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Global online advent calendar opens the door to prayer for fourth successive year

Posted on: November 21, 2017 10:16 AM

The online advent calendar AdventWord, which draws together people’s prayers and meditations around a daily theme, is to operate again in the run-up to Christmas. AdventWord offers 23 meditations and images with an encouragement for people to share pictures and thoughts in response. Last year it created a social media community connecting over 100,000 people in prayer, with about 15,000 images being added across all platforms.

Now in its fourth year, the project was originally devised by the Society of St John the Evangelist. They have now handed it on to the Virginia Theological Seminary, while continuing to assist. The Anglican Communion Office is also continuing to support the initiative.

“The hope is to create a global prayer network, with images and meditations, stretching across countries and languages, as we enter into this holy season of preparation,” Sarah Stonesifer, Digital Missioner for Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS), said.

AdventWord has proved to be a creative and successful way of engaging people in prayer across the world,” the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said. “I am very pleased to see that it is running for another year and I would encourage people to participate.”

James Koester SSJE, the Superior of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist in the US, commented: “As monks we pray with images of the Jesus in icons. AdventWord helps teach everyone how to pray with images as we prepare for the coming of Emmanuel.

“We developed AdventWord to bring joy. We have passed it on to Virginia Theological Seminary to work with the Anglican Communion Office and we are excited to see AdventWord being offered to a wider world.”

The Dean and President of VTS, the Very Revd Ian S Markham, said: “The tablet and the smartphone are constantly with us. Finding a time to pray, reflect, engage using these technologies is the challenge of this age.

“Virginia Theological Seminary is delighted to take on this amazing advent service, pioneered and created by the Society of St John the Evangelist. We share the mission of helping busy people create devotional moments. It is our sincere wish that persons will enjoy and participate worldwide, and across all faith communities.”

AdventWord begins on Sunday 3 December 2017. Images and meditations will be made available via email, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. During the 23 days of Advent, a daily email featuring the AdventWord of the day will go out at 5 am in the recipients own time-zone. Respondents are encouraged to share their responses to the meditations and images to the aggregated prayer walls within the advent calendar using social media and the hashtags #AdventWord and the word of the day.

The prayers will be drawn together online at For the first time, the themes for the day are being published in advance, to help people plan ahead and allow more time for creative responses.

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  • Daily AdventWord:

    3 December #Awaken

    4 December #Journey

    5 December #Gather

    6 December #Simplify

    7 December #Heal

    8 December #Mend

    9 December #Focus

    10 December #Prepare

    11 December #Messenger

    12 December #Watch

    13 December #Voice

    14 December #Wilderness

    15 December #Trust

    16 December #Among

    17 December #Light

    18 December #Dazzle

    19 December #Open

    20 December #Embrace

    21 December #Renew

    22 December #Greeting

    23 December #Child

    24 December #Believe

    25 December #Celebrate