St. Peter's on Pentecost 2013. Photo by Tom Johnson.
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News from St. Peter's Episcopal Church | January 21, 2014

From the Rector

Participation in God’s Dream begins with Reconciliation. The national holiday set aside to commemorate the human rights ministry of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. struck me as an audacious reminder of where we have been as a society and where we have endless opportunities to go in the name of God’s love and justice. Moreover, it reminded me, in the words of the Most Rev. Desmond M. Tutu of South Africa, that God has a dream and that there is hope for our future as people of faith. 

This I find to be most encouraging as Formation at St. Peter’s prepares to host a four-week series called “Reconciliation: God’s Mission, Our Opportunity” on Sundays, February 2, 9, 16, and 23 at 9:30 a.m. in the Parish Hall Forum. Last fall, the parish began conversations about the realities of the sin of racism that continue to mar our culture. Drawing upon the life and teachings of Jesus in the Gospels, this conversation series to be facilitated by clergy and lay leaders, including some of our senior high youth, will invite us into a deeper level of discipleship, especially as we face conflict, change, and challenge in our hearts, our homes, and our neighborhoods.

From the writings of Archbishop Tutu: Dear Child of God, before we can become God’s partners, we must know what God wants for us. “I have a dream,” God says. “Please help Me to realize it. It is a dream of a world whose ugliness and squalor and poverty, its war and hostility, its greed and harsh competitiveness, its alienation and disharmony are changed into their glorious counterparts, when there will be more laughter, joy, and peace, where there will be justice and goodness and compassion and love and caring and sharing. I have a dream that swords will be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks, that My children will know that they are members of one family, the human family, God’s family, My family. In God’s family, there are no outsiders. All are insiders….all belong.”

Regardless of your comfort level regarding conversations about race, I hope that you will bring the gift of yourself and your story into this important conversation about how God’s Dream might be experienced through life at St. Peter’s.

The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector

Sunday, 1/26

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., for adults, the Parish Hall Forum concludes the 4-week topic, "Claiming our Vision."

9:30 a.m., for 20s/30s, in the Tower Room, a study of the book, Parker Palmer's "Let Your Life Speak." 

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, Choral Evensong, "sung evening prayers."

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

Pub Theology returns in 2014 on Thursday, January 23 at a new time. Drop in any time between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. at Sir Edmond Halley's Restaurant & Freehouse in Park Road Shopping Center for Pub Theology. Hosted this month by the Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, our topic will be “Finding Quiet in a Noisy World.” If it is a challenge to find quietness of any sort amid whatever noise surrounds, join others for a chat about it and ponder solutions – and bring a guest. Both nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages will be available. Click here to let the host know you might be coming.

Parish Hall Forum Series concludes Sunday, January 26 with “Claiming Our Vision: Our Hope for Years to Come” at 9:30 a.m. in the Parish Hall. In September 2013, the Rector Father Ollie Rencher announced an exciting new vision for St. Peter’s. Our vision is to become a community of bold followers of Jesus, a crowd that effects good change for the world, a place known for radical love and welcome, and a beacon of hope in Center City Charlotte. The “Claiming Our Vision” four-week series has been unpacking each vision aspect and deepening parish-wide ownership of the vision. We have been telling stories of how we already have begun to embody the vision and imagining collectively how God invites us to realize the vision more fully. Information from these sessions will be used for future strategic planning and congregational development. Summaries from prior sessions are posted here. Check them out to stay current with the conversation. 

January 26 will be Legacy Sunday. St. Peter’s celebrates Legacy Sunday to honor all who have included the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Endowment in their wills or related documents. The day highlights planned giving and those who, by making planned gifts, have joined the 1834 Legacy Society, so named for the year Episcopalians first organized for worship in Charlotte. A percentage of income from the Endowment is used to provide substantial funding for annual outreach grants as well as special grants for administrative, program, and facilities projects of the parish. In past years, the Endowment supported renovations to the Community Room and the Miracle on Seventh Street Capital Campaign from 1998. In 2003, a extraordinary gift made provisions for C. B. Fisk to build our “Van Ness Hamrick” organ (Opus 136). Legacy Sunday will include a brief presentation during the 9:30 a.m. “Claiming Our Vision” formation offering in the Parish Hall. This event will be good way to learn more about ways to participate in giving to the future of St. Peter’s.

Sunday Evening Worship at St. Peter’s on January 26. On the second and fourth Sundays at 5:00 p.m. St. Peter’s offers evening worship with choral evensong, “sung evening prayers.” Join the St. Peter’s clergy and one of our magnificent choirs for a time of prayer and reflection followed by a time of fellowship in the Parlor which includes light refreshments. Click here for more about Choral Evensong from the archives of Episcopal Life.

Upcoming Adult Formation Offerings on Sundays and Mondays: 
Reconciliation: God’s Mission, Our Opportunity (Parish Hall, Sundays at 9:30 a.m. February 2, 9, 16, 23). Last fall, the parish began conversations about the realities of racism that continue to mar our culture. The “Good News” is that the way to reconciliation is the way of Jesus Christ. Drawing upon the life and teachings of Jesus in the Gospels, this series will invite us into a deeper level of discipleship, especially as we face conflict, change, and challenge in our hearts, our homes, and our neighborhoods.
Do Justice, Love Kindness, Walk Humbly with God (Library, Mondays at 5:45 p.m. - January 27, February 3). “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8) Building on the momentum generated by last fall’s “The Call to Social Justice and Outreach” formation series, this class will explore the Scriptural and personal meaning of each of these “requirements” of the Lord. In addition to learning more about the Old Testament’s prophetic calls for justice, we will reflect on our personal experiences of seeking justice and loving our neighbors. 

Chronic Illness Support Group: First Meeting, Sunday, January 26. Presence, prayer and listening are among the greatest gifts Christians can provide for one another. Mother Joslyn Schaefer has been working with a small group of parishioners to explore whether a monthly spiritual support group for people living with chronic illnesses would be helpful. We’d like to open up the conversation to all those in the parish who might want to attend. We will meet at 12:30 p.m. in Library; light snacks will be provided. Contact Mother Joslyn ( or 704-749-6150) with any questions. 

Continuing our new commitment to help feed the hungry with Loaves & Fishes. Each month we will focus on a food item for donation to Loaves & Fishes. While all food donations are welcome, this month’s focus food is canned meat. If you would like to volunteer at the Sugar Creek food pantry on a Tuesday or Saturday, contact parishioner Lynn Lewis (704 332-4315 or

Jerusalem: An IMAX Experience for the Entire Parish Family: Sunday, February 2, 2:00 p.m. Join fellow parishioners as we go next door to Discovery Place to watch the 40-minute film “Jerusalem” after a light lunch at St. Peter’s. Appropriate for all ages, the movie “will convey the story of Jerusalem in all its beauty and diversity, illuminating global public opinion and understanding about Jerusalem on a vast scale. We seek to present an exceptional vision of Jerusalem – as a city of universal historical, spiritual, cultural, and archaeological importance – and to promote, with unprecedented impact, tolerance and goodwill between Jews, Christians and Muslims.” Tickets [ages 0-2 (free), ages 3-13 ($6), ages 14 and older ($7)] must be purchased in advance by Sunday, January 26. Click here to purchase for your ticket online or deliver a check to the church office with “Jerusalem Movie” on the memo line and click here by Sunday, January 26 to RSVP for lunch and the movie. Lunch donations of $3/person with a maximum of $10/household will be accepted upon arrival. 

Discerning God's Call, Manifesting Christ's Light: An Epiphany Retreat on February 8. Have you ever asked any of these questions: What did God put me on earth to be and do? How am I called to be Christ's hands and feet? How do I listen for God's voice? Where can I find divine guidance? Please join Leighton Ford and parishioner Elizabeth Richardson at St. Peter's on Saturday, February 8 from 9:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. to explore ways to discern God's call, to listen to God. This time will include prayer, Scripture, poetry, visio divina (gazing at holy images), music, and silence. RSVP by clicking here or calling the parish reception desk at 704-332-7746. A suggested donation of $10.00 will cover costs associated with the retreat.

Revival of the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) at St. Peter’s starts Sunday, February 9. The Associate Rector, Mother Joslyn Ogden Schaefer is working with several women of the parish who are in diverse places in life, to broaden fellowship connections among women of St. Peter’s who might be interested. Newcomers and members, regardless of stage, age or profession, non-mothers and mothers alike, are invited to participate in any and all that is to come. The first event will be a brown-bag lunch road trip to see the Art and Orchid Show at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. The group will leave from St. Peter’s Parish House Lobby after 10:45 worship on Sunday, February 9. Driving directions will be distributed or groups informally can organize to carpool. Bring: A bag lunch (cold drink and sweet treat will be provided; the group will picnic inside among the flowers); money for admission ($11 seniors, $12 others, and a reduced admission fee is available through Mother Joslyn); and adequate gas in car (the garden is 21 miles from St. Peter’s). Contact Sydney Burgess ( or 704-287-2120) and visit the DSBG website ( Stay tuned for information about a variety of monthly gatherings and how to get involved. Contact: Mother Joslyn Ogden Schaefer ( or 704-749-6150).

Free Noon Concerts return to Center City at St. Peter's. On Monday, February 10, Center City Concerts at St. Peter’s will host The Music House Players in a celebration of C. P. E. Bach’s 300th birthday. Hear favorite chamber works, including his unique and engaging quartets for forte piano, flute, viola, and cello. After the concert, consider staying for a satisfying box lunch of quiche, salad, and fruit. The cost for lunch is $10 and must be reserved by Noon on Friday, February 7. Call 704-332-7746 or reserve online at

The Community of Hope…a School for God's Service: St. Peter's is joining with Holy Comforter (and possibly other Charlotte parishes) to offer the Community of Hope lay pastoral care-giving program. The Community of Hope organization supports churches in training, equipping, and deploying a Christian community of lay volunteer pastoral care givers united in prayer, shaped by Benedictine spirituality, and equipped for and serving in pastoral care ministries. The Community of Hope structure creates a deeper awareness of God's presence in our lives and our communities, as care-givers come together regularly to listen to God through Scripture, prayer, and one another's stories. The group setting enables the discovery and affirmation of the spiritual gifts of each member and empowers their ministry of presence to those whom they are called to serve. St. Peter’s aims to start the 14-week, 42-hour training curriculum in late winter and commission those who complete it in late October 2014. While skill-building is an essential component of the program, the spiritual community that forms and that will continue to meet monthly after the training will sustain the ministers into the future. Each person who participates is expected to actively engage in some sort of ministry—be it visits with sick or homebound parishioners, tutoring children, volunteering for various local non-profits, bereavement ministry, etc. Contact Mother Joslyn ( or Phyllis Ferguson ( if you are interested in learning more and discerning whether this ministry is for you. 
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