February 7, 2016

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The Congregational Development team has been tasked by the Vestry with the role of developing, engaging and growing parish ministries; inviting and incorporating new members; and exploring ways for our parish to spread the Gospel and engage the wider community. This sounds like a tall order, but our Team Leader, Cooper Morrison, nicely summarized our task by saying, “Our work starts with love and grows through relationships.”

There are several concrete ways that the Team is going about this work:

  • we call new members among us to listen to their experiences, help them connect more fully in the life of the parish, and learn from their feedback
  • we organize events like the Newcomers Coffee to provide fellowship and offer hospitality to those new among us
  • we coordinate “welcome hosts” who provide an additional welcoming
  • we are developing ways for people to identify their gifts and use them in and beyond St. Peter’s, believing that each member has a gift to contribute and a ministry to offer that is essential to the work of Christ in the world

Additionally, we plan to offer formation programs and opportunities for the people of St. Peter’s to come to know and love one another more deeply, trusting that in our friendships with one another and with the “least of these” Jesus himself is present. One special formation opportunity available during Lent is “Introduction to Servant Leadership,” which you can read about in this week’s news.

In our Baptismal Covenant, we promise, with God’s help, to proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ – in other words, we promise to “evangelize.” Evangelism can have some negative connotations, but I’d like to share two positive examples.  Parishioner Ginny Brien invited several of her work colleagues to come along one Wednesday afternoon to help set up beds for Room in the Inn.   Parishioner Nancy Duncan invited a family passionate about gardening to come to church and then stay to help start seedlings for our Eighth Street Community Garden.  Through these gentle invitations to “come and see” what is happening at St. Peter’s, these guests are being shown by “word and example” the Good News of God in Christ.  We hope they come back and worship with us, but even if not, the Good News was shared.

If you would like more information about the work of Congregational Development Team, please contact Cooper Morrison (cooper@streetlevelpartners.com) or me (jschaefer@st-peters.org).

—The Reverend Joslyn Ogden Schaefer, Associate Rector
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The Episcopal Showdown for Panthers Fans: Our hometown football team may be heavy favorites for this Sunday’s big game, but so far, Team Panthers is getting crushed in The Episcopal Showdown fundraising contest between the Diocese of North Carolina and the Diocese of Colorado. The contest is to see which team (Team Broncos / Team Panthers) can raise the most money for Episcopal Relief & Development by Super Bowl kickoff this Sunday, February 7 at 6:30 p.m. Read more about the challenge online and let’s get in the game by supporting Episcopal Relief & Development. Donate online.
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Pub Theology: This monthly, clergy-led discussion will be offered Thursday, February 4, at 6:00 p.m. at Rock Bottom Brewery at the corner of North Tryon and Seventh streets. St. Peter’s new Assisting Priest, The Reverend Keith C. Lane, will lead a discussion on The Change in Seasons of Every Christian’s Ministry. Drop in for as long as possible and bring others. Next month, on March 3, at 7th Street Public Market in Center City Charlotte, St. Peter’s Rector, The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, will discuss The History of People of Color and Racial Reconciliation in The Episcopal Church.
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Souper Bowl Sunday: St. Peter’s Youth will lead this annual parish-wide collection at the 8:00 a.m. service and the 10:45 a.m. service. Because of our Youth group’s enthusiasm for the Episcopal Farmworkers Ministry, they have decided that this year’s collection will go to support this ministry.
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Parish Hall Forum This Sunday: On Sunday, February 7, The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher will lead a discussion on Preparing for Lent, The Holiest Season, in the Parish Hall from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
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Ash Wednesday: In addition to St. Peter’s annual Ashes to Go Sidewalk Ministry, the Ash Wednesday Holy Eucharist service will be offered in the church at 7:00 a.m., Noon, and 7:00 p.m. on February 10. Incense will be offered at the 7:00 p.m. service, so parishioners with allergies or respiratory issues are invited to attend some other service where incense will not be offered. Ashes to Go will be offered on 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. Look for a calendar of other offerings for the Lenten season on the Parish House Lobby bulletin board and on the information table in the Parish House Lobby.
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Introduction to Servant Leadership: Using books by Henri Nouwen and the Reverend Killian Noe, this six-week study on Thursday evenings begins February 11 and continues through March 17. It will focus on being empowered for productive and effective lay leadership. The Reverend Dr. Paul Hanneman will lead discussion about responding to God’s call to serve one’s church as part of the spiritual journey. Sessions will be 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. in the Library. RSVP to The Reverend Dr. Hanneman (phanneman@st-peters.org) so plenty of books will be available.
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Chronic Illness Support Group: Those living with chronic illness are invited to attend the next meeting of this group on Friday, February 12, 11:00 a.m. until Noon in the Parlor. St. Peter’s new Assisting Priest, The Reverend Keith C. Lane, will lead this month’s meeting. Because it is likely that the regular monthly meeting will move from Fridays to another day/time, please come and bring your calendars to determine when future such gatherings will be offered. If you know of others who might appreciate this offering, please either bring them or send their names and contact information to The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher. Please RSVP by Tuesday, February 9 (orencher@st-peters.org).
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Next Week’s Formation Hour: On Sunday, February 14, the Parish Hall Forum will be Outreach and Social Justice: Being a Beacon of Hope in Center City Charlotte, led by members of the Social Justice Committee and the Reverend Joslyn Ogden Schaefer. We will celebrate the life and ministry of the Reverend Absalom Jones, the first African-American Episcopal priest, and make connections between his story and our own. And in the Town Choir Room, The Reverend Dr. Paul Hanneman will launch a five-week Lenten study, Exploring Contemplative Prayer as a practice that helps us grow more responsive to God acting in and through us. Also, the 20s and 30s group will meet in the Tower Room.
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Center City Concert: Back by popular demand, the A.W. Duo with guest soprano Ariadne Greif will present a free program of chamber music exploring themes of romantic love in music of the 19th century on Monday, February 15, at Noon. A native of Russia, pianist Alyona Aksyonova lives and works as a chamber musician and collaborative pianist in New York City. Cellist James Waldo is founder and artistic director of the Listen Closely Inwood Chamber Music Initiative, a collective of musicians in uptown. The New York Times Praised soprano Ariadne Greif for her “luminous, expressive voice.”
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Senior Class Lunch: The February Senior Class Luncheon will be held at Leroy Fox (formerly the location of The Hotel Charlotte) at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, February 16. The Senior Class is made up of St. Peter’s parishioners and friends age 55 and up. Contact Jay or Barbara Partington (704 523-1831) or Hannah Craighill (704 334-6278).
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A Message from Father Murdock: No, I am not leaving St Peter’s! I will continue my involvement here at St. Peter’s while also taking on an additional role at Church of the Redeemer in Shelby.

I will be Interim Rector at Church of the Redeemer for a period of time (probably 12 to 18 months), starting February 14. I will be there on most Sundays and two days during the week. There are changes and decisions to be made by the leadership and members of Redeemer, and my ministry will be to assist them in this process.

A primary point in taking on this ministry was to be able to continue the connection with St Peter’s. This means that I will continue to be involved with the Outreach and Social Justice ministries, leading in depth Bible study, occasional preaching, and other opportunities as appropriate and possible. A Sunday, every other month I will be back home at St Peter’s either in the pew or in the pulpit. I value working with Father Ollie, Mother Joslyn, and all the great staff at St Peter’s, and wish to offer whatever value and wisdom that I can.

If you have questions, please be in touch with me (msmith@st-peters.org).

– The Reverend Murdock Smith
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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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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 household. 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).
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Shrove Tuesday: Please note the correction time for this year’s 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 for youth and adults, $4 for children, up to a $25 household maximum. RSVP online.
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Welcome Our New Assisting Priest: The Reverend 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.
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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’ Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer for the men of St. Peter’s during Lent. The five-week study will be in the Parlor on Tuesdays, 8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., beginning February 16.
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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, aelrod@thechoirschool.org).