Bear with one another

As the flowers begin to bloom in the church yard, so does hope begin to build within our hearts. We are encouraged by the release of the different vaccines and hopeful that this is the harbinger of the end of the pandemic. Some of us have been able to secure our shots and I encourage us all to do so when they become available. We are now entering into a transitional phase.

In the Letter to the Ephesians, the writer strives to teach these Christians about what it means to be part of Christian community or what we now call the Church. In the fourth chapter, we read, “I therefore…, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” As anyone who has ever lived in community knows, bearing with one another is seldom easy. It challenges us to think beyond our own needs and wants and to think of the common good.

Right now, some of us are excited because we have received our vaccine. We are ready for this to be over and for things to return to the way they used to be. Others have not yet gotten their vaccine yet and are wary of going out and getting exposed to Covid-19. It is becoming increasingly scarier too, because more and more people are not wearing their masks or practicing physical distancing. We are in effect, becoming a community divided.

As Christians, we know that we are all part of the Body of Christ. We know that our lives are intimately connected and that we are called to bear with one another. When one is sad, we share in their sadness. When one is blessed, we share in the blessing. When one is in need, we reach out and give what we can. This is our calling from Jesus. This is who we are.

As tempting as it may be to rush back to being “normal”, we need to be patient and wait until access to the vaccine is universally available. It is simply unchristian to do otherwise. This pandemic has changes us in many ways, most of which we are only beginning to understand. What we cannot allow to change, what we must hold fast to, is the nature of practicing our faith as we embody the love of Christ to each. I implore you to be patient and to strive to be kind. We are all going through this storm together, but each of us have had different experiences and losses. Now is not the time for selfishness. Please remember your calling as the Baptized and “seek to serve Christ in ALL persons, loving your neighbor as yourself,” just as we have promised at every baptism.

Throughout the pandemic, the Vestry and I have worked very closely and taken our responsibility very seriously. Our plan is to have an outdoor Easter morning service at Pilottown Cemetery. The registration for this service will be available electronically next week for about 100 people. We will also webcast a service from the Church at 9am as we have done throughout the pandemic, that will not be open for attendance. Our hope is to resume regular weekly service in the Church on the feast of Pentecost (May 23rd). When we do come back, we will have some safety limitations still in place which may include no singing, no chalice at communion, no touching during the sharing of the peace and the like. Of course this is dependent upon the continue decline of new infections and increase in vaccinations. I am happy to speak with you and answer any questions you may have.

Please bear with the Vestry and with me. Bear also with one another. Even apart, we have been together. It is how we can make it through this time so that we can all be safely together.

Please keep me in your prayers and please know that you are daily in mine. 

Jeffrey+

St. Peter's is offering two online Bible study

classes each week.

Thursday morning at 9:30 am Fr. Jeff and Rabbi Beth Cohen are leading a study of Mark's gospel on Zoom. (Please note new meeting day and time!) This group has lively and informative discussions about the text they are studying together. There is always room for more participants if you are interested.


Wednesday Evening Bible Study meets from 7 to 8:30 pm every Wednesday via Zoom.

Beginning January 6th we will be reading 1st and 2nd Samuel. 

This history of Samuel, Saul and David is rich in stories that we all know well, as well as stories of heroines and heroes who don’t get as much press as we might hope for - Hannah and Bathsheba, Nathan and Absalom - and much about the Ark, Philistines, battles, betrayals, songs of triumph and sorrow.... lots to chew on!  

Come and join in the discussions. Contact the office for the Zoom links. 

Mission & Outreach Study Group

New Book Study Group Starting

The Mission and Outreach Committee will be sponsoring a 7 Week Book Study Group via Zoom beginning Thursday, April 15  from 6 – 7/730PM, using the Questing curriculum detailed below.   Fr. Mark, John Michael Sophos, and Mthr. Elizabeth Kaeton, a priest at St. Paul’s Georgetown,  will be co facilitating; and  we are inviting our sisters and brothers at St. Paul’s  to join us.  Participants need to order their own books – available in paperback or Kindle versions via Amazon.  

Those interested in joining this group should contact John Michael Sophos – jsophos611@comcast.net  or 202 560 4422.   We look forward  to sharing The Way of Love to global mission with story-telling, Bible studies, theological reflection and suggestions for prayer and action with each other as we continue to grow in The Spirit.


‘Questing: The Way of Love in Global Mission: A Seven-Week Global Mission Curriculum’ is now available in both paperback and ebook formats! Recently published by GEMN and co-authored by Grace Burton-Edwards and Titus Presler, the new seven-session study series for individuals and congregations applies the steps of the well-known Way of Love to global mission with story-telling, Bible studies, theological reflection and suggestions for prayer and action.

 

This curriculum is perfect for individuals and small groups desiring to pursue a study in global mission. Do you long to engage the wider world but wonder where to begin? Would you like to develop a spiritual relationship with people in another culture? Is your faith community looking for ways to pursue God’s mission on a global basis?

Questing offers a way to being this exploration.

A New program offering


YOUR NEIGHBOR'S FAITH: 

A Monthly Conversation on Important Topics of Faith

Led by Clergy of Different Faith Communities


Beginning on Tuesday, March 23 from 7 – 8:00 pm, and continuing on each fourth Tuesday of the month, community members are invited to join a zoom gathering with a group of multi-faith clergy in Rehoboth and Lewes to connect and explore important topics of the day and how we as communities of faith respond to them. The format of the hour we are together is:

7 – 7:10 – Clergy presents on the topic and offers one or two questions for individual group discussion.

7:10 – 7:35 – Participants will be put into a breakout room with 4 or 5 others where they will introduce themselves and discuss the questions presented.

7:35 – 7:55 – A representative from each breakout room group will share one or two key learnings from the discussion within their group.

7:55 – 8:00 – Closing.


Rabbi Beth Cohen, Rabbi Emeritus, Seaside Jewish Community, will convene the first program on March 23 session to discuss the topic “What Does It Mean To Love Your Neighbor?”.

 

Schedule of leadership for the next several months is:

Tuesday, April 27 – Imam Arqum Rashid, Imam Islamic Society of Central Delaware

Tuesday, May 25 – Rev Marjorie Belmont-Burns, Sr Pastor Lewes United Methodist Charge

Tuesday, June 22 – Rev Dr Vicki Gordy-Stith, Sr Pastor Epworth United Methodist Church

Tuesday, July 27 – Fr Mark Harris, Associate Pastor St Peter’s Episcopal Church

 

You will need to register if you are interested in participating in any of the programs. Please register by clicking here.

A notice will be sent to all registrants prior to each session with the access information.

 

We look forward to our multi-faceted conversations with participants from across a variety of faith communities.

POD Church for Saint Peter’s Church, Lewes DE

Since the days of the early church, lay people have assisted the clergy in caring for the sick and the disabled members of the community of faith by bearing the sacrament of the Eucharist to those not able to attend the service. Over the years, the form of this ministry has waxed and waned depending upon the context of the time, supply of clergy and the leadership of the Church. The Episcopal Church has authorized this ministry as licensed by the Bishop of the diocese under the supervision of the leadership of the parish. By definition, A Eucharistic Visitor is a lay person authorized to take the Consecrated Elements in a timely manner following a Celebration of Holy Eucharist to members of the congregation who, by reason of illness or infirmity, are unable to be present at the Celebration.

            During the time this pandemic, the shared sacramental life of the congregations has been stressed by the inability to physically gather and share in the breaking of the bread. Because of the limitations of testing, it is difficult to know who is infected with the virus and able to spread COVID-19. While worship services have been available online and some congregations have been able to regather, the time of this pandemic has continued beyond what anyone could have anticipated. As cases continue to climb, a definite end date remains elusive.

            The Episcopal Church in Delaware and St. Peter’s Church, Lewes in particular have a significant percentage of older adult (65+), many of whom also have additional significant health conditions. While they are, for the most part, not going out or socializing in public, they have grouped themselves into small social groups, or pods, for companionship. Young families have done the same, with two or more families agreeing to isolate and only socialize within a limited circle of members. In both these instances, they have agreed not to gather if they are not feeling well or have been exposed to others who are COVID positive within the last two weeks.

            The idea behind POD church is to use these existing groups as a means of dispensing the sacrament. Since the virus limits or prevents us from gathering in large groups, these pods could gather on Sunday morning to share communion. They could watch the liturgy live from St. Peter’s as it is webcasted on Facebook and YouTube, and, at the appropriate time, a Lay Eucharistic Visitor* would open a pyx and share the host. Following the service, they could discuss the Lectionary readings and the Sermon. They would pick up the pyx the Friday before the service and return them to Church to be cleansed on Monday after the service.

            In order to do this, LEVs need to be trained by the Rector and licensed by the Bishop. They would meet all of the qualifications as stipulated by the canons. The Deacon (Chris Miller-Marcin) will, as preferred by the canons, oversee the distribution and recollection of the pyx bags. Each small bag will contain a pyx with enough consecrated hosts for the pod, a small bottle of hand sanitizer and a corporal. The LEVs will be trained in how to respectfully transport and reserve the sacrament prior to the service. They will only distribute the sacrament while watching the Sunday service live. The license would be limited for this specific ministry and for a limited time (six months).

            Pods could range in size from 2 to 10 people. They would need to commit to each other and mutually agree to only gather if they are feeling healthy, without any symptoms of COVID, no temperature above 99.9 degrees F, not be exposed to anyone with COVID in the last two weeks and actively minimizing their physical exposure to others. The pod would need to select a place to gather with access to watching the service while maintaining appropriate social distancing. They would also agree to wear masks except when consuming the sacrament, (unless all of the members of a pod live together).

            This approach minimizes the risk of exposure, fits within the liturgical practices and canons of the Episcopal Church and meets the needs for those longing for communion but concerned about physically attending a church service. It harkens back to our early beginnings as house churches and offers a way forward for the challenges of this time.

HOW YOU CAN PARTICIPATE: check all that apply and return to jross@stpeterslewes.org

_____I would like to be in a POD.

_____I am in a POD and we would like to participate. POD members:

_____I would like to have a license to be a Lay Eucharistic Visitor.

_____I have a web enabled TV and sufficient space to host a POD.

*A Lay Eucharistic Visitor is a lay person authorized to take the Consecrated Elements in a timely manner following a Celebration of Holy Eucharist to members of the congregation who, by reason of illness or infirmity, were unable to be present at the Celebration. A Eucharistic Visitor should normally act under the direction of a Deacon, if any, or otherwise, the Member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith.

Wednesday Spirituality Group

A group is meeting via Zoom on Wednesdays from 1:30 to 2:30 pm, with the Rev. Carlyle Gill as moderator, to consider readings that may lead to greater wisdom and understanding.  We are currently reading “The Seat of the Soul” by Gary Zukav, which can be obtained from Browseabout Books as well as from Amazon.  All are welcome to join us for open and thoughtful discussion; reading is not necessary for participation in the group. 

Please contact the office if you would like to know how to participate.

St. Peter's Readers

St. Peter’s Readers has been meeting using the Zoom platform on Sundays at 5:00.

We will continue to meet at 5 p.m. while we are using the Zoom platform.


April is National Poetry Month. We honor our founder and poet Betsy Farlow by sharing our favorite poems, poetry collections or poems of our own.  From Shakespeare to Amanda Gorman, whatever is your favorite verse, please join us for a poetry celebration on Sunday, April 19.


Our May choice is non fiction: The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel.


For information on how to join this group, please contact the office.

We want to see YOU

The warm, loving community full of genuine Christian hospitality is a hallmark of life at St. Peter's. To help us feel connected in our time of quarantine, we are asking for photos of you – individuals, couples, and families. These photos will be shared as a slideshow in upcoming weeks during our 9:00 Sunday Eucharist on YouTube. To get clear photos, just use your smartphone with good lighting and upload your pictures HERE.

Godly Play

It’s time to Tune-Into Godly Play


When: - Classes begin Sunday September 20, 2020.

Where: - In your home on Facebook Live

Time: -  11:00  am

How: - Virtually on Facebook Live at 11:00

Until: - Sunday School will end on May 9, 2021.


We look forward to your virtual attendance for Godly Play. It’s a chance to see your friends, to share our faith in creative and meaningful ways, and to be together in that faith, and to learn more about our faith.

Be on the lookout for Sunday School Packets. They will be arriving soon in your mailbox!

As we did in class, use your imagination! During the lessons use Legos, create pictures, mold clay, or find other creative ways to rebuild the story you are learning about. See you soon ~ virtually for now!

Blessings,

The Rev. Deacon Chris Miller- Marcin,

Children Christian Formation Coordinator

SPY Moves to Sundays at 7pm

Saint Peter’s Youth is now meeting on Zoom Sunday evenings at 7 pm. The Sunday evening time works better for some of our youth members. We welcome any young person to join us Sunday evening as we read and discuss the Gospel and learn more about the Bible and the church and have some fun. If you would like to join us please send an email to EdChamberlain@stpeterslewes.org. and we will send you the Zoom link.

Now you can wear a replica of our new Steeple Cross!

Local jeweler Albert Frank has designed silver and gold versions of the new Steering Cross from the steeple of St. Peter's. These are custom made to order and about 1.5 inches in height. If you would like one for your very own, please give him a call at 302-645-1718. Gold is market rate, silver is about $150.

Our Weekly Service schedule

Sunday

9 am Holy Eucharist on YouTube and Facebook

5 pm Evening Prayer on Facebook


Monday - Friday

9 am Morning Prayer on Facebook


Monday - Saturday

5 pm Evening Prayer on Facebook


Remember: you do NOT need to have a Facebook account to watch our services on Facebook - or to look at anything we post on Facebook, for that matter. 

Nor do you need to create a profile on YouTube to watch our videos there.