This Christmas season, take some time out from stress with “In days to come,” a series of Advent devotional podcasts available soon from the Anglican Church of Canada.
General Synod’s partner this year is St. Benedict’s Table, an arts-centred Anglican community in downtown Winnipeg.
“Our Lent and Advent podcast series have not only provided the church with excellent material for seasonal reflection, but they’ve given us a unique opportunity to highlight some ministries within the Anglican Church of Canada,” says the Rev. Jesse Dymond, General Synod’s online community coordinator.
“We’ve been able to partner with religious communities, respected leaders, and creative congregations like St. Benedict’s Table. The content just keeps getting better.”
“In days to come” consists of six five-minute episodes. Each features a member of the St. Benedict’s community reflecting on the season through biblical themes, music, and personal stories.
The Rev. Jamie Howison is an Anglican priest and a founder of Saint Benedict’s table.
“Listeners are going to be given five minutes to step back from the busy-ness, the social demands, and the pressures of getting ready for the secular Christmas,” he says.
“And in these five minutes they’re going to be invited-through music and word-to consider some other matters … matters that are so important in the life of faith that giving them consideration will actually make the Christmas feast even better.”
The podcasts cover topics such as Jesus’ teachings of grace and judgment, Advent customs, the challenge of waiting on God’s promises, and whether Advent and Christmas are only brief and shallow ‘gloss-overs’ for our sometimes difficult lives.
This is St. Benedict’s second foray into producing Advent resources. The first was a book of daily devotional readings for last year’s season, also called “In days to come…”
It was that experience-as well the wealth of talent in their community and ease of access to a recording studio-that led Howison to accept when St. Benedict’s Table was asked to produce the 2013 Advent podcast series.
St. Benedict’s Table also has a tradition of in-house podcasting-covering sermons, special events, and speakers. When an opportunity to produce Advent podcasts for national church came around it seemed like a natural fit.
“We have really emphasized Advent over the years in our community, and these podcasts are built on that,” says Howison.
“Advent is an extraordinarily important counter-practice to the madness of Christmas shopping season. It provides a unique opportunity for people in the church to say ‘we don’t have to buy into all the over-eating, over-spending, over-drinking for an entire month, and stress. We actually have a different story to tell here. And then the feast begins.'”
Contributors to the podcast series include Howison, musician and songwriter Steve Bell, English poet and priest Malcolm Guite, and co-winner of the 2011 Marks of Mission song contest Jaylene Johnson.
Recording was done at Bell’s independent Christian music studio, Signpost Music in Winnipeg.
“When I first met with the guys at Signpost music and asked them to partner with us to produce these podcasts, they were pretty excited and were immediately talking about ‘radio reality,'” says Howison. “They wanted them to sound very good.”
The result is a series of podcasts that would be right at home on professional radio, and that the creators are proud to share with the national church.
“We were delighted to do it, and it was good to have so many different contributors. I think we all felt very good about how the podcasts turned out. We saw it as a great opportunity to share.”
Interested in keeping up-to-date on news, opinion, events and resources from the Anglican Church of Canada? Sign up for our email alerts .