Welcome to Advent 2021 - the Presence Felt!
Thank you for signing up for this year's series. It's wonderful to be walking the path through Advent with you. I've written a few thoughts, below, about the series and the practicalities. Please do read them carefully before we begin. Thank you!
By the way: my wife Katharine and I look after the running of the series, which means - most importantly - that we're able to preserve a personal touch throughout. However, it does also mean that we might occasionally miss something!
Please contact us straight away if you ever think you've missed an e-mail or we haven't responded to your enquiry! We're here for you!
We start on Wednesday Dec 1st.
I'll send your reflections to arrive before sun-rise (in the UK). There are no e-mails on Sundays.
You might like to set yourself a personal goal, this Advent - though keep it simple and achievable: it may simply be to read my reflection at a regular time each day, to light a candle as you do, and spend a few extra moments in stillness.
I'll suggest a simple activity for sunrise and for sunset, in case you'd like to establish a rhythm with me during our days together - stepping outside or looking through a window to connect with the darkness and the light.
Responding via the 'RSVP' forum.
I'll explain how to respond once we get going. There's no pressure to. But the RSVPs (which I post on a web page just for the eyes of the community) do add a rich dimension to the series, so feel most welcome to contribute when invited. (And please don't think you're not 'spiritual enough' or 'articulate enough' to contribute. Your voice is unique, and God-given, so it matters.)
I'll be inviting responses every few days during Advent - but please wait for the invitation which will come via the e-mail.
The RSVP page can be found here. Please don't post anything directly on it. Send responses to me, and I will put them up. I will sometimes lightly edit for the sake of clarity and brevity.
You'll also have the chance to use the 'chat' during my Advent livestreams on YouTube, where there's always a rich and moving sense of community engagement.
Avoiding technical hitches and glitches! A few practical tips.
Crucially: Sometimes group e-mails like this get blocked if your computer thinks it's spam. A good way to avoid this is to put my e-mail address into your contacts list - firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do that now.
If you don't receive your e-mail, check your junk-mail folder first, and if you can't find it there, let me know and I'll send it to you personally without delay.
Your e-mail provider will have a setting for 'safe senders' or what they call a 'white list' which you can put me on, too, so that it sees that I'm friendly and not sending you junk. Here is a really useful website that provides 'safe sender' instructions for most of the main e-mail platforms.
Handy web links
I will also post the daily e-mail collection on a private web-page here, each day. It's where the whole collection will build up, day by day, so you can always look back through it afterwards, too.
Remember, the RSVP page can be found here.
Background and spirituality
The series will reflect my own contemplative Christian perspective. I'll draw on different authors, and reference as much as possible as I go, in case you enjoy further reading.