Parishioners at St. Peter’s by-the-Sea are involved in many and varied aspects of parish life, including service inside and outside the parish. Coordinated by Deacon Scott Williams, worship is enhanced by the active participation of acolytes, crucifers, lay Eucharistic ministers and lay readers. Adult and children’s choirs, along with a hand bell choir, comprise the music ministry. Dedicated altar guild and flower guild teams prepare the altar and provide beautiful seasonal decoration. Lay Eucharistic visitors take communion to those members of the parish who are homebound.
The Pastoral Care Ministry members provide meals and support for persons during times of transition, while the Lazarus Guild organizes refreshments and other support for families whose funerals are held at St. Peter’s.
Christian formation for adults includes a Sunday Lectionary class and seasonal opportunities on Wednesday evenings, especially during Lent. Children’s church school is scheduled between Sunday services, and Vacation Bible School is held annually in June. St. Peter’s youth, 5th-12th grades, participate with others in a Coast Convocation EYC. Parish youth enjoy attending diocesan events such as DOY and Happening!
The Episcopal Church Women meet monthly to coordinate projects and functions. Past fund-raising efforts have resulted in outfitting the parish hall with custom tablecloths, window treatments and other items used to enhance parish life. The Hospitality Committee, part of Newcomers’ Commission, provides refreshments after services and promotes fellowship among attendees. The Men’s Grillin’ Group and Ladies’ Night Out each meet monthly, though separately; and all enjoy camaraderie. The Book Club meets monthly to discuss books that all have read, and the newly formed Artists’ Guild is focused on the many professional and amateur artists within the parish.
Parish Outreach, also coordinated by Deacon Scott Williams, includes seasonal support of Episcopal Relief and Development, food donations for Gulf Coast Community Ministries, clothing donations to Harrison County Emergency Children’s Shelter, and Christmas gifts through Angel Tree to the Women’s Center for Non-Violence Shelter. At Feed My Sheep, the downtown Gulfport feeding ministry, parishioners volunteer monthly to serve at the facility, make sack lunches on second Sunday each month and breakfast on the second Saturday to deliver to the facility. St. Peter’s maintains a trailer filled with tools and wok equipment to be used for disaster response and recovery. Monies for the trailer were made available to the parish from an ERD grant. We are forever grateful to those persons and parishes who responded to our needs after hurricane Katrina.
The St. Peter’s Arts Academy is an after school arts enrichment program in partnership with Pass Road Elementary School. The weekly program is coordinated by parishioners and local artists.