Anglicans Online banner More about the gryphon
Independent On the web since 1994 More than 250,000 readers More than 30,000 links Updated every Sunday
Will you help support
Anglicans Online?

The Paypal logotype

Noted This Week
Sites new to AO

News Centre
News archive

News flash: a summary of the top headlines
Start here
Anglicans believe...
The Prayer Book
The Bible

Read letters to AO
Write to us

Resources A to Z

World Anglicanism
Anglican Communion
In full communion
Not in the Communion

Dioceses and Parishes
Hong Kong
New Zealand
South Africa

Vacancies Centre
List a vacancy
Check openings worldwide

Add a site or link to AO
Add a site to AO
Link to AO

About Anglicans Online
Back issues
About our logo

Our search engine

Janus facing forward and backwardHallo again to all.

Depending on what flavour or local variation of Anglicanism we practise, today was the Last Sunday after Pentecost, the Last Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Solemnity of Christ the King, the Sunday next before Advent, or Stir-up Sunday. No matter what Sunday we kept today, it was the last Sunday of the ecclesiastical year. Next Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent—cue our annual reminder to buy an Advent calendar this week so we have one in time to use it.

It is the most Janus-faced day of the year for us, even more than Silvesternacht or New Year's Day. We find ourselves looking backward not just over the last year, but to all the other Sundays next before Advent we can recall. We also find ourselves looking forward today to a new year of grace; to changes and chances we cannot now imagine; and above all to the Christchild who is the fons et origo of Advent. But it is mostly backward that we look, despite our sincere efforts to do otherwise.

If you have been with us very long, you'll remember that last year we thought about the old New Covenant and its sufficiency by our lights to help us get ready for the coming of the Christchild. We urged you to look at the Advent Conspiracy website. Two years ago, we wrote that we were a bit scattered; our thoughts were with 'faraway friends, nearby deadlines, and upcoming travel'. We also wrote about Advent calendars. A full ten years ago, we reminded ourselves that 'Advent is a season more awesome than fearsome, combining mystery, waiting, darkness, and stillness' in addition to the traditional four themes of Death, Judgement, Heaven, and Hell.

Our backward-facing look at previous Sundays next before Advent shows a remarkable stability of concerns and preoccupations over the years. Nothing we have written on this day previously—even the newsier asides of these letters—would be much out of place if we wrote it again today. This time in the Christian calendar has indeed become a mood for us as much as an observance. We wonder a bit whether this means that Anglicanism itself is frozen in a mood of news that really never changes—the precipices of ecclesiastical ruin and collapse seem always just over the horizon, don't they?—or whether we might also begin to think more carefully about this day in the Church's year as a way of looking forward with hope and prognostication.

Looking ahead, then, with Janus' other face, we hope that by the next Sunday next before Advent some or all of the following will have come to pass:

We'll all have spent a good Advent full of expectation, introspection, focus, and prayer, followed by a joyous Christmastide—all twelve days of it.

Robert Mugabe, the impious Herod of our day, will have set aside his persecution of the church.

We'll have finally cleared our desks and inboxes of the clutter that so beset us.

The Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de las Americas will at last have a website of its own, so that we can learn about the life of the faithful there directly rather than through North American proxies.

Every parish website with a musical attack opening will have silenced it. Every parish website with a name ending in .com will have changed it.

The New Zealand Prayer Book will be available for use online.

The US Episcopal Church will hear the word of Stacy Sauls and become anew Domestic and Foreign Missionaries.

That we'll continue in your service as faithful stewards of the online Anglican world, responding to the needs of our family of churches with your support and encouragement.

This is a short but sincere list of wishes we've not expressed in quite the same way before. On this ever-new and ever-old Sunday, at what do you look back with thanksgiving, and to what do you look forward with hope? We would love to know.

See you next week, next year.

Our signature
All of us at Anglicans Online

20 November 2011

A thin blue line
This web site is independent. It is not official in any way. Our editorial staff is private and unaffiliated. Please contact about information on this page. ©2011 Society of Archbishop Justus
. Please address all spam to