What Are We Waiting For?

Advent Meditations with the Leaders of the Anglican, Evangelical Lutheran, Presbyterian, and United Churches

Every Monday during Advent (Nov. 28, Dec. 5, 12 and 19), the national church leaders of The Anglican Church of Canada, The Evangelical Lutheran in Canada, The Presbyterian Church in Canada and The United Church of Canada will release an ecumenical Advent meditation and conversations reflecting the four Advent themes of hope, peace, joy and love, and addressing challenges facing the Canadian churches.

Every Thursday during Advent, listeners are invited to join in a live discussion, via Zoom, with one of the leaders on that week’s Advent theme. Registration is required to join the Zoom gatherings. Attendees will be able to ask questions during the online conversation.

Reflection for the week of Advent I

Participating church leaders

The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls, Primate, The Anglican Church of Canada
The Rev. Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Robert Faris
The Rev. Dr. Robert Faris, Moderator, The Presbyterian Church in Canada
Carmen Lansdowne
The Right Rev. Dr. Carmen Lansdowne, Moderator, The United Church of Canada

Schedule for the live online discussions

Thurs., Dec. 1: Hope, “Signs of the Time”
Bob Faris in conversation with Susan Johnson about the church in the 21st century. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted many trends that all Canadian churches are experiencing. Churches face shrinking membership and a changed position in communities across the country.  Can we read the signs of our own times to understand where we are being called to be the church?
View the week’s introductory meditation (YouTube)…

Thurs., Dec. 8: Peace, “Finding the Good Path”
Bob Faris in conversation with Carmen Lansdowne about truth telling and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Three of the churches represented here ran Residential Schools. The recovery of hundreds of unmarked graves in Kamloops and in many other locations has once again has shocked all of us into hearing the truth that Indigenous people have been telling for decades. What is the path forward?

Thurs., Dec. 15: Joy, “God’s Love Includes Everyone”
Carmen Lansdowne in conversation with Bob Faris about the inclusion of all in the church. For decades, all churches have been engaged in discussion around the inclusion of 2SLGBTQI+ people. All four participating churches have taken steps towards greater inclusion, but the discernment continues. What does it mean to include everyone?

Thurs., Dec. 22: Love, “The Cost of Discipleship”
Bob Faris in conversation with Linda Nicholls about the church’s public witness in a rapidly changing social and political context in Canada. At times, the church is called to take positions that are not in tune with popular opinion or with other church partners. When should the church take a prophetic stand, and are we willing to pay the price to witness to the gospel?

Spread the word

Resources are available to help promote this Advent meditation series. You are welcome to share the posters and graphics below among your churches and communities—including in church bulletins, on video displays, posted to notice boards and sharing on social media.

Most Rev. Linda Nicholls

Primate, The Anglican Church of Canada

Archbishop Linda Nicholls became primate of the Anglican Church of Canada in 2019 after serving as a bishop in the Dioceses of Toronto and Huron for eleven years and almost twenty years of parish ministry in the Diocese of Toronto. 

Prior to ordination Linda taught high school music and mathematics at Woodstock International Christian School in the Himalayas of India.  She holds degrees in music and education, theology and ministry with focused attention to ecumenical dialogue, especially with the Roman Catholic Church; the healing ministries and medical ethics; and healthy congregations.  

In both her ministry and D.Min. studies Linda has been committed to the nature of Christian unity in the midst of disagreement whether in ecumenical relationship and ethical issues.  

Choral singing and wilderness canoeing provide personal nurture and humility is constantly fostered as staff to a cat!

Rev. Susan C. Johnson

National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Rev. Susan C. Johnson is serving her fourth term as National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), having first been elected by the National Convention in June 2007.

Bishop Johnson is active in the international Lutheran community and in the World Council of Churches. She is committed to the work of ecumenism, full communion, reconciliation, and passionate about engaging the church in a call to spiritual discipleship. She has led the church to speak out in several areas of justice and is actively involved in the work of KAIROS.

Rev. Dr. Robert Faris

Moderator, The Presbyterian Church in Canada

Robert Faris

Before being elected Moderator, the Rev. Faris was the Co-Convener of the Rainbow Communion, Special Listening Committee. Its recommendations have led to concrete actions to reduce harm done to people who identify as 2SLGBTQI+ in the church. Over more than 35 years, he has focused on understanding and working toward the improvement of lives and communities negatively affected by social injustice and colonialism. This has included creative ministry in church camping, teaching in an ecumenical seminary in Mozambique and leadership in two Canadian ecumenical organizations. He is currently the Associate Minister at St. Andrew’s Church in Toronto.

Right Rev. Dr. Carmen Lansdowne

Moderator, The United Church of Canada

Carmen Lansdowne

As Moderator, the Rev. Dr. Carmen Lansdowne, Kwisa’lakw, is on leave from her position as Executive Director of First United Church Community Ministry Society, which serves the people of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Born in Alert Bay, BC, and a member of the Heiltsuk First Nation, Moderator Lansdowne was ordained into The United Church of Canada in 2007. She served Marengo Pastoral Charge (Alsask and Loverna, SK). In addition to her theological contributions as a writer and speaker, the Moderator has served the church in a variety of roles locally, nationally, and with the World Council of Churches.