This past Sunday, December 2nd, we kicked off the season of Advent, joining Mary and Joseph on “The Road to Bethlehem,” the theme of our Advent family gathering. Thanks to all who participated; it was a packed house and a shared time of joy.
The event began as Fr. Jack introduced a modified version of Midday Family Prayer, substituting a skit by our children (and a couple of surprisingly talented adult actors) for the reading from Scripture. One good (Anglican) way to prepare our hearts for the season of Advent is to begin praying Family Prayer with your spouse and children. Amy Dewey has Family Prayer booklets that tell us all we need to know to pray together as a family.
The children, led by our wonderful Children’s Education Coordinator, Vini Decker-Wells, performed a skit to tell the story of Mary and Joseph on the road from Nazareth to Joseph’s home town, Bethlehem, to comply with the census decreed by Caesar Augustus. Besides Mary and Joseph (and Baby Jesus), we saw shepherds and angels, an innkeeper and curious folks wondering why they were traveling; it was a joyful presentation of the birth of our Lord. Thank you to all the children, their parents, their teachers, and especially to Vini for all the clever props and costumes and for putting it all together.
After Family Prayer and the skit, Julie Dowler, Executive Director of CAPS Pregnancy Clinics,* told us about the history and purpose of CAPS Pregnancy Clinics, the organization Holy Spirit chose to highlight and support for this Advent event. From the CAPS website, “Since 2000, CAPS Pregnancy Clinics has served more than 5,000 women and men facing unintended pregnancies with early prenatal medical services, education, and resources. Last year, we had the privilege of assisting over 525 women in choosing life during their time of doubt. All pregnancy-related services at CAPS are free of charge. Our supporters, prayer partners, and volunteers are an integral part of the ministry.” One of the services provided by CAPS is free ultrasounds. Julie shared that ultrasound is the most powerful way to display the truth of what the growing baby really looks like. In fact, 94% of women who see their baby in an ultrasound decide to carry the baby to term instead of having an abortion. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words! For stories witnessing to the ministry of CAPS, check out the powerful videos at https://www.friendsofcaps.org/videos.html.
Several members of our congregation have volunteered at CAPS in various roles. If becoming a volunteer is of interest to you, please connect with CAPS at https://www.friendsofcaps.org/get-connected.html or speak with Linda, Trina or Lauren. Other ways to support the vitally important ministry of CAPS include prayer, giving, and participating in their annual golf fund-raising event.
Following Julie’s presentation, we filled baby bathtubs with clothes, socks, bibs, diapers, books, toys, hygiene kits, wash cloths and towels. Thank you all for your generous donations! Not only did we fill and wrap six complete baby bathtubs (three pink and three blue), but we collected so many extra items (especially clothes and diapers) that we needed another vehicle to transport them to CAPS! While the baby bathtubs were being prepared, our young workers were collecting valuable census data on people’s most-liked colors, favorite animals, and what they were having for dinner that night. Once all the bathtubs were wrapped, we gathered around them and Fr. Brian led us in prayer that they would be a blessing to the moms and babies who will receive them.
Thanks again to all who joined us on the road to Bethlehem! Your generosity with your time, talents, and treasure will help vulnerable families and brings great glory to God!
* CAPS Pregnancy Clinics started with one facility not too far from Bethel Seminary, originally called “College Area Pregnancy Services (CAPS).” The name was changed upon opening two additional clinics, one in Pacific Beach and another near Balboa Park.