Although we are still at the beginning of Epiphany, the season of Lent will be here before we know it! During Lent, Christians typically choose to either give something up, or to take on a new spiritual practice. This year, at the invitation of the Diocese of North Carolina, we would like to offer you an option for a Lenten practice. The diocese is recommending that churches read one of two books together: Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman or Waking Up White by Debby Irving. At St. Peter’s, we have elected to join in this diocesan initiative to read Jesus and the Disinherited. Jacob and I will be covering the book in the Forum, but we also wanted to give our parish the opportunity to read and discuss it in small groups.
For the last few months, the Congregational Engagement Team has been imagining new ways to help members of St. Peter’s engage more deeply in the life of our parish community. We have explored ideas about how to bring people together on days and times during the week. As part of these discussions, Will Burton-Edwards created a map of where our parishioners live. It is impressive to see how many of you drive quite a distance to get to St. Peter’s each week!
You can see this map for yourselves at the table in the gallery over the next few weeks. As we looked at where our parishioners are concentrated around the city, we began to wonder how we might help you all engage more deeply with one another closer to your homes or workplaces. The diocesan suggestion of reading a book together during Lent felt like the perfect opportunity!
The Congregational Engagement team will be helping to organize several small groups that will meet outside of St. Peter’s, near where participants live or work. These gatherings will be times of fellowship, conversation, and learning as you discuss Jesus and the Disinherited and get to know one another better. Beginning this Sunday, and running for the next several weeks, you will find sign-up sheets at a table in the gallery after each of the services. You may sign up for a group that will meet in a neighborhood near where you live or work. The groups will then decide what day and time to meet based on what works best for the participants in each group. Please stop by the Congregational Engagement table in the gallery to learn more about this exciting upcoming opportunity for fellowship and formation during Lent!
The Reverend Amanda C. Stephenson, Associate Rector