Sermons & News
But Timothy has just now come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love. (1 Thessalonians 3: 6)
Sunday School is open! Sunday School Registration
We are open for in-person worship Saturdays at 5PM and Sundays at 10AM. A video of a recent service is above. Video explaining our COVID-19 protocols: Reopening Video
IMPORTANT NOTICE: This Sunday at 11:30 AM, St. Peter’s will gather virtually to hold our Annual Meeting to vote for various Vestry and Parish positions. Your attendance is appreciated. The Zoom link is https://dioceseofnj.zoom.us/j/9194312541. To call in by phone, dial 1 646 558 8656 and then the Meeting ID: 919 431 2541.
October 2, 2020
Beloved in Christ,
I have an affinity for October 4th because it was my mother’s birthday (it was also the birthday of our dearly loved and missed bishop, The Rt. Rev. George Councell). Some may be aware that October 4th is when the Church remembers St. Francis of Assisi, or, if nothing else, that around this time of year there is a blessing of the animals. This is because St. Francis is associated with loving all creatures of God. I’ve seen many statues of St. Francis with birds on his hands or some other woodland creature crawling around his legs.
A beloved mentor and colleague of mine, The late Rev. William Breedlove, was a member of the Society of St. Francis, a third-order community (i.e. living in the secular world) that follows a rule of life in accordance with St. Francis’s model. The placid representation of St. Francis drove Fr. Bill crazy! He hated that a paragon of faith was reduced to a Disney-princess version of himself. Indeed, Francis was a religious radical who literally gave everything he had to live as Christ did. Francis was born into a wealthy family and lived a very frivolous life for several decades until he was convicted of his need to give all he had to God. His father disowned him after his conversion, and he lived in poverty for the rest of his life, which was exactly how he wanted it!
Francis saw all of creation as equal under God. Humans were no more important than animals, insects, or grass. He wanted all of creation to sing God’s praise and learn to be as obedience to God’s will as Jesus was. He preached all the time, and, as legend states, if no humans were available, he preached to the birds and even the sun and the moon.
We do love our pets in the US and spend over a billion dollars (!) a year on them. I spoil my own "fur baby," so I cannot fault anyone else. However, as we love and bless our animals, I hope we can also celebrate Francis’s dedication and live into his deep devotion to God in some way. Maybe that is offering a contribution to an organization dedicated to creation care or an animal rescue. Or maybe taking care of the part of creation we are stewards of at home, at church or even public land. And we can all spend more time just being part of God’s awesome creation, listening to all the creatures we share this earth with, or even the wind as it blows through the trees. Sometimes it is the humble, simple things that offer us a deeper, clearer perspective of life that reminds us that we are part of a wonderful creation that God loves.
PLEASE NOTE: Rev. Valerie will be taking Monday-Wednesday off next week to make up for some lost vacation time. The Healing Service and Bible Study will resume on 10/14.
Click on one of the dates below to listen:
See recent issues of our parish newsletter:
Members receive our newsletter in the mail.