January 6, 2016

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Abundance, scarcity and the kingdom: The story of the wedding at Cana (John 2.1-11) has long been read in Epiphany. That’s because the theme of Epiphany is revealing to the world who Jesus is, what he is about, and this is a great—surprising—story.

Who would have thought that “the first of the Signs” of Jesus’ glory would be so quiet and unexpected? Jesus winks at his mother and his new disciples. They wink back and smile the smile of those who have found the best wine in the one who is Lord of the feast. This is no universal revelation, but one only known to those who know where to look. Do you know where to look for him?

Who would have thought that Jesus would toss out his first self-revealing sign as a bouquet in middle of noisy wedding party? Not a holy mountaintop, but a party! This story is still happening, for when Christians really get the Good News, they see that what God offers us in Jesus is a celebration of abundance, also known as the kingdom of God, where there is more than enough for everyone.

Our political-economic system presupposes a world of scarcity in which there isn’t enough of what we need. And it imposes it upon those who are poor. One way we can be Epiphany people is to understand how poverty impacts people’s worldview and decisions; the Bridges out of Poverty workshop January 29-30 provides understanding and tools for being Good News among the poor.

Bridges out of Poverty opens up the very different world of people in poverty, who face challenges virtually unknown to those in middle class or wealth that impact learning, work habits, and decision-making. You will learn the “hidden rules” of poverty, middle class, and wealth. And you will explore practical yet compassionate relational strategies that can have positive impact on people’s lives.

One participant wrote: I take with me an understanding of the clients I work with now, clients I’ve worked with in the past (I wish I knew then what I know now), and a better understanding of myself.

– The Reverend Dr. Paul Hanneman, Formation Partner
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Engaging The Daily Office at St. Peter’s: All are welcome. One ancient and modern way to pray is through the Daily Office—The Book of Common Prayer services of Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, and Evening Prayer. Uniquely, the structure of Daily Office prayer gathers up personal and corporate concerns to be prayed together. From monasteries to churches like St. Peter’s to private homes, people have been praying the Daily Office for thousands of years, all because it brings us closer to God and deepens Christian community. In this new year, consider adding to your prayer life at St. Peter’s: Morning Prayer in the Chapel of The Saints, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and/or sung Evening Prayer (Choral Evensong led by clergy and choir) in the Nave, Second and Fourth Sundays through April 24, 5:00-5:45 p.m. On Wednesdays, Morning Prayer is followed immediately by a new clergy-facilitated offering called “Holy Conversation” to reflect on the morning’s scripture lessons. Holy Conversation ends at 9:00 a.m. and coffee is available. To learn more about The Daily Office including how to add it as an online practice to be engaged while others gather at St. Peter’s or throughout the world to pray for and with you, you may use online resources from Mission of St. Clare.
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Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Celebrate the legacy of Civil Rights leader the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with Holy Eucharist at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, January 18, followed by “Gospels, Spirituals, and Classics” at the Center City Concert at Noon.
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Center City Concert: “Gospels, Spirituals, and Classics” will be offered during the Center City Concert at Noon on Monday, January 18 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Performing will be soprano Helen Goldsby, David Gilliland on piano and Chris Fensom on trumpet. The concert will also feature the poetry of Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes.
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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 retreat includes dinner on Friday, breakfast and lunch on Saturday. It is based on 35 years of research into the differences between poverty, middle class and wealth cultures. Contact the Reverend Dr. Hanneman (phanneman@st-peters.org) or register online.
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Kerygma: The Apostles Go International! It all started in Jerusalem, and it was Luke who wrote to Theophilus telling him the rest of the story about Paul, Silas, James, and the others who knew Jesus. If we are to know who we are and who we are to become, then we need to know our story. Starting on Monday, February 1, at 6:00 p.m., we continue our journey into the New Testament with Acts of the Apostles. This is a time for learning, talking, listening, being challenged, and experiencing a unique expression of community. Contact the Reverend Murdock Smith at msmith@st-peters.org or register now online.
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Coffee Hour Baristas Needed: Would you like to be a barista during our Sunday morning Coffee Hour? Our Fellowship Ministry is seeking more people to share in the ministry of hosting refreshments in the parish house lobby after the 10:45 a.m. service. You can be part of a team to serve on the fifth Sunday, serve on the second Sunday every other month, or jump in any Sunday. As a “barista” (an Italian word for coffee house server), you would bring your choice of simple light refreshments and prepare coffee and lemonade. We would love for the 20s and 30s to join in this ministry. Contact Kristine Reid (kmrlady@ymail.com) for details and consider asking a friend to join you in hosting.
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Adult Formation: On Sunday, January 10, two options for Adult Formation will be offered. The Parish Hall Forum topic will be Reflecting on Baptism: Were You Sprinkled, Splashed, or Dunked? And in the Town Choir Room on the lower level, you can participate in the Adult Formation conversation Faithful Parenting in a Technological Age, led by parishioner and psychologist Dr. Susan Campbell. Both offerings will be from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
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Adult Formation — Faithful Parenting in a Technological Age:  In this session, we will be exploring the challenges and gifts of raising children in the age of the internet.   How do you respond when your child would prefer playing a game on the iPad to interacting with peers or going outside?  Do the boundaries we set (or not set) related to “screen-time” reflect our deepest held values?  Come explore these questions with parishioner and psychologist Dr. Susan Campbell.  To prepare for the session, you might even try turning off your “devices” for a half-day to see how it goes (this is totally optional!)
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Pub Theology: This monthly, clergy-led discussion fellowship offering resumes on Thursday, January 7, at 6:00 p.m. at Sir Edmond Halley’s Restaurant and Freehouse in Park Road Shopping Center. The Reverend Joslyn Schaefer will lead a discussion on our response as Christians to the plight of refugees. Drop in for as long as possible and bring others. Stay tuned for next month’s topic, host, and location.
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Choral Evensong This Sunday Evening at St. Peter’s: The regular schedule for Sunday Evenings at St. Peter’s has resumed. This Sunday, January 10, we will offer Choral Evensong, or sung evening prayers, and the Holy Eucharist. On the first, third, and fifth Sundays, contemplative services of the Holy Eucharist offer unique ways to meditate on the Holy Scriptures, stirring piano music offerings, as well as periods of silence, and candlelight to enhance the experience. Evensong will also be offered on the fourth Sunday through April 24.
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Room in the Inn Supplies: Watch for donation bins in the Parish House Lobby for supplies to help our homeless neighbors. Every Wednesday through March, we welcome them to stay overnight at St. Peter’s through the Room in the Inn program. 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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Holy Chow Resumes This Week: Join us on Sunday, January 10, for Holy Chow breakfast, served from 8:30 – 9:25 am in the Community Room on the Second Floor of the Parish House. 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 (tsterrett@horacktalley.com, 704-293-8551). Until we build up the volunteer teams, a hearty continental breakfast will be served most Sundays.
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Baptisms on January 10: We celebrate the sacrament of Holy Baptism on January 10 at the 10:45 a.m. liturgy. Please contact The Reverend Joslyn Ogden Schaefer (jschaefer@st-peters.org, 704-749-6150) if you are interested in being baptized or having a child baptized. Learn more about baptism at St. Peter’s on our website.
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Holy Conversation : This new, weekly Wednesday morning offering begins with 8:00 a.m. Morning Prayer in the Chapel, then continues in the Parlor with a scripture reflection led by the Reverend Ollie V. Rencher until 9:00 a.m. Consider adding this to your weekly routine and spread the word.
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Increasing Connections in the New Year: Now that we’ve moved into 2016, the Parish Clergy, Staff, and Volunteers are committed to increased levels of hospitality, accessibility, relationship building, and information sharing to improve parish life. Ministry duties for each person are being adjusted to better respond to and empower parishioners as they seek to perform their own ministries or contact the parish house with inquiries of various sorts. Watch this space and the bulletin boards for detailed information about roles and responsibilities for clergy, staff, and volunteers, including office hours and sabbath days. In addition, you’ll find three reliable sources for all things related to life at St. Peter’s. First, watch for ongoing updates to the website to create more accessible and up-to-date details about parish life. Also, you’ll discover that both volunteer (daytime) and paid (after-hours) receptionists are being empowered with more information and authority to offer you hands-on help. And finally, our Communications Administrator, Peg Robarchek (probarchek@st-peters.org, 704-749-6141), is committed to helping you find answers when you aren’t sure where to turn. Have ideas about other ways we can improve hospitality, accessibility, relationship-building and information-sharing at St. Peter’s? Peg Robarchek wants to hear from you.
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Bishop Curry Participates in Trinity Institute Conference on Racial Justice: This year’s Trinity Institute Conference is about racism and racial justice, with our own Bishop Michael Curry as one of the principal speakers. The conference will be live-streamed in Charlotte at St Martin’s Episcopal Church, with on-site facilitators to lead groups for reflection and conversation. The event is free and open to the public Thursday, January 21, through Saturday, January 23. Email listenforachange@stmartins-charlotte.org.
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Bold Like Jesus: On January 21-23, Christ Lutheran Church brings together Lutherans, Moravians and Episcopalians from across the state to explore what it means to be bold like Jesus in a complex and changing world. Interim Bishop The Rt. Rev. Anne E. Hodges Copple is among the presenters. Registration is free for youth, $65 for all others after January 7. Scholarships are available. Register online.