An online Advent calendar featuring figures from Washington National Cathedral’s crèche exhibit, carols from the choir of Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street and scriptural reflections by young preachers in the Dioceses of Georgia and Texas, made its debut on 1 December 2007 on the Web site of the Diocese of Washington (http://www.edow.org/advent ).
Part of the aim is to help office workers, families and those with busy lives to reflect on 'the reason for the season' - and to think about giving, too.
The calendar features a Nativity scene decorated with numbered windows that are opened by the click of a mouse. Behind each window visitors will find a photograph from the crèche exhibit and links to a meditation, a carol, an audio reflection on the daily readings and a giving opportunity.
“We designed the calendar four years ago, primarily as a way for office workers to observe the season of Advent,” said Jim Naughton canon for communications and advancement for the Diocese of Washington. “But we’ve found that teens and families really enjoy it, too.
Some visitors are drawn by the more whimsical figures from the crèche exhibit, Naughton said, others by the opportunity to use the Web to enrich their prayer life.
“Each year we try to offer them a little more,” Naughton said. “The audio features are new this year. “I think people are going to love listening to Trinity’s choir, and Lonnie Lacy, the chaplain at Georgia Southern University, was kind enough to let us link into his podcasting project.”
The calendar includes contributions from throughout the Church. The Nativity scene featured in the calendar was taken from the Rev Ed Mullins’ photograph of a tapestry that hangs in Christ Church, Cranbrook, in the Diocese of Michigan where Mullins is rector.
The meditations were chosen by Vicki Black, a deacon in the Diocese of Maine, who keeps the Speaking to the Soul blog on www.episcopalcafe.com . Many of the giving opportunities are drawn from the Episcopal Relief and Development Gifts for Life catalogue.
Visitors can also find links to the calendar on the Episcopal Café - www.episcopalcafe.com  .