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News from St. Peter's Episcopal Church | February 4, 2014

From the Rector

Epiphanytide: Bearing the Light of Christ. The season after the Epiphany of our Lord presents us with daily opportunities to be bearers of the light. In thought, word, and deed, God calls us to embrace the light of Christ within us, the love that came down at Christmas. Moreover, this season invites you and me to let the light of Christ beam brightly through who we are, what we say, and all that we offer to the glory of God.

Long ago and today in various congregations, Christians processed around their communities bearing candles and singing the famous “Song of Simeon” as a self-assured proclamation of the birth of the light of Christ. This was not light for Christians. It was light for the world without pretense of condition. 

At the feast of the Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple (celebrated on February 2), Saint Simeon, guided by the Spirit, took Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying, "Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."

The response by Simeon to the presence of Jesus reminds that Jesus came to be with us in all things and at all times. Amid suffering, poverty, injustice, disaster, and brokenness as well as moments of sheer joy, gladness, abundance, and revel, a Savior and eternal Companion was born. Our Savior and eternal Companion was born. This is very “good news” for the world – news that the Gospel proclaims should not be kept to ourselves.

The community of St. Peter’s has a story of light to tell through actions, which speak louder than words. Through any and all of what we do in life at St. Peter’s, may we seek and find encouragement to be bearers of the light of Christ. The world needs a crowd of broken and faithful people like us to spread the good news of God in Christ to all people.

The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector

Sunday, 2/9

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., Choral Evensong, sung evening prayers. A time of fellowship takes place after the service in the Parlor.

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

Upcoming Adult Formation Offerings on Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays:
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 four-week 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. Parish clergy and lay leaders will facilitate conversations about race using “Good News: A Congregational Resource for Reconciliation” by the Right Reverend Steven Charleston.
A Sacred Walk: Dispelling the Fear of Death and Dying & Caring for the Dying (Library, Mondays at 5:45 p.m. and Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m., through March 4). This series will provide spiritual and practical tools as we attend to the reality of death as a force that gives shape to our lives. The series will include helpful information about living wills and advanced directives and funeral planning. Primarily, though, it will focus spiritual aspects of preparing for our own deaths and accompanying others through the dying process.

Strong Start to St. Peter’s Racial Reconciliation Series. 127 people gathered on Sunday, February 2 at 9:30 a.m. in the Martha Bowles Parish Hall for the start of our four-week series “Reconciliation: God’s Mission, Our Opportunity.” Two youth and two adults responding courageously and beautifully to five questions: 1) When and how did you first become aware of the concept of race? 2) How have or do you encounter prejudice based on race? 3) What do you think are the reasons racism persists? 4) How have you dealt with race-related issues or conversations in the past and today? 5) What would positive change, regarding race, look like for you? Where are there signs of hope? For the remainder of the series, we look forward to the presence of even more of the diversity of people who makeup the St. Peter’s community of faith. Holy conversations about the universal sin of racism are bound to take our collective and individual journeys deeper into Christ and celebrated our connectedness to all people. Click here for related resources. Spread the word. 

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 (please no glass containers). 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

Epiphany Retreat: Saturday, February 8. “Discerning God's Call, Manifesting Christ's Light” is the retreat theme. 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 call the parish reception desk at 704-332-7746. A suggested donation of $10.00 will cover costs associated with the retreat.

Moral March in Raleigh: Saturday, February 8. A group of Episcopalians from the Charlotte Episcopal Convocation will join others from around the state for a "Moral March" near our state capitol in Raleigh. The march is in support of quality children's education, livable wages, affordable housing and other pressing moral issues that will be addressed by the state's legislature in coming months. Parishioners Nelda Leon and Jim Dudley will be organizing a group from St. Peter's, which will meet at the church at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday February 8, carpool to Raleigh, and return to Charlotte mid-afternoon. Contact Nelda Leon ( or 704-375-4469) for additional information. 

Sunday, February 9 at 10:45: We welcome the Boys and Girls Town Choirs from the Choir School at St. Peter’s as they join the St. Peter’s Choir in choral musical offerings for this liturgy. This ensemble is the entry level choir of children ranging in 6-10 years of age. Learn more at

Sunday Evening Worship at St. Peter’s on February 9. On the second and fourth Sundays at 5:00 p.m. St. Peter’s offers evening worship with choral evensong, “sung evening prayers.” For this liturgy, the St. Peter’s clergy and the Boys and Girls Touring Choirs from the Choir School at St. Peter’s (ages 9 to 13) will lead this time of prayer and reflection. A reception, which includes light refreshments, will follow in the Parlor. Click here for more about Choral Evensong from the archives of Episcopal Life.

Sunday Evening Worship at St. Peter’s on February 16. 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, silence, scripture, and Holy Communion. This unique service is offered the third Sunday of every month to broaden worship styles at St. Peter’s. Consider changing your schedule on that day to worship in the evening.

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).

Latin Language Study Group begins Sunday, February 9. A study group for learning to read classical Latin is forming at St. Peter's. The group will meet monthly after the 10:45 a.m. Sunday Eucharist beginning on February 9 and will proceed at a moderate pace. For more information or to join the group, contact parishioner Terry Prince ( or 704-733-9151).

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. The cost for lunch is $10 and must be reserved by Noon on Friday, February 7. Call 704-332-7746 or reserve online at

Augustine Literacy Project-Charlotte: Tutor One Child, Change Two Lives. Are you interested in effecting positive change in the world by teaching a child to read? If so, please attend the Augustine Project informational coffee on Thursday, February 20 at 10:30 a.m. at Randolph Middle School. Augustine tutors are trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach and use Wilson Reading System® materials. Tutors work one-on-one with low-income children who are struggling with literacy. The Augustine Project appreciates the generous support it receives from the Outreach Commission and Vestry. Many St. Peter's members have served as Augustine tutors, and we'd love to have additional members join us in helping struggling children learn to read. Visit to learn more or call Alison S. Houser, Director (704-749-6162).

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. 

Shrove Tuesday is March 4. Mark your calendars now for an intergenerational Shrove Tuesday Festival featuring a return of the Rector’s Gumbo, pancakes, and other treats including live music. Stay tuned for more information, including how to purchase tickets. If you would like to get involved with the hosting of this grand event before Lent, email Fellowship Ministry Team Leader, Kathie Knip or call 704-947-5645. 

Ash Wednesday is March 5. We have three more weeks of Epiphanytide to experience the season of Christ made manifest in our lives. Then on Wednesday, March 5 the holy season of Lent begins. St. Peter’s will offer four services that day: 7:00 a.m., Noon, 5:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. The services at Noon and 7:00 p.m. include special music by the St. Peter’s Choir. By popular demand, we will offer “Ashes To Go” again this year at various times throughout the day to mark its solemnity for persons who are on-the-go. 

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 offers a brief daily, online reflection based on the church calendar of saints and feasts. In collaboration with the clergy, parishioner Terry Prince has edited the accounts of what is reflected in Holy Women, Holy Men, a liturgical resource book endorsed by the General Convention in 2009." Access Inspiration from the Saints, save the page as a favorite, and reflect on the lives of other people of faith.
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