December 2, 2015

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Advent Gatherings Strengthen Us for Service

On the Second Sunday of Advent, December 6, many will come to St. Peter’s for a multitude of offerings. The 8:00 am and 5:00 pm liturgies will offer quieter contemplative settings for the Holy Eucharist, and the 10:45 am experience will involve Advent Lessons and Carols and the Holy Eucharist. The Annual Meeting of the Parish at 9:30 am will mark an important occasion to undertake key business matters, including the election of new Vestry members, ministry area reports, an over­view of the proposed 2016 operating budget, and brief remarks from the Wardens and Rector.

The day’s morning events will close with the Parish Advent Luncheon Celebration after the 10:45 am liturgy as a festive fellowship occasion for all ages. Attendees don’t need to bring anything aside from Advent cheer, gratitude for life at St. Peter’s, and others who might need a blessing. Members and newcomers alike are invited to be present for any and all things offered on this noteworthy day in the life of our beloved parish church.

All of what we do on this and every day are intended to strengthen us for service. May our gatherings encourage our faith journeys and pro­vide what we need for discipleship. And may these words, translated by Charles William Humphreys, become our meditation.

Strengthen for service, Lord, the hands that holy things have taken; and let the ears that heard your word to falsehood never waken. The tongues that sang your holy name nor purge of all deception; keep bright the eyes that saw your love and sharpen their perception. And may the feet that walked your courts be never lured to wander; but lead the faithful nourished here to journey on in splendor.

Advent blessings to you,

–The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector
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Lessons and Carols, Advent Luncheon Follow Our Annual Meeting of the Parish: Sunday, December 6, is a day for engaging fully in life at St. Peter’s. The events of the day include:
  • 9:30 a.m. Annual Meeting of the Parish
  • 10:45 a.m. Lessons and Carols Service
  • 12:30 p.m. Advent Luncheon
Read more about the Annual Meeting in Father’ Ollie’s column.
During the 10:45 a.m. service, the St. Peter’s Choir, clergy, and readers present our annual festival of Advent Lessons and Carols. 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. This special service sets the tone for a deeply meaningful holiday season and is the perfect opportunity to invite friends, neighbors, and family to experience St. Peter’s.
Following the 10:45 a.m. service, we gather for a parish-wide luncheon in the Community Room and the Parish Hall. Newcomers are encouraged to participate in the day’s events to learn more about and connect with others in the parish family.

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Generous Abundance 2016 Stewardship Campaign News – December 1: As we move through the final month of 2016, the Give to the Vision campaign has received pledges totaling $766,710 from 257 giving units toward the goal of $950,000. To ensure a healthy financial situation in 2016 for life at St. Peter’s, you can read more and donate online.
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Vestry Election: All eligible members may vote either on Sunday, December 6, before the Annual Meeting of the Parish begins at 9:30 a.m. or on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, 8:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Ballots may be received at the reception desk in the Parish Hall whenever a receptionist is on duty. You can read about the Vestry nominees online or pick up information in the Parish House Lobby near the Life at St. Peter’s bulletin board.
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Ministry of Hospitality Training: Are you a St. Peter’s Usher or Host? Or are you interested in getting involved in welcoming newcomers and others as part of this this important Ministry of Hospitality? Please join us for a short training session on Sunday, December 13, following the 10:45 a.m. service, to learn ideas based on the Invite/Welcome/Connect Project. St. Peter’s is well-known for its radical hospitality and this focus on the Ministry of Hospitality is essential to maintaining St. Peter’s reputation for making newcomers feel welcome and at ease, especially during this busy season. We will meet in the chapel for a session, lasting about 45 minutes. For more information, contact Nelda Leon (
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Parish Advent Bazaar Concludes Sunday: Still looking for Advent candles, Anglican prayer beads and other seasonal items? You have one more day-Sunday, December 6-to get your new St. Peter’s t-shirts and handmade items, including Anglican prayer beads, during the Parish Advent Bazaar. The bazaar helps St. Peter’s youth raise funds for their 2017 Youth Pilgrimage. Advent candles have been re-ordered and are on their way.
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Senior Class Luncheon: On Tuesday, December 15, at 11:30 a.m., St. Peter’s members 55-plus will have their monthly Senior Class Luncheon at The Open Kitchen, 1318 West Morehead Street. Contact Jay or Barbara Partington (704-523-1831) or Hannah Craighill (704-334-6276).
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Holiday eNews Deadlines: 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 Monday, December 20. If you have news for that issue of the eNews, please send it no later than Thursday, December 17, to Communications Administrator Peg Robarchek (, 704-749-6141).

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Next Week’s Formation Hour: On Sunday, December 13, the Advent study The Light Will Shine: Waiting Expectantly will continue at 9:30 a.m. in the Parish Hall.Also, ’20s & ’30s are invited to the Tower Room during the formation hour for breakfast pastries and coffee during the final discussion of the video series Ed’s Story, followed by brainstorming and planning for events in 2016.
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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 (
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Holy Chow Takes a Holiday: Many thanks to all who have created the wonderful experience of Holy Chow breakfast for so many years. During the seasons of Advent and Christmas, this wonderful tradition of Sunday morning breakfast will take a break in order to regroup and reorganize, including the recruitment of more cooking team members. This holiday will also allow time for a parish-wide survey to obtain input about this and other Sunday fellowship offerings as we move into the new year. Stay tuned for details about the return of Holy Chow in early January.
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Online Advent Meditations: Enhance your experience of the Advent season with any of a variety of online resources:

  • At Living Compasses, you can download an ebook, Living Well through Advent 2015: Practicing Patience With All Your Heart, Soul, Strength and Mind.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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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 ( 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.
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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.
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Youth Lock-Ins: 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.

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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 Home. It was named in honor of Roman Catholic priest, Father Eugene McCreesh, a tireless advocate for the homeless and disenfranchised who sometimes wore a goatee.
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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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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.