Advent: Mary Liturgy


I’m so excited to present this gift to you today from my dear friend Beth Malena.  Some of you know Beth and others may have read about her wedding on my blog.

When Beth and I worked together at Jacob’s Well she would often write liturgies for us and I’m so thankful that I can share her latest one with all of you.

Mary Liturgy – Advent 2014

She said yes

having done nothing to earn His favour

having nothing to offer

except a willing spirit, an open womb

barely a teenager

barely holding back fear

brimming with unasked questions

before this humble God

who needed her collaboration…

We, too, have found some of your good gifts

so weighty and awkward to accept.

Emmanuel, God-with-us,

   come dwell in us.

     Form us into people

         who know how to receive you in freedom.


She was condemned

having done nothing to deserve this shame

the disgrace, the scandal of the day

the whispers, the glances, the sly half-smiles

sexual outcast

loose and dangerous girl

powerless to defend herself

much less defend this mischievous God

who broke all his own rules…

We, too, have been the topic of gossip,

misrepresented, rejected, accused.

Emmanuel, God-with-us,

   come dwell in us.

     Form us into people

            who know how to endure with courage.


She had no proof

no witnesses, no chapter and verse

to validate the strange divine encounter

that left her pregnant with hope and fear

waiting in darkness nine lonely months

grateful for one friend

who believed and called her blessed

frustrated at this quiet God

who doesn’t always reassure us we’re right…

We, too, have craved certainty,

but faced lingering doubts.

Emmanuel, God-with-us,

   come dwell in us,

     Form us into people

         who know how to wait with faith.


We pray as Mary prayed:

Turn our world upside-down.

Lift up the humble, extend your mercy.

   Emmanuel, God-with-us,

                   Be formed in us.

                          Be born in us.

What are your favourite readings at Advent?



JW-6-270x270A Note from Jane:

Beth has recently joined the amazing team at New Direction and if you are looking for a place to give this holiday season, I would highly recommend them.

A Better Way to Dialogue


I’m excited to announce that I am hosting a workshop put on by New Direction (no, not One Direction you teeny boppers!).  New Direction Ministries is an organization out of Ontario whose mission is: Nurturing safe and spacious places for sexual minority persons to explore and grow in faith in Jesus Christ.

The workshop is called Generous Spaciousness.  Wendy Gritter, the Executive Director of New Direction and the leader of the workshop. The following few paragraphs are her own description of the workshop:  Generous Spaciousness cultivates a posture of dialogue centered around the core values of humility, hospitality, mutuality and justice.  Generous spaciousness is a way of being together that helps followers of Christ navigate contentious issues on which we have diverse perspectives.

Questions around the appropriate path of discipleship for sexual minority persons is one such matter that Christians are divided on – and one that invites us to work together to experience a sense of unity in our diversity.

The introduction of generous spaciousness into these conversations helps us to prioritize our love for one another, our commitment to honour one another’s consciences, and our concern for a life-giving witness in our contexts.

More details:  We will be led through a Christ-centered calling into generous spaciousness.  There will be a time for Q & R and then the opportunity for dialogue where we can listen deeply to one another and share our stories, experiences, and reflections to move forward with hope-filled commitment to Christ and to each other.

Full disclosure from ME:  I need to go to this because I need to learn how to be more gracious with people who have differing opinions from me (which is probably most of my own church). When I first heard about New Direction my honest reaction was HURRY UP! We don’t have time for this discussion – the way the church is responding to the LGBT community is RUINING the church and any hope of welcoming anyone new  – straight, gay and everyone in between. We need to wake up, be more Christ-like and welcome ALL people in! Then I went to one of Wendy’s workshops for church leaders a few years ago and saw the fruitfulness of this kind of discussion.  For me it is was a great place to start and a harsh reality check about where (most of) the church is today. It is a way for me to learn to have the conversation with people who I deeply disagree with (and who deeply disagree with me). I want to be more gracious in my discussions around this very difficult topic and New Direction has taught me a lot about this. Regardless of your views, you are welcome to attend.

Please join us!

Wednesday Oct 30th 7-9pm

Grandview Calvary Baptist Church 1803 East First Ave Vancouver, BC.

You can even add it to your calendar here: invite