St. Peter's rose window reflected in the garden. Photo by John Hall.

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News from St. Peter's Episcopal Church | December 17, 2013

From the Rector

Prepare for God is with us. The last days and fourth Sunday of Advent confront us and dare us to prepare—possibly in a more profound way. While many of us naturally may be preparing for Christmas by shopping and gift-giving, parties, holiday cards, claiming any remaining time off, finalizing travel plans, and increased worship, I wonder if you and I are going as deeply as we are invited to go. This question was raised last week during a conversation with a friend; we both were wrestling with the dilemma of “Christ and culture” and the constant call for Christians to be present to God amid the fullness of life.

Matthew 1:18–28 recalls that the prophet said, ”Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.” In and of itself, the unfathomable notion of this instance in history calls us to be still and know that God is God. These words are loaded with holy invitation. Invitation to slow down just enough to not miss who and what will be revealed to us through the mystery of the Incarnation. Invitation to offer ourselves, souls, and bodies to the glory of God as good people of faith, hope, justice, and love. Invitation to become bold followers of the One who already redeemed us from sin and through salvation guarantees eternal life. Invitation to be rather different during the holiday season in the name of Christ the Savior.

Advent—through scripture, song, and prayer—teaches without apology that our individual preparation must be intentional; otherwise, we could loose sight and memory of both who and whose we are as children of God.

Let us find daily moments of radical mindfulness as we prepare—for God is with us—and God lives within us. May the Spirit of the Lord that came upon us in baptism come to life and help us to prepare the way of the Lord. Come, Lord Jesus.

The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector
 

Sunday, 12/22

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 ”Celebrating The Incarnation: God with Us.” 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.

Worship Schedule

SUNDAYS
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
WEEKDAYS
Tuesdays and Thursdays
Noon
"Holy Food, Holy People," Holy Communion (about 30 minutes in the Chapel)


Links

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 16, $715,362 from 238 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 meets this evening to discuss and approve an operating budget for 2014. All estimated commitments to support the administration, programs, and facilities of St. Peter’s are a blessing to our faith community. Click here to make your estimate of giving online.

Weekday Morning Prayer and Noon Eucharist in the Chapel. On any or all weekday mornings at 7:30 a.m., consider attending the service of Morning Prayer. This less than 30-minute opportunity allows a time of quiet worship with the Eternal Word before the day unfolds. Additional people are needed to officiate this beautiful service and should contact Doug Hutto (dehutto@gmail.com, 704-674-6868) for more information. On Tuesday and/or Thursday only, a less than 30-minute celebration of the Holy Eucharist called “Holy Food, Holy People” is offered as a way to pause and be fed by God at midday. All are welcome. Note: When the parish offices are closed, weekday worship offerings are suspended.

St. Peter’s partners with Loaves and Fishes. During the past several years, many have donated food for “Project 5000” to feed the hungry. Due to our parishioners’ interest in donating groceries for those in need without feeling tied to a specific list, St. Peter’s is pleased to announce a partnership with Loaves and Fishes and gives thanks for the past ministry of Project 5000 and those who have donated. Loaves and Fishes, a nonprofit emergency food pantry program that provides a week’s worth of groceries to people in crisis in Charlotte–Mecklenburg, began in 1975. In 2012 it served 126,803 people through its network with 19 food pantries across Mecklenburg County. Now, all ages have an opportunity to bring one or more food items for Loaves and Fishes to St. Peter’s. Current priority needs include canned meats, canned pasta, cereal, canned fruit, and 100% fruit juices. (No glass, please!) Large red collection barrels are located on the Gallery of the Parish House near the entrance to the chapel. There is no need to sign up ahead of time. Beginning in January and on a monthly basis, we will feature a different food item needed while still accepting other items from a broad list. Visit www.loavesandfishes.org or contact St. Peter’s coordinator, Judy McLeod (jamcleod@carolina.rr.com, 704-277-8895), to learn more.

Wednesday Evening Parish Family Advent Gathering: December 18. All are invited to St. Peter’s at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 18, for a simple meal, period of Advent reflection, and the evening service of Compline, all to end by 7:30 p.m. This will be the last of this three-week offering, and all are welcome even if they missed the first two. 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. Reservations will help with planning. Visit “Event Sign-up” at www.st-peters.org or call the reception desk at 704-332-7746. The suggested donation for dinner is $3 per person or $10 per household maximum. 

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 the Holy Eucharist. All are welcome.

Saturday Advent Retreat to be Led by the Rector: December 21. From 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon at St. Peter’s, Father Ollie Rencher will lead “Awaiting Love,” a distinctive morning of silence, contemplation, conversation, neighborhood walking (optional and weather permitting), music, and closing worship in the manner of the Taizé, France, community. Interested adults and youth should register by noon on Thursday, December 19, by emailing Cathy Smith at csmith@st-peters.org or calling 704-749-6141.

The Sunday Parish Hall Forum topic for December 22 is “Celebrating the Incarnation: God with Us.” Our clergy, Father Ollie Rencher and Mother Joslyn Ogden Schaefer, will lead the fall season’s final Parish Hall Forum topic from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. 

“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. Stop by the Advent tree to collect your ornament and return your items to the designated box before our young people hold a stocking-stuffing party.

Your 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. 

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, youth, 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 (mvwoodall@st-peters.org) or call 704-749-6151.

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve Worship and Parish Office Schedule. Mark your calendars for our revised Christmas worship schedule: 4:00 p.m. Christmas Pageant and Holy Eucharist; 6:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist: Rite One preceded by a 5:45 choral prelude; 10:30 p.m. Holy Eucharist: Rite Two preceded by a 10:00 p.m. choral prelude; Christmas Day, Holy Eucharist: Rite Two with hymns at 10:00 a.m.; and on New Year’s Eve, 12:00 p.m. 30-minute Holy Eucharist in the Chapel. December 29 and January 5 are the First and Second Sundays after Christmas, when we gather for 8:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Holy Eucharist and the music of Christmastide. The parish office will be closed from noon on Christmas Eve until Monday, December 30, and again on New Year’s Day.

Sunday, December 29, at St. Peter’s: First Sunday in Christmastide. “Holy Chow” 8:30 a.m. breakfast and 9:30 a.m. classes for children, youth, and adults will not be offered while customary 8:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. liturgies will continue as usual. Childcare for ages 0–3 from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. will be available, and older children will have an opportunity to worship with the congregation for the entire liturgy. Special Invitation: The clergy will host fellowship with festive refreshments in the Parish House Lobby from 9:00 a.m. until 10:30 a.m., so please stop by for as long as you are able. Sunday, January 5, marks the return to our normal schedule of offerings; stay tuned for detailed news about this day and 2014.

Regarding Year-end Contributions. All financial contributions for the 2013 fiscal year, including annual fund pledges for the year, must be received in the Financial Administration Office by noon on Tuesday, December 31, in order to receive credit for 2013. Any contributions received after that date will be applied to 2014. If you would like to make a gift of stock, contact Bookkeeper Leigh Dixon (ldixon@st-peters.org, 704-749-6142) to get the information you will need to process the transfer. 

Room in the Inn (RITI) at St. Peter’s. St. Peter’s is among dozens of churches in the Charlotte area that help to house our homeless neighbors through the RITI administered by the Urban Ministry Center from December until March. Every Wednesday night during this four-month period, we provide a place to sleep and meals for a dozen people and have an ongoing need for supplies. 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 (des@dkcommunicationsgroup.com, 205-243-6989).

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. If you are able to contribute food to the reception after the liturgy, email Fellowship Ministry Team Leader, Kathie Knip or call 704-947-5645. Appetizers in the following categories are requested: fruit and cheese, dips/veggies/crackers, biscuits/sandwiches, specialty (you suggest), and desserts. All children, youth, and adults will make this a most memorable evening in the life of God’s Church.

Communion Bread Bakers Needed. Some of the communion bread used for our Sunday worship at 10:45 a.m. is prepared by parish bread bakers. This long-standing tradition is a wonderful way to contribute to our feast from God’s Table. Bakers are scheduled for four or five times a year to bake fresh bread on the day before it is served. A specific recipe is provided, and preparation time is approximately two and a half hours. On Sunday morning, the bread is delivered to the Sacristy half an hour before 10:45 a.m. worship. If you are interested in baking, contact Bonnie Pechar (bonniepechar@gmail.com, 704-895-2296).

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 a variety of Sunday worshippers. Share your favorite sweet treats every other month with parishioners after the Sunday 10:45 a.m. worship service. Contact Kristine Reid (kmrlady@ymail.com) or Norveline Thomas (preciousnorvie@gmail.com) for details.

Improve the World through Literacy Outreach. Did you know the Augustine Literacy Project (ALP) operates from St. Peter’s? The mission of the ALP is to improve the reading, writing, and spelling skills of low-income children who struggle with literacy. Over 100 volunteer literacy tutors have been trained since 2005. Currently, 60 low-income children are served by highly trained literacy tutors at no cost to the child’s family or school. To learn more about ALP and training workshops, visit www.augustine.st-peters.org. 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 serve.

 

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