A Benedictine Advent | The Rev. Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

11.25.22 | Celebration, Community, International, Pulpit Posts, World

Today in our Episcopal calendar we remember James Otis Sargent Huntington, a priest and monk who died in 1935. He is best known for founding the Order of the Holy Cross, a Benedictine order for men. Huntington began the orders’ ministry in some of the poorest areas of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. After a stint in rural Maryland, Holy Cross found its current home in 1902 in West Park, NY, near Poughkeepsie. The monastery was the first building built for an Anglican monastic order since King Henry VIII! Huntington went on to help found various other institutions, including Kent School in Kent, CT, where Mother Anna was chaplain.

In addition to remembering James Huntington today, we are also about to enter the season of Advent this coming Sunday. We have a chance over the next four weeks to anticipate and prepare for the coming of Christ, for the return of the Light into the darkest hours of our world. Huntington’s embrace of Benedictine monasticism might be an invitation for us to bring some of its principles into this season.

At a time of year when our lives often get busier, the Benedictine Rule of Life emphasizes moderation. There is time set aside each day for work, yes, but also sleep, spiritual reading, and, of course, prayer. We are not monks in a monastery, of course, but setting a bit of time aside for study of scripture, reading an Advent devotional, or quiet prayer, can help us take advantage of this season of mindful waiting.

Another hallmark of the Benedictines is the practice of hospitality. We might think this year about how we are preparing to be welcoming to Christ, and how we might practice that welcome by offering hospitality to others around us – especially those who may be in the greatest need.

Finally, as with other monastic communities, the Benedictines practice simplicity of life. A useful way of preparing for new birth, both in the world and in within our deepest selves, is letting go of those things that no longer serve us. We might do some physical decluttering, but perhaps we are also drawn to divesting ourselves of the old ideas, grudges, hurts, and fears that we’ve been carrying around and weighing us down. Why not come to Christmas a little lighter?

Any or all of these practices can help us to find and offer many gifts this Advent. I pray that it is indeed a blessed and peaceful season for us all!

Rev. Susan Hill

Rev. Susan Hill


Stay current on activity at the Soup Kitchen, guest stories, thoughts from Clergy, news and events.

Subscribe to receive the latest news, events, volunteer opportunities, and more — right to your inbox.

Church of the Holy Apostles

We are an open, inclusive Christian Church celebrating in the Episcopal tradition.

Sunday Service is held 11AM (on site and via livestream). Weekday services are held on Zoom.


For Newcomers

Learn about our faith community and explore ways to connect with our work and worship.


Reflections on Holy Scripture from our Clergy.


Founded in 1844, with a focus on social activism and the desire for social justice.

Clergy, Staff & Vestry

The Vestry is the governing body of the Church of the Holy Apostles.


Music commands a strong presence at the Church of the Holy Apostles.

Space Rental

Host your next meeting or event in our landmark building.

Soup Kitchen & Pantry

Nourishing hungry New Yorkers since 1982 in an atmosphere of respect and hospitality.

Daily meal service

Serving a free, nutritious meal every weekday from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Meal outreach

Distributing bagged breakfasts and lunches throughout Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen.

About the soup kitchen

Learn more about our mission, our history, our performance, who we are, and what we do.

Pantry Program

Providing fresh and nutritious groceries to food-insecure New Yorkers.

Sunday Supper

Bridging generations and building community over a monthly family style meal.

Give Layers of Love this Winter

Help Keep Our Guests Warm this Winter.

Social Support

Meeting basic needs, stabilizing lives, and supporting individuals and families to achieve their goals.


Addressing the needs of the whole person through basic needs, counseling, and referrals.


Offering learning and skill-building opportunities.

Community Partnership

Partnering with others to expand the services offered to our guests.

Get Involved

Holy Apostles is a great place to channel your time, talents and generosity for good.


Make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and hunger.


Join our efforts to serve others and provide for people who are vulnerable.


Your gift provides food, community, and hope to New Yorkers in need.

The Latest

Stay up-to-date on all happenings at Holy Apostles.

Food For The Soul

The official blog of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.

Voices of Our Community

Guest stories, poetry, and more.


See our calendar of events.

Church Pulpit Posts

Read weekly meditations written by our clergy.


Holy Apostles in the news.