November 27, a global Advent calendar begins, a return of a well-loved digital ministry created by entities including the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE). The release follows, published today by Anglican News:
Christians across the world are being invited to celebrate the season of Advent through an interactive, multi-lingual online calendar.
AdventWord.org goes live on November 27 in nine languages including, for the first time, Arabic. It allows people around the globe to create together an advent calendar with images shared by their mobile phones.
Advent, which runs from November 27 to December 24, is the season when Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is traditionally marked with the putting up of an Advent calendar to count down the days. The calendars have daily windows which are opened to reveal images, small chocolates or other gifts.
AdventWord is a new twist on an old theme. It invites people to sign up to receive a daily meditation. The email asks the recipient to submit a photograph in response on their social media account with the hashtag #AdventWord and the photographs are pulled together in real time to create a living Advent Calendar.
It is jointly run by the Anglican Communion office in the UK, the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE), a religious order of men in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and Lady Doak College, a women’s college in South India.
The Most Revd Dr. Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, said the calendar was a welcome addition to the run-up to Christmas:
“AdventWord is a wonderfully innovative way to engage people in prayer all over the world. I am so encouraged to see such a creative use of social media to bring the community of Christ together. The Bible calls on us to bring prayers and petitions to God. I urge Anglicans everywhere to sign up and get involved in what will be an extraordinary, powerful and global wave of prayer.”
One of the SSJE monks, Brother Jim Woodrum, is also a fan: “When I was a kid I loved opening the windows in the Advent calendar. Each window contained a message that pointed to the great mystery of Christmas. And now, to my delight, you can actually log on to adventword.org and pull back the windows for your own Advent calendar. And what’s more, you can add your own photos and experience the joy of praying with others from around the globe throughout the season of Advent.”
AdventWord was launched in 2013. It was well received but there was a hitch, which drew a response from an Anglican priest in New Zealand. Revd Bosco Peters pointed out that launching the Advent Calendar in the early morning hours in the USA meant that it was being received late at night in New Zealand.
The following year AdventWord.org made it possible for subscribers to receive the daily email at 5am, no matter which time zone they lived in. That year 10,000 images poured in from around the world.
In 2015, AdventWord went multi-lingual. Volunteer translators were recruited and AdventWord came out in English, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Portuguese, Spanish, Tamil and American Sign Language. Then on a pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine territories in April 2016, the SSJE monks learned that the Anglican cathedral in Jerusalem, St. George’s, wanted to participate. Its services are held in Arabic. And so, with help from St. Georges, this year AdventWord will be available in Arabic.
AdventWord was conceived with ideas from the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and The Episcopal Church. It is made possible by partners around the world including:
● The Anglican Communion office
● The Society of Saint John the Evangelist
● The Colleges & Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC)
● Lady Doak College, Madurai, India
● Cathedral of St. George the Martyr, Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem
● Faculdade Anglicana de Erechim, Brazil
● The Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe
● The Episcopal Diocese of Taiwan
● St. John’s Church, Episcopal Diocese of West Michigan
● El Buen Pastor, Iglesia Episcopal, Redwood City, Episcopal Diocese of California.
For more information contact:
Adrian Butcher, Director for Communications, Anglican Communion, London, UK
firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0) 20 7313 3908