In the two weeks leading up to the presidential inauguration, the National Cathedral will offer brief online prayers for our nation, together with interfaith and ecumenical colleagues, each day at 5:00 PM. We invite you to spend five minutes in prayers for safety, solace and national unity.
Bishop Thomas J. Brown issued the following call to prayer for our nation on January 6, 2021:
Dear friends, earlier this afternoon people stormed our nation’s capitol offices and are threatening both our lawmakers and our democratic process, and indeed the very understanding of what it means to live in a democracy.
We have long been a country and a people who have stood for the right and the principles on which peaceful demonstrations occur. And we denounce and we deplore what is happening right now.
The need for us to come together as a country and the need for us to understand each other is very great. But so is the need for leaders to denounce violence in every form.
Earlier this afternoon Presiding Bishop Curry led us in prayers and we have shared those with you, and I invite you to use those throughout this evening as well as in the days to come.
Tonight, I bid you to hold one other close, to light a candle, and join together (virtually or socially distant) along with the Diocese of Maine, the Maine Council of Churches, with Maine congregations, people of faith, and people of goodwill at 7pm for a candlelight prayer vigil.
We will be standing together in the Spirit (even if we are alone on our front porch), unified by our love of neighbor and Creator and by our commitment to establishing a peaceful and just community and nation where grace, dignity, respect, truth and compassion are protected and preserved.
For now, let us pray.
Save us, O God, from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. When things are dark either in our own lives or in the life of our nation, stir our memory of those who have long-hoped in your Son, Jesus, those who found in him and his cross and rising again, a peace that surpasses understanding. At the same time, as you make us remember, equip us with the courage to work together to make everything and everybody shine with the new splendor of peace and harmony. We pray in your holy names, Amen. And now, may the blessing of God Almighty, the Creator, the Christ and the Holy Spirit be upon you and remain with you this night and forevermore. Amen.
Listen to Bishop Curry’s message to the Church in this time of national crisis.
We will gather outside in front of St. Peter’s at 5:30 PM for an in-person Christmas Eve service. The usual CDC protocols will be in place: please maintain social distancing between family groups and wear a mask. We will take information for contact tracing. As we have in the past, I invite you to bring your own communion bread and wine. We will have some chairs to share with those who need support, but most of us please plan to stand for the (abbreviated) service. The current forecast is for cloudy skies with rain holding off until later. Hale and hearty, please bundle up and join us for this special Feast of the Nativity.
For those not wanting to venture forth, know that you can watch the Christmas Eve Service at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland with Bishop Brown preaching. This prerecorded service will “go live” at 5:00pm from the St. Luke’s LiveStream Page or from the St. Luke’s YouTube Page.
Christmas Day – 9:00 – 11:00am, Private Prayer in the Church
On Christmas Day the church sanctuary will be open for private prayer from 9:00 – 11:00 AM. The church looks lovely with poinsettias and the crèche in place, and candles will be lit. We will continue to maintain CDC protocols: we will limit the numbers of people in the sanctuary at one time, contact tracing information will be taken, and we ask that you wear a mask and keep 6′ social distance between family groups. But you are welcome to come in, sit for quiet contemplation, kneel at the altar, and receive holy communion from the reserved sacrament.
A Christmas Day service from St. Luke’s Cathedral will also be available for viewing at 10:00am. You can watch it from the St. Luke’s LiveStream Page.
The Community Speakers Series organized by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is resuming using the media tool Zoom. The first program in this new series will be at 2:00 PM on Sunday, December 13, and is titled Love in a Time of Coronavirus with presenter Manette Pottle. She will speak to her own experiences of the losses, the challenges, and the unexpected gifts of the pandemic, and what she has learned about maintaining relationships. Attendees will be invited to share their own experiences in small groups followed by a short concluding discussion.
Note that the program begins promptly at 2:00, but you can join as early as 1:30 so that you will have time to adjust your device settings.
Manette is a member of the St. Peter’s community and a documentary film producer with a passion for justice and transformative story-telling. Most recently, she produced the documentary Picture a Scientist, about gender bias and discrimination in the sciences, and was a producer of the evangelical environmentalism documentary Behold the Earth. Prior to film production, she produced the Camden International Film Festival, and for many years operated a sustainable landscaping company and farm in Appleton. She earned her B.A. in photography and critical theory at Yale University.
Future programs will cover end of life issues, family conversations, memory and cognitive decline. These topics surround difficult and sensitive issues that are important but often avoided in conversations even with close family members. Future dates will be in 2021 and will be announced later.
Advent, the season of waiting and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ nativity, begins on Sunday, November 29. Here are just a couple of examples of the devotional activities, events and resources available online.
An Advent devotional calendar.
|“With ev’ry passing day, as sunlight disappears, the dusk descends, and prayers ascend for strength to calm our fears”|
The hand-drawn Advent calendar that so many look forward to each year from creators Tom Mousin and Merry Watters is available for 2020. Get it here.
Each day on their calendar offers a Scripture reading and a suggested devotion.
You also can subscribe to receive a daily e-mail on the calendar’s devotions, using the link above.
Other Advent Calendars and Devotions
Way of Love Advent calendar. This Advent calendar accompanies the Journeying the Way of Love Advent curriculum, and offers daily suggestions for engaging in seven “Way of Love” practices: Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest. The calendar can be used as a stand-alone resource to keep nearby and refer to every day.
American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (AFEDJ) Advent calendar offers a glimpse into the lives of Holy Land Christians. Beginning on December 1, AFEDJ will launch a Holy Land Advent calendar to offer a daily glimpse into the lives of Holy Land Christians and the humanitarian ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Start each day of Advent with a splash of joy by opening a door to a photo or a brief video and news from one of the Episcopal ministries in the region. Find the calendar at www.afedj.org/advent.
Our community Thanksgiving Dinner will be from 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM on Thursday, November 26. It will be the same traditional meal, including roast turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, squash, cranberry sauce, and lots of pies, but all served as a take-out meal. We will follow the same Covid-19 procedures used by Loaves and Fishes and will serve the meal at the parish hall door by the parking lot.
If you are considering helping or want to provide food, please contact coordinator Lucia Elder at 207-446-2502. If you would like to support this community meal with a donation, you can do so electronically on this website, using this link. You can also send a check, made payable to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church with “Thanksgiving Meal” in the memo line, to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 11 White Street, Rockland, ME 04841.
Please join us online on Monday, October 11, at 10:00 AM, for a special online service for Indigenous Peoples’ Day. You may watch at any time, but if you’d like to pray with us as a congregation, we invite you to begin the service at 10:00.
The service features liturgy crafted from indigenous resources, a sermon by the Rev. Dr. Bradley Hauff, Missioner for Indigenous Ministries for The Episcopal Church, and music by Hawk Henries of the Chaubunagungamaug band of Nipmuck and The Burnurwurbskek Singers from The Penobscot Nation.
Watch his sermon, “What Did Jesus Do?” delivered at the House of Bishops meeting on September 16, 2020.
Forward Movement offers this resource for daily prayer for the period between October 9 and November 9. Download the booklet here to join in praying for our nation, candidates for office, all who will vote and for those with whom we disagree. May such prayer help us be a calm, compassionate presence in the midst of political strife.