December 16, 2015

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Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?

In helping children to celebrate Advent and Christmas, our aim in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is to ground the children in scripture while joining the Church in living out the liturgical seasons.

During Advent, which means coming, we have listened to the voice of the prophets, meditated on the messianic message from Gabriel and marked the weeks with colored candles.  With the youngest children we are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus who has come.  The older children begin to gain a broader understanding of the season. Advent not only prepares to celebrate the coming of the baby Jesus in Bethlehem at the first Christmas, it also anticipates His second coming at the Parousia, when God will be all in all and it reminds us that Jesus comes to us daily in His Word and in the Sacraments.  Considering this realization, Joe, an older child in the Atrium of the Parousia remarked, “It’s just like the Mystery of Faith—Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.  Past, present and future are all held together.”

This is the heart of the Mystery of the Incarnation; two worlds, the ordinary and the extraordinary, come together and become fused in the Child of Bethlehem.  Christmas celebrates the birth of a child who was born and lived a human existence, a child much like the children in the atria. Yet Elizabeth called Mary, “mother of my Lord” and the child is called the “Son of the Most High” whose birth will “will be a joy to all nations” and who is “Christ the Lord.”

Using the language of the Bible in this way and drawing the children to see the grandeur of the event, opens the door to wonder. This great event is not merely something that happened in the past. The children are assisted to enter into this event in the here and now. Together, adult and child wonder, “Who is this Child?” Stressing the greatness of the Incarnation in this way increases awareness of its presence in our own lives.

– Anna Hurdle, Coordinator, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
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Next week we move into a time filled with activity and celebration. St. Peter’s will offer three services and our annual pageant on Christmas Eve; another service on Christmas morning; activities such as the greening of the church; and opportunities to share the joy of the season with our homebound Parish family. Here are the special activities you may want to include in your celebration of Christmas beginning next week:
  • Monday, December 21, Noon – Christmas Choral Concert, featuring the St. Peter’s Chamber Choir
  • Wednesday, December 23, 10:00 a.m. – Greening of the Church
  • Thursday, December 24, 4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. – Christmas Eve Service and Pageant
  • Thursday, December 24, 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. – Christmas Eve Service
  • Thursday, December 24, 10:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Service
  • Friday, December 25, 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Christmas Service  

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Room in the Inn Supplies: The Room in the Inn program welcomes a dozen homeless neighbors to overnight at St. Peter’s every Wednesday, December through March. We help to supply the neighbors with some personal toiletry items while they are here and to take with them if need be. Generally, we do not need donations of travel size shampoo, conditioner or bar soaps. Below are listed some of the items you can donate that we can use immediately. There will be a donation bin in the parish house lobby for the next several weeks.

  • Personal size or travel size deodorants for men and/or women.
  • Personal-size or travel -size hand lotion.
  • Lip balm or chapstick
  • Travel size toothpaste
  • 15 each, washcloths and small hand towels

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No Adult Formation on Sunday, December 27: No Adult Formation will be offered on Sunday, December 27. On Sunday, January 3, the Parish Hall Forum topic will be Thinking About Epiphany. Formation for 20s and 30s will resume on January 10, 2016.
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Baptisms on January 10: We will be celebrating the sacrament of Holy Baptism on January 10. Please contact The Rev. Joslyn Ogden Schaefer (, 704-749-6150) if you are interested in being baptized or having a child baptized. Learn more online.
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Holiday Office Closing: The Parish offices will close at noon on Christmas Eve and re-open on Tuesday, December 29, with regular hours from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
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Holiday eNews: To make sure you have all the information you need to participate fully in the holiday season at St. Peter’s, the eNews will be published on the afternoon of Monday, December 21. The week after Christmas, the eNews will return to the regular Wednesday afternoon distribution.
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Center City Concert: The Christmas Choral Concert by the St. Peter’s Chamber Choir will be on Monday, December 21, at noon. Conducting will be Rob Burlington, head of Music and Arts at Canon School. The concert will feature favorite Christmas carols and anthems, opportunities to sing along, and the presentation of a work commissioned for St. Peter’s, The Risk of Birth, based on American Christmas poetry and composed by American composer Michael Sitton, with accompaniment by a woodwind quintet.
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Greening of the Church: Wednesday, December 23 beginning at 10:00 a.m., all ages are invited to share in this time of cleaning the church, polishing the brass and silver, and preparing our sacred space for Christmas with candles, wreaths, garlands and poinsettias. Come for the entire time (approximately 2:00 p.m. or until we are finished) or come when your schedule permits. Bring a bag lunch if you would like. Contact Mary Virginia Woodall ( or 704-749-6151) if you have questions or want to participate.
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Poinsettia Delivery to Homebound Parishioners: The Pastoral Care Team seeks volunteers to deliver poinsettias to our homebound parishioners during Christmas week. This ministry truly shares our Christmas joy. If you are interested in this ministry, contact Magen Hung ( or call 704-749-6150.
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Youth Lock-In: Outreach and Ice Skating Lock-in for J2A begins at 4:00 p.m. on December 19.
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Christmas Tree Sale: Christmas trees from The Choir School at St. Peter’s may be picked up at the lot at 1312 East Boulevard through Sunday, December 20, 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.
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Sunday Evenings at St. Peter’s: Throughout December we will offer Holy Eucharist at the 5:00 p.m. service. Evensong resumes the second Sunday of January, on January 10, 2016.
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Advent Study Concludes: Our Advent Study, The Light Will Shine, concludes this Sunday, December 20, with Re-imagining Bethlehem at 9:30 a.m. in the Parish Hall. Join Parishioners Jan Keny and Josephine Hicks as they invite us to re-imagine the place of Jesus’ birth, using photos from their recent trip to the Holy Land with Episcopal Relief and Development.