Dear friends in Christ,
Demonic forces on Sunday. The study of the Revelation of Saint John the Divine begins a new and much darker section of the book on December 18. The twelfth and thirteenth chapters introduce the reader to the dragon–“that old serpent, called the Devil” who wages war on the woman “clothed with the sun”–as well as two notorious beasts. Even with them present, however, there is never a question of the ultimate victory of the Lamb of God. This class is held on the fifth floor of the parish house at 10 a.m.
Benedictine spirituality in January. On a lighter and more edifying note, the Very Rev. Dr. Steven Peay, Dean and President of Nashotah House Theological Seminary, returns to Saint Thomas on Sunday, January 8, 2017, at 10 a.m. Following up on a lecture he gave to the parish last year, Dean Peay offers reflections on the life of Saint Benedict of Nursia (480-550), as well as the Rule of Saint Benedict, which the abbot penned for the monks in his charge.
Dean Peay lived as a Benedictine monastic for 18 years, and Nashotah House itself is modeled on the Benedictine rule of life. The seminary is so associated with Benedictine spirituality, in fact, that it recently received a $3.5 million legacy gift from the Order of St. Benedict Servants of Christ. As the press release states, “the endowed fund will be used to support the St. Benedict Servants of Christ Professorship in Ascetical Theology and Monastic Studies and an annual international conference on religious life and Anglicanism also named for the Order.” Congratulations to Dean Peay and the House for this remarkable recognition.
No Sunday class December 25 and January 1. Note that the Sunday class is not held on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day. There is one worship service at 11 a.m. on each of those days: the Solemn Eucharist of the Nativity on December 25 and a Festal Eucharist for the Feast of the Holy Name on January 1. However, the Bible Study of the Gospel of Luke, held on Fridays at 12:45 p.m., continues without interruption.
The Rector’s Christian Doctrine Class has its first session on January 17, 2017. The class is especially designed for those who want to be confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church. But it is also for anyone who is interested in learning more about Christ and the doctrine and traditions of the Church.
How to choose a new church. While I hope none of you will be looking for a new church anytime soon, I was interested to see that the Pew Research Center on Religion & Public Life recently published the results of a new poll about how people choose which church to join. As you might expect, one of the most important aspects is the personal: feeling welcomed by the congregation. More visitors come by Saint Thomas during December than any other time of the year – a great opportunity for us to practice the evangelism of hospitality.
Yours in Christ, Joel