Advent 2020: A Journey from Darkness to Light to Reclaim Joyful Expectation

Advent is a time of joyful expectation and waiting, as we anticipate the birth of Jesus.  This year some of us may find it hard to feel joyful as we face a holiday separated from family and friends and without beloved traditions.  This year’s Advent series will help us honor the challenges of the holiday season and provide insights and practices to find means to adapt and reclaim joyful expectation.  

We invite you to join any or all of the programs:

  • December 6: From Grief to Hope: Finding Light in the Darkness with Claire Willis
  • December 13:  The Grow Clinic: Finding Hope Through Love in Action
  • December: 20: Christmas Wisdom for Times of Pandemic with Nicholas Collura.

Each event will take place immediately following worship on Sunday (10:30AM).  A Zoom link will be provided.

Dec 6:  From Grief to Hope: Finding Light in the Darkness:  Claire B. Willis

Claire Willis, a licensed clinical social worker who has worked in the field of bereavement for over 20 years and author of Opening to Grief, Finding Your Way from Loss to Peace, will help us to acknowledge the pain and grief we are facing this Advent season and will provide insights and ideas to help us find reasonable hope as we approach the holiday.

Dec 13:  Finding Hope Through Love in Action: The Grow Clinic

Founder Dr. Deborah Frank and Co-Director Dr. Soukaine Adolphe will update us on how the Grow Clinic is facing the challenges of the pandemic and will discuss how partnerships like those with Redeemer provide hope for the Grow Clinic’s clients and for the supporters who give of their time, talent and treasure.

Dec 20: “The heart beneath is teaching”; Christmas Wisdom For Times Of Pandemic

Drawing amply on historical and artistic narratives of resilience, Nicholas Collura, a palliative care chaplain and spiritual director, will open up the story of Christmas — which itself took place during a time of social crisis — and explore the wisdom it may have for us as we process the events of 2020 and enter a new year. What does Christmas have to teach us about hope and expectation in the midst of such difficult times? How might we cope with our own grief, loss, and change this Christmas — find means of adaptation and even celebration? 

Claire Willis is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked in the fields of oncology and bereavement for more than 20 years. A cofounder of the Boston nonprofit Facing Cancer Together, Willis has led bereavement, end-of-life, support, and therapeutic writing groups. She has co-taught Spiritual Resources for Healing the Mind, Body, and Soul at Andover Newton Theological School. She maintains a private practice in Brookline, Massachusetts. As a lay Buddhist chaplain ordained by Joan Halifax at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, she focuses on contemplative practices for end-of-life care. For the past five years, she has been a student of Koshin Paley Ellison, a founding teacher at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. Willis is the author of Opening to Grief, Finding Your Way from Loss to Peace, and of Lasting Words: A Guide to Finding Meaning Toward the Close of Life. 

Nicholas Collura earned a Master of Divinity and trained as a spiritual director at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He is a board-certified palliative care chaplain, having completed his clinical pastoral education at MGH in Boston and at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, and he serves as a visiting retreat director at St. Raphaela Center in Haverford, PA. A former Jesuit, he has also worked in California state prisons, at a L’Arche community, and on several college campuses, and he has contributed to the Huffington Post Live, NPR’s All Things Considered, and The National Catholic Reporter.