March 30, 2016

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Challenging the nation, its people, its institutions

My wife, Bethany, and I adopted our son, Charles Allen Wynder, III (Chase), last August when he was only eleven days old. We are grateful to have the privilege and responsibility of raising him. Like all parents, we want Chase to flourish and live fully into who God will call him to become in his lifetime. And yet, Bethany and I have already come to know the challenges he faces as a Black child of God. While we focus on his eating, sleeping, shots and general development, we are also keenly aware of the racial hierarchy, practices and systems that confront him. Even at this stage of his young life we have already experienced the real impact of structural racism on his life’s journey. We recognize that racism impacts us on a personal and interpersonal level. It is a reality that we have lived and must equip Chase to contest and survive. This is why I constantly seek to make meaning out of the complex interlocking systems, policies and institutions that perpetuate racial inequality.

Congregations and faith communities around the nation are engaging in congregation-wide readings of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. I am excited that St. Peters is joining in this important walk. As Chase’s father, I find Between the World and Me a critical read. Its sharp analysis provides a compelling frame for challenging the nation, its people, its institutions—including the Church—to confront the past and current embrace of racial hierarchy and racial inequality.

This reflection by the Rev. Canon Greg Jacobs, brother of St. Peter’s own Dr. David Jacobs, provides an excellent entry point for our collective reading of Between the World and Me. I hope you’ll join me for an introduction during the Parish Hall Forum on Sunday, April 3.

– Chuck Wynder, Social Justice and Advocacy Engagement Missioner of the Episcopal Church
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Room in the Inn: Although the Parish offices are closed this week, St. Peter’s will host its final Room in the Inn for this season on Wednesday night. We thank all who have made it possible for us to extend hospitality to our neighbors who are homeless, including the youth who will participate tonight.
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Nursery Focus Group: Join Anna Hurdle (Director of Children’s Ministries) and the Reveremd Joslyn Ogden Schaefer on Sunday, April 10, to identify the strengths of our nursery and opportunities for improvement and growth. We will meet in the nursery directly after the 10:45 a.m., so that our children can continue playing. We aim to finish the conversation no later than 1:00 p.m., possibly sooner. Contact either Anna ( or Joslyn (jschaefer with questions.
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Invitation to Contemplative Prayer: The Contemplative Prayer Group invites you to gather in the Town Choir Room each Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. beginning April 10. The practice of contemplative prayer is a preparatory ritual that provides entrance into the unguarded moment in which the heart lies open and responsive to God’s love in us. With the unforced reverence of a child at play, we, by God’s grace, sit and walk together in fidelity to the Presence which names us as children of the Father. Join us as we seek to create a space within for God to fill as God so chooses. The Town Choir Room is located in the church basement. Contact the Reverend Paul Hanneman (
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Spaghetti Dinner: An event to kick off fundraising for The Choir School at St. Peter’s Mastersingers’ England 2019 Tour will be a spaghetti dinner on Friday, April 8, in the Parish Hall. Tickets are $10 and children three years and younger eat free. You’ll be able to pick your pasta (spaghetti or penne) and your type sauce (marinara plain or with meat, alfredo plain or with chicken, or either sauce with a veggie mix) along with a salad and drinks (water, tea or lemonade). Wine and sangria will be available at additional cost. Seating begins at 5:30 p.m. and the last seating is at 8:00 p.m. Contact a chorister for tickets today.
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Renowned Choir to Perform in Charlotte: The renowned Choir of Men and Boys of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, New York, will perform on Tuesday, April 19, at 7:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 501 North Tryon Street. The Men of the Choir are professional singers; the Boys attend Saint Thomas Choir School, the only church-related residential choir school in the United States, and one of only a few similar schools remaining in the world. “They are the epitome of the Anglican Choral tradition as it exists in the United States, and a foundational inspiration for The Choir School program at St. Peter’s,” according to Ben Outen, Artistic Director of The Choir School and Director of Music and Organist at St. Peter’s. Advance general admission tickets are $25.00 and can be purchased through CarolinaTix or at the door. Free parking is available at First United Methodist Church.
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New After-Hours Receptionist: As St. Peter’s prepares to expand the duties of the after-hours receptionist weeknights and Sundays to include additional clerical support, we welcome Dianne Whitley. Dianne is earning her associate degree in Computer Technology Integration at Central Piedmont Community College and has an extensive background serving businesses and other organizations by assisting the public. She has worked with Habitat for Humanity as part of CPCC’s work study program, as well as City Center Academy in Philadelphia, where her role included not only receptionist duties but also support to staff, faculty, and students. We hope you’ll stop by and welcome Dianne to St. Peter’s. Her hours will be Monday-Friday, 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Sundays 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
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Guest Preacher on April 3. The Reverend Rhonda Mawhood Lee, PhD, Diocesan Canon for Regional Ministry will preach at the 8:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. liturgies. A spiritual director formed in the Ignatian tradition, Canon Lee supports diocesan congregations and clergy in discernment processes, mutual ministry reviews, leadership transitions and conflict management. She is particularly interested in intentional communities, ministries of presence and accompaniment, and intercultural ministries. Canon Lee grew up bilingual and bicultural (English and French) outside Montreal, Quebec. She has lived in North Carolina since 1992, except for a six-year sojourn in Louisville, Kentucky, where she was ordained; holds a doctorate in U.S. history from Duke University; and is the author of occasional essays and two books: Through with Kings and Armies: The Marriage of George and Jean Edwards and, with Craig Werner, Love and Happiness: Eros According to Dante, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and The Reverend Al Green.
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Parish Hall Forum: This week’s Parish Hall Forum will introduce an Eastertide study of the book Between the World and Me by Ta-Nahesi Coates. Leading this first discussion will be Chuck Wynder, Social Justice and Advocacy Engagement Missioner of The Episcopal Church. The book has contributed to constructive engagement and dialogue on topics such as systemic racism, inequality and the persistence of racial injustice. In April and May, several opportunities for meaningful discussion will be offered.
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Hope and Grief: This four-week program is open to all who have experienced a loss of any kind and are seeking solace and sustenance for the journey of healing. Hope and Grief will be held on Thursdays, April 7, 14, 21 and 28, with both morning and evening hours. At Holy Comforter Episcopal Church on Park Road, sessions will be 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. At St. Peter’s, sessions will be 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. This is an effort of Holy Comforter, Avondale Presbyterian, First Presbyterian and Saint Peter’s Episcopal. Members of all congregations as well as the wider community are invited to attend. Contact the Reverend Joslyn Ogden Schaefer ( with questions or to sign up.
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Discover St. Peter’s: Whether you are very new to St. Peter’s or simply interested in refreshing or deepening your understanding of what it means to be part of the St. Peter’s family, you are welcome to participate in this two-session overview of life at St. Peter’s on Sundays, April 17 and 24, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The April 17 session will explore the distinctly Anglican emphases found in the Christian faith. On April 24, our focus will be on how this faith is expressed at St. Peter’s through our various ministries, leadership structure, and liturgies. Both sessions are in the Parlor and will be co-facilitated by clergy and lay-leadership To sign up, please email the Reverend Joslyn Ogden Schaefer (jschaefer@st– or RSVP online.
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High Sunday Brunch: It’s not too late to make reservations for the High Sunday Brunch on April 3, following at the 10:45 service. The annual fare for our brunch is shrimp and grits, quiche, and breakfast casserole with sides of asparagus, fresh fruit and biscuits. There will also be a dessert table, child-friendly foods, tea, lemonade and coffee, accompanied by live music. Make your reservations and pay online through March 31. Tickets are $10 for adults and youth 13 and older, $5 for children 6-12, with a family cap of $35.00. Ticket prices will be slightly higher the day of the event.
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Pub Theology on April 7: All adults are invited to this casual weeknight gathering, which started in 2013. On April 7, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., as a continuation of last’s month’s rather provoking discussion, the Reverends Ollie V. Rencher and Joslyn Ogden Schaefer will co-host “Our Call to Racial Reconciliation” at The Liberty Restaurant. Nonalcoholic beverages, snacks, and more are available. If you know or think you will attend, contact the Reverend Ollie Rencher ( or the Reverend Joslyn Ogden Schaefer (
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Diocese of North Carolina Bishop Search: The Nominating Committee for the Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina offers two opportunities for input into the process: listening sessions and a survey online. Please complete surveys by April 19. In addition, two listening sessions will be offered for members of the Nominating Committee to hear what people in the Charlotte Convention are hoping for in our new bishop: April 5 at 7:00 p.m. at Holy Comforter, and April 7 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Luke’s in Salisbury. The Nominating Committee also asks for prayers for this process, offering the following Prayer for the Bishop Search: Most gracious God, who gave your only Son to be our Good Shepherd: Look favorably upon your Church, and guide the hearts and minds of those who shall choose a bishop to be a pastor to this Diocese, that we may receive a faithful leader, who will go with us out in the world, making disciples who make a difference; and nurture in your servants who wrestle with this call a spirit of wisdom and confidence, joy and humility; through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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Diocese Bicentennial History Day Events: The Bicentennial Planning Committee of the three Episcopal dioceses in North Carolina invite you to History Day 2016 on Saturday, April 9, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Gastonia. Entitled Hearts, Homes and the Holy Spirit: Mission & Ministry in North Carolina Mill Villages, 1890 – 1940, this event will feature keynote speaker Dr. Mary Sudman Donovan, historian and author of A Different Call: Women’s Ministries in the Episcopal Church, 1850-1920; a panel presentation; exhibits and tours of the Gaston County Museum and the recently restored Loray Mill. An optional Friday evening event at Chapel of Christ the King in Charlotte will highlight the history of this former mill mission, and conclude with dinner at a local restaurant. For registration and program details visit the Diocese website. History Day 2016 is the last in an annual series leading up to the statewide celebration of the Bicentennial of the Diocese of North Carolina next April 22, 2017, at Christ Church, New Bern, in the Diocese of East Carolina.
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Compassionate Conversations: Planning for healthcare at end of life is a gift to our loved ones, but it is so easy to put off those conversations. Hospice and Palliative Care of Charlotte offers a session to empower you to make decisions for a secure future. Compassionate Conversations: It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late will be offered Thursday, March 31, 6:15 p.m.-8:15 p.m., at the Van Every Learning Resource Center, 6624 Walsh Boulevard. Speakers will be Dr. Robert Smith, Medical Director for Hospice and Palliative Care Charlotte Region, and RN Beth Martin, Senior Director of Palliative Medicine for Hospice and Palliative Care Charlotte Region. Appetizers will be served. The event is free but pre-register and indicate which date you plan to attend by contacting Louise Giusto ( or 704-335-4320).
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Children’s Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and Youth Journey to Adulthood: Weekly offerings are available for children and youth, infants through high school, 9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. at various places throughout the Parish House.
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Sunday Evenings at St. Peter’s: This week’s 5:00 p.m. service is Holy Eucharist, Rite II. This quiet, candlelit service includes time for intentional silence, singing, and prayer.
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Looking Ahead – Mark Your Calendars

April 16: Solemn Communion Retreat for Children – 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

April 18: Center City Concert at Noon

April 19: St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys —7:30 p.m. at First Methodist Church

April 24: Final Evensong of the Season – 5:00 p.m.

May 7: 20th Anniversary AIDS Walk Charlotte – 10:00 a.m.