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Holy Women Icons Project

The Holy Women Icons Project seeks to empower women by telling the stories of revolutionary holy women through art, writing, and special events.

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About this course

Advent 2017

Bearing the Light

Even though Autumn is barely upon us, clergy are well-aware that the season of Advent is just around the corner, waiting with anticipation for meaning-making amidst the chaos of the holiday season. With over fourteen years designing worship as a pastor, five years of teaching Introduction to Worship as a professor, publishing numerous books on worship and ritual, and a lifetime as an artist, our Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Angela Yarber, has designed a worship series and daily reflections for the season of Advent. If clergy or worship teams need inspiration for an Advent theme—the entire season planned with weekly worship crafted and scripted with intention—we have an amazing opportunity for you. Based upon the theme, Bearing the Light, Dr. Yarber offers four liturgies and “worship scripts” for the season of Advent. Additionally, if churches or individuals are interested in a daily Advent Devotional, Dr. Yarber has also created Daily Advent Reflections based on the same theme. Churches or individuals may purchase both or just one of these offerings. Read on for more details regarding the theme, worship series, or daily reflections…

“Dr. Yarber was our Worship Consultant for 6 months. During this time, she offered layout and design of Sunday worship experiences inclusive of readings, musical options, and all liturgy. What a gift it was to have a starting template for our worship team! Some Sundays, we used them as written; other Sundays, we tweaked them to our current context. Anyone who knows the stare of the blank page awaiting an idea knows the gift of ideas jumping off the page at you.”

-Rev. Tamara Franks, Pastor, High Country United Church of Christ

Theme: The theme for Advent is Bearing the Light. We consider how we might bear the light in three ways: internal light that brings inner peace, external light that we share peace with others, and literal light as the days of winter grow darker and darker. Advent invites us to wait, linger, and gestate on peace, hope, joy, and love. We’re encouraged not to create a hierarchical dichotomy between darkness and light where light is equated with goodness and darkness likened to evil; this oppressive dichotomy has contributed to racism within the church for far too long. Rather, these liturgies and reflections invite us to discover and nurture the inner light dwelling within all humanity. Honoring the cycle of the seasons, we return to nature, lighting candles each week as the light of Winter Solstice and Christmas draw closer and closer.

Liturgy: In the four weeks of liturgy, churches are encouraged to broaden their understanding of Advent candles by expanding the Advent wreath to encompass the entire sanctuary with greenery throughout the space as four large sections of candles—representing peace, hope, joy, and love—provide luminous light larger than one single candle. Weekly worship scripts include an Order of Worship, scripts for each speaker, original hymn lyrics, music suggestions, prayers, and an image of original artwork; churches can implement the liturgy as is or adapt it to more fully meet the needs of their congregations. The liturgy package is $60 per congregation and includes full worship scripts and an image of original artwork for all four Sundays of Advent.

Reflections: In addition to worship scripts, we are offering daily Advent reflections. In each reflection, a Holy Woman Icon offers readers ways of bearing light in the world. Whether it is Mary teaching us to wait for light, Gloria Anzaldua teaching us to bridge the light, Aurora teaching us to invoke the light, or Maya Angelou teaching us to embolden the light, each daily reflection includes an image of the icon, a brief reflection about how she bears light, an intention for the day, questions for contemplation, and a blessing. Reflections are accessed directly on an individual’s computer or mobile device with a daily email reminder. The set of reflections is $40 per person and includes a daily Advent reflection emailed directly to you throughout the entire season of Advent. Want to offer this reflection for a group or congregation? Contact us directly for a group discount code.

Though the Daily Advent Reflections and Weekly Liturgy do enhance one another, they can also be done separately. Questions about whether both or either of these Advent options might work for you and your community? Contact us directly at