We – a group of young clergy [and seminarians] in the Diocese – have decided to take the former Diocesan Book Room space in a downtown mall that was sitting vacant, and turn it into an Advent Chapel. We are planning to offer a ministry of hospitality and presence in the city of Montreal, a sort of “Occupy the mall” experiment for the church and an opportunity for those harried by their experience of the mall to rest, recover, and perhaps consider whether there might be more to Christmas than shopping.
On Nov. 21, Rev. Jennifer Bourque wondered,
For me, the Advent chapel is … tentative, temporary. We’re in the mall for only a month, outsiders to the retail world, trying to carve out a tiny space for hospitality and Advent prayer amid hundreds of thousands of square feet devoted to holiday shopping. We’re craning our necks to see where God’s reign might be breaking in, even now, even in the mall, even among us. And we’re feeling our way, trying to figure out what it might mean to take space as the Body of Christ in this city, in the mall, at this time. We have more questions than answers about the Advent Chapel so far—will anyone come? Will we be ready in time? What will shoppers expect from us? What might go right—and what could go wrong? But I also have more questions than answers about the final Advent of Christ, the one we are always waiting for. And in the meantime, maybe we’re called to find God in ways that are both bold and tentative, modeled on God the Word pitching a divine tent among us.