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

Lenten Book Study

This year’s Lenten Book Study will focus on the theme of 2020-2021: Pilgrimage.

will lead a Lenten Book Study that will allow one to travel to the sacred places of Jesus' life through our imaginations and prayer. We will use Jesus: A Pilgrimage by the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, and writer, as our guide for conversation. One need not read the book to join the conversation. 

Books are on discounted sale for $14.39 at our local Water Street Bookstore in Exeter. Support our local businesses! Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 17.

We will gather by Zoom Monday evenings for 90 minutes beginning at 7 pm. Look for the Zoom links on the Event page of the church home page. 

Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/95325564957


February 22- Chapters 1-3

March 1- Chapters 4-8

March 8- Chapters 9-12

March 15- Chapters 13-15

March 22- Chapters 16-18 

March 29- Holy Week: Chapters 19, 20, 21

April 12- Eastertide! Chapters 22-25

Lent at Home

Click on the picture to take you to the NH Diocese for many Lent resources

Click on the links below to view many other offerings:

Ecce Homo: Poems for Lent and Holy Week PDF Download

Daily Lenten devotions from Episcopal Migration Ministries

3 Teaching points for Lent

Building Faith Lent resources

Society of St. John the Evangelist

Ways to think about our environment during Lent:

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” -Genesis 2:15 (NIV)

Plastic Free for Lent

Looking for a way to try-on reducing plastic in your life? Join with people across The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion for a Plastic Fast during Lent 2021. Visit the Green Anglicans calendar.

Track your Carbon Footprint

Another way you can try-on being kinder to the environment during Lent is to join with The Episcopal Church and their Carbon Tracker initiative. The survey doesn't take long to fill out, and if you don't have your energy consumption bills while you do the survey, the system will make estimates for you. Click here for access to the carbon tracker! 

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.

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. Zoom Link for Bible Study.

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. Recently the group has explored the ancient tradition of Centering Prayer, with a book by an Episcopal priest, Cynthia Bourgeault, “Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening.” 

The group meets every Wednesday at 9:30 through Zoom.

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. We will continue to meet either outdoors with social distance restrictions or via Zoom. 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. It is our hope to find an in-person get together before the winter weather hits and then be on Zoom going forward. We welcome any and all youth grades 6th and up! Contact Sally Farrell for more information. The first meeting will be in October.

Christian Formation “Pilgrim Year” 2020-2021

Chapel Time for Children and Families

In lieu of a weekly Zoom lesson (as I am sure many of you and yours are "zoom weary") We will be sending an email each week with a Youtube video of the lesson. It will give the families the readings of the upcoming Sunday and the chapel service that will look familiar to the kids. We will also provide some music to sing along with and activities for the family. It is our hope that using this format will allow families to worship as they feel comfortable and when they have a quiet moment to enjoy it together. We will also have a few Zoom lessons as the year goes on, maybe for the big feast days.

How Worship at Home looks during COVID:


Begin the worship time when everyone can sit together, preferably in a circle. 

  • Gather all the members of your household who plan to participate in one place. Get comfortable! Maybe sit on the floor or on cushions. Maybe sit in a circle. Take a moment to pause and breathe together.
  • Invite a member of the household to lead the gathering prayer. Read line by line, with the rest of the household repeating back to them.
  • Follow along using the service video provided.
  • Enjoy a peaceful time together.

Email Sally Farrell with any thoughts you may have.    

Welcome Chapel

Welcome Chapel is an adaptive chapel time for special needs during the service. It meets in a classroom downstairs in Harris House. After a special time of fun and interactive Christian community, they return to the sanctuary during Peace to celebrate Eucharist.

Recently, our childcare leaders, Nancy and Irene, have been taking the children to the Welcome Chapel room to enjoy the lessons being done by Ali Watt and joining her daughter Alexa. It’s been a wonderful time of formation and fellowship for the group.


 Please contact Ali Watt to learn more about this wonderful ministry.


The latest service of Confirmation took place on May 5th, 2019 when Bishop Rob Hirschfeld confirmed 17 youth, 7 adults, and 4 reaffirmations.

2020-21 Confirmation for Youth Ages 13 & up. Classes begin November 2020  

Confirmation, God willing, will take place in person on Sunday, May 2, 2021. In preparation, we will be offering confirmation classes for young people and adults. The youth classes will be on Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. We will start remotely via Zoom, though we realize that everyone is quite tired of this platform. We hope to build in some safe in-person activities as we monitor conditions. Plans for a weekend retreat are on hold due to all the realities around Covid-19.

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.