Anglicans invited to ‘celebrate Advent using your camera phones’

By ACNS staff
Posted Nov 12, 2014
The monks are inviting Anglicans and Episcopalians to join them in prayer, meditation and taking photos during Advent. Photo: SSJE

The monks are inviting Anglicans and Episcopalians to join them in prayer, meditation and taking photos during Advent. Photo: SSJE

[Anglican Communion News Service] Members of Anglican Communion Churches worldwide are being invited to celebrate Advent through prayer, meditation and by contributing to a global Advent calendar on Instagram.

Advent — from Nov. 30 to Dec. 24 — is the season when Christians observe a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas.

The Anglican Communion Office and the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE) are teaming up to offer Anglicans and Episcopalians around the world a daily word, meditation and beautiful image sent to their e-mail inboxes.

Playing around with time
The brothers use technology that allows their daily Advent e-mail to arrive in people’s inboxes at 5 a.m. wherever in the world the recipient is.

“5 a.m. is about the time we get up to pray,” said SSJE’s Brother Jim Woodrum. “Of course you can look at your e-mail after 5 a.m., but we want to make sure it’s there when you wake up.”

Though people are used to the idea of monks involved in prayer and meditation, they might be surprised to know that monks have camera phones too.

“We are hoping that people will join us in praying with their phone this Advent,” said Woodrum. “After reading the meditation, we’d love for people to snap a picture that reflects the theme or their response to it and post it to Instagram.”

Participants are invited to take a photo with their phone or tablet to share their interpretation of the word for that day – these include #Abide, #Thrive, #Become, #Imagine – and post the picture to Instagram adding the day’s tag plus #Adventword.

“People need help with their daily spiritual practice,” said Brother Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE superior. “During Advent, we anticipate the coming of Christ, an event that awakens our deepest desires and longings. This Advent, we are inviting you to join us in looking clearly and honestly at our lives and taking action.”

Jan Butter, director for communications at the Anglican Communion Office, said, “It’s all too easy for Christians to be consumers in today’s world — especially during the Advent season. Here we have a chance to not only receive during Advent, but also take part in a global action; to give back to other Anglicans and Episcopalians worldwide by sharing our photos with each other.

“This is also a chance for people who might never have connected with an Anglican religious community before to benefit from the deep thought, meditation and prayer that emanates from such communities all around the world.” (Visit for a list of other Anglican Communion religious communities.)

To be part of this global Advent initiative, sign up at The initiative starts on Nov. 30. To learn more about SSJE visit


Comments (21)

  1. Jessy Briton Hamilton says:

    What a beautiful idea.

  2. Fr. Kurt Messick says:

    Will the Instagram also translate over to Facebook — I still have the old fashioned flip phone.

    Also, can out-of-communion Anglicans be a part of this? I keep seeing the word ‘communion’ in there and wanted to be sure.

  3. Tara Cranford says:

    Prayers for all, with compassion and love.

    Thank you, SSJE, for this beautiful opportunity to reflect and pray as we await Jesus. Thank you for allowing us to share Christ as we await his light and birth. Thank you for providing opportunity to receive and share hope as we await the one who gives joy.

  4. Ann Fontaine says:

    Is the Episcopal project in conjunction with this — or competing?

  5. Debbie Mulder says:

    Great initiative! But I feel it should be an open invitation to all and not advertised as an invitation to Anglicans / Episcopalians. Don’t perpetuate the ‘divide’…let’s be inclusive of all Christians for whom Advent has meaning.

  6. martha knight says:

    As a faithful recipient of the brothers’ daily meditations, I am thrilled at this idea; very innovative.

  7. cindy walker says:

    I am praying for those of us who are technologically challenged

  8. Parrie L. Brooks says:

    I am in agreement with Susan Pato.Please offer a mode of participation for those of us who continue to avoid bondage to smartphones.

    1. Jack Zamboni says:

      You don’t need a smart phone. You do need a computer or tablet — which you must have if you are posting here 🙂 You can simply subscribe to receive the daily email with image and meditation on whatever platform you use.

      I’m also technically challenged re Instagram, etc. — but I think the idea is that those who choose to use that picture-posting platform can add their own smart phone pics to the Calendar if they wish — it is an option, not a neccessity.

      The Brothers have been offering a daily email “Word” throughout the year to which you can subscribe for several years now. It is basic to my prayer life. I’m also delighted to say I am going to spend Thanksgiving Week at their monastery: my spiritual home awy from home for 40(!) years.

    2. Jack Zamboni says:

      Go to to see the subscription options.

  9. Robyn Dunaway says:

    So excited for a creative way to keep focus on the coming of Christ Jesus.

  10. Barb Meritt says:

    This is a great idea. I am
    in .

  11. Sandie Kay says:

    I’m in. I am Christian, not Anglican or Episcopalian. Just because the article names those groups doesn’t mean that the rest of the Christian world can’t participate. And for those without a smartphone, why do they need to come up with a way that you can participate? They were creative enough to come up with a great idea to match today’s technology. Instead of putting it on them, come up with a way you can participate yourself. How about taking a picture with a camera and uploading it on the computer? Don’t want to do that? Take a polaroid picture and put it on your fridge. Or take pictures and create a board at your church to post them to and invite your church members to do the same. We shouldn’t just sit around and let others “tell” us how to participate. Ask God to lead you in a way that you can participate if you don’t like the options the article spoke on.

    1. Maggie Geller says:


    2. Diana Barker says:

      thank you for such positive and creative suggestions on ways to think outside the box! Your message is a tonic in its positivity!

  12. Maggie Geller says:

    …or, it is a heartfelt offering of yet another way (of many) to be present in this season of anticipation…just because it doesn’t work for everyone, doesn’t mean it has no value OR that it devalues anyone…

  13. Janet Diehl says:

    AMEN. Sometimes I don’t know what the tech words mean!! No, I do not have a smart phone; my wallet would smart if I tried to buy one!

  14. ida leung says:

    Apparently, one can even without an instagram account. You just need it to contribute words, but not to receive the Daily word/pic.

    And for everyone feeling on the other side of the “digital divide,” this is only one additional avenue for celebrating Advent.

  15. Jack Zamboni says:

    As others have noted, smart phones aren’t need. You can get the daily image and mediation as an email on your computer or tablet. Go to to see the subscription options.

  16. loretta mendoza says:

    I love this idea of being connected to a monastery. Many people choose not to move into the technological world therefore would not participate in this project anyway. There are many ways that are being offered this season so that no one is left out.

  17. Ron Weeks says:

    We all share the gift of advent through worship and the sharing of communities.

Comments are closed.