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I will, with God’s help. These five words are repeated five times during the rite for Holy Baptism in the Episcopal Church. The crowd of witnesses, lay and ordained ministers alike, prepare to witness the pouring of water on the head of the baptismal candidate and receive the newly baptized into the household of God. Always, it is a wonderful occasion in the life of God’s Church. It also is a substantial circumstance, in that all who are present make promises that are only possible with God’s help. Indeed, it is with God’s help that we can become who we are called to be as individual co-creators of the kingdom of God.
The Celebrant asks the congregation five questions, and then joins them in responding, “I will, with God’s help.” Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in the prayers? Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord? Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ? Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? May we ponder these questions as we go about our rich lives, inspired by Christ the Light, and be reminded that each is possible —with God’s help.
It is humbling to be reminded that God only has us to fulfill the dream of God. The Vestry, Clergy, Staff, and I are committed to empowering each member of the body of Christ at St. Peter’s to live even more deeply into The Baptismal Covenant. It is a joy to share this sacred journey with you and peace-bringing to know that God’s help is always with us.
– The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector
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The Lenten Season at St. Peter’s: Plan your calendars for the Lenten Season with the following activities in mind:
- Ashes to Go Sidewalk Ministry: Wednesday, February 10, 8:00 a.m.-8:45 a.m., 11:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m., and 1:00 p.m.-1:45 p.m.
- Ash Wednesday Holy Eucharist: Wednesday, February 10, 7:00 a.m., Noon, and 7:00 p.m.
- Introduction to Servant Ministry, Thursdays, 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m., February 11 through March 17
- Men’s Lenten Book Study, Tuesdays, 8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., February 16-March 15
- Exploring Contemplative Prayer, Sundays, 9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m., February 21 through March 13
Additional details about these offerings are available elsewhere in this week’s eNews and in the weeks ahead.
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Welcome to Our New Assisting Priest: The Rev. Keith C. Lane will join the St. Peter’s clergy team in the role of Assisting Priest beginning this week. The Reverend Lane and his wife Marion moved here from New York City last fall and have been frequent visitors at St. Peter’s since then. Here at St. Peter’s, The Reverend Lane will assist with liturgy as well as pastoral care. Clergy and staff at St. Peter’s are excited to have The Reverend Lane among us and encourage you to welcome him in this new capacity. Stay tuned for information about how to contact The Reverend Lane.
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Holy Chow: St. Peter’s famous full breakfast resumes on Sunday, February 7, 8:30 a.m.-9:25 a.m. in the Community Room on the Second Floor of the Parish House. $4 per person up to a maximum of $15 per family. . Volunteers are needed to keep this ministry afloat. Volunteers serve monthly on a team that prepares a delicious breakfast for our parish family from September to May. Contact Tate Sterrett to volunteer (email@example.com, 704-293-8551).
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Formation This Sunday: On Sunday, January 31, the Reverend Dr. Paul Hanneman will lead the Parish Hall Forum conversation on Beginning to Understand Poverty. The program will include an exercise in which participants will explore times when they may have felt marginalized in society and how that can inform their interactions with and responses to those who live with poverty.
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Next Week’s Formation Hour: On Sunday, February 1, the Parish Hall Forum will be on Preparing for Lent, The Holiest Season.
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Introduction to Servant Ministry: This six-week study on Thursday evenings begins February 11 and continues through March 17. The Reverend Dr. Paul Hanneman will lead discussion about weaving together the inner journey of spiritual formation with the outer journey of responding to God’s call to ministry. Sessions will be 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. in the Library.
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Men’s Lenten Book Study: Rob Smith and Michael Koppenal will lead a study of retired Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ book Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer for the men at St. Peter’s during Lent. The five-week study will be in the Parlor on Tuesdays, 8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
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Shrove Tuesday: We will gather again for a Shrove Tuesday Festival on Tuesday, February 9, 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall. Old-fashioned pancakes with the Rector’s gumbo and other Louisiana fare will be offered, including child-friendly options with traditional King Cake, fresh fruit and other desserts. Live music by Manley Roberts. Tickets are $6.00 for youth and adults, $4.00 for children, up to a $25.00 household maximum. RSVP online.
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Seed Starting: With the new regulations related to food stamps, organizations that strive to alleviate hunger will be even more challenged than in the past. Friendship Gardens, which St. Peter’s supports with its Community Garden, needs to grow as much food as possible—which means they need as many healthy seedlings as we can. Please join us Sunday, January 31, at 12:30 p.m., when we will gather indoors at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church to start seeds for our garden and other gardens in the Friendship Garden network. We need many hands, all ages are welcome and no experience is needed! It’s amazing what we can get done altogether! We will serve a quick lunch appropriate for children and adults and starting sowing seed promptly at 1:00. If you can help with set up on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:30 a.m., please contact Nancy Duncan (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you plan to participate in seed starting, please RSVP to Nancy for the purpose of planning lunch. And if you can help with food, please contact Anna Hurdle (email@example.com). In addition to being part of this community service, children will have a chance to sow seeds and take them home to watch them grow and plan in their own garden.
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Bridges out of Poverty: Understanding and addressing the dynamics that make it difficult for people to break out of poverty will be the focus for an Epiphany retreat, Bridges out of Poverty, January 29 and 30. The Reverend Dr. Paul Hanneman, St. Peter’s Formation Partner, will lead this seminar, which begins on Friday, January 29, from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. and concludes on Saturday, January 30. The $30.00 retreat fee includes dinner on Friday, breakfast and lunch on Saturday. Copies of the book Bridges out of Poverty will be available at the retreat for a discounted price of $20.00. The program is based on 35 years of research into the differences between poverty, middle class and wealth cultures. Contact the Reverend Dr. Hanneman (firstname.lastname@example.org) or register online.
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Newcomer Coffee: If you are new to St. Peter’s or would like to meet people who are, we invite you to join us for a Newcomers Coffee on February 7 during Formation Hour, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., in the Parlor. Join us for informal conversation, as well as a brief question and answer time to learn more about St. Peter’s ministries in and beyond our building.
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The Choir School Evening of Big Band: The Choir School’s 2016 Serenade gala will take place Saturday, February 13, at Charlotte Country Club. Come enjoy a seated dinner, outstanding choral performance, and silent and live auctions. Tickets and more information available on the Choir School website or contact Allison Elrod (704-749-6157, email@example.com).
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20s and 30s Bowling: St. Peter’s 20s and 30s are invited to gather on Thursday, January 28, 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Bowling at Ten Park Lanes, 1700 Montford Drive. The price of $16.00 includes bowling shoes and gratuity; food and drinks are purchased separately. RSVP to Marion Morrison (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Eucharistic Supplies: Have you considered a memorial donation to honor a loved one by providing Eucharistic Supplies and Altar Flowers? Make your donations online or send them via mail to Leigh Dixon at the Parish Offices.