This year, we’re shifting our Advent observance a bit. We’re going to lengthen the season to begin right after our All Saints’ celebration.
Why expand Advent?
- This is a very ancient tradition: Advent was originally 7 weeks long and was shortened to four weeks in the Western church around the seventh century and became common practice in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
- Cultural Context: Lengthening our observance of Advent is an attempt to address the tensin between the religious season and the culture. In our tradition, Advent is a time of waiting, anticipation and preparation for the Messiah. Our culture at large sends a very different and almost unavoidable message. You can hardly turn on the TV, or enter any store and not be bombarded with Christmas music, decorations and messages to buy, buy, buy — sometimes as early as October. It can easily become an atmosphere of frenzy. In lengthening Advent, we hope to give more time to be quiet, reflect and be patient.
- Following Scripture: The Lectionary, our system for choosing Bible readings on Sundays, already has done some of the work for us. You’ll notice a different tone starting the Sunday after All Saints. The readings, even before December, already start pointing to Advent themes of preparation, incarnation, and waiting.
What will Change?
- Not much. The traditional colors for Advent are blue and purple, so you’ll see those in church after our All Saints’ observance, beginning on Nov. 13th. The Advent wreath will still go up four Sundays before Christmas.
Mother Carrie +
The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Central New York has announced a slate of 4 candidates for the position of 11th bishop of the diocese, succeeding the Right Rev. Gladstone B. “Skip” Adams, who is retiring.
The Reverend Canon Debra J. Kissinger empowers congregations in our changing church to consider alternative models through vision and strategic development. She has been Canon for Transition Ministries and Leadership Development in the Diocese of Indianapolis since 2008. Her portfolio includes: team building, vocational discernment and formation, ordination process, clergy wellness, retreats, mediation, and conflict transformation. She is liaison for the personnel, policy, and compensation and budget formation committees and the Commission on Ministry.
Born in northeast Pennsylvania, Debra discerned her call to ministry in a small and struggling parish that shaped her passion for developing mission-focused, sustainable communities. Ordained in 1992, Debra has served in various size churches—both part- and full-time—in New York, Connecticut, and Ohio. She believes that vitality can be found in churches of all sizes. As Missioner to Children and Child Advocate in the Diocese of Bethlehem (2001-2008), Debra served as a leading voice for justice both regionally and nationally.
Debra uses collaborative leadership and pastoral wisdom to motivate others to live into their full potential in Jesus Christ. She holds degrees in Business and Sociology from Penn State and LaSalle Universities, and a Master of Divinity from Berkeley and Yale Divinity Schools. She served as adjunct faculty teaching The Ministry of Teaching at Moravian Theological Seminary.
Debra is married to John Oaks. Their daughter, Emma-Li, will enter Indiana University this fall majoring in biology/chemistry. Debra and John are avid recumbent bikers. Debra also enjoys ice skating, ballroom dancing, and music.
The Reverend Noah H. Evans is the Rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Medford, Massachusetts, where he has served since 2008. Grace Church is a vibrant, diverse and outward-looking program-sized parish just North of Boston. Starting as a part-time Priest-in-Charge, under Noah’s leadership Grace Church has grown significantly in numbers, strengthened lay leadership and financial stability, added staff, completed a substantial capital campaign, and restored their historic building while halving their carbon footprint. Grace Church has also grown in vitality and community engagement, including the founding of a college chaplaincy and a community arts organization.
Noah co-founded Life Together: the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts Young Adult Internship Program, and serves as the Chair of the Board of Episcopal City Mission, a $25 million social justice ministry in the Diocese of Massachusetts. He is the Convener of the Medford Interfaith Clergy Association and has also served as the Vice President of the Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center.
Ordained in 2004, Noah previously served as the Associate Rector of St. Anne’s in the Fields Episcopal Church, Lincoln, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of Washington University in Saint Louis and The General Theological Seminary. Noah is married to the Reverend Sara Irwin, who is the Rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Waltham, Massachusetts. Their daughter Adah is 6 and their son Isaiah is 9. Noah was born and raised in East Lansing, Michigan.
Noah loves hiking and all things outdoors, his local CSA farm, current events and politics, the intersection of church and society, movies and television, and teaching the Bible. He understands his ministry as relational and grounded in sharing the transformative love and power of God through supporting individuals and communities to thrive.
The Reverend Nora Smith has been Rector of the Church of St. Barnabas in Irvington, New York since 2009. Prior to arriving at Irvington, she served the Church of the Intercession, an English- and Spanish-speaking congregation in West Harlem.
Nora is motivated to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves” and believes the Church is the sacred center of spiritual strength and inspiration to fulfill that promise.
A creative leader with strong administrative and strategic planning skills, Nora has led St. Barnabas to a renewed focus on strengthening the church’s stewardship of property and finances, while simultaneously continuing to grow outreach ministry.
Nora has also introduced and nurtured a regular Sunday worship service for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and helped launch a community education initiative called Rivertown Episcopal Parishes Action on Inclusion and Race (REPAIR).
Within the Diocese of New York, Nora is a member of the Commission on Ministry, the Property Support Committee, and the Strategic Plan Advisory Committee. She is trained as a conflict mediator, vocational discernment trainer, and ministry review facilitator.
Nora is a graduate of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, with a B.A. in Anthropology. Before earning her M.Div. from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, Nora had a twenty-year career in the fashion footwear business including as the Vice President of Sales for several well-known brands, such as Kate Spade.
Nora is married to Alan Bronston, a chef. Their dog, Nellie, was born and bred in Watertown, NY, and is a CNY native.
The Very Reverend Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe is dedicated to sharing the love of Jesus Christ and building up the church by fostering healthy, vibrant faith communities, and collaborating with others to accomplish a shared vision. She has served as the Rector of St. Peter’s in the Woods Church since 2009, guiding the once mission parish through significant growth and revitalization, resulting in the church becoming a full parish.
Appointed the Dean of Region VII in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, she supports clergy and lay leaders in her region and serves as an advisor for Bishop Johnston. Also appointed the Regional Priest of Northern Virginia for the Committee on Congregational Missions, she provides support for mission parishes in all phases of ministry, from renewal and celebration to pastoral care in final phases of ministry.
DeDe is a Board Member of The Diocesan Missionary Society, a financial group managing property and funds supporting diocesan ministries, and serves on the Board of Regents of The Goodwin House, a non-profit care organization for aging adults. She is also an Adjunct Professor at The Virginia Theological Seminary. Previously she served as a youth director, an educator, and co-founded an engineering consulting firm with her husband which continues to thrive.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University, a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Pepperdine University, a Master of Divinity from The General Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Theology, completed through The Graduate Theological Foundation House/Oxford University. She is grateful and honored to share her life with her husband Chris Probe and their three children. Together they are most often found enjoying outdoor activities such as golfing, hiking, or biking.
What comes next?
Please save the date for our Bishop Search candidate “walkabouts”!
Candidates will engage in a series of meet-and-greet sessions, called “walkabouts,” at four locations in the Diocese. Walkabouts allow members of the Diocese to learn more about the candidates.
Please mark your calendars and plan to attend at least one walkabout:
- Wednesday, July 20, 5:00-10:00 p.m., at Trinity Church in Watertown
- Thursday, July 21, 5:00-10:00 p.m., at Saints Peter & John Church in Auburn
- Friday, July 22, 5:00-10:00 p.m., at St. John’s Church in Oneida
- Saturday, July 23 at St. Paul’s Church in Owego (note: time for this meeting will be announced at a later date. Tentative time is 1:00-6:00 p.m.)
Thank you for your continued prayers for the nominees, the Search & Transition Committee, and all members of our Diocese as we pray and discern.