Christmastide at St. Peter’s

During the season of Christmas, St. Peter’s will offer a broad array of liturgies and music in celebration of two of the major feasts of the church year, Christmas and Epiphany. The story of Jesus’ incarnation, told through the familiar Gospel accounts of Luke, John, and Matthew, brings to life once again the sacred mysteries of our common faith. Alongside beautiful and inspiring liturgies, the St. Peter’s Choir and chamber orchestra will perform Christmas Eve prelude music and support the singing at many of the services.

Christmas Eve Preludes, 6:45 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

The St. Peter’s Choir and chamber orchestra present an extended prelude prior to the 7:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. services. Music includes the traditional carol for double choir, In dulci jubilo, by Robert Pearsall (1795-1856); a lively setting of the Magnificat (“The Song of Mary”) by Giacomo Antonio Perti (1661-1756); Ralph Vaughan Williams’ (1872-1958) Fantasia on Christmas Carols, for choir and chamber orchestra (10:00 p.m. only); and other Christmas favorites.

Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24

4:00 p.m. – Christmas Pageant with Holy Eucharist. Beloved by all ages, this early service is intended especially for little ones and their families and includes Christmas carols and the annual Christmas Pageant. Our parish’s children, assisted by some of our youth, present the Christmas story through carols and costumes. By the end of the pageant, nearly the whole congregation is taking part. Childcare is provided beginning at 3:30 p.m.

7:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite II. This sung service of Holy Eucharist includes congregational carols and hymns, music sung by the St. Peter’s Choir, and a sermon by the Reverend Jacob E. Pierce, Priest-in-Charge. The musical setting of the Eucharist, for choir and congregation, is from the Hymnal 1982 by English composer William Mathias (1934-1992) and American composer Mason Martens (1933-1991). Childcare is available for the 6:45 p.m. prelude and this service.

10:30 p.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite II. This sung service of Holy Eucharist, which includes the ceremonial use of incense, is St. Peter’s traditional “Midnight Mass.” Timed so that worshippers leave the church just after midnight on Christmas morning, congregational carols and hymns, music sung by the St. Peter’s Choir, and a sermon by the Reverend Jacob E. Pierce, Priest-in-Charge, make this service a favorite of parishioners, families, and visitors every year. The musical setting of the Eucharist, sung by the choir, is Missa Brevis in D Major (K. 194) by W. A. Mozart (1756-1791).

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ: Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25

10:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite II. This quiet service of Holy Eucharist includes congregational carols and hymns and a brief homily.

The First Sunday after Christmas Day, Sunday, December 30

8:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite I and 10:45 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite II. St. Peter’s will hold its regular services on Sunday, December 30, including nursery care beginning at 7:30 a.m. Holy Chow and formation offerings resume Sunday, January 6.

The Epiphany, or the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, Sunday, January 6

The Feast of the Epiphany, one of the major feasts of the Church Year, takes precedence over all regular Sunday observances. Celebrated the day after the Twelfth Day of Christmas, the lectionary readings appointed include Matthew’s Gospel account in which the wise men from the East come to Bethlehem to pay homage to the newborn Jesus, offering him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The 10:45 a.m. service includes the ceremonial use of incense and the celebration of Holy Baptism. After the service the congregation is invited to the churchyard for the annual burning of the Christmas greens.

8:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite I.
8:30 a.m. – Holy Chow, breakfast in the Community Room. $4 per person, $15 household maximum.
9:30 a.m. – Christian Formation for all ages.
10:45 a.m. Holy Eucharist, Rite II with Holy Baptism, including music sung by the St. Peter’s Choir, congregational hymns, and a sermon.