Lord Jesus, quickly come

Lord Jesus, quickly come.
On November 29, we begin Advent, the Church New Year. Advent, which means “coming,” invites us to slow down, become quieter, and ponder the genuine meaning of Christmas. Despite the suggestion of the “holidays,” Advent deliberately calls us to pay attention to the gift of life; to recognize our abundance and the daily works of God; and to trust that God’s promise to make all things new is true. Daily meditations, prayers, scripture lessons, hymns, carols, and even instrumental music of the season will emphasize the refrain of waiting for Christ.
As we wait for the coming of Christ the Savior, who has the power to heal the undesirable situations that occur in our personal lives and throughout this broken world, I offer words adapted from Revelation 1:1-8. They are reflected in one of my favorite choral anthems, to be sung at Sunday’s 10:45 a.m. service, E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come by Paul Manz. May we find comfort and hope in them.
“Peace be to you and grace from him, who freed us from our sin, who loved us all, and shed his blood that we might saved be. Sing holy, holy to our Lord, the Lord almighty God, who was and is, and is to come. Rejoice in heaven, all ye that dwell therein. Rejoice on earth, ye saints below for Christ is coming soon. E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come, and night shall be no more. They need no light, no lamp, nor sun for Christ will be their all.”
Advent blessings to you.
-The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector

2016 Give to the Vision: Generous Abundance

2016 Give to the Vision: Stewardship Campaign News November 23 – In preparation for the Annual Meeting of the Parish on Sunday, December 6, the Stewardship Team hopes to reflect 100% participation from all member households in its ministry area report. More than 260 of 450 prospective pledges have been offered toward our $950,000 goal. To ensure a healthy financial situation in 2016 for life at St. Peter’s, read more here and if you have not already, you can read more and make a pledge online.

Holy Chow Takes a Holiday

Holy Chow Takes a Holiday: In order to regroup and reorganize administration of Holy Chow, including recruitment of more cooking team members, our Sunday breakfast will take a break during the seasons of Advent and Christmas, November 29 through January 3. This holiday will allow time for a parishwide survey to obtain input from parishioners and current Holy Chow ministers on how this and other Sunday fellowship might be offered in 2016. The clergy will convene fellowship ministry leaders and others to facilitate this process. Stay tuned for details about the return of Holy Chow and many thanks to all who have made it possible for several years through Sunday, November 22.

The Choir School Christmas Concert

The Choir School Christmas Concert: Tidings of Comfort and Joy is the theme for the Christmas concert by The Choir School at St. Peter’s on Friday and Saturday, December 11 and 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the church. This annual holiday concerts features all five choirs performing sacred and secular pieces in celebration of the season. General admission tickets are $5 for children and $15 for adults, with priority seating available for blocks of four tickets at $100. 

Gratitude for the Ministry of Mary Virginia Woodall

Gratitude for the Ministry of Mary Virginia Woodall. Effective December 31, 2015, Mary Virginia Woodall, Director of Ministry Development, will end her service as a member of the parish staff. In the new year, she will continue her very active life as a member, worshipping and serving with others, including in the role of Altar Guild Head and Wedding Coordinator. The Clergy, Vestry, and Staff give thanks for Mary Virginia’s more than twenty-one years of service in a variety of capacities on the staff. In those roles, she has served with rectors, associate rectors, interim rectors, canons, bishops, deacons, and a host of lay ministers. She has welcomed countless newcomers to the parish; supported members in significant ways; and introduced many engaged couples to St. Peter’s. For these and many other gifts to the parish family, we are grateful.

Online Advent Meditations

Online Advent Meditations: Enhance your experience of the Advent season with any of a variety of online resources. At Living Compass, you can download an ebook, Living Well through Advent 2015: Practicing Patience With All Your Heart, Soul, Strength and Mind. And the Society of St. John the Evangelist links to a global daily Advent calendar. Check out Advent Conspiracy for thoughts about how to shift away from the commercialism of Christmas. Or consider Forward Movement, which offers daily prayers and meditations. Also, you can pick up Day by Day meditation booklets covering the Advent season at various locations throughout the church, including in the narthex and near the bulletin boards in the Parish House Lobby.

Youth Lock-Ins

Youth Lock-Ins: Rite 13 youth can participate in Outreach and Ice Skating Lock-in on December 5 beginning at 1:00 p.m. Outreach and Ice Skating Lock-in for J2A begins at 4:00 p.m. on December 19 and continues through 4:00 p.m. on December 20.

Songs for the World

Songs for the World: On Saturday, November 28, St. Peter’s will host a free concert offered by Opera Carolina and Mosaic Arts to express solidarity and offer hope for humanity in response to recent terrorism. The concert, which is open to the public, will bring togther professional singers and pianists from the Charlotte region for a musical performance at 7:30 p.m. Throughout history, music and song have brought people together in celebration and triumph and even in times of depair. As a universal art form that evokes emotion, music is a powerful tool that can unite and uplift the human spirit, offering comfort and solace.

Advent Retreat for Women

Advent Retreat for Women: Ministry Partner the Galilee Center is hosting a women’s retreat to welcome the Advent Season on Saturday, December 5. Come spend a quiet and reflective day with women of all ages. The $10 fee includes lunch. The Galilee Center is at 3601 Central Avenue. To register, contact Toni Hagerman (tonih@adventlu.org).

Advent Lessons and Carols

Advent Lessons and Carols: On the Second Sunday of Advent, December 6, the St. Peter’s Choir, clergy, and readers present our annual festival of Advent Lessons and Carols during the 10:45 a.m. This Episcopal/Anglican annual worship opportunity dates back to 1880 in England when Christians gathered to reflect on the gift of creation and humanity, the promise of the Messiah, and the birth of Jesus. Lessons are interspersed with congregational carols, choral anthems, and music for organ. Spread the word and bring guests.

Annual Meeting of the Parish and Advent Luncheon Celebration

Annual Meeting of the Parish and Advent Luncheon Celebration: Sunday, December 6, is a big day in the life of the church. First, join the parish family from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. in the Parish Hall to elect four new members of the Vestry. Read vestry nominee profiles online . Also at the Annual Meeting, you’ll meet members of the staff, receive ministry area reports, review the proposed 2016 operating budget before it is finalized by the Vestry, and hear the Rector’s State of St. Peter’s address. Following the 10:45 a.m. service, we will gather again for a parish-wide luncheon in the Community Room and the Parish Hall. (A special notice about what to bring will be sent next week.) Newcomers are definitely invited to the day’s events as a perfect way to learn more about and connect with others in the parish family.

Parish Advent Bazaar Continues Sunday

Parish Advent Bazaar Continues Sunday: Help St. Peter’s youth raise funds for their 2017 Youth Pilgrimage at the Parish Advent Bazaar on November 29 and December 6, in the Parish Hall. Among the items to be sold are handmade items, including Anglican prayer beads and new St. Peter’s t-shirts.

20s & 30s Chili Cook-Off

20s & 30s Chili Cook-Off: Join the 20s and 30s on Sunday, December 6, for the 2nd annual chili cook-off at the home of Harmony Johnson and Brendan Murphy at 5:00 pm. Bring your best chili or just come to eat and enjoy fellowship! We will also be collecting food donations for Loaves and Fishes (canned meats, canned pasta, cereal, 100% fruit juice, and canned fruit). RSVP online or contact Marion Morrison (m.lyle.morrison@gmail.com).

White Beard Project

White Beard Project: Have you selected the stocking stuffers you want to bring for our Advent Tree in the Parish House Lobby? Here’s how it works: Take an ornament from our tree and return your gift items of inexpensive toiletries, socks and more no later than December 13, so our Youth can stuff stockings during a lock-in on December 19. The White Beard project supports residents of McCreesh Place and Supportive Housing Communities, who were once homeless and are now working toward self-sufficiency. The White Beard Project was started 4 years ago for our neighbors at McCreesh Place, a community founded by St. Peter’s Homes. It was named in honor of Father Eugene McCreesh, a tireless advocate for the homeless and disenfranchised who sometimes wore a goatee.

A Message from the Interim Associate Rector

A Message from the Interim Associate Rector: I write to share happy news. Upon the return of the Reverend Joslyn Ogden Schaefer from maternity leave and the conclusion of my service as Interim Associate Rector, I will become a part-time Curate down Seventh Street at St. Martin’s. This transition is a result of my active discernment of what and where my ministry might be after this interim season at St. Peter’s. My last Sunday at the parish will be November 29 and last day in the Parish House office will be Tuesday, December 1. Although I am saddened to leave St. Peter’s, I do so with deep gratitude for the welcome you extended to me and my family after we moved to Charlotte from Chicago last year and for the ministry we have shared since then. Our days together are drawing to a close, but I take heart in the fact that Charlotte is a small city, which I hope means our paths will cross again soon, and frequently. – The Reverend Jonathan Soyars

Mystical Food for Thought

Mystical Food for Thought: This lunchtime discussion group meets on the first and third Wednesdays of each month to discuss readings from Christian mystics. The next meeting is at Noon on Wednesday, December 2, in the Tower Room. The Cloud of Unknowing will be the topic for discussion; you can receive a free download of this publication by contacting St. Peter’s Formation Partner, the Reverend Dr. Paul Hanneman (phanneman@st-peters.org). Bring your lunch and find out more about Christian mysticism throughout the centuries.

The Christmas Pageant

The Christmas Pageant: All children ages two through 12 are invited to join the cast of this annual tradition, which will be offered within the context of the 4:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist on Christmas Eve. Children take on various roles as active participants in the Gospel of Luke. In addition to the Holy Family, shepherds, angels, sheep and shepherds, young readers for the lessons are needed. Teens are also needed to help herd the shepherds and fly with the angels. Please contact Director of Children’s Formation Anna Hurdle (ahurdle@st-peters.org) if your child or children would like to participate in the pageant, and or if you would like to assist in the production of the pageant. Costume and script distribution will be Saturday, December 5, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., beginning in the Parish House Lobby. Alternative arrangements can be made for children who are unable to attend the first session. A final rehearsal will be held on December 24 from 2:30 p.m. until the beginning of the service. Snacks will be provided at both rehearsals.

Room In The Inn 2015-16

Room In The Inn 2015-16: Next Wednesday, December 2, St. Peter’s begins to host our homeless neighbors during the coldest months of the year. In addition to transforming our Parish Hall into a safe, warm place to sleep on Wednesday evenings, we also feed dozens of our neighbors dinner and breakfast, then make sure they have a sack lunch when they leave the next morning. To extend this hospitality, we need help cooking and serving meals, preparing lunches, setting up beds, doing laundry and staying at the church overnight as chaperones. Please consider volunteering for RITI. Contact St. Peter’s RITI co-coordinators Des Keller (des@dkcommunicationsgroup.com, 205-243-6989) or Bert Miano (miano204@gmail.com) or contact the church at 704-332-746. Room In The Inn is administered by Urban Ministry Center.

Christmas Tree Sale

Christmas Tree Sale: Christmas trees from The Choir School at St. Peter’s may be picked up at the lot at 1312 East Boulevard beginning this Friday, 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. The trees, fresh from the North Carolina mountains, range in size from 4-10 feet. Learn more about this fundraiser online.

Parish Hall Forum Advent Study

Parish Hall Forum: The Advent season begins on Sunday, November 29, when the Reverend Joslyn Schaefer opens an Advent study, The Light Will Shine: Waiting Expectantly. The program will use scripture and music to explore how the discipline of “waiting” during Advent can help us learn to wait faithfully in other parts of our lives. Annual Meeting of the Parish. The study will be in the Parish Hall from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.