The Season of Advent

Advent Candles


Advent marks the beginning of the new liturgical year, starting four Sundays before Christmas. It is a time when we ponder the coming of Christ in time, as the Babe of Bethlehem, and at the end of time as our Judge and Redeemer. The word advent comes to us from the Latin meaning to come.

The season of Advent has been set aside as a time of preparation for Christmas since at least the last half of the 6th century. Every Advent begins the same way, with the scripture readings focusing on the end times. The readings this year move backward in time from the final end (week 1) to the promise of a messenger to prepare the way (week 2), then forward in time to the message of that messenger (week 3), and finally to the conception of Jesus (week 4).

The church offers us many ways to observe this sacred season. One is in the use of the color blue for our vestments, altar hangings, and Advent Wreath candles. Using blue (we used to use purple) is a recovery of an ancient English tradition stemming from Salisbury Cathedral, and so it is referred to as sarum blue. (Sarum being the ancient Latin name for Salisbury.) While the deep blue conveys a feeling of solemnity, because of its association with the Blessed Virgin Mary, it also conveys the Advent themes of hope and expectation.

An especially meaningful way to observe the Advent season both in the church and at home is through the use of an Advent Wreath. The Advent wreath first appeared in Germany in 1839. A Lutheran minister working at a mission for children created a wreath out of the wheel of a cart. He placed twenty small red candles and four large white candles inside the ring. The red candles were lit on weekdays and the four white candles were lit on Sundays.

The most common Advent candle tradition, however, involves four candles. A new candle is lit on each of the four Sundays before Christmas. Each candle may represent something different, although traditions vary. The four candles traditionally represent hope, peace, joy, and love. Often, the first, second, and fourth candles are purple or blue; and the third candle is rose-colored, to represent the joy of Mary. Usually, a fifth white candle is placed in the middle and is lit on Christmas Day to celebrate Jesus’ birth.

The Advent wreath is created out of evergreens, symbolizing everlasting life in the midst of winter and death. The circle, which has no beginning nor end, reminds us of God’s unending love for us.

The four candles are visible reminders that as the darkness of the world (literally, as well as figuratively) descends upon us, that darkness cannot overcome the light which Christ brought into the world through His incarnation

Advent Calendars are another way that we can observe the season. These have sayings or actions or readings for each day of Advent. There is an example of one in the back of the church that you may take home. There many options for Advent calendars available, and those with themes that draw us into reflection on the presence of Christ now and Christ to come offer the most promise for a meaningful experience.

There are also many print and online Advent devotional offerings. You will find a booklet of meditations and a list of online resources in the back of the church. Also, watch our Facebook page for more Advent offerings. On there now is a video from “Busted Halo” entitled “Advent in Two Minutes.”



Holy Trinity Welcomes New Clergy

Rev. Mary Barnett and Rev. Mary Anne Osborn

Join us in welcoming The Reverend Mary Barnett (pictured left) and the Reverend Mary Anne Osborn (pictured right) to the Church of the Holy Trinity. They begin their ministry with us at the Sunday service on October 6, 2019.

It may come as a surprise that we are actually welcoming two new clergy, one half-time and the other quarter-time. This is a good thing, but it requires a bit of explanation.

The Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT) has conceived a new model in which newly-ordained clergy going into part-time positions are paired with experienced mentors for their first year, and we have been selected to participate in this new initiative. As a result, for the next year, we will have two new clergy: one (Mary Barnett) who is new to the ministry and will hopefully serve with us for years to come, the other (Mary Anne Osborn) an experienced priest who will be with us for one year and serve as a mentor to Mary Barnett as she begins her ministry.

The Reverend Mary Barnett completed her seminary training this past year at Yale Divinity School, after a career running her own dance company, In Good Company, since 1986. She was ordained a Deacon this past summer, and will be ordained to the priesthood early in 2020. (In the Episcopal Church, clergy are first ordained Deacons for at least six months before ordination to the priesthood.) Her initial official title will be “Missional Curate”. While she is still a deacon and not yet a priest, we will not be without a priest between now and her ordination. Mary Anne Osborn will serve at Holy Trinity with the title “Missional Priest in Charge” for a period of one year, and will be the sole parish priest until Mary Barnett is ordained a priest. She will be ecclesiastical authority in the parish for the year she is here, officiate at Eucharist, and help attend to pastoral needs, but much of her responsibility will be as a priest-mentor. After the first year, we hope that Mary Barnett will continue on with us with the new title of Missional Priest-in-Charge.

Rev. Osborne will be with us two Sundays per month, as her position is quarter-time. This means that, until Rev. Barnett is ordained to the priesthood early in 2020, we will alternate services between Eucharist and Morning Prayer on Sunday mornings, with a single service at 9:30. When Rev. Osborne is present, she will celebrate the Eucharist. When she is not, Rev. Barnett will lead Morning Prayer.

We welcome these two wonderful clergy persons to our parish. They bring us a wealth of experience of many different types, and they are enthusiastic about joining Holy Trinity as well.

We would also like to say a word of profound thanks to a number of people who have helped to make this transition process a success: the Transition Team that began the search process, the Vestry that completed it, the Intercessory Prayer Group that has supported us with their prayers, and to the entire congregation for their faithfulness, patience, and prayers as we have carried out a rather long transition process with grace, patience, hope, and good will. I would also like to thank the Reverend Lee Ann Tolzmann, the diocesan Canon for Mission Leadership, and the Reverend Joseph Krasinski, who served as consultant in the process. This was a two-year effort that required a lot of time, work, and thoughtful discernment from a lot of people, and prayer from everyone, and we should thank everyone involved for a job well done.

We would also like to offer the most heartfelt thanks to the Reverend Dana Campbell, who has served as our interim priest in charge for five and a half years. Deepest thanks also to Deacon Pat Jackson, who has tirelessly and joyously looked after many of the pastoral needs of our congregation, and who – thankfully – will be able to stay on with us for up to another six months.

–  Steven Horst, Warden
–  edits by TCW, Warden

Annual Holiday Fair

Holiday Fair House of Talents tableChurch of the Holy Trinity’s Annual Holiday Fair will be held on Saturday, December 7th from 9 am – 3 pm.  The fair will be held on the 1st and 2nd floors of the Parish Hall and the Church, with elevator access to the 2nd floor. With the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce building right next door, this is a great location as the Holiday on Main Street activities are all going on. The horse and wagon rides and the fun train for the kiddies stops right in front of the church, and many people are out and about on Main Street during the holidays.  Many downtown businesses and restaurants have been very generous this year in donating items for the Silent Auction, so come and bid on something for yourself or for a gift!

Volunteers and donated items are needed. Click here to see how you can help.

Come to the Fair!


Sunday, September 8th we return to Holy Trinity with our new schedule of one service at 9:30 a.m., followed by Sunday School Registration.

Sunday, September 15th  Youth Sunday with the Praise Band
9:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist

Sunday, September 22nd
9:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist & First Day of Sunday School

Sunday, September 29th
9:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist & Sunday School followed by a Good Bye brunch for
Rev. Dana Campbell


Summer Schedule Continues


Our Summer Schedule continues:

August 25th
9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer at Holy Trinity in the Chapel
9:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist at Trinity Church, 345 Main St., Portland

September 1st
9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer at Holy Trinity in the Chapel
10:00 a.m. “Mass on the Grass” with our Praise Band at Trinity Church, Portland

September 8th our regular schedule resumes at Holy Trinity at 9:30 am. with one service, followed by Sunday School Registration and Adult Bible Study in the Chapel.




Sundays, August 4th – September 1st

9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer at Holy Trinity in the Chapel
9:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist at Trinity Portland, 345 Main St.

9/1/19 “Mass on the Grass” with our Praise Band.

Rev. Dana will be away on vacation for the month of August.
There will be no Midweek Eucharist in August.

Our regular schedule resumes on September 8th at Holy Trinity at 9:30 am.


Annual Parish Picnic

Sunday, June 9th is the Annual Parish Picnic at Smith Park.  The regular 8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at Holy Trinity, with the 10:15 a.m. Holy Eucharist held at Smith Park on Country Club Road, followed by the Parish Picnic.  Hot dogs, hamburgers, condiments, drinks and paper goods will be provided.  Please bring a dish to share for 8-10 people.  Bring your own chair if you would like, and any games you may want to play.  See you at the picnic!

Worship at Smith Park


2017 Parish Picnic 2

Annual Shut-in Service

Bristol Old Tyme Fiddlers performing at Annual Shut in Service

Every year in May for many years the Church of the Holy Trinity in Middletown, CT has held an Annual Shut-In Service for the homebound and those in convalescent homes. Please save the date for this year’s service, which will be held on Thursday, May 16th from 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at Church of the Holy Trinity, 381 Main St., Middletown. This special event includes Holy Communion, prayers, special music and a wonderful luncheon followed by strawberry shortcake! As we have had in the past, the Bristol Old Tyme Fiddlers Club will perform special music.

If you have a loved one who would enjoy coming to this service, please consider bringing
them. We do provide transportation from a few area convalescent homes, and would love to see more individuals attend as well. Everyone always has a wonderful time, and it is a nice outing for those who are homebound. All are welcome!

If you would like to participate, please call Valerie at 860-347-2591 or email

Lots of help is needed that day such as preparing the food, greeting guests, serving the food, and cleaning up afterwards. If you can help please contact Sharon Sheedy at 860-346-7937.

First Tuesday

Please join us on Tuesday, May 7th for our First Tuesday gathering with supper at 5:30 p.m. followed by a movie.  Everyone is welcome!