Entry into Advent

Winter in Sorrento
Winter in Sorrento

Servant’s Heart from the desk of a deacon

Happy new year! Bishop Lynne McNaughton led three dozen or so participants in an on-line Entry into Advent streamed from the Sorrento Centre on November 28. She reminded us that Advent is the start of a new year for Christians.

Advent begins in the gathering darkness of December. We light candles against this gloom to kindle our hope. Bishop Lynne led us in singing O Come O Come Emmanuel:

O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

But we don’t just wait and watch in Advent, we engage with the world around us. In the early days of the pandemic, we at the Sorrento Centre joined with neighbouring social agencies. We learned that hunger was growing. We started an emergency meal program in our commercial kitchen, preparing and delivering tasty and nutritious breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

By late November, we had delivered more than 14,000 meals – and throughout Advent, our kitchen continues to send out between 60 and 100 meals every day. We are ramping up as the Christmas season approaches, getting set to deliver turkey and all the fixings.

In other ways, our Centre is serving as a community hub. Joining with business and community groups, we are part of the South Shuswap Housing Society. We have started negotiations to secure land for our first affordable housing (homes for seniors).

Early in Advent, on December 4 in our Anglican calendar, we commemorate the life of Deacon Nicholas Ferrar (22 February 1592 – 4 December 1637) and the community of Little Gidding. We read in For All the Saints:

“The family practised a constant round of service to their rural neighbours; they set up a school for the local children, relieved the destitute, and cared for the sick. In all these activities Nicholas took his part, but he was by no means the only saint of the family. We should remember his mother Mary Ferrar, who purchased the manor of Little Gidding and was the true founder of the community; we should also honour his sister Susanna, and his nieces Mary and Anna Collett, who breathed life into the household’s religious purpose.”

The Collect for December 4 is a wonderful entry into Advent:

Lord God,
you gathered Nicholas Ferrar and his kinsfolk
in the household of Little Gidding,
and shaped their life as a family
into an image of your heavenly commonwealth.
May we follow their example by seeking true wisdom and studying perfection in Christ Jesus,
not as masters

but as partners and fellow students with one other; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

To which, all of us, can reply simply: Amen.

For information on our programs and activities: www.sorrentocentre.ca 


  • Michael Shapcott

    The Rev’d Michael Shapcott was ordained a Deacon on the Feast Day of Nicholas Ferrar and serves as Executive Director of the Sorrento Centre Anglican Church of Canada.

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