terwilliger, the Rev. Katherine Hunt of … Continue reading Remembering Father Norman H.V. Elliott
The story of Brother Francis Shelter began 35 years ago with the tragic death of a homeless man at Holy Family Cathedral. He’d been sleeping in a dumpster that was subsequently emptied by the refuse company. After that death, Archbishop Francis Hurley immediately decided to tackle the problem of homelessness in Anchorage. Hearing of the work … Continue reading Brother Francis Shelter, marking 35 years of caring, pauses to remember its beginnings