Doing Justice During the Season of Advent

As is our custom, Highland again marks the season of Advent by looking intentionally to those who experience injustice and suffering, knowing that as people of faith who follow the crucified Jesus, the “man of sorrows acquainted with grief,” we too are called to stand in solidarity with the brokenhearted and the oppressed.

We do this in several ways – some long-standing traditions of our community of faith, others as new expressions of our growing passion for God’s justice.


The Other Christmas Justice Event – Saturday, November 29, 10:00 a.m.Justice Image Day 1

All are invited to join Highland’s Justice Ministry Group for a unique and meaningful gathering called “The Other Christmas” on Saturday morning, November 29, 10:00 a.m., at Advent Episcopal Church (901 Baxter Avenue).

This Advent event connects the Christmas story to the work of justice, in contrast to secular holiday activities such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Light up Louisville by reclaiming many of the iconic symbols of the birth narratives of Jesus as a justice story. Highland Baptist Church and Advent Episcopal Church are partnering with The Sowers of Justice Network to ask in
a world of threat and promise how we prepare ourselves and the world for justice in the Season of Advent.

The watchfulness of Advent means seeing with eyes of longing. How do we live out the season of expectation, of groaning, of anticipation, of preparation? By considering symbols representing portions of the birth narrative of Jesus, each of us becomes an interpreter of the longings of all humanity.

On the morning of November 29, attendees are invited to walk to and gather around a tree at Advent Episcopal Church to dress it with symbols of the season. Attendees are invited to wear black, white, or red. A brief prayer will be offered for a justice issue inspired by each of 24 images. We invite you and your family to help us hang these symbols that morning, serve as chorus, or help with this event. Please contact Doug Lowry at or 502-619-1819 if you are able to participate as a symbol bearer, chorus member, or help with preparation the day before.

Resources during Advent include meditations available online or by email after this event. If you would like to sign up for or invite others to receive the daily Advent mediations, please email


Alternative Gift Card Giving – ongoing throughout AdventMorocco migrant aid

Complete your Christmas shopping with meaning in the true spirit of the Season! Highland’s Alternative Gift Cards in 2014 will partner with the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship (KBF) to support the basic care of Moroccan migrants. Highland and KBF’s partnership with the International Aid Committee (CEI for short) of the Protestant Churches of Morocco enables medical personnel and basic needs (food, medical care, shelter) to be available to migrants through church volunteers and aid workers.  Read stories of the way your money will be put to work amidst the migrant community in Morocco here.  The cards in varying monetary denominations will be sold during Advent each Sunday through December 16, following both services, as well as on Wednesday nights before and during supper. For more information, contact Carol Harston.


Crosses on the Lawn – December 7, 2014Crosses on the Lawn 2012 #1

One such expression happens on Peace Sunday, the second Sunday of Advent, December 7, where we mark the pain and hope of God by placing white crosses on Highland’s front lawn in memory of Louisville residents killed in an act of violence. Some 50-60 crosses will create a sad memorial on our lawn during this holiday season. At the same time, the crosses signify our hope that God calls the church to work actively against violence in its many forms.

At the conclusion of all three services that Sunday morning, the names of victims will be read, and worshippers will be invited to carry a cross to the lawn and hammer it into the ground. Louisville’s St. William Catholic Church will also place crosses on their lawn on November 30 to mark victims of violence this Advent season.

Highland Baptist began this tradition in 1997 in Rev. Joe Phelps’ first year as pastor to draw attention to a rash of murders in the metropolitan Louisville area. “We grieve with those families for whom this is not a season of joy, and hold out the life of Jesus as a model for putting away violence,” Phelps said.  “We also pray for all who work to make our community safe and just. It is a testament to the hope that God is not done.”