Every Sunday we recite in the Creed: “We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” This familiar line describes the Church, the fellowship of all who follow Jesus, as one holy, catholic, and apostolic. The Church is one because there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God. The Church is holy because Jesus Christ is the head of the Church and regardless of our failings, the Church is the primary instrument of God’s mission in the world. The Church is catholic, in the traditional meaning of the word, because it is universal, all-encompassing, large enough for every living soul. The Church is apostolic because we continue in the teaching of the apostles and we hold to the faith we inherited from those who came before us.
For me, the words that stand out in this time are “one” and “catholic.” In a season of deep division and conflict, in the midst of a heated presidential election, the Church is called to be an instrument of unity and hope, a fellowship large enough for every human soul.
As Episcopalians, one of our symbols of unity is the bishop, the women and men elected and ordained to serve as overseers of the Church in a geographical area called a diocese. The order of bishops reminds us that our parish is not the Church, but a parish of the Church. We are a part of something larger than St. Peter’s, a fellowship that includes every nation and people who are committed to following Jesus Christ.
On Sunday, October 25, we will welcome one of our bishops to St. Peter’s, the VI Bishop Suffragan of North Carolina, the Right Reverend Anne Hodges-Copple. Bishop Anne will join us for a virtual visitation this year, but the day will feature many of the familiar offerings during a bishop’s visit.
At 9:00 a.m. by Zoom, Bishop Anne will be joined by the Reverend Canon Rhonda Lee as she leads our Episcopal 101 course.
At 10:30 a.m., Bishop Anne will preach and preside at the Holy Eucharist with a rite for Spiritual Communion, where she will confirm a new St. Peter’s member and invite us all to renew our Baptismal Covenant.
At 11:30 a.m., Bishop Anne will host a special Coffee Hour and “open mic” by Zoom, where parishioners will be invited to ask questions about current events and diocesan initiatives.
At the end of our celebratory Sunday, the Boys and Girls Tour Choirs of The Choir School at St. Peter’s will lead Evensong at 5:00 p.m. by Zoom.
Links for all of these offerings will be posted on the St. Peter’s homepage.
Please join us on Sunday as we welcome Bishop Anne and remember our belonging to a body larger than St. Peter’s, the one holy catholic and apostolic Church, redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ and called to be people of prayer, justice, peace, and love.
The Reverend Jacob E. Pierce, Rector