Be Still and Know that I am God. Increasingly the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas has become a frenzied time of parties, shopping and secular activities that often leave no room in our souls to contemplate the coming of Christ to “incarnate” the light of peace and hope within us and our world. A day of quiet retreat gives us time to breathe in the Holy Spirit and re-center our lives, not within our egos, but in the abiding presence, mercy, and love of our Creator.
Setting aside several hours at this time of year can center us in the true meaning of Christmas, hope for peace and healing in our personal lives, our community and the world. Setting aside time to be in God’s presence is a deeply enriching spiritual practice. Join with others on Saturday, December 16, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to experience this re-centering of your life and soul.
Periods of silence and personal reflection will be Interspersed with readings or reflections. A simple lunch will be provided. You may want to bring a notebook for writing or sketching your own reflective experiences. You are also encouraged to engage in centering prayer during the silent period of the “quiet day.”
Lessons and Carols is a favorite Advent or Christmas service that combines the reading of nine scripture lessons from the Old and New Testament with choir anthems and congregational carol singing. St. Peter’s is offering the community the opportunity to participate in this traditional service (most famously associated with Kings Chapel, Oxford) on Sunday, December 17 at 5:30. This is a lovely and meaningful way to gain insight into Christian life – and we invite all spiritual sojourners to join in stepping aside from from the commercial frenzy of this season and into a vision of the just, compassionate and healed world that God wants for his creation.
+Rev Lael Sorensen will be conducting morning prayer at 7 a.m. in the Choir Stalls in the Sanctuary every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning during Advent. As part of your Advent journey, join her for Morning Prayer on any of the week-day mornings it is being celebrated during this season. This reflective prayer service prepares us for the the coming of Christ and offers a meaningful alternative to the frenzy activity that so often clouds the true meaning of Christmas. Use of daily prayers to mark the times of the day has been a traditional practice in Judaism and Christianity. The monastic form includes matins (at midnight or cockcrow), prime (the first hour), terce (the third hour), sext (the sixth hour); none (the ninth hour), and compline (bedtime). After the Reformation, in the Anglican (Episcopal) tradition, the eight monastic offices were reduced to congregational Morning and Evening Prayer.
December 5, 8, 19, 22 – 9:00 -10:30 a.m. Contemplative Prayer Workshop
– 7:30 pm, Christmas Eve, Carol Sing
– 8:00 pm, Christmas Eve, Festive Candlelight Eucharist with Choir
December 25 – 10:30am, Christmas Day, Festive Eucharist for the Nativity
– 12:30 pm Community Christmas Meal
December 31 — Christmas 1 with services at 8:00 and 10:30
January 6, 2018 – 5:30pm, Twelfth Night, Choral Feast of the Epiphany with Music, Sermon, Holy Eucharist and Reception following in the Parish Hall.
ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY to learn/practice Contemplative Prayer – Judy Mullins will again be leading a four-session introduction to Christian contemplative prayer this Advent. This will be a repeat of her offering this past summer(which led to a regular 2nd and 4th Saturday meeting each mont (see below) designed especially for those who could not join the group in July but open to all, including those who would welcome a refresher. The four 90-minute Advent sessions begin at 9:00am and will be held on Tuesday and Friday mornings on December 5, 8, 19, and 22. Because of the nature of contemplative prayer, participants should plan to attend all sessions; no drop-ins, please.
Ongoing Group :Those who attend who are interested in being part of an ongoing Centering Prayer group are encouraged to join the St. Peter’s Centering Prayer group regularly meeting the 2nd and 4th Saturday morning of each month from 8:30 – 9:30 in the reception area outside the Rectors office. Newcomers are asked to arrive at 8:15 am for an overview of how the Saturday session functions. For more information about the Advent worksop, contact the Church Office at 594-8191.
Dec. 12, at Noon in the Parlor: LUNCH AND OPENING CONVERSATION ON OUR SPIRITUAL JOURNEYS IN THE SECOND HALF OF LIFE. Lael, our rector, is scheduling a series of programs in coming months that address the our spiritual journeys as we age. This is an opportunity for us as members of St. Peter’s to invite friends to join us for a light lunch and on open-ended, facilitated conversation (Mary Alice Bird, facilitator) to share thoughts and topics we would like to see addressed in this upcoming series. As aging children, parents, friends, or children – our shared life experiences – whether small or large, practical or theological – all open avenues to deeper communication with God and one another. Lunch provided, but to help plan for for the day, please sign up on the church bulletin board or call the office or let Mary Alice or Lael know you are coming. And bring a friend.
(photo from 2014 Christmas Fair). Saturday, November 18, St. Peter’s will hold a Christmas Fair with foods, crafts, and gift quality recyclable items on sale. The Episcopal Church Women will have a Cookie Walk (your chance to buy a dozen of different home made Christmas cookies) and frozen foods. Individual crafters will offer theme-decorated table top trees and artificial wreaths, fresh greens wreaths, hand made accessories, church mice and heart sachets, mittens, scarves, hats, and other items. There will also be a table of those select white elephant’s that just might be the perfect gift. Join us for the fun, fellowship and chance to purchase “unique boutique” items for family and friends.
Thanksgiving Community Meal November 23rd. Once again, St. Peter’s is hosting and coordinating a Community-wide Thanksgiving Dinner. Turkey Dinner with all the traditional dishes and trimmings.
Join with us to help prepare this meal or to share the dinner with others. Last year, over 400 meals were served. Donations to help support the cost, provide food, or help prepare and serve are needed and welcome. Call the Church Office (594-8191) if you want to volunteer and the Administrative Assistant will put you in touch with the coordinator of the Dinner. You can also check the bulletin board in the parish hall for needs, and sign up as you are able. To make an online donation, use the DONATE button at the top of this page or send your contribution, earmarked Thanksgiving Dinner, to the church office, 11 White St., Rockland, 04841.
A Thanksgiving Day Eucharist service also will be offered in the sanctuary at 10:30 am ( followed by the Community Meal).
November 2 – All Souls’ Evensong, 5:30 pm, A service of music and prayer to remember deceased family and friends, is particularly dedicated to those whose lives have been touched by suicide: family members, friends, healthcare workers, police, social workers. As a community, we will remember all who have died by their own hand and to share of the mourning of all people touched by the loss of friends, family, and community members. Together we will acknowledge our collective reluctance to reach out to those who suffer, and will stand in witness to God’s redeeming love for all. Although this service will draw on the Anglican tradition of Evensong and the centuries old Christian All Souls tradition to remember those who have died, this service is purposefully intended to encompass people of all faiths., and we invite all persons mourning those who have died to join us for this service of remembrance.
Join members and friends Saturday, October 21st at 5:00pm for the Annual Harvest Dinner. This is a time for fun, fellowship, food, and an opportunity to give thanks. It is also a great time for those new to St. Peter’s or or normally only attend one of the two Sunday services, to have fellowship and conversation about Christian live with everyone connected with the church. The Vestry will provide main dishes; all others, as able, are asked to bring a side dish (salad, veg, bread, or dessert). But don’t stay a way if you have a busy schedule or no longer cook much, there is always more than enough food. It is helpful to let the office (594-8191) know if you plan to attend, so we are sure to set up enough tables.