Christmastide at St. Peter’s

During the season of Christmas, St. Peter’s will offer a broad array of liturgies and music in celebration of two of the major feasts of the church year, Christmas and Epiphany. The story of Jesus’ incarnation, told through the familiar Gospel accounts of Luke, John, and Matthew, brings to life once again the sacred mysteries of our common faith. Alongside beautiful and inspiring liturgies, the St. Peter’s Choir and string quartet will perform Christmas Eve prelude music and support the singing at many of the services.

Christmas Eve Preludes, 6:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.
The St. Peter’s Choir and string quintet present an extended prelude prior to the 7:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. services. As part of a varied program, St. Peter’s Choir will sing Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols, with baritone Jordan Wilson. This extended anthem was written in 1912 and premiered at the Three Choirs Festival at Hereford Cathedral. Vaughan Williams incorporates four traditional English Christmas carols within this work, including “The truth sent from above” (Herefordshire) and “On Christmas night” (Sussex Carol). 

Christmas Eve, Friday, December 24
4:00 p.m. – Christmas Pageant with Holy Eucharist. Beloved by all ages, this early service is intended especially for little ones and their families and includes Christmas carols and the annual Christmas Pageant. Our parish’s children, assisted by some of our youth, present the Christmas story through carols and costumes. By the end of the pageant, nearly the whole congregation is taking part. Childcare is provided beginning at 3:30 p.m.

7:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite II. This sung service of Holy Eucharist includes congregational carols and hymns, music sung by the St. Peter’s Choir, and a sermon by the Reverend Jacob E. Pierce, Rector. The musical setting of the Eucharist, for choir and congregation, is from the Hymnal 1982 by English composer William Mathias (1934–1992) and American composer Robert Powell (b. 1932). The offertory anthem is What Sweeter Music, John Rutter’s beautiful setting of Robert Herrick’s poem A Christmas Carol.

10:30 p.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite II. This sung service of Holy Eucharist, which includes the ceremonial use of incense, is St. Peter’s traditional “Midnight Mass.” Timed so that worshippers leave the church just after midnight on Christmas morning, congregational carols and hymns, music sung by the St. Peter’s Choir, and a sermon by the Reverend Jacob E. Pierce, Rector, make this service a favorite of parishioners, families, and visitors every year. The musical setting of the Eucharist, sung by the St. Peter’s Choir with string quintet, is Missa Sancti Nicolai (Mass no. 6 in G Major) by Franz Josef Haydn (1732–1809). The offertory anthem is What Sweeter Music, John Rutter’s beautiful setting of Robert Herrick’s poem A Christmas Carol. This service will also be livestreamed.

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ: Christmas Day, Saturday, December 25
10:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite I. This quiet service of Holy Eucharist, in the traditional language of the Book of Common Prayer,  includes congregational carols and hymns and a homily.

The First Sunday after Christmas Day, Sunday, December 26
10:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite II. The First Sunday after Christmas we will celebrate one service of Holy Eucharist, featuring a sermon by the Reverend Amanda C. Stephenson, Associate Rector, congregational carols, and hymns. 

The Second Sunday after Christmas Day, Sunday, January 2
The Church and temporal calendars rarely give us two Sundays after Christmas Day, as we enjoy this season. The Collect of the Day begins, “O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature” and the Gospel lesson from Matthew recounts the story of the Wise Men’s encounter with Herod and their visit to see the infant Jesus in Bethlehem before “they left for their own country by another road.” Our full sunday schedule of Holy Eucharist at 7:45 a.m., 9:00 a.m., and 11:15 a.m. resumes this day. Formation for all ages resumes on January 9. 

The Feast of the Epiphany, Thursday, January 6
On the Feast of the Epiphany, a spoken Holy Eucharist will be offered in the Chapel, following 8:00 a.m. Morning Prayer.

This Week

Daily Office Morning Prayer, Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m., Zoom*
Evening Prayer, 5:30 p.m., Zoom
*Morning Prayer is offered virtually weekdays, as well as in-person on Tuesdays & Thursdays

Sunday, December 19
Holy Eucharist, Rite I, 7:45 a.m., Church
Holy Eucharist, Rite II, 9:00 a.m., Church
The Adult Forum, Parish House, 10:00 a.m.
Child and Youth Formation, 10:00 a.m., Parish House
Parents Connect, 10:00 a.m., Parish House Rooftop
Holy Eucharist, Rite II, 11:15 a.m., Church and Livestream
Sunday Book Group Gathering, 2:00 p.m., Off-site 

Wednesday, Holy Eucharist, Rite II, Noon, Chapel
Wednesday, Bible Study, 7:00 p.m., Zoom

Join us for Sunday Worship. Our safety procedures at each service allow us to welcome all those who feel that in-person worship is safe for them at this time. Many COVID-19 protocols, including mask-wearing, are in effect. Socially distanced seating is available in the chapel. Diocesan guidelines require masks indoors at St. Peter’s for all services and other gatherings, regardless of vaccination status. 

Christmas Honoraria and Memorials Benefit Church Decorations and Special Music. If you would like to honor or memorialize loved ones by offering a donation for Christmas greenery, decorations, or special music, including guest instrumentalists, the deadline to print acknowledgments is noon on Monday, December 20. You may donate online using Realm or mail donations with acknowledgments to Parish Administrator, Leigh Dixon (ldixon@st-peters.org). 

Christmas at St. Peter’s. During the season of Christmas, St. Peter’s will offer a broad array of liturgies and music in celebration of this major feast of the Church year. 

Christmas Eve, Friday, December 24: 
4:00 p.m. – Children’s Christmas Pageant with Holy Eucharist
7:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite II, Choral Prelude at 6:30 p.m.
10:30 p.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite II, “Midnight Mass,” Choral Prelude at 10:00 p.m.

Christmas Day, Saturday, December 25
10:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite I. 

The First Sunday after Christmas, Sunday, December 26
10:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite II. 

On the Second Sunday after Christmas, January 2, our regular Sunday schedule of Holy Eucharist at 7:45 a.m., 9:00 a.m., and 11:15 a.m. resumes. 

Greening of the Church, Thursday, December 23, 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Anyone may join the altar guild in the annual greening of the church in preparation for Christmas celebrations. Cleaners and polishers, along with folks to help hang garlands and wreaths, and volunteers to place poinsettias, are needed. Cleaning will begin at 10:00 a.m. and end by 2:00 p.m. No experience is required. Drop-ins are welcome and parishioners of all ages and abilities are invited to attend. For questions, please contact Mary Virginia Woodall (704-351-1627, mava823@gmail.com).
Parish House Offices closed until the New Year Beginning December 24. In observance of Christmastide, the Parish Offices will be closed beginning December 24 through January 2. Morning Prayer will be offered by Zoom and the Weekday Holy Eucharist will resume January 5. For pastoral emergencies, please dial the clergy-on-call line, 704-749-6175.

2022 Annual Giving Campaign

How will we answer God’s call in 2022? Guided by a strategic plan to care for our faith, our community, our home, and our world, our new vestry will begin to envision the answer to that question in early January. Your individual response to God’s call – through worship, prayer, service, and giving – will have a very big impact.

If you have not yet made your pledge of financial support for 2022, please make it today. Together, we have committed $835,000 toward our goal of $960,000. You can make a secure pledge online at st-peters.org/pledge, or by contacting Director of Stewardship Allison Elrod (aelrod@st-peters.org).

Learn more from your fellow parishioners about why pledging is important on the Giving page: st-peters.org/giving/stories-of-stewardship.