Nine Lessons and Carols: A Rookie Anglican Guide

The Anglican tradition has inherited many ancient pieces of liturgy, so it may be a bit surprising to learn that the Festival/Service of Nine Lessons and Carols (traditionally held on or near Christmas Eve) is a fairly recent invention, celebrating its one-hundredth birthday only last year in 2018. It was constructed out of the grief and horror of the First [...]

By |2019-12-21T16:08:07-06:00December 21st, 2019|Categories: Church Year|Tags: , |2 Comments

What NOT to Get Your Rector (Or Their Spouse) for Christmas!

I have been having fun writing about some gift ideas for Rectors and their Spouses. I served as a Rector for over 30 years and spend a lot of time now with Rectors and their families. I know that many laypeople want to get the Rector and their Spouse a gift for Christmas to show their love and appreciation. I [...]

By |2020-01-14T09:39:48-06:00December 19th, 2019|Categories: Miscellaneous, Opinion|Tags: , |0 Comments

What Your Rector’s Spouse Wants For Christmas

Earlier, I wrote a post about What Your Rector Wants For Christmas. I love Rectors and have the good fortune to spend time with, teach, coach, and encourage lots of Rectors around the Anglican Church in North America. But I don’t just love Rectors. I also love their families! The role of a Rector is unique. So is the role [...]

By |2020-01-14T09:39:54-06:00December 17th, 2019|Categories: Miscellaneous, Opinion|Tags: , |0 Comments

Christmastide: A Rookie Anglican Guide to the 12 Days of Christmas

Sure, you've heard the song, but did you know that the "12 days of Christmas" actually start on Christmas Day (Dec. 25) and go until the day before Epiphany (Jan. 5)? So, December 25 is the first day of Christmas. December 26 is the second day. And so on, until the twelfth day of Christmas on January 5, followed by [...]

By |2019-12-12T14:44:36-06:00December 16th, 2019|Categories: Church Year|Tags: , |0 Comments

What Your Rector Wants For Christmas

I have a unique position in the church today. I used to be a Rector of a large church in North Dallas. (Christ Church in Plano, TX). But I am no longer a Rector. Instead, I have the good fortune to hang out, teach, coach, and encourage a lot of Rectors. For example, I spent three hours in the last [...]

By |2020-01-14T09:39:54-06:00December 14th, 2019|Categories: Miscellaneous, Opinion|Tags: , |0 Comments

Let John Chrysostom Preach His Nativity Sermon the Sunday after Christmas

Several years ago, I served as the Assistant Rector at a large Anglican Church. This meant, of course, that I had the wonderful opportunity of preaching cultural holiday weekends when attendance would be predictably low ... i.e. Memorial Day Weekend, Labor Day Weekend, etc. One of the key weekends that I always got to preach was the First Sunday of [...]

By |2020-01-14T09:39:55-06:00December 13th, 2019|Categories: Church Year, Opinion, Preaching|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Restoring the Twelve Days of Christmas

Almost everyone seems to feel the letdown after Christmas Day. After six weeks of singing Christmas carols, shopping, and partying, it all comes to a grinding halt at 8:30am on Christmas morning. Another year till next Christmas. And as much as people complain about commercialization and hectic holidays, etc, we still keep on doing the same things and expecting different [...]

By |2019-01-08T17:10:42-06:00December 27th, 2018|Categories: Anglicanism, Church Year|Tags: , , |1 Comment

12 Challenges of the Christmas Eve Service

Even if your shopping is complete and the gifts are wrapped, the pastor knows that there is one more thing to do before Christmas morning. Hold Christmas Eve Services. Whether you are preaching, celebrating the Eucharist, leading the prayers, singing the carols, handing out bulletins, or greeting people at the door, it is a big moment in the annual life [...]

By |2019-01-10T16:50:07-06:00December 19th, 2018|Categories: For Pastors, Leadership|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

The War on Advent

You have heard of the supposed War on Christmas. But the real war is not about whether retailers use the word Christmas during December or not. In fact, it is not even the Christmas season until Christmas day anyway. The real war is happening in many American churches. It's not a war on Christmas, its a war on Advent, and [...]

By |2020-01-14T10:22:00-06:00December 5th, 2018|Categories: Anglicanism, Church Year, Opinion|Tags: , , , , , |23 Comments

The Incarnation: What is It? Why Does it Matter?

This post is a part of Rookie Anglican, a blog dedicated to Making Anglicanism Accessible. It was first preached as a sermon by Fr. Steven Lanclos on January 3, 2018 at Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd in Pelham, AL. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked [...]

By |2019-01-08T17:05:34-06:00January 4th, 2018|Categories: Anglicanism, Theology|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Collect Reflections: The First Sunday of Christmas

This post, in addition to being a part of Rookie Anglican, is part of a series on the Collects of the Christian Year (ACNA), called “Collect Reflections.” If you’re just jumping in, make sure to check out the introductory post, “Announcing Collect Reflections.” All Collect Reflection posts can be found here. Have you ever had a hard "Christmas landing"? I have. I think [...]

What Is The Christ Candle?

The "Christ Candle" is the large white candle in the middle of an Advent wreath. On the four Sundays of Advent, you'll see the Advent wreath at the Anglican Church. Around it will be four candles, three purple, and one pink. And in its center is a large white candle. That's the Christ Candle. Each Sunday of Advent a new [...]

By |2020-05-08T10:20:50-05:00December 24th, 2017|Categories: Anglicanism, Church Year|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Giving Even When You Receive

Last week, I talked about how to encourage generosity at the end of the year by making  Growing generosity is a part of your teaching ministry, and teachers need to be creative. We've talked about getting creative by making a Christmas Wish List for your church. It’s a way to engage the people directly with the needs of the church [...]

Slow Down This Advent

Advent is a time of waiting. As one who didn’t grow up but had to grow into the church calendar, the movement from increasing anxiety as Christmas approached to cultivating patient anticipation refreshed my hectic heart. December is a hard time for church leaders to slow down. But the always-on, always-connected world we built with blind optimism in progress is [...]

By |2019-11-22T11:21:04-06:00December 4th, 2017|Categories: Leadership, Liturgy & Worship|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

What’s on Your Christmas Wish List?

At LeaderWorks, we are all about helping church leaders do their work. To that end, we posted a new idea for helping your church give in the final month of the year: make a Christmas Wish List for your church! Still, you deserve more than a lump of coal, so take a break and write your Christmas wish list. Some [...]

By |2019-01-10T16:52:17-06:00November 30th, 2017|Categories: Anglicanism, For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Make a Christmas Wish List for Your Church

We've talked a lot about increasing generosity at the end of the year. As we’ve posted elsewhere, the end of the year brings challenges. You’ve got this year’s budget gaps, next year’s budget planning, end-of-the-year appeal letters—it’s a lot. On top of that, Christmas is fast approaching. There are two temptations during seasons like this in ministry. Avoidance I’ve seen [...]

“The Day Beyond Christmas” (A Christmas Poem)

Click here to download a PDF of this poem. The Day Beyond Christmas “Hey! Good News has come here! I bring you Good News.”That’s the message I heard as I woke from my snooze.The daylight had gone, I had fallen asleep.I was cold to the bone and darkness was deep. I’m lonely at night like most young shepherd boysWith only [...]

By |2020-10-08T16:37:21-05:00December 29th, 2016|Categories: Church Year|Tags: , , |0 Comments

The Christmas Eve Service Challenge

Even if your shopping is complete and the gifts are wrapped, the pastor knows that there is one more thing to do before Christmas morning. Hold Christmas Eve Services. Whether you are preaching, celebrating the Eucharist, leading the prayers, singing the carols, handing out bulletins, or greeting people at the door, it is a big moment in the annual life [...]

By |2019-01-10T16:54:44-06:00December 21st, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , |1 Comment

What They Are Saying About The Incarnation

Here are a few lines from some of the wisest writers and thinkers...  Drink deep and believe!   --David Roseberry from LeaderWorks Hast thou not heard, that my Lord Jesus di’d? Then let me tell thee a strange storie. The God of power, as he did ride In his majestic robes of glorie, Reserv’d to light; and so one day [...]

By |2019-01-10T16:54:46-06:00December 21st, 2016|Categories: Anglicanism|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Four Meditations for the Nine Lessons and Carols

Here is a question about the wonderful parish tradition of Lessons and Carols: Is there room for a brief homily or meditation during this service? Is there an opportunity to present the gospel from the lectern (through the nine lessons) AND through the pulpit?  John Yates III thinks so.  He has done so for the past few years. Here he [...]

By |2019-01-10T16:54:47-06:00December 14th, 2016|Categories: Anglicanism|Tags: , , , |8 Comments

The Church Year: Climbing the Mountain

Sometimes we see a “cycle of the church year” that is like a pie chart. This is very helpful in understanding the time element, and cyclical nature of the Church Year. I've used it before myself. However, the experiential element is not like a circle or a pie chart. Instead, I prefer to think of a mountain trail. Think of [...]

By |2019-01-04T22:38:54-06:00August 30th, 2016|Categories: Anglicanism, Church Year|Tags: , , |3 Comments

The Twelve Days of Christmas and The Epiphany

The Twelve Days of Christmas and The Epiphany 2017-2018 Edition  The Twelve Days and the Epiphany are a great time to spend a few moments each day in prayer, scripture, and praise. These simple devotions, based on the Daily Office, are designed to be short but focused.  Printable Version   24 DECEMBER • Christmas Eve Psalm 89:1-29 • Philippians 2:5-11 O [...]

By |2019-01-04T22:41:07-06:00December 23rd, 2015|Categories: Anglicanism|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Going Back to Church for Christmas Eve

"Its been a while. Going to the Christmas Eve service seems like the right thing to do. For the kids. For me. For God." "Its been a while since I've been to church, and I'm not sure how I feel about going back. I'm not sure if I'll feel good or guilty. Not sure if I'll be back again until [...]

By |2019-01-04T22:41:09-06:00December 22nd, 2015|Categories: Anglicanism|Tags: , |0 Comments

The “Perfect” Christmas Eve Sermon??

Christmas Eve is rough on preachers; at least for this one. The atmosphere for a truly great sermon is all there: scenery, families, music, lighting, Scripture, attendance, joy, and a holy hope in every heart and on every face. But my Christmas Eve sermons (33 and counting) are never equal to this setting. They always seem weak and small when uttered in the [...]

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