Advent / Christmas Pastoral Letter

An Advent Message from the Rector

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dear Households of St. Peter’s Church:

Greetings and peace to you and yours as we journey with great expectation from Advent into the profound hope of Christmas. The annual celebration of the birth of our Savior reminds us of the capacity that God has to do the impossible. It also encourages us to remember that not only do we share in the story of God-with-us, but that each of us holds a significant role in the story of hope. Our Christmas faith rings true especially as the world both grieves and hopes in the aftermath of deaths in Newtown (CT); as disparity, violence, disaster and war persists; and as all long for better lives and peace.

As this calendar year comes to a close and I reflect on life at St. Peter’s since my service began as thirty-third rector in September, I am most appreciative of you. More, I am excited about next year and the future of this faith community, particularly after our grand celebration of a new ministry (aka marriage) on November 8. My wife (Ellie) and I are enjoying Charlotte and anticipate fun, rewarding years ahead. Your combined and invaluable offerings of presence, talents and financial gifts to the health and welfare of this sacred place are humbling. It has been wonderful to become better acquainted with many throughout the parish, while always making new efforts to meet others; this will take some time. If, for any reason, you have been or feel disconnected from St. Peter’s, I welcome hearing from you to visit about how things might improve for your journey here. I hope that holy relationships throughout this parish church will increase and look forward to more fellowship opportunities to gather us in small and big ways. As well, several efforts are underway or being articulated to improve all aspects of our life together: pastoral care, outreach, worship, hospitality, communication, member involvement (discipleship), and formation (learning) for all ages. If you would like to join the Vestry, other staff and me in our “home improvement,” please call or e-mail me.

I am thrilled to share that the Vestry and I will gather January 11-12 for Vestry Retreat at Lake Logan Episcopal Center in Canton (NC). Joined by a well-respected Episcopal priest and urban ministry consultant, we creatively will focus on our approach to ministry, reflect on the past, clarify a vision, and develop a strategic plan to share with you in early February. Your prayers and commitments will be key for our movement into a new chapter. I look forward to sharing this faith journey with your household and to seeing you very soon.

In thanksgiving for Christmas,

 

The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector