February 24, 2016

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Prayer: The Foundation of Our Life Together

Discussing our personal prayers tends to be a private matter, but sometimes it can be helpful to share insights and challenges that we have. St. Peter’s is offering a session on How Do You Pray? Different Forms of Prayer on Sunday, February 28, during the 9:30 Parish Hall Forum. Our personal prayer life is the focus.

Does the quality of our prayer life make a big difference in how other things are going in our lives? In my case, if my daily prayer time is working well, other aspects of my day seem to run more smoothly, and if not, I tend to be more unsettled and am not as centered. Is that true for you too?

I am also wondering what prayer means to each of us? Is it a conversation with God? Or maybe your lifeline to God? Is it a quiet, receptive time? Is it a routine devotional ritual? Do you mostly pray with others or pray alone? Do you pray at one particular time or spontaneously throughout your day?

Also, what kinds of prayers seem most helpful to you in getting you through your day? For example, do you use some of the traditional prayer forms like petitioning God to provide you with something you need, or intercessory prayers for someone else? Do you often find yourself confessing something you did that you regret or praying with thanksgiving for what you have? And do you use some of the deeper contemplative prayer forms like Centering Prayer and praying with sacred passages or icons?

I also wonder what obstacles or challenges keep you from having prayer times that are meaningful and work for you. For me, the challenges include my hectic schedule and numerous other external distractions. Also persistent inner chatter can easily consume me if I permit it. And often I have to fight off the illusion that I can do it without God. I can easily lack the humility that meaningful prayer seems to demand. Do you experience any of these challenges as well? Or maybe you have other challenges.

I hope you will join us for a rousing and inspiring discussion of these topics on Sunday morning.

—Jim Dudley

Prayer is the foundation of our life together at St. Peter’s.

Of course, our worship services are filled with a variety of prayers.  We also offer Morning Prayer Monday – Friday at 8:00 a.m.; intercessory prayer with one of our commissioned Healing Ministers at our 10:45 am Sunday liturgy; prayer for those experiencing crisis, transitions or special needs through our Pastoral Care ministry; and the knitting of Prayer Shawls.  During Lent, Formation Partner Paul Hanneman offers Exploring Contemplative Prayer from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the Town Choir Room.

To connect more about our ministries of prayer, feel free to contact any of the clergy.

—The Rev. Joslyn Ogden Schaefer, Associate Rector
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Parish Hall Forum: On Sunday, February 28, the Parish Hall Forum will be How Do You Pray? Different Forms of Prayer, led by Jim Dudley with the Reverend Joslyn Ogden Schaefer. From 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
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20s and 30s Formation: Mary Gotschall will lead a group discussion in the Tower Room on the second floor of the Parish House from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
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Easter Flowers and Special Music: It’s time to plan for making donations for flowers and special music for Easter Sunday. Make your contributions online. Or you can send a check directly to Parish Administrator Leigh Dixon, with “Easter Memorial” in the memo line. Donation cards and envelopes will also be available on the new Parish House Lobby Information Table Sunday morning. Deadlines for memorials to be listed in the Easter Sunday leaflets is end of day on Monday, March 14,
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Next Week’s Formation Hour: Dr. Suzanne Henderson, Associate Professor in the Religion and Philosophy Department at Queens University, will speak on Sunday, March 6, to launch a two-week Parish Hall Forum on the topic What’s Going on in the Middle East. On March 13, parishioners Josephine Hicks and Jan Keny will lead our conversation, reflecting on their recent trip to the Holy Land. In addition, Exploring Contemplative Prayer continues next week.
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The Holy Sacrament of Baptism: St. Peter’s will be offering the sacrament of baptism at Easter Vigil and Easter Day. Learn more about baptism and/or register on the website. Questions?  Contact The Rev. Joslyn Ogden Schaefer (jschaefer@st-peters.org; 704-649-6150).
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Baptism Instruction: Thinking about baptism for yourself or for a child? Come join The Rev. Joslyn Ogden Schaefer on Sunday, March 13, in the Parlor from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. to explore the multiple significances of this Holy Sacrament.
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Pub Theology: This casual weeknight gathering is coming up on Thursday, March 3, at 6:00 pm–8:00 pm at Rock Bottom Brewery in the TransAmerica building. The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, will discuss the history of “People of Color and Racial Reconciliation in The Episcopal Church.”
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Guest Choir for Evensong: The St. James School Choir will offer Evensong at St. Peter’s on Sunday, March 6. Mark your calendars for that special event, and also consider hosting some of these gifted visitors during their stay. Hosts would need to commit to offering hospitality to no fewer than two students on Sunday and Monday, March 6 and 7. If you want to learn more, contact John Hoke (johoke@gmail.com, 202-870-99625).
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Hours for Staff Facilities Lead. St. Peter’s new Facilities Lead, Brian Whitley, will be onsite on Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. and most Sundays, 7:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. In addition, Facilities staff member Willis Truesdale is onsite Monday through Friday, 5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Bernard Rasco assists in the kitchen on Sundays, 7:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. and other hours as requested. This schedule is fluid, depending on events and holidays and may change with the changing needs of the parish.
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Lobby Sign-Ups and Information: A designated space is now available for your group, guild or activity to use on Sunday mornings during the Coffee Hour and between services. If you wish to be part of Parish House Lobby activities on Sunday mornings to provide information, encourage participation or sign-ups, or other activities of interest to parishioners, please contact Communications Administrator Peg Robarchek (probarchek@st-peters.org, 704-749-6141) to reserve the space and arrange for your display.
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Red Boot Coalition Meeting: Tired of the overwhelming “us versus them” rhetoric prevalent in our world today? Come check out the Red Boot Coalition at its weekly meetings on Wednesdays at noon in the Library at St. Peter’s. The trademarked format creates a safe space for compassionate listening and honest sharing. Attendees walk away equipped with the tools to bring unity both to their individual spheres of influence and to the community at large. Visit the Red Boot Coalition website to learn more about the origins of the organization.
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Remember to Spring Forward March 13: Our clocks will spring forward in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, March 13, when Daylight Saving Time goes into effect. Remember to set your clocks forward by one hour at bedtime on Saturday, March 12, so you’re on schedule for Sunday morning.
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Check Out the Website: If you’ve been on the website in the last week, you might have noticed that finding your way around is a little bit different than it was a few weeks ago. Although we won’t be making any major changes to the website, we’re looking for ways to make it easier to navigate.

Here’s one tip: The main navigation bar now points you in four directions: Start Here, Worship and Music, Learning and Community Life. Start Here, as you might guess, is basic information about parking, the worship schedule, subscribing to the eNews, and visiting or joining St. Peter’s. Worship and Music is pretty self-explanatory, and is also the place where you’ll find information about baptism, weddings and other life passages. Learning includes pages about all our Formation (education) offerings. And Community Life is about all the ways we interact, from fellowship activities to opportunities to serve and volunteer.

Look for more information next week on these simplifications to the website.
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20s and 30s Oscars Viewing Party: All 20s and 30s are invited to an Oscars Party on Sunday, February 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the home of Matt and Erin Chantry. There will be an Oscars Award Ballot contest (with fabulous prizes, of course) and plenty of movie-themed snacks. Please bring your beverage of choice. Children are welcome! RSVP online.
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Community Garden: Turn out on Saturday, February 27, and Saturday, March 13, from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. if you’d like to help out in St. Peter’s Community Garden. The harvest from the garden is used for Charlotte’s Friendship Trays program. In 2015, St. Peter’s contributed 1400 pounds of food for these weekday meals to those who do not have easy access to healthy hot meals. Stop by the Parish House Lobby bulletin board on Sunday to learn more about the program or contact Nancy Duncan (innercitygardens4@gmail.com).
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Help Needed for Coffee Hour: Help is needed on the third Sunday of the month during coffee hour. Volunteering for this hospitality ministry involves coming to church between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.; helping the other volunteer make urns of coffee and lemonade; bringing goodies—cookies, sandwiches or fruit, for example; and helping to clean up afterward. If you’re interested in being part of this fun ministry and have questions, contact Susanne Martin (martinsusanne@att.net).
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Adult Formation: On Sunday, February 28, the study on Exploring Contemplative Prayer continues in the Town Choir Room on the lower level, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Contact Paul (phanneman@st-peters.org).
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Men’s Lenten Book Study: The study of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer for the men of St. Peter’s continues in the Parlor on Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Email Rob Smith (rob.smith@dotx.net) for details.
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Beyond Our Doors – Charlotte’s Historic Black Neighborhoods: One of the three areas of focus for St. Peter’s Social Justice Committee is Racial Reconciliation, which could include acknowledging the effects of urban renewal on traditional Black neighborhoods. Levine Museum of the New South and the Charlotte Museum of History invite the congregation at St. Peter’s to attend People, Places and Pride: Charlotte’s Historic Black Neighborhoods on Sunday, February 28, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Levine Museum, just a block away on Seventh Street. Father Ollie plans to attend and encourages parishioners to view this as an extension of worship on this final Sunday of Black History Month. Mary Newsom, Associate Director of Urban and Regional Affairs at UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute, will moderate a conversation about the rich history and uncertain future of black neighborhoods with president of the Historic Washington Heights Community Association Mattie Marshall, Second Ward/Brooklyn documentary filmmaker Kathryn Frye, and John Howard from the Charlotte Historic District Commission. Exhibit panels from the Charlotte Museum of History’s Charlotte Neighborhoods exhibit, featuring Brooklyn and Biddleville, will be on display, along with a map and “streetscape” of Brooklyn. The event is free and you are encouraged to register online.
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Beyond Our Doors – Galilee Center Hosts Film on Refugee Experience: Salam (Hello) Neighbor is an independent film detailing the Syrian refugee experience.  Galilee Center is hosting a dinner followed by a screening and discussion of the movie on Thursday, March 10.  Dinner at 6:30 p.m. will be prepared by St. Peter’s own 20s & 30s group.  There is no charge for admission, but you must reserve a spot online. More information about Salam (Hello) Neighbor is also available online.  Galilee Center is located at 3601 Central Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28205.
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Looking Ahead – Mark Your Calendars

March 11-13: Happening #62 for Youth – Camp Walter Johnson (Denton, N.C.)

March 19: St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Fellowship on the Lawn

March 21: Center City Concert – Lake Norman Choral Artists with NC Baroque Orchestra Chamber Players – Noon

March 20: Palm and Passion Sunday

March 21-March 26: Holy Week

March 28-April 1: Easter Break – Parish Offices Closed