Christians invited to celebrate Advent with a camera phone

[Anglican Communion News Service] Anglicans worldwide and all Christians are being invited to observe Advent in a fun and prayerful way through a global online Advent Calendar called AdventWord. The season of Advent, from Nov. 29 to Dec. 24, is when Christians observe a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas.

AdventWord invites Christians to sign up to receive a daily meditation and respond by posting a picture on Instagram and other social media. The pictures combine to create the Advent Calendar in real time.

In 2014, more than 50,000 people participated and 17,000 pictures were posted. In 2015, AdventWord will be released in English, Chinese, Spanish, Hindi, Tamil, French, Portuguese and German.

Brother Jim Woodram, a monk, explains, “When I was a kid I loved Advent because of Advent Calendars. Each day you pull back one of the little windows and there would be a picture to help you to pray and lead you towards Christmas, when Christ is born.

“Now you can sign up on for your own Advent Calendar online.

“What happens is that at 5am, in your time zone, every morning you will get a message in your email inbox, with a meditation from a Brother with a word and a picture. After reading the meditation, we’d love for people to snap a picture that reflects the theme or their response to it and post it to Instagram and other social media.

“Your pictures will appear on AdventWord and bring us together in prayer as we prepare to celebrate Christmas.”

Brother Jim is a monk of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, an Anglican monastic community. The Anglican Communion Office teamed up with the Society of Saint John the Evangelist in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to create AdventWord with support from The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.

AdventWord will be launched at 5 a.m. New Zealand time on Nov. 29 and be managed for the Anglican Communion by the Society of Saint John the Evangelist and Lady Doak College in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India.

The Rev. Canon Jamie Callaway, general secretary of the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion, whose students are participating on five continents, said: “AdventWord intuitively draws on the cell phone, which today’s students globally have made a body part, to discover God’s presence in the abundance of creation, civilization and humanity.

“While individually these are prayerful moments, collectively they will display the splendor of creation, which is praise.”

The Rev. Canon John Kafwanka, director for mission at the Anglican Communion Office, said, “I commend to all members of the Anglican Communion and Christians worldwide AdventWord as a way for you to witness your faith and for us to pray together as a communion and as a Body of Christ as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas.”

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