Open Minds Blog

Open Minds Blog

Fill the Bus

St. Peter’s Church is collecting backpacks and school supplies for children and youth in Philadelphia, as part of the Episcopal Community Services Fill the Bus program. Please consult the flyer below for the list of needed items. We are also collecting $25 Visa gift cards to distribute to local teachers. You can drop off your backpack (unisex color) with supplies at St. Peter’s Church or the Parish Office at 313 Pine Street through July 30.  Read more »


Job Posting: Assistant Parish Administrator

Part-time: approx.10-12 hours per week (it is possible some work could be done off-site) beginning 9/1/17

Compensation is negotiable, based upon experience

Contact: The Rev. Claire Nevin-Field ([email protected])


St. Peter’s (Episcopal) Church is a vibrant, center city parish that has been in continuous operation since 1758. We are a progressive Christian church–a safe place to explore or deepen your faith, a joyful place to worship with children, and a lively place to connect with others. A community of about 150 families, together we raise our voice for justice, diversity, and love for all of God’s children. The Assistant Parish Administrator supports the work of the Parish Administrator and provides some support to the Director of Music. Read more »


Where Will the Spirit Take You?

Pentecost (June 4 this year) is the day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit to the church. The day when the disciples, gathered together in one room, experienced the rushing of a mighty wind, saw tongues of fire descend onto each other’s heads, and found they could speak in many languages—be understood by people from all parts of the known world. Blown right out of the room by the Spirit, they went out and preached, taught, healed, baptized, and cared for the sick. They went from being a motley crowd, hiding away in fear, to being this fearless band of people who preached the Good News of Jesus Christ wherever they went. And wherever they went, they sowed and harvested the fruit of the Spirit: love.

While I have never personally witnessed tongues of fire settling onto someone’s head, nor (sadly) have I found I am suddenly fluent in another language, I have most definitely felt and seen the Spirit alive and at work in the world. She seems to be popping up all over the place at St. Peter’s. If you want to hear something like the rush of a mighty wind, come to the children’s service—it definitely has the volume of a mighty wind and the energy of a major fire. If you want to see the Spirit knitting groups of people together in community, come to a TNT or Sages gathering, or come to the women’s group—where 25-30 women of all ages come together and get to know each other. If you want to see the Holy Spirit pushing us to do new things, to serve the world in new ways, come and spend a little time with the Gurungs or at the Courtyard after-school program.  Read more »


An Immoral Budget

When information about the proposed White House budget began to leak out, I, like many of you, was alarmed. Now that the full proposal has been released, I am saddened, angry, and grieving.

At heart, a budget is a moral document. It tells us what our priorities are, what we really care about. A government budget is also a social contract, it tells us how we perceive the bonds of community, what we think are our common responsibilities, how our common life should be ordered. This budget tells us quite a lot. It tells us we do not care about the poor, the vulnerable, the hungry, the sick. It tells us we have little interest in caring for children—making sure all children are fed, educated, and have adequate health care. It tells us we are not interested in addressing global climate disruption and so really do not care about the generations that follow us. It tells us we have little curiosity about the universe, about scientific exploration and research. It tells us we care little about the arts; those disciplines that provide beauty and feed our souls. And, grotesquely, it tells us that the wealthy, the safe, the full, the satisfied, should have more than they already have. In short, this is an immoral budget. Read more »


Summer “Concerts in the Churchyard” Series

All are invited to the fourth annual 2017 summer concert series in the churchyard of St. Peter’s. The outdoor concerts will be held on Wednesday evenings—June 21, July 5, and July 19.

Bring chairs, blankets, picnics, your kids, and your dog for live music! Come and enjoy the summer night with your friends and neighbors in this beautiful, historic churchyard. There will be a food truck at each concert so you can purchase dinner while you enjoy the show!

Concert schedule:
6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, June 21
• Live music from the Jazz Sanctuary’s Alan Segal Jazz Quintet: Eddie Etkins (horn), Leon Jordan Sr. (percussion), George Sinkler (piano), Randy Sutin (vibes) and Alan Segal (Bass). These fine musicians have been performing in the tri-state area for many years, coalescing into the Alan Segal Quintet, playing the music they love – American Jazz in all its glory. See the website www.thejazzsanctuary.com.
Revolution Taco food truck Read more »


Refugee Welcoming Committee: The First 70 Days with the Gurungs

St. Peter’s is supporting a family (Chandra and Runchi Gurung) who arrived in Philadelphia after living in a refugee camp in Nepal. 

By Sharon L. Haynie, member of the St. Peter’s Refugee Welcoming Committee

A question often posed to Refugee Welcoming Committee members: “How is it going?”

My impression is that our relationship with the Gurungs is going fairly well. Any new relationship requires some tweaks and we have made adjustments; we are taking cues from Chandra and Runchi to assess their critical needs and how best to provide them. We are so fortunate that the St. Peter’s parishioners have offered their time and provided talent such as English tutoring and navigating social services and community engagement.

I have not contributed much to the English tutoring, but I have visited the Gurungs in their home and accompanied Runchi and Chandra on medical visits—serving as an escort and possibly a “medical pal” in the future. I truly can’t imagine the Gurung’s challenges in moving some 7,500 miles from their homeland and settling in a very different country and culture. However, I have tried hard to frame my Gurung visits through a lens of being centered on their vulnerabilities and needs as was informed by Rev. Claire’s March 6th weekly Lent message that reminded me: “… the [Lent] season…is intended to reconnect us with God. For some of us that means deliberately engaging in acts of compassion and service, things that take us out of our self-centered tendencies and connect us with others and with our own vulnerability and dependence….”. Read more »


George F. Harding

This article was written by parishioner Alan Heavens.

George F. Harding didn’t think much of Abraham Lincoln when the renowned Philadelphia patent attorney first met the future president in 1856.

In fact, as quoted in Doris Kearns Goodwin’s 2005 book Team of Rivals, Harding said Lincoln was “tall, rawly boned, ungainly back woodsman, with coarse, ill-fitting clothing, his trousers hardly reaching his ankles, holding in his hands a blue cotton umbrella with a ball on the end of the handle.”

Lincoln was treated as a very junior member of the team led by Harding and his law partner, Edwin M. Stanton, that successfully represented John Manny, who had been accused by Cyrus McCormick of infringing on patents for McCormick’s reaping machine.

Lincoln did not hold a grudge. When Lincoln was president, he offered Harding a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, but the lawyer turned him down.

Harding (1827-1902) was a vestryman and lifelong St. Peter’s parishioner, as was his father, Jesper Harding (1799-1865), the largest publisher of Bibles in the United States and a founder of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Read more »


An Ending to Live For

Over the course of the next 10 days, we will walk the events of the last days and weeks of Jesus’ life. We will hear the story of his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, then hear the crowd quickly change from cheering him to mocking him. We will wait with him in the Garden of Gethsemane, watch as he is betrayed by his friends, arrested, and tried before Pilate. We will walk with him as he is beaten, stripped, has a crown of thorns jammed on his head, and is made to carry his cross to Golgotha. And we will stand, with Mary and John, at the foot of the cross weeping as he breathes his last breath. Then we will take that final walk with him as he is laid in the tomb.

Why do we do this? Why do we, year after year, retell the story? Read more »


Fill the Empty Space…with God

On Wednesday, at our Ash Wednesday service, we began the 40-day-long season of Lent, a season that, from the early days of the church, Christians have observed as preparation for Easter.  Part of that preparation has been hearing about, praying and meditating on Jesus’ life and death. Part of it has been about examining our own lives, looking for those places we feel connected to God (have caught God’s wave) and those places where we are adrift. And part of the Lenten preparation is contemplating the reality that we each will die and therefore what we do with our lives is important—to us and to God. Read more »


Annual Spring Cleaning Drive

Spring is the time we shake off the winter, greet the sunshine, and tidy up the spaces we call home. We all experience a sense of satisfaction when chores are completed—a great feeling of pride of place.

Through the annual Episcopal Community Services Spring Cleaning Drive, we collect household supplies and create welcome baskets for the women and children transitioning out of St. Barnabas Mission and for the families in the ECS Permanent Housing program.

Please consider donating the following items: Dishwashing Detergent; Comet Cleanser; Sponges & Disinfecting Wipes; Toilet Cleaner & Brush; All-Purpose Cleanser; Window Cleaner; Rubber Gloves; Bucket, Mop, Broom & Dustpan; Laundry Detergent & Bleach; Paper Towels & Toilet Paper.

You can put them in a laundry basket in the front of the church. Please bring in all donations by Sunday, April 2.