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News from St. Peter's Episcopal Church | March 3, 2014

From the Rector

Prayers for A Holy Lent. Our Ash Wednesday invitation to the observance of a holy Lent calls us forth in new and creative ways to go more inward—to listen to the still small voice of God within us (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 264). Amid our often full and rather rushed lives, this annual forty-day season asks you and me to be still—just enough—to consider another way of being in the world. While the Lenten invitation does not suggest that we make immediate changes, it unapologetically confronts us to reflect, hope, and respond in ways that point toward transformation. Our movement most likely will be gradual and if it is immediate, we can celebrate that surprise. 

Instead of creating a list of things that we should “give up” during the season of Lent, I suggest that we “take on” things during this weighty season; take on small or large things that undoubtedly will improve our quality of life, welfare, and most important, our relationship with God and neighbor.

In the name of God’s Church, we are invited to observe a holy Lent by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. To make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, I offer the following Lenten prayer from the late Reverend Henri Nouwen in his book A Cry for Mercy. My intent is to pray it daily in the name of my transformation. 

How often have I lived through these weeks without paying much attention to penance, fasting, and prayer? How often have I missed the spiritual fruits of the season without even being aware of it? But how can I ever really celebrate Easter without observing Lent? How can I rejoice fully in your Resurrection when I have avoided participating in your death? Yes, Lord, I have to die—with you, through you, and in you—and thus become ready to recognize you when you appear to me in your Resurrection. There is so much in me that needs to die: false attachments, greed and anger, impatience and stinginess…. I see clearly now how little I have died with you, really gone your way and been faithful to it. O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen.

– The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector

Sunday, 3/9

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 takes up the topic, From Ashes to Fire: An Invitation to a Holy Lent. In the Parlor, a new seven-week series Eating Well: For our Neighbors, For Ourselves, For our Planet begins. The 20s/30s Book Study continues in the Tower Room.

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 led by the St. Peter's clergy and the MasterSingers at St. Peter's. A reception of light refreshments takes place afterwards.

6:15 p.m., Holy Communion with Music, a contemplative Communion service with candlelight, music, and 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
6:15 p.m.
Holy Communion with Music
Monday through Friday
7:30 a.m.
Morning Prayer in the Chapel
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 Tuesdays:
On March 9, the Parish Hall Forum considers the topic From Ashes to Fire: An Invitation to a Holy Lent. Come explore the historical origins of Lent and be guided through a brief process to discover how to make this Lenten season a time of meaningful growth toward holiness.
Also on March 9, the seven-week series Eating Well: For our Neighbors, For Ourselves, For our Planet continues. This series will explore topics including the Slow Food movement and social justice issues related to food and migrant farm-workers from our perspectives as Christians seeking to honor God's creation. The class will meet in the Parlor from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. throughout Lent. Join parishioners Janet Woodson, Jim Dudley, Nancy Duncan, Maria Long, and Elizabeth Richardson who will be facilitating these sessions.
Beginning Monday, March 10 through Monday, April 7 at 5:45 p.m. in the Library, Father Ollie Rencher will lead a five-week series exploring Christian responses to suffering through the lens of our Holy Week Liturgies. The group will use the book, This is the Night by acclaimed liturgist James Farwell and The Book of Common Prayer as guides. If you plan to attend, email Executive Assistant to the Rector Cathy Smith (, so that we can make advanced, brief readings available to you.

Shrove Tuesday is March 4. Don’t miss this year’s intergenerational Shrove Tuesday Festival from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. featuring a return of the Rector’s Gumbo, pancakes, and other treats including live jazz piano music by Manley Roberts. Pre-paid reservations are required and available online or at the church office: $4/child, $6/youth-adult, $25/household max. Click here to make your pre-paid reservation today.

Ash Wednesday is March 5, and the holy season of Lent begins. St. Peter’s will offer four traditional services of the Imposition of Ashes with Holy Eucharist: 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. We also will offer “Ashes To Go” throughout the day (8:15-9:00 a.m.; 11:15-11:45 a.m.; 4:15-4:45 p.m.; 6:15-6:45 p.m.) to mark the day’s solemnity for persons who are on-the-go in and around Center City Charlotte. Our multiple offerings are scheduled to accommodate the lives of all ages of the parish, especially children and youth families with varied school and other obligations.

Samaritan House 2014 Annual Luncheon: Thursday, March 6. Charlotte’s Samaritan House will welcome Roger A. Ray, MD as keynote speaker on March 6, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Covenant Presbyterian Church (1000 East Morehead Street) for its annual luncheon. Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Carolinas Healthcare System, Dr. Ray’s topic is “Connecting the Dots: From Treatment to Hospice.” Tickets are $40 tickets for online purchase at or checks to Samaritan House (611 Fortune Street, Charlotte, N.C. 28205). For more information, contact Executive Director Brad Goforth (, 704-333-0110). Samaritan House, an outreach partner of St. Peter’s, is a short-term recuperative care facility for homeless men and women.

St. Peter’s’ Photo Directory Project begins March 9. Beginning Sunday, March 9 immediately after each worship service and continuing through March 30, stop by the Parish House Lobby for a photographer to take a casual snapshot of you or your household for our parish “Holy Faces” directory. Coordinated by St. Peter’s Congregational Development Ministry Team, email directory coordinator Mike Wilson if you would like to assist him and others with picture-taking. If you think you take good pictures, this ministry will be for you. If you would like to email an appropriate, casual, or formal, high-resolution picture that clearly depicts the faces of you and yours, send it to

Limited Valet Parking Service. As part of our accessibility initiative, St. Peter’s will be offering limited Valet Parking on Sunday mornings for people with significant mobility challenges and those who drive them. Beginning Sunday, March 9, valet parking will be available from 7:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Those who need it may access it by driving up to our 7th Street entrance and a professional valet representative will greet you and park your car at no charge. Only persons with significant mobility challenges are eligible to use this service; any others will be directed to the parking garage following current customs for parking provisions at St. Peter’s. 

Two Sunday Evening Worship on March 9: 
Continuing our tradition, 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 MasterSingers from the Choir School at St. Peter’s (teens) 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.
At 6:15 p.m., beginning March 9 and continuing as part of a new regular weekly offerings, St. Peter’s will begin offering a weekly Sunday 6:15 p.m. Holy Eucharist. This liturgy is being offered in response to the growing need for alternative worship times and in order to experiment with how such might be received by our residential neighbors in Center City. It will include music and a slight variation of our other offerings of the Holy Eucharist. The Taizé Holy Eucharist, formerly offered at 5:00 p.m. on third Sundays, now will be offered at 6:15 p.m. on third Sundays. If you would like to assist the clergy with the offering and evolution of this new service through liturgical or hospitality roles, email Father Ollie Rencher. Spread the word and bring others with you.

Lenten Wednesday Nights at St. Peter’s. Mark your calendar for Wednesdays, March 12, 19, 26, April 2, and 9, when all ages are invited to a 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. time of food, fellowship, and prayer. The evening will include 6:00 pm dinner followed by 6:45 p.m. Evening Prayer using a variety of liturgical styles and music from around the Anglican Communion. Our first service will be offered using the style of Taizé, France. Dinner is $4 per person and $10 per household maximum. Pre-paid reservations may be made online or booked at the Parish office weekdays and Sundays. All proceeds will benefit St. Peter’s new partnership with Harvest for Hospitality, a campaign to benefit the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry. 

Attention All Women of St. Peter's. A diverse group of dedicated women-- single, working, retired, mothering, childless–are beginning to plan and develop various social gatherings, educational programs, “field trips,” service opportunities for all the women of St. Peter’s. They are forming an umbrella group to coordinate these efforts called the Episcopal Church Women or “ECW.” If you are a woman and a St. Peter’s member or newcomer, you can be part of any ECW programming. Many other Episcopal parishes have an ECW chapter and a member of one in Charlotte said, “What I love about ECW is the sense of community that is created when the women of the church come together in worship and fellowship. Additionally, it is extremely gratifying to be able to assist women and children in need in our community and abroad with the funds we have raised throughout the year.” St. Peter’s wants your help in designing offerings that appeal to you and might add to your spiritual growth. Mark your calendar for the “ECW Kickoff Luncheon” on Sunday, March 16 at 12:45 p.m. in the Parish Hall and click here to make your $5.00 reservation or pay in advance at the church office. Reservation deadline is Sunday, March 9. For more information, contact Kristine Reid (, Sally Williamson (704-544-6956), or Mother Joslyn ( Childcare is available through reservation by emailing Mother Joslyn.

Soup Celebration hosted by Outreach and Social Justice Ministry at St. Peter’s: Sunday, March 30. Mark your calendar for a time of reflection on and thanksgiving for our collective and individual commitments to the service of others. Hosted by St. Peter’s Outreach and Social Justice Ministry Team, all ages are invited to join others from 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall for food, fellowship, live music, and to learn about a variety of ways to serve others in the community. A few parish lay leaders will speak briefly about their particular service experiences and coordinators of parish service initiatives and teams will be available to answer any questions about serving. RSVP online and let us know what food item you will bring

Big Red Barrels for Loaves & Fishes. Each month, St. Peter’s will focus on a food item for donation to the feeding ministry of Loaves & Fishes of Charlotte. While all food donations are welcome for delivery to the big red barrels on the gallery level of St. Peter’s Parish House, the focus food for March is canned pasta. For safety reasons, glass containers of food cannot be accepted. To volunteer at the Sugar Creek food pantry on a Tuesday or Saturday, contact parishioner Lynn Lewis (704 332-4315, All ages are invited to participate in this ministry. Children of the parish have begun a weekly procession of their donations during the offertory at the Sunday 10:45 a.m. liturgy. 
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