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News from St. Peter's Episcopal Church | December 10, 2013

From the Associate Rector

On November 24 I had the privilege of attending the 198th convention of the Diocese of North Carolina along with our delegates Kathie Knip, David Lavoie, and Doug Hutto. Besides getting to know our delegates better, my favorite part of the convention was hearing Bishop Curry’s pastoral address. (You can download it from The refrain of the address was “Go deep; go speak; go do!”

“Going deep” is about engaging in spiritual practices that remind us of our deepest identity as beloved children of God. Specifically, Bishop Curry wondered how we might be transformed if we prayed the Daily Office or engaged in another daily spiritual discipline. (In this context, “office” is a traditional liturgical word meaning service.) Perhaps not so coincidentally, a dedicated group of lay leaders enables St. Peter’s to offer Morning Prayer at 7:30 a.m. every weekday.

“Go speak” is a tougher challenge for many of us who have notions of evangelism as being coercive or manipulative. One of the most compelling descriptions of evangelism that I’ve heard is “sharing what we love with the people we love.” There are many ways, I believe, to speak in a world desperate to hear stories of hope, genuine community, and promises fulfilled—stories I hear around St. Peter’s every day.

“Go and do something for God’s dream” is the Bishop’s final challenge for us. The diocese is engaging in a campaign called the Harvest for Hospitality to ensure the financial stability of the Episcopal Farmworker’s Ministry, which assists over 3,500 migrant farmworkers in our state each season (more information is at Whether we support this ministry or become involved in Outreach and Social Justice ministries at St. Peter’s such as the Augustine Project, Habitat for Humanity, Samaritan House, Room in the Inn, or others, the invitation to “go do” doesn’t come only from Bishop Curry, it comes from Jesus himself.

In the midst of the digging deep, speaking courageously, and generous doing, I wish you wonder and joy above all as we wait together for the mysterious incarnation of God in a vulnerable baby named Jesus.

The Reverend Deacon Joslyn Ogden Schaefer, Associate Rector

Sunday, 12/15

8:30 a.m. in the Community Room, "Holy Chow" Breakfast until 9:25 a.m. $2 per child under 6, $4 per person, and $15 per household maximum.

9:30 a.m., or adults, the Parish Hall Forum topic is ”Keeping the Holy in the Holidays.” The Martha Bowles Parish Hall is on Level 2 of the Parish House.

9:30 a.m. in the Parish House, Formation Classes for Youth and Children. The nursery is on Level 1 of the Parish House. Children ages 3-12 meet on Level 1 of the Parish House. Young people ages 13-18 meet on Level “B.”

After 10:45 a.m. worship, coffee hour hosted by the St. Peter's baristas.

5:00 p.m. in the Church, "A Service of Light and Holy Meal," a Communion service based on the music and rhythms of the Taizé community in France.


Worship Schedule

8:00 a.m.
Holy Eucharist, Rite I
10:45 a.m.
Holy Eucharist, Rite II
5:00 p.m.
(2nd and 4th Sundays)
Choral Evensong
5:00 p.m.
(3rd Sundays)
"Service of Light & Holy Meal," a Communion service based on the music and rhythms of the Taizé community in France
Tuesdays and Thursdays
"Holy Food, Holy People," Holy Communion (about 30 minutes in the Chapel)


Sunday's Worship & Music Leaflets
The Rector's Blog
In our prayers this week
The Choir School at St. Peter's

The Seal of St. Peter's Episcopal Church
"You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church."

Looking Ahead

Give To The Vision 2014 Annual Fund Update. As of December 9, $689,427 from 230 estimates of giving has been received toward our $1,000,000 goal. The Annual Fund Leadership Team is hopeful for 100% participation from 425 member households and potentially interested newcomers. The Vestry will meet on December 17 to discuss and approve an operating budget for 2014. All estimated commitments to support the administration, programs, and facilities of St. Peter’s are very valuable. 

Morning Prayer in the Chapel has begun. On any or all weekday mornings at 7:30 a.m., consider attending the service of Morning Prayer, especially if you work or live in Center City. This less than thirty-minute opportunity allows the worshipper to be still and dwell with the Eternal Word before the day unfolds. Additional people are needed to officiate this beautiful service and should contact Doug Hutto (, 704-674-6868) for more information.

Wednesday Morning Book Study Group started Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris on December 4. Join this group on December 11 at 11:00 a.m. as it continues to read a chapter or two a week followed by discussion. All group books are chosen to encourage sacred living in a secular world, and everyone is welcome to attend each Wednesday in the Library. Contact Ruth Woodend ( for more information.

Wednesday Evening Parish Family Advent Gatherings continue. You and yours are invited to join others of all ages at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, December 11 and 18, for a simple meal, period of Advent reflection, and the evening service of Compline, all to end by 7:30 p.m. Escape the strain of the holiday season through a quiet time of expectation and wonder as we wait to celebrate the birth of our Lord at Christmas. Your reservations will help with planning. Visit “Event Sign-up” at or call the reception desk at 704-332-7746. The suggested donation for dinner is $3 per person or $10 per household maximum.

Room in the Inn (RITI) at St. Peter’s. Each December to March, St. Peter’s is among dozens of churches in the Charlotte area that help to house our homeless neighbors through the Room in the Inn program administered by the Urban Ministry Center. Every Wednesday night during this four-month period, we provide a place to sleep and meals for a dozen people. We have an ongoing need for supplies for this ministry. If you can donate any of the following, please put them in the RITI donation basket in the Parish House Lobby: standard-size pillow covers (not pillow cases, but hygienic covers to protect the pillows); travel-size deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and moisturizing lotion; and travel-size umbrellas. To learn more about RITI, contact coordinator Des Keller (, 205-243-6989).

Christmas Concert by The Choir School at St. Peter’s: December 13 and 14. Come enjoy the choirs as they mix traditional carols, classic anthems, and holiday favorites to create a joyful program that has become a tradition for Charlotte audiences. Tickets go quickly for this popular concert, so buy your tickets online now or call 704-749-6146. The concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. at St. Peter’s on Friday and Saturday, December 13 and 14. Visit for more information.

Inspiration from the Saints at The Episcopal Church recognizes holy women and men from the past who provide us with encouragement and guidance to face the vexing challenges of our own time. Attending to the saints also broadens our sense of belonging to a family that extends from the past and into the future. St. Peter’s now offers a brief daily, online reflection based on the church calendar of saints and feasts, written by parishioner Terry Prince. Visit the “Worship” tab at to access this resource and reflect on the lives of other people of faith.

Christmas Memorials support flowers and music for the season. If you would like to make a monetary contribution in memory of, honor of, or thanksgiving for loved ones during the holiday season, one way would be to offset the cost of flowers, greenery, and music for Christmas at St. Peter’s. “Christmas Memorial” envelopes are available at the church. To ensure the names of your loved ones are acknowledged in the worship service leaflets, your envelopes must be delivered to the Parish House workroom mailbox of Cathy Smith no later than Sunday, December 22. Your gifts are appreciated. 

St. Peter’s Flower Guild seeks new ministers. If you enjoy the enhancement of flowers to our worship space and might be interested in the ministry of arranging them for St. Peter’s, contact Rob Carpenter (, 704-365-8932).

Sunday Coffee Hour hosts, St. Peter’s Baristas, are looking for energetic people to join coffee hour teams starting in January. Being part of a team is a fun way to offer hospitality to our church family. Share your favorite sweet treats every other month with parishioners after the 10:45 a.m. service. Contact Kristine Reid ( or Norveline Thomas ( for details.

Improve the World through Literacy Outreach. Did you know the Augustine Literacy Project (ALP) operates from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church? The mission of the ALP is to improve the reading, writing, and spelling skills of low-income children who struggle with literacy. We have trained over 100 volunteer literacy tutors since 2005 and currently provide 60 low-income children with highly trained literacy tutors at no cost to the child’s family or school. To learn more about ALP and our tutor training workshops, visit Members of St Peter’s can serve by becoming a tutor or assisting with special events and projects. Telephone Alison Houser, Director, at 704-749-6162 if you would like to help.

"White Beard Project” supports Supportive Housing Communities (SHC) through St. Peter’s. The Advent tree in the Parish House Lobby is an outreach opportunity to provide holiday stockings filled with basic toiletries for the more than 100 men and women residents of SHC, formerly called McCreesh Place. Coordinators Christa Lineberger and Lyn Holt (Director of Youth Formation) are organizing our support of this ministry that began three years ago at Christmastime. Stop by the Advent tree to collect your ornament and return your items to the designated box before the youth stocking-stuffing party.

The Sunday Parish Hall Forum topic for December 15 is ”Keeping the Holy in the Holidays.” The holiday season means different things and touches a sweep of emotions among the beautifully different people of God. Beginning at 9:30 a.m., Father Ollie Rencher and others will reflect on how to both find and savor holiness amid the craziness of the holidays. On December 22, our clergy (Father Ollie Rencher and Mother Joslyn Ogden Schaefer) will present “Celebrating The Incarnation: God with Us.” 

Sunday Evening Worship at St. Peter’s on December 15. At 5:00 p.m., experience our monthly “Service of Light and Holy Meal,” worship based on the quieter music and rhythm of the Taizé community in France. In a setting of peaceful light, all ages can engage in simple song accompanied by piano, silence, scripture, and Holy Communion. This unique service is offered the third Sunday of every month. Consider changing your schedule on that day to worship in the evening.

20s/30s Advent Dinner following the “Service of Light and Holy Meal”: Sunday, December 15. All 20s and 30s (married, single, without or with children) are invited to celebrate the season by attending the 5:00 p.m. worship service followed by an Advent dinner at 6:00 p.m. hosted by the clergy at Rock Bottom Brewery. If you cannot attend worship but can attend the dinner, let us know your plans either way by sending an email to Father Ollie Rencher. Spread the word about a great Sunday evening in Center City Charlotte and a perfect way to share the holidays with others from St. Peter’s. 

Liturgy of the Longest Night: Thursday, December 19. While the holidays bring festivities, community, and joy, they also conjure up memories of people no longer with us, as well as feelings of loneliness and sadness. Worship is one way for us to focus on God’s love and light, which can meet us in our places of sadness and darkness. Join us on Thursday, December 19, at 5:30 p.m. for the Liturgy of the Longest Night, which will include prayer, song, candle lighting, and Eucharist. All are welcome.

Advent Retreat to be Facilitated by the Rector: Saturday, December 21. From 8:30 a.m. to noon at St. Peter’s Church, Father Ollie Rencher will lead “Awaiting Love,” a distinctive morning of silence, contemplation, conversation, neighborhood walking (weather permitting), music, and closing quieter worship in the manner of the Taizé, France, community. Interested adults and young people should register by Sunday, December 15, by emailing Cathy Smith at or calling 704-749-6141.

Help “Green” the Church on Monday, December 23. The annual “greening of the church” for Christmas is set for Monday, December 23, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and will include a light lunch. Adults, young people, and children are invited to participate (for as long as one’s schedule allows) in this wonderful way to transform our worship space for Christmas with greenery, poinsettias, candles, polishing, and more. If you can assist, contact Mary Virginia Woodall via email ( or call 704-749-6151.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Worship and Parish Office Schedule. Mark your calendars for our revised worship schedule: 4:00 p.m. Christmas Pageant and Holy Eucharist; 6:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist: Rite One preceded by a 5:45 p.m. choral prelude; 10:30 p.m. Holy Eucharist: Rite Two preceded by a 10:00 p.m. choral prelude; and on Christmas Day, Holy Eucharist: Rite Two with hymns at 10:00 a.m. The parish office will be closed from Noon on Christmas Eve until Monday, December 30. 

Celebrating The Epiphany of Our Lord: Monday, January 6.  The St. Peter’s community will gather at 6:30 p.m. for a Festival of Light and the Holy Eucharist to celebrate the revelation of Jesus as true God, Messiah, and Savior of the world. Enjoy the culmination of the twelve days of Christmas and join others for a powerful entrance into the season of Light.  

The Reverend Joslyn Ogden Schaefer to be Ordained Priest on January 9. God willing and with the consent of the people, the Bishop Suffragan of North Carolina, The Right Reverend Anne Hodges-Copple, will ordain Joslyn Ogden Schaefer as a Priest in Christ’s Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church on Thursday, January 9, at 7:00 p.m. at St. Peter’s. Mark your calendars for this parish, diocesan, and ecumenical event and stay tuned for how you might assist with the grand reception following the liturgy.

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