2020-2021 Christ Church Program "Pilgrim" Year

Since late Spring I’ve been doing a lot of thinking in these last few months about pilgrimage – that we think in new ways about those things that we once knew as constants in our lives. For churchgoers like you and me, that has meant regular in-person corporate worship, the sharing of Holy Communion, a parade of infants newly baptized every few months, and then catching up on what is happening in the parking lot or around a table in the Parish Hall over coffee and donut holes. 

We hope and trust that in due time Baptism and Eucharist will return to ground our weekly and seasonal sacramental life, for it is through the waters of baptism we are formed and made Christians, and at the altar, we are nourished with Christ’s presence in the bread and in the wine.  

During this extended Pandemic-tide (as I’ve heard it referred to in church circles) we might want to place another experience alongside these two foundational sacraments: pilgrimage. What is being suggested especially now is that we re-imagine what it means to be a part of the local church community. A church, a parish, a congregation is no longer a static thing contained by physical space. We are worshipping and meeting online – staying connected while physically apart. Until there is a safe vaccine available, the vision for our common life may be one where persons are more spread out, on a shared journey together, gathering in small groups. These are days when we make more of a solitary walk. A pilgrimage. This coming program year (September to May) I invite us to learn what it means to be a Christian pilgrim. 

Rev. Mark Pendleton

Formation and Community

Tuesday Morning Bible Study 

Join the clergy each Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. via Zoom to study the Bible readings for the following Sunday. It is an hour of conversation and reflection. As we continue to adapt and adjust our days, may this time be a source of spiritual grounding and insight. All are welcome.

Wednesday Morning Women’s Group- Oasis Sisters

The focus of the Women’s Group is to learn and grow while deepening the faith in God, and developing bonds with one another so that we hold confidences and pray for one another.

The group meets every Wednesday at 9:30.

Contact Kim Storms- stormspk84@gmail.com- for more information. Women of all ages welcome!

Soul Sisters- A Group for Moms with School-age Children

A mom’s group that meets on the 3rd Wednesday of the month from 7:00-8:30 pm. The group has recently read books like “Educated”, “The Spiritual Child” and “The Giver of Stars”. We enjoy the books together but have also realized we learn from one another and have been sharing books that speak to us as well. It’s a great opportunity for moms to get together to gather and unwind. Location varies. Contact Sally Farrell for more information. 

Saturday Morning Men’s Group

Meets the third Saturday of the month from 8:00 to 9:30, starting in the kitchen for a light breakfast and coffee. The Men’s Group gathers to create opportunities for men to develop friendships, deepen faith, and support one another through life’s journey. The group is facilitated by the Rector Mark.

The Wonder Group

The Wonder Group is our Middle School aged youth group. In the past, we have read books together and during COVID time, enjoyed the book “Stamped” by Jason Reynolds. A timely book that discusses racism in our country. The group also participated in a COVID socially distant outreach by writing letters to elderly residents in RiverWoods. We meet on the second Wednesday of the month from 6:00-7:30. We welcome any and all youth grades 6th and up! Contact Sally Farrell for more information. The first meeting will be in October.

Previous Book Studies

Our 2020 Advent on a Pilgrimage from Canterbury to Rome

Our Rector Mark lead a conversation about pilgrimage and faith on Monday nights in the season of Advent.

Christ Church partnered with Exeter’s exceptional Water Street Bookstore to carry Timothy Egan’s “A Pilgrimage to Eternity: From Canterbury to Rome”.

Praise of Egan’s book: 

From "the world's greatest tour guide," a deeply-researched, captivating journey through the rich history of Christianity and the winding paths of the French and Italian countryside that will feed the mind, body, and soul

(New York Times).

"Egan draws us in, making us feel frozen in the snow-covered Alps, joyful in valleys of trees with low-hanging fruit, skeptical of the relics of embalmed saints and hopeful for the healing of his encrusted toes, so worn and weathered from their walk."--The Washington Post

Moved by his mother's death and his Irish Catholic family's complicated history with the church, Timothy Egan decided to follow in the footsteps of centuries of seekers to force a reckoning with his own beliefs. He embarked on a thousand-mile pilgrimage through the theological cradle of Christianity to explore the religion in the world that it created. Egan sets out along the Via Francigena, once the major medieval trail leading the devout to Rome, and travels overland via the alpine peaks and small mountain towns of France, Switzerland, and Italy, accompanied by a quirky cast of fellow pilgrims and by some of the towering figures of the faith--Joan of Arc, Henry VIII, Martin Luther. The goal: walking to St. Peter's Square, in hopes of meeting the galvanizing pope who is struggling to hold together the church through the worst crisis in half a millennium. A thrilling journey, a family story, and a revealing history, A Pilgrimage to Eternity looks for our future in its search for God. 

Fall 2020- Our Shared Work: Seeing White and Becoming Anti-Racist 

We spent four Monday evenings checking in with one another on the ongoing work of racial reconciliation. Join Mark via Zoom at 7 p.m. beginning Monday, September 21. We will convene online again on October 5 & 19 and on November 2. We will reassess after those first four conversations. 

We recommend the Podcast "Seeing White" -- a series that unpacks the history of race and racism. This process and work will be ongoing – it is not a four-week project rather a place and a time to begin again. 

Join us to learn, pray, and act.


Confirmation Class- May 2021

The next confirmation class for youth begins in November 2022.  

We will use resources that expose youth to a wide range of topics, including Scripture, sacraments, creeds, church history, prayer, and serving others, and ask them to think through what they believe and why. We emphasize finding one’s own voice rather than simply conforming to an external standard. We trust that when people put in the effort to articulate what they believe and why they will make good choices about their next step in faith.