The Advent Chapel was dreamed up by a group of young clergy and seminarians from the Diocese of Montreal while at the Swift to Love conference with Rodger Nishioka. When we found out that there was prime mall real estate, owned by the diocese, left unoccupied, we immediately saw it as an exciting opportunity for new ministry.
When someone suggested using it as a space for calm retreat from the hectic-ness of a mall – especially a mall in December – a plan was born. What better way to witness to alternative ways of experiencing Christmas than to set up a space right in a mall?!
This blog documents our attempt to do just that.
With enthusiastic support from our Bishop and members of the diocesan office, we present our plan to our Diocesan Synod on October 29, 2011. We collected over $600 in freewill donations by passing around a basket after the presentation. What a fantastic display of support! Many people also expressed an interest in volunteering and offered furniture, crèches for display, and other ideas and support.
The Advent Chapel planning team includes, from left to right:
• The Rev. Robert Camara, a deacon in the Diocese of Montreal, is curate at St James the Apostle. An amateur photographer with a unique view of the world, he can often be found taking pictures framed at unusual angles.
• The Rev. Maïda Vandendorpe, a priest in the Diocese of Montreal, is Priest-in-Charge of the Anglican Parish of Mascouche. Having just celebrated her one-year anniversary of ordination, she is delighted to be part of this new initiative.
• Mr. Nicholas Pang, a postulant and seminarian in the Diocese of Montreal, is currently studying at the Montreal Diocesan Theological College. He is enjoying a project that helps get him out of the books and into the world.
• The Rev. Rhonda Waters, a deacon in the Diocese of Montreal, is curate at Christ Church Cathedral. As a recent graduate, she is thrilled to be celebrating this Advent free of exams!
• The Rev. Jennifer Bourque, a priest in the Diocese of Montreal, is a chaplain at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. She is currently on maternity leave. Her infant son is an honourary member of the planning team.