COVID-19 Masking Update from the Rector

Dear People of St. Peter’s,

On Tuesday, March 8, the Diocese of North Carolina and our bishop, the Right Reverend Samuel Rodman, announced that the diocese is lifting its mask mandate. Instead, parishes will be permitted to go “mask-optional,” with the following guidance: First, the county in which a parish is located must be in the “green,” low-risk zone, according to the Centers for Disease Control COVID risk map; Second, the positivity and hospitalization rate must be falling. We meet both of these criteria at St. Peter’s.  

In addition to the CDC risk map,  the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID dashboard shows that Mecklenburg County’s case positivity rate has fallen to 128 per 100,000 for a 14-day average, and 44 per 100,000 for a 7-day average. In addition, we have taken steps to improve the ventilation in our worship space by installing MERV13 filters and increasing the rate of air exchange in the HVAC system, based on CDC building occupancy guidelines. 

After consulting health care professionals, and with this information in mind, the Executive Committee of the Vestry has voted to move forward with mask-optional worship and formation at St. Peter’s, effective this Sunday, March 13. The one exception will be Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, children’s formation for elementary and preschool age children. Many of our youngest parishioners cannot yet be vaccinated, so they will continue to wear masks. Parents should know that our nursery workers and our catechists are fully vaccinated and will continue to wear masks. Some activities and ministries, such as Room in the Inn, may continue to require masks, so  we encourage parishioners and volunteers to pay close attention to signage around the Parish House and communications from ministry leaders. 

While our community’s test positivity rate is low at the moment,  it may not remain so. We simply do not know the future trajectory of the pandemic. By lifting our mask requirement, we are not heralding the end of the pandemic nor are we banning masks. We are simply saying that wearing a mask is up to you. We welcome mask-wearing for anyone, and we strongly recommend mask-wearing for those in high risk groups. There may come a time in the future when we’ll need to wear masks again as we continue to monitor the test positivity rate in Mecklenburg County. 

Since the beginning of this pandemic two years ago, our staff and vestry committed to follow the science, to listen to experts, to make the right decisions for our community, and to avoid politicizing our decision-making. We have done just that. Some may not be ready to unmask at worship, and that is okay! We encourage everyone to do what is right for them and their family.

Please know that members of the Clergy or the Executive Committee are available to answer questions or address concerns you may have. Your 2022 Executive Committee includes the Rector; Patricia Massey Hoke, Senior Warden; Ann Miano, Junior Warden; Tony Craghead, Clerk; and Dave Lavoie, Treasurer. 

The challenges of balancing our diverse congregation’s COVID sensitivities are not easy. But we are a community of followers of Jesus Christ. Let us be gentle and kind to each other in this season. Let us respect the decisions that individuals and families will make. And let us be united in our one purpose, to inspire love of God and neighbor, and to be a beacon of that love in the heart of Charlotte. 

Faithfully, 

The Reverend Jacob E. Pierce, Rector

This Week

Sunday

**Note: Sunday is the first day of Daylight Saving Time

Holy Eucharist, Rite I, 7:45 a.m., Church
Holy Eucharist, Rite II, 9:00 a.m., Church
Formation for all ages, 10:00 a.m.
Holy Eucharist, Rite II, 11:15 a.m., Church and Livestream
Choral Evensong, 5:00 p.m., Church

The Daily Office

Morning Prayer, Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m., Zoom (st-peters.org/morningprayer)*
Evening Prayer, Monday–Friday, 5:30 p.m., Zoom (st-peters.org/eveningprayer)
*Morning Prayer is offered virtually weekdays and in person Tuesday and Thursdays

Weekdays

Monday, Bible Study, 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Morning Prayer, 8:00 a.m., Chapel
Wednesday, Holy Eucharist, Rite II, Noon, Chapel
Wednesday, Bible Study, 7:00 p.m., Zoom (st-peters.org/biblestudy-wednesday)
Wednesday, Room in the Inn

St. Luke’s Guild: Chronic Care Support Group, Thursday, March 10, 11:00 a.m. Father Keith Lane and parishioner Dan Busch, LCSW (retired), facilitate this fellowship for persons with chronic illnesses of any sort and those who are caregivers of family and friends. St. Luke’s Guild meets regularly on the second Thursday of the month. To learn more, contact the Reverend Keith C. Lane, Assisting Priest (klane@st-peters.org, 917-679-7285) or Dan Busch (danwbusch@gmail.com, 704-519-7417).

Children’s formation and nursery care. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd will be offered in-person for children ages 3–12 in the atria, 10:00 a.m.–Noon. Child care for young children through age 3 is offered in the nursery, 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. For more information, please contact Anna Hurdle (ahurdle@st-peters.org). 

From Episcopal Relief and Development Regarding the Situation in Ukraine. As we pray for an end to violence and for those fleeing Ukraine, please also pray for Episcopal Relief & Development and other ecumenical agencies working to respond to the current crisis. Specific needs will change as the crisis evolves. As of right now, there is a need for food, water and shelter. Please consider partnering with Episcopal Relief & Development in this response. Visit episcopalrelief.org/ukraine-crisis for more information.

Worship and Music

Evensong this Sunday, 5:00 p.m. The Charlotte Choir School’s MasterSingers are in residence for this Sunday’s service of Choral Evensong. Preces and Responses were composed by British composer Bernard Rose. The canticles are William Mathias’ set composed for Jesus College, Cambridge. And the anthem, Os justi, is by Anton Bruckner. Elizabeth Lenti directs this amazing ensemble of teenagers; Jerrick Cavagnaro, Assistant Organist at Christ Church, is the guest organist.

Visual Changes during Lent. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, we cover the crosses and the altar mosaic as part of ancient traditions marking the season of Lent. The Lenten dossal veil, which now covers the mosaic at the altar, was donated to St. Peter’s by the Stein family. The veil is a prototype of the Lenten array at Westminster Abbey, produced when the Abbey commissioned a new array several decades ago. Instruments of the Passion depicted in the dossal veil include a rooster (crowed after Peter’s third denial of Jesus), a combination of a lance (used to pierce the side of Jesus as he hung upon the cross), and a sponge on the end of a forked rod (used to offer sour wine to Jesus as he hung upon the cross). On either side of Jesus are St. Mary the Virgin, Mother of our Lord, and St. John the Beloved, depicted with his head uncovered and beardless. At the foot of the cross is the image of Jesus as the Lamb of God. 

Daily Office. Parishioners lead Morning and Evening Prayer most weekdays. Morning Prayer takes place every day on Zoom (st-peters.org/morningprayer) and in the St. Peter’s Chapel on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:00 a.m., with coffee and fellowship in the Parlor immediately following the office. Evening Prayer takes place every day online at 5:30 p.m. on Zoom (st-peters.org/eveningprayer).

Weekday Holy Eucharist on Wednesdays at Noon. Each Wednesday at Noon, St. Peter’s clergy offer a service of Holy Eucharist in the Chapel. This brief service of Holy Communion is a great way to spend the lunch hour in Uptown and to worship alongside a smaller congregation of parishioners.

Organ Recital Series to Celebrate the Tenth (+2) Anniversary of C. B. Fisk Opus 136. In November of 2010 our magnificent pipe organ, C. B. Fisk Opus 136, was dedicated during the culmination of the renovation of the St. Peter’s nave. We had planned a special celebration for the tenth anniversary, but the pandemic set us back a bit. On Saturday, March 19, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. Elizabeth Lenti, St. Peter’s Director of Music and Organist, will launch the celebratory series with the first of five recitals. Subsequent recitalists include Ben Outen, Patrick Pope, Aaron Goen, and Todd Wilson. Learn more in Elizabeth’s announcement on our website: st-peters.org/organ-recital-series.

Learning

The Adult Forum in Lent, Sunday, 10:00 a.m. During Lent, Father Jacob and Mother Amanda will lead the Adult Forum as we work through Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan’s book, The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem. Reading the book is not necessary, but if you do choose to read along, the schedule is as follows: 

March 13 – Tuesday and Wednesday 
March 20 – Maundy Thursday 
March 27 – Good Friday 
April 3 – Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday

Monday Night Bible Study, 6:30–8:00 p.m. We will study the Gospel According to Luke  using N. T. Wright’s Study Guide, which is available from Amazon. There is weekly preparation and everyone is invited to attend. For more information, contact Ruth Woodend (rbwoodend@gmail.com).

Wednesday Afternoon Book Group, 1:00–2:00 p.m. The book group is reading Sacred Earth Sacred Soul by John Philip Newell. Contact Ruth Woodend (rbwoodend@gmail.com, 704-661-4687) for further details.

Wednesday Night Bible Study, 7:00–8:00 p.m. Wednesday Night Bible Study is studying several of Paul’s letters this spring, starting with Galatians. No preparation is needed, but contact Mother Amanda (astephenson@st-peters.org) with any questions or if you would like to read ahead. Join on Zoom at st-peters.org/biblestudy-wednesday.

Diocesan Book Group, Mondays, 12:00–1:00 p.m. Beginning March 7, the diocese will lead a group study on the book, The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby. More information and registration is available here: https://bit.ly/ColorofCompromise. For additional information, contact Jenny Beaumont (jenny.beaumont@episdionc.org), Missioner for Adult and Lifelong Formation.

Community Life

Senior Class Luncheon, March 15, 11:30 a.m. The Senior Class will meet at Leroy Fox, (705 S. Sharon Amity Road).  For more information and to RSVP contact Sue Martin (suewmartin123@gmail.com, 704-364-9061).

Sunday Welcome Desk Volunteers Needed. Every Sunday a parishioner assists in welcoming  people to the Parish House. Staffed in four one-hour shifts between 8:00 a.m. and Noon, we are seeking enough volunteers so that this is just a one-hour per month commitment. If you are interested, contact Leigh Dixon (ldixon@st-peters.org, 704-749-6142). 

Easter Flowers. Special contributions in memory or honor of loved ones help to fund the beautiful flowers for Eastertide observances, beginning with the Great Vigil of Easter on April 16. For names to be printed in the worship service leaflets, the deadline is Wednesday, April 6. Mail a check to the business office at St. Peter’s, indicating “Easter Flowers and Music” in the memo line; contact Parish Administrator, Leigh Dixon (ldixon@st-peters.org, 704-749-6142); or donate online.

Upcoming 20s30s Fellowship Events. Please mark your calendar for the following 20s30s fellowship opportunities. More details of each event will follow closer to the date. March 18, 6:00 p.m. – Mini-Golf @ Stroke (Plaza Midwood) www.strokeputt.com; March 31, 7:00 p.m. – Trivia @ The Chamber Wooden Robot Brewery (NoDa, woodenrobotbrewery.com/location/the-chamber); April 3, 12:30 p.m. – First Sunday Brunch – Location TBD; April 22, 6:00 p.m. – Brewery Hangout with Food Trucks @ Resident Culture (Plaza Midwood) https://residentculturebrewing.com; April 30, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – White Water Center (whitewater.org).

Episcopal Relief & Development Ukraine Response: As we pray for an end to violence and for those fleeing Ukraine, please also pray for Episcopal Relief & Development and other ecumenical agencies working to respond to the current crisis. Specific needs will change as the crisis evolves. As of right now, there is a need for food, water, and shelter. Please consider partnering with Episcopal Relief & Development in this response. Visit episcopalrelief.org/ukraine-crisis for more information and to donate.

Episcopal Church Women Spring Conference, Saturday, April 2, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. The Episcopal Church Women of the Charlotte Convocation invite you to attend the spring program at Christ Church (1412 Providence Road). With the guidance of the authors of “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century,” the gathering will focus on the ideas put forward in this award-winning book and is part of the ongoing effort to build the Beloved Community in the Diocese of North Carolina. For more about this opportunity for learning, inspiration, and fellowship, and to register, visit www.ecw-nc.org. If you register, please contact Nelda Leon (neldaleon03@gmail.com) who is organizing the St. Peter’s delegation. 

Contact Tracing for COVID-19 Infections. The Diocese of North Carolina requires worshiping communities to notify parishioners in the event of possible COVID transmission during worship or at other events. If you test positive for COVID-19 and have recently attended an in-person gathering at St. Peter’s, please contact a member of the clergy. Your name and information will not be shared and confidentiality will be maintained in all circumstances. 

Prayer Requests. As a community, we offer support to one another through prayer. Requests may be made in two ways: Submit your request online at st-peters.org/make-a-prayer-request or contact Clergy Assistant, Michael Talbert (mtalbert@st-peters.org, 704-749-6141). Persons who have given consent for their names to be printed will be read aloud and listed for four Sundays unless a more extended period is requested. Intercessions are offered during Sunday and weekday worship and daily by the Clergy and Pastoral Care Team. 

Pastoral Care: Sharing and Responding to Concerns. To alert the clergy regarding a pastoral concern, send an email to Father Jacob (jpierce@st-peters.org) or Mother Amanda (astephenson@st-peters.org). For pastoral emergencies such as hospitalizations, dial the Clergy On-Call Phone at 704-749-6175. This process is the best way to communicate pastoral needs and ensure a response from a member of the clergy or pastoral care team.

Seeds for a Greener Lent

Food waste is a problem first because Americans waste 40% of their food (savethefood.com).  Reducing food waste is at the top of Project Drawdown’s “solutions for climate change and sustainable development,” chiefly because food waste in landfills releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Waste facilities also raise environmental justice concerns by their location disproportionally near low income communities (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1964896).

Let’s be good stewards of the Earth by planning meals carefully, eating leftovers, and then composting. Composting in the backyard does not give off odors or attract animals—it just makes nutrient-rich humus (www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home). Bokashi composting can be done indoors in a pail (bokashicycle.com). Crown Town Compost can do it for you. They will pick up your food waste and make compost that is used by local farmers and gardeners (www.crowntowncompost.com). Plant waste. Reap rich soil.

Outreach & Social Justice

Room in the Inn is in need of your donations, particularly the following items:  deodorant, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrushes, chapstick, socks. These items are passed out to twelve guests every week, so the need is ongoing. There is a basket in the lobby under the parking ticket scanner to leave your donations. If you have questions or want to get involved in other ways with RITI, contact Bert Miano (miano204@gmail.com, 205-222-7527).

The Big Spring Clean, Saturday, March 26, 9:00 a.m. to Noon. The City of Charlotte is hosting a great event to help care for the earth by picking up litter in our local waterways. Gather a group and register online: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050d4cadac2ba2fc1-volunthursdays. More site-specific information will be sent to those that register a few days prior to the event. If you have any questions, email ashley.smith@mecknc.gov. The Eco-Justice Committee hopes to see many of our St. Peter’s people out there cleaning those streams.