Beacon Hill’s Church of the Advent Celebrates 175 Years

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has proclaimed Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, Church of the Advent Day. On that day, the Church of the Advent, corner of Brimmer and Mount Vernon Streets, will mark its 175th anniversary with a full day of activities. The parish, an Episcopal Church in the Anglo-Catholic tradition, will offer Mass at 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. The Right Reverend Alan M. Gates, Bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts, will celebrate and preach at both services. After the 9 o’clock service, members of the Church School and their families will have the opportunity to make traditional Advent wreaths with greenery and candles.

At 11:15 a.m, the renowned Choir of the Church of the Advent will present the Palestrina Mass setting, “Tu es Petrus,” as well as works by Purcell and Bruckner. A gala reception follows this service, and the Advent Guild of Bellringers will ring a quarter peal from the church’s tower.

At 4:30 p.m., David Baskeyfield will present an organ recital, and at 5 p.m. the Advent Choir returns for A Service of Lessons and Carols for Advent Sunday, with works by Palestrina, Paul Manz, Howard Skempton, Tchaikovsky, Martin Peerson, Gabriel Jackson, Praetorius, Grieg, John McCabe, and Benjamin Britten. The evening will be capped by a festive reception. A close connection with the community The Church of the Advent is a founding member of FriendshipWorks (formerly Interfaith Match-up Volunteers, established 1884), offering services to elder members of the greater Boston area. The Parish House provides classroom and meeting space to the Park Street School, and hosts Beacon Hill Seminars. The Beacon Hill Garden Club holds meetings at the Advent; the parish garden is part of the annual Beacon Hill Garden tour.

The Advent’s bells ring out every New Year’s Eve as part of the First Night celebrations, and every Fourth of July, a high point of the Boston Pops offering of the familiar 1812 Overture. A Lasting Commitment to Mission From its humble beginnings gathering in an “upper room” of a building on Merrimack Street in the North End to the historic 1883 Gothic Revival style building designed by Boston architect and Advent parishioner John Hubbard Sturgis, the Advent has always striven to witness to “the beauty of holiness and the holiness of beauty,” acquiring a worldwide reputation as a “shrine church” of Anglo-Catholicism in the United States. From its early revolutionary idea of free pews for all, to helping rebuild distant storm-ravaged communities, raising money and awareness for the hungry among us, and nearly four decades of weekly dinners served to the homeless and needy of our community, the Church of the Advent been a steady and supportive presence to the residents of Beacon Hill and far beyond, serving those in need “in a manner free from unnecessary expense and all ungracious circumstances” — words as true today as they were in 1844 when written by the Parish’s founders.

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