A message from our rector… (from January Keystone)

Posted on Jan 28, 2013

The Bishop Is Coming, the Bishop Is Coming!

Maybe that is too reminiscent of the “Red Coats” for Bennington, but the Right Reverend Thomas Ely, 10th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont, is coming to St. Peter’s on the weekend of the 20th of January.

He is, without a doubt, a devoted Bishop, because he’s coming to both our 8 o’clock and 10 o’clock services and at the peak of winter, no less. He will meet with the Vestry after the 8 o’clock Eucharist and looks forward to meeting folks at the coffee hour after the 10 o’clock Eucharist. The full spectrum of Sacramental Orders will be present – Baptized or Lay Order, Deacon, Priest and Bishop.

It’s gonna be a great time, so stoke up your ideas about the Diocese and this Parish, and about Christianity and the Anglican tradition in general, then let him have it. I’m personally looking forward to this visitation, and hope you are, too.

Much will be going on during the Bishop’s Annual Visitation – one service you will want to be sure to attend is the Feast of the Confession of St. Peter, our Patron, which will be celebrated with Evensong, along with the Institution and Induction of Fr. Justin Lanier as the New Rector of St. Peter’s Church on Friday, January 18, at 6:30 pm.

It is the custom of the Diocese of Vermont to celebrate a new ministry with a visit from the Bishop and a special Liturgy. On January 18th, the Feast of the Confession of St. Peter, we will pray Evensong together and Bishop Tom will induct me as the 27th Rector of St. Peter’s. Our Choirmaster, Derek, is gearing up for this festive occasion and we may be graced with the presence of other local choirs. The start time is 6:30 pm here at the Church and there will be a reception following the service. Invite any and all folks to this occasion – it will be an exciting experience. Peace, justin+

A Note from Our Rector…..

The Christmas season begins for us with the Christmas Pageant and Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. The season continues until the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th, where we commemorate the Magi, the wise men from the East whose ranks no doubt included wise women. What we have in the Magi are people devoted to astrology and reading the cosmos for information of a subtle nature. They are able to read that the universe is ever changed by the incarnation of God, born of the virgin, Mary – Jesus Christ. God is revealed, not only to the Israelites, but also to the Greeks and Romans and even Magi of the near East.

This points to the fact that Christ is born for the entire human family and not simply the Israelites, or the Greeks or the Romans or the specialists of esoteric knowledge such as the Magi. The entire universe bent to gaze and adore the birth of Jesus, everything from stars lighting the way to angels to flocks of sheep. This is a rather odd assortment of visitors to come see this child, and I have to believe that Mary, the Mother of God, was hospitable beyond what is common among most of us. It is hospitality and wisdom that I am considering as I look towards the New Year and the celebration of God manifest in the face of Jesus.

The Holy Family must have seen so many seemingly odd folks in their home and yet hospitality is an invitation to be together. Hospitality is the overflow of a heart for the welfare of the other person, which, unbeknownst to us, is intertwined with our own welfare. In this way we cannot fake hospitality; we can’t just do the things that are labeled hospitable. Hospitality is simply not a behavior. Hospitality is a state of grace, a state of God’s indwelling in our souls overflowing outward through our actions and our being. That means that we will have to attend to our coldness of heart and, more immediately, hardness of head – which is not easy business, and none of us is dispensed from examining ourselves.

During the Epiphany season, let us consider the profound hospitality of the Holy Family hosting these Magi from the East. Let us consider our own soul and whether we are more interested in the welfare of the person standing in front of us than we are our own deigns. Let us pray for the illumination to see the contractions of our hearts and the plans of our minds. We must examine how we can support and promote others in their vocation as Christians in this place and everywhere. Let us also pray for a true spirit of hospitality, and a true delight in the health and happiness of one another and the new people in our midst. As we learn to live this out, we will grow in wisdom and love, and may God speed us to such an end.

Christ’s Peace,