Notes from our Annual Meeting

When churches announce their Annual Meeting, many people groan. “Oh no, that long meeting again.”  Not so at St. Peter’s. We had our Annual Meeting on January 19, with a big turnout of all ages, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup (thank you Vestry), exciting information and planning in small groups.  Pictures below!

The most exciting news is that we have begun the move into full self-sufficiency.  This means that in a few years we will have parish status from the Diocese of Virginia and no longer be a mission church.  We’ve been a mission of the diocese for our entire existence, over 100 years.  That is changing! How?

We’ve met our goal of $70,000 in pledges, and it is still growing.  Supporting ourselves financially is a big step in becoming a parish.  Our budget for this year sets expenditures at $108,215, and our income is currently at $121,000.  This is a surplus budget, and one of our challenges throughout the year is to maintain that while still supporting our programs, needs, and growth in new initiatives. To help you and friends of St. Peter’s, our website now accepts online payments.  You can use your credit/debit card or PayPal.  Be sure to cruise around the new website when you’re there too!

In the expenditures side of the budget there is $3000 allocated for programs.  One of these that we’re very excited about is our children and youth program.  If you’ve been to St. Peter’s in the past few months, we hope you’ve noticed our new infant and toddler nursery.  It is just off the sanctuary and is fully equipped for our little ones.  Thank you to everyone who helped make it possible and so beautiful.  In the next few weeks we will explore various options for staffing the nursery.  Watch out for news! Our  other programs for children continue to grow.  Teens are now involved in worship.

Dr. Ron Carey, Sr. Warden, identified five challenges in 2020. Keep an eye on our expenditures throughout the year; increase sources of income especially through such areas as new pledges and gifts, rentals, corporate sharing (Kroger’s community rewards program, for example); maintain our connections with friends and family who live outside of Richmond and those nearby whom we’ve lost contact with; maintain and grow our neighborhood connections and relationships; increase opportunities for our church family to be together and share with each other.

The last section of the meeting was devoted to discussion groups, convened by the members of the Vestry.  These were: children and youth; history hall; self-sustainability; neighborhood, and Brunswick Stew.  Watch this website and the Sunday bulletins and announcements for updates and news.  If you have questions and want to be involved contact any member of the vestry or the church office.

What makes a church an exciting place where people want to be, to join and to participate?  What makes it a meaningful place where people are empowered to share the Good News of God in Jesus Christ and invite others to join them?  Many factors, no doubt, but friendliness, sincerity, care for each other, passion for the neighborhood, great preaching, vibrant worship, people of all ages, diversity, and of course…food and fellowship. St. Peter’s has all this and more.  Join us!

Keep up with us and stay in touch:

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church                     https://stpeterschurchhill.org

1719 N 22nd St.                          email: stpeterschurchhill@gmail.com

Richmond, VA 23223                                           phone: 804-643-2686

On Facebook: stpeterschurchhill

WomanKind 2020

Fearless Women of Faith, theme of this year’s WomanKind conference at St. James’s in Richmond, will be held March 20-21.

Fear. Its prevalence in our culture is growing. Fear of the other. Fear of violence. Fear of the future. Fear of financial difficulties. There is much for women to be afraid of in this world. But Christian women have historically been fearless in the face of violence because of their faith in Christ. 

From the first stories of Genesis, WomanKind 2020 keynote speaker Lisa Sharon Harper draws on God’s original vision of a world that is “very good” — is shalom. Harper declares that shalom is the Gospel’s vision for us now — shalom between us and God, within our broken families, between races and nations. Shalom.

WomanKind’s 2020 theme Fearless Women of Faith explores and celebrates how God has inspired fearlessness in us. In our keynote sessions, workshops, and worship, we will examine fearlessness in the face of injustice, violence against women, life transitions, the unknown, vulnerability, and even fear itself. We will look to our sacred stories in the Bible and our own personal stories, and ask for the Holy Spirit to continue to reveal and plant in us holy peace, courage and perseverance. Together, we will seek Christ’s healing, strength, and fearlessness. 

The keynote speaker is Lisa Sharon Harper. Ms. Harper leads trainings that increase clergy and community leaders’ capacity to organize people of faith toward a just world. A prolific speaker, writer and activist, Ms. Harper is the founder and president of FreedomRoad.us, a consulting group dedicated to shrinking the narrative gap in our nation by designing forums and experiences that bring common understanding, common commitment and common action. Read more, including a list of her books.

More information, list of workshops and registration is available here. You can also follow the conference on Facebook.

Understanding the Church Seasons: Epiphany

The Feast of the Epiphany is observed on January 6th.  It goes by other names in various church traditions.  In Hispanic and Latin culture, as well as some places in Europe, it is known as “Three Kings’ Day” (Spanish: el Dia de los Tres Reyes, la Fiesta de Reyes, or el Dia de los Reyes Magos.    Epiphany comes from a Greek word meaning, “showing forth, appearance, manifestation or revelation.”  On January 6th we recognize the Manifestation, or revelation, of Christ to the Gentiles—the good news that Jesus revealed God to all people. 

Epiphany is the climax of the Christmas Season and the Twelve Days of Christmas, which are counted from December 25th until January 5th.  The day before Epiphany is the twelfth day of Christmas, and is sometimes called Twelfth Night, an occasion for feasting in some cultures. In some cultures, the baking of a special King’s Cake is part of the festivities of Epiphany (a King’s Cake is part of the observance of Mardi Gras in French Catholic culture of the Southern USA). 

The Feast of the Epiphany is followed by the “Sundays after the Epiphany”.  The length of this season of Epiphany varies from four to nine Sundays, depending on the date of Easter for that year.   In 2020 Epiphany will have 7 Sundays, with the Last Sunday after the Epiphany on February 23.  Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins, will be February 26.  Easter will be April 12.  Fun Fact: 2020 is a Leap Year so February will have 29 days this year!

The season of Epiphany has several important Holy Days within it.  The first Sunday after the Epiphany is The Baptism of Our Lord.  January 18th is The Confession of St. Peter; the 25th is the Conversion of St. Paul; and February 2nd is the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple (also known as Candlemas; not also known as Groundhog Day!). Some minor feast days are Absalom Jones (Priest) on February 13th and Frederick Douglass on February 20th.

White is the color for the Feast of the Epiphany and the days up to and including the next Sunday, which is the Baptism of our Lord. White is the festival color of the church. Green is the color for the remaining Sundays after Epiphany.  Green represents the ongoing life of the church.

The best-known symbols of Epiphany are the three wise men and the star.  The story of the magi is found only in Matthew (2:1-12).  Magi were people who studied the movement of the stars to interpret their meaning.  They were Gentiles, not Jews.  The single star that the magi followed recalls the manifestation of Christ to the world.