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A Word from Dean Smalley

Dear Parish Family,

As we enter 2024, I give thanks for you and God’s continued guidance and provision. I wanted to write with a brief look backwards and to share some of the exciting things ahead in our coming days together.

As I think about the past several months, I’m grateful for the Advent and the ministry team we have – and here I include both our staff and you, our parishioners. The depth of faith and the abundance of gifts amaze me. Thanks be to God.

Sunday mornings have renewed attendance and vibrancy, and Christmas Eve saw over 2,000 people come through the doors of the Advent to worship. It was so good to see so many of you.

Gratefully, our stewardship numbers have increased from the previous year, and we are well resourced for ministry. We remain entirely dependent annually on God’s provision through your giving. To receive what is necessary and yet remain dependent is a gift of discipleship. I pray we always recognize our need of God’s provision, giving thanks for it.

Looking ahead, I wanted you to know about some exciting transitions which will strengthen our life together.

The first is that breakfast will resume on Sunday mornings, beginning February 11, in the Refectory from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. For those who remember, it will be similar to before with a hot breakfast, as well as cereal and other offerings. This is exciting on a number of levels. Certainly, one of our core priorities is to facilitate our gathering for worship, while also having opportunity to connect with one another. We hope offering breakfast again will not only make it easier for many of us to be here on Sunday mornings, but also offer the opportunity for us to gather and enjoy fellowship with one another.

Second, the 9:00 a.m. Refectory service will move to the newly renovated and expanded Assembly Hall. In a proactive response to the good challenges of a growing service and with the desire to have the opportunity for fellowship and breakfast, the Assembly Hall and the Lower Morton Meeting Room received welcomed upgrades to create better space to gather on Sunday mornings. The renovated Assembly Hall provides more space for a growing service while also benefitting our Sunday morning classes. The transition of this service to its new location is the same as the resumption of Sunday morning breakfast: February 11.

Third, we always look forward to Lent at the Advent with our Preaching Series and lunches. Gathering daily to hear gifted, winsome preachers and to share lunch with one another is a gift. At the Advent, it is the most wonderful time of the year! I hope you can join us often.

Finally, we will welcome our new Canon Theologian Dean Pinter, and his wife Darlene, on January 28. Dean adds depth to an already solid ministry team, and his unique gifts and experience will enrich our life together. On January 28, Dean will be in the Dean’s Class, sharing his faith story. He will teach in the same venue February 11-March 10. Please pray for Dean and Darlene as they travel and settle into life in Birmingham.

Please join me in giving thanks for the Lord’s continued provision.

The Lord be with you,

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