Message from the Rector: 2018 Spring Newsletter

by fr. ben maas

I have been struck recently by how small my world can become, and it troubles me. Why do the relatively insignificant disappointments and tribulations of my children preoccupy my waking hours and even interrupt my sleeping ones? Why can I not recall tossing and turning in my bed over the child who has known nothing but a refugee camp, war, hunger, illness, homelessness, drugs, or violence? Obviously, I know I have the capacity to ache, and not just ache, but to be willing to move mountains for someone. How can I harness that love, that relentless desire to fix, console, and remove obstacles, or better yet, equip to ascend?

I think much of the power of Bishop Curry’s sermon at the royal wedding is that it got outside of the smallness of the moment. Despite the billion who tuned in worldwide, the attention and careful choreography, the considerable pomp, it was simply a moment between two people and their families. Two people found each other, fell in love, and decided to commit themselves to one another. Most of us have known the specific power that love has had on us, the magnetic pull that drew us to our beloved, that made every other person in the room fade away, that seemed to limit our ability to focus on anything but that one person. Curry invited us to think about the nature of that love, its power, its source. He then opened our imagination to think about what could be possible if we could channel that love beyond the smallness of our world.

Continue reading “Message from the Rector: 2018 Spring Newsletter”

Table Talk: Week of May 20, 2018

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story. Please read the summary, look up the story online, in your bible, or a children’s bible, and begin the discussion. Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development. What a gift to provide a child! Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories.

A Spirit-Filled Pentecost

Pentecost is the Christian festival celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus after his Ascension, held of the seventh Sunday after Easter. Theologically, the Christian church begins to take shape when the Holy Spirit fills those who believe in Jesus as the Messiah.

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Table Talk: Week of May 13, 2018

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story. Please read the summary, look up the story online, in your bible, or a children’s bible, and begin the discussion. Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development. What a gift to provide a child! Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories.

Praying and Deciding

In Sunday School your children heard the story of Jesus and the Twelve and how the remaining 11 had to make an important decision in the selection of the new apostle, Mattheius to replace Judas when he betrayed Jesus.

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of May 13, 2018”

Talk Talk: Week of April 29, 2018

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story. Please read the summary, look up the story online, in your bible, or a children’s bible, and begin the discussion. Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development. What a gift to provide a child! Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories.

Philip and the Ethiopian

Today in Sunday School our 3 classes came together to hear the story about Philip and the Ethiopian. This story is found in the book of Acts 8:26-40.

Philip loved Jesus and tried to act like Jesus. One day God sent an angel to Philip and told him to travel on a hot, dry road and share God’s love along the way.

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Firewood Ministry Event this Saturday from 9-11am!

Join us this Saturday from 9-11a at the wood collection site in Warrenton for a split/stack event.

Our goal this week is to completely split and move a small pile of donated wood that is blocking access to part of the site.  

Specific needs for this Saturday:

  • Teams of 2-3 for each of 3 gas-powered log splitters onsite to split wood (no experience necessary)
  • Numerous volunteers to sort and stack the split wood onto pallets throughout the site

Continue reading “Firewood Ministry Event this Saturday from 9-11am!”

Help Needed for Firewood Ministry on Saturday, April 14

Join us this Saturday from 9-11a at the Wood Collection Site in Warrenton for a split/stack event. The weather looks wonderful for an hour or two of outdoor work!

Specific needs for this Saturday:

  1. Teams of 2-3 for each of 3 gas-powered log splitters onsite to split wood (no experience necessary)
  2. Numerous volunteers to sort and stack the split wood onto pallets throughout the site
  3. Volunteers with chainsaws to cut down logs to a size that can be further split

Make it a family event – there’s a job for everyone, no matter your experience level. We even have work in the community garden onsite for little ones.

Continue reading “Help Needed for Firewood Ministry on Saturday, April 14”

Table Talk: Week of March 18, 2018

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story. Please read the summary, look up the story online, in your bible, or a children’s bible, and begin the discussion. Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development. What a gift to provide a child! Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories.

Muscle Memory & The 5th Sunday in Lent

In our 3rd – 5th grade classroom, the children talked about the book of Jeremiah, chapter 31, verses 31-34.

We are constantly learning. There is a need to practice what we learn to become better. The more we practice, the easier a skill becomes. We also know what it’s like to memorize something and know it “by heart”. Sometimes we teach our bodies to do an action without even thinking about it – such as clapping. Sometimes we practice something over and over (such as the Lord’s Prayer) – soon, we know it by heart.

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Holy Week 2018: Schedule of Services

Saint James’ you to attend as many of our Holy Week services as you are able. They dramatically walk us through Jesus’ last days and allow us to more fully enter the story and receive the love poured out for us. The experience of Holy Week also adds to the richness, joy, and bounding hope of Easter.

(scroll to the bottom of the page for photos and video from Holy Week services that have already occurred)


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March 31 | The Great Vigil of Easter

8:00 PM

Possibly the most beautiful service of the church year, the Easter Vigil begins outside in our courtyard with the kindling of a fire from which the paschal candle is lit.

After processing into the church, each person lights their candle from that paschal candle as the service begins in darkness. While still in the tomb we read of God’s saving work throughout history.

Then, after we have proclaimed our new life in Christ through the renewing of our baptismal covenant, we reign in Easter with the lighting the altar candles, the illuminating the worship area, and singing and ringing of bells.

Then we joyfully celebrate that first Easter Eucharist.

The service actually takes us from death to new life and we really experience that Easter moment. If you have not been to the Vigil, please consider making it your Easter celebration.

Also, following the service, Lent is officially over, we will celebrate with a champagne and chocolate reception in the parish hall.


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April 1 | Easter Sunday

8:00am and 10:15am

Come celebrate Easter Day with us!

Having completed our journey and walked through the sorrow of Holy Week, we now come ready to experience Easter Joy.

Our 10:15 service begins with the children flowering the cross and following behind it in procession. The joyful music fills the space as we tell the story of the empty tomb and the reverberations of that moment throughout history and in our lives. Following the service our children will continue the celebration as they search for Easter eggs.


previous services

Palm Sunday

“Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” – Collect for Justice


Maundy Thursday

“Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” – Collect for Maundy Thursday


Good Friday

“Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” – Collect for Good Friday

Update on Family Ministries: 2018 Winter Newsletter

by Jen Taylor, Director of Family Ministries

Sunday School

Wow! We are well into 2018 and just 3 months left of our Sunday school curriculum for the year.

Don’t let that mislead you, we still have lots to do!

A very special thank you to all our Sunday school teachers! We have over 25 volunteers for Sunday school. Every Sunday there are dedicated teachers to tell our youngest parishioners a relevant story, read bible verses with, and facilitate a conversation about what they learned.

Continue reading “Update on Family Ministries: 2018 Winter Newsletter”

Table Talk: Week of March 11, 2018

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story. Please read the summary, look up the story online, in your bible, or a children’s bible, and begin the discussion. Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development. What a gift to provide a child! Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories.

Amazing Grace & The Fourth Sunday in Lent

In our 3rd – 5th grade classroom, the children talked about what it is like to earn things. (rewards for good grades, places on teams, money for doing chores)

Unfortunately, children already tie their sense of self-worth to what they have earned and they observe this in the adult world too. It is a challenge for Christians of all ages to accept God’s grace as an unearned, unmerited gift of enduring acceptance, love and mercy. Grace is God’s loving mercy for us, no matter what.

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of March 11, 2018”

Table Talk: Week of February 18, 2018

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story. Please read the summary, look up the story online, in your bible, or a children’s bible, and begin the discussion. Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development. What a gift to provide a child! Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories.

Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat by Simon de Myle
Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat by Simon de Myle, 1570

A Fresh Start

This Sunday, was the first Sunday of Lent. Sunday’s Sunday School lesson focused on a reading in Genesis (Genesis 6:5-9:17) – the children will embrace how God’s covenant with Noah gives all people hope for second chances.

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of February 18, 2018”

Lenten Family Nights & Other Programs in Lent 2018

“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” (BCP p. 265)

Saint James’ Warrenton is offering three activities during Lent 2018 to support your spiritual journey in this season of reflection, and you’re invited!

Lenten Family Nights

The adult formation and family ministries leaders have planned a program of Lenten Family Nights for the people of Saint James’. It will be held on the first four Sunday evenings in Lent: February 18, February 25, March 4, March 11.

Whether it’s just you or you have a whole family in tow, you’re invited to this new program that will deepen our relationships with each other and our faith.

Schedule
  • 6:00 Supper
  • 6:45 Worship
  • 7:00 Program: Adults, High School, Middle School, Childcare
  • 8:00 Good Night

We will begin with everyone gathering for a shared meal at 6:00. Click here to sign up to bring part of the meal. Then we will worship 6:45 with an informal evening liturgy. At 7:00, the High School and Middle School Youth Groups will follow their usual program on the scheduled Sundays. Childcare will be available for all four nights.

The program for adults is based on Brian McLaren‘s new book, The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking A Better Way to Be Christian. We will begin with a 15-minute video of Brian speaking and talking with others about the basic points of the book. There is no reading or preparation needed for this program; just come and participate. There will be a facilitator at each table to guide the conversations. We will end the night with a brief gathering and sending forth.

The following is a description of the program we are using, which is called Way of Life.

“Participants learn how shifting away from an outdated system of beliefs to a new way of life based on love can lead to new, more redemptive communities and practices. McLaren challenges participants to focus less on doctrine, more on new ways of reading Scripture, and ultimately on love as manifested in the life of Jesus.”


Adult Formation Learning Groups

Learning groups meet in the reception room every Sunday at 9:15am and 11:45am and on Tuesdays at 10:30am.

These are meaningful conversations about having and living an honest and passionate faith in God.

Currently, we are focusing on the book The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith by Marcus Borg.

To see the syllabus of this learning group, click here. And to see the latest news about adult formation, including discussion questions for each chapter, click here.


Self-Guided Devotion

The book Saint James’ is offering for a self-guided journey through Lent is Ashes and the Phoenix: Meditations for the Season of Lentwhich is published by Forward Movement.

“Threaded throughout with the stunningly visual and visceral poems of Len Freeman and guided by the collects for Lent and Holy Week, Ashes and the Phoenix seeks to lead us through the emotions, symbols, sights, sounds, and scents of Lent. Featuring original woodcuts by artist Jason Sierra, this book is a feast for hungry hearts and weary eyes. If you are seeking a way to answer the Church’s invitation to observe a holy Lent, Ashes and the Phoenix is an excellent companion for your journey to Easter.”

Books available at the rear of the church for $5.00.

Upcoming Firewood Ministry Split & Stack Events

Our wood ministry is in full force during these cold winter months!  This Saturday, please join us for a Split/Stack event at the collection site in Warrenton.  The weather looks really good after the past two weeks, and we have two log splitters on site ready for volunteers.  We’ll plan to meet at 9am and be completed around 11am so you can enjoy the remainder of your day.

Working in conjunction with the Fauquier Community Coalition, our volunteers donated more than 70 hours of labor at the wood collection site in Warrenton.  From this site, donations of firewood were made to more than 60 families in Fauquier and Rappahannock counties that would not have had wood for heating or cooking without this ministry.

The upcoming months will allow us to organize and get a jump on preparations for the next season; we plan to have split and stack events on the second and fourth Saturdays each month in February, March and April.

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Christmas Eve Services at Saint James’

On Christmas Eve, we will celebrate the birth of the Christ child with three festive services. We will also have one morning service, at 9:30am, to celebrate the fourth Sunday of Advent.

Sunday, December 24 |  Christmas Eve Pageant with Eucharist

— 3:00 PM

Bring the family and enjoy the reenactment of the Birth of Jesus. All children are encouraged to participate. Please arrive 15 minutes early for your child to be fitted for a costume. No prior rehearsal needed. The pageant includes the singing of familiar Christmas carols and is woven into the celebration of Holy Eucharist. This service is especially geared toward preschool and elementary age children but a joy to all! >>> Photos from last year

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Advent Update on Family Ministries

by jen taylor, interim director of family ministries

First and foremost, I want to be sure you all know how incredibly grateful I am to have been offered the opportunity to work with all of our wonderful children and families at Saint James’. Over the last few weeks, I have been familiarizing myself with the Sunday School curriculum, learning where to find things and trying to get into the swing of things.

Continue reading “Advent Update on Family Ministries”

Advent & Christmas Calendar 2017

Sunday, December 10  |  Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols


Tuesday, December 19  |  Saint James’ Elementary School Pageant

— 11:00 AM

Students from Saint James’ Episcopal School will re-enact the nativity of Jesus Christ with costume, song, and prayer. It’s a beautiful program and you shouldn’t miss it! If you can’t make it in person, this event will be streamed live on our YouTube channel

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Photos from Haiti: October 2017

In late October 2017, a small group from Saint James’ visited North-East Haiti. This was not a mission trip; rather, we traveled there to learn about how Saint James’ could be a long-term partner in the work that Haitians are already doing to improve the educational lives of children.

Our goal was twofold.

First, we went learn about primary education in northern, rural Haiti and to connect with Haitians improving the educational opportunities of children there, especially in an Episcopal context. We were able to board for a week at St Barthelemy Episcopal School in Terrier Rouge, where we gained insight into the potential of an Episcopal school in this region and what a transformative impact it can have on a small town.

Second, we went to seek out and connect with an Episcopal primary school in the area, with the goal of providing long-term financial support and establishing a lasting relationship. We found this in St Luc Episcopal Church & School in Trou du Nord.

Because the largest ministry of Saint James’ is our school, and because Haiti is the largest diocese in the American Episcopal Church, it seems a natural fit that we use our material resources and intimate knowledge of the challenges facing an Episcopal school to do what we can to support a similarly-sized school in Haiti, where the effects of quality education can be absolutely transformative to individuals and to a community. 

These are images from our trip.

PHOTOS BY HAITIAN BOYS

“Each of the following photos was taken by a Haitian boy in Terrier Rouge. Three boys took an especially keen interest in my camera: Jeff, Dervilien and Hermetz. All three are students at Ecole St Barthelemy, and each boy is either nine or ten years old. At various points during the week, I was able to hand my camera to them and they took it from there. I think these are the most valuable images from our trip, because they show what Haiti looks like to Haitian children themselves.” -Coy

Daily Life in Terrier Rouge

Though only about 20 miles from Cap-Haïtian, the second-largest city in Haiti, Terrier Rouge is a quintessentially rural town of 10,000-15,000 residents. We got the distinct sense that everyone in the town knows everyone else. Almost no one lives on the outskirts of the town; to live in an isolated house would mean unacceptable isolation from the life of the community. Most structures in town are made with cinderblock and concrete, the ideal building materials in a place where air-conditioning is almost non-existent and where, despite the rarity of any rain at all, flooding is an ever-present risk from those storms that do make it over the mountains.

Ecole St Barthelemy

Ecole St Barthelemy was founded in 2001 as a preschool with just 30 students. Since then, it has grown into a student body of 1,100 students ranging from preschool all the way through the upper secondary-school grades. From the two graduating classes so far, each of the 40 students has gone on to university, an astonishing feat in a country where only 32% of the population has even some secondary-school education, much less university experience. The school is run by Pere Jean Bruno, a retired Episcopal priest. He also chairs the board of Esperance et Vie, a nonprofit which funds the school, a local medical clinic and community improvement projects. Almost all students at St Barthelemy cannot afford the <$100-per-year tuition and attend through scholarships, funding for which stems mostly from donations by individuals and churches in the United States.

Ecole St Luc

St Luc’s school was founded in the early 2000’s in Trou du Nord, a town somewhat larger than Terrier Rouge and about five miles away. Unlike St Barthelemy, St Luc has not had the blessing of such steady funding or a singular driving force like Pere Bruno to push it forward. Ecole St Luc currently enrolls about 250 students from preschool through the first year of secondary school. This number will greatly reduce by the end of the school year; many families cannot afford the tuition for the entire year, and must pull their kids out early. Of its $40,000 yearly budget, about $15,000 has been funded by an Episcopal Church in Maine, though this source of funding will drop to about $5,000 next year. The priest of Eglise St Luc, Pere Sadoni Leon, has put special focus on improving the quality of education at Ecole St Luc in the two years since he arrived in Trou du Nord. All new teachers graduated at least from secondary school in Cap-Haïtian, where the quality of education is generally much higher than in towns further east.

Eglise St Luc

On Sunday morning, we attended church at Eglise St Luc, the Episcopal church that runs the school. Pere Sadoni invited Fr Ben to give the sermon. Although the service is in Haitian Kreyòl, the primary spoken language in the country, the order of the service is almost identical to an Episcopal service conducted in English – a testament to the multilingual reach of the Book of Common Prayer. There were some marked differences from a typical American Episcopal service; drums formed a musical backdrop for many of the prayers and liturgies. The Prayers of the People, especially, were a vibrant expression of reverence and fervor. While only 20-30 parishioners attended on this particular morning because of some confusion about the time of the service, Pere Sadoni says about 70 people count themselves members of St Luc, most of whom attend every Sunday.

 

Ministry of the Month: Learning Starts Early + Gobble, Gobble, Run or Wobble 5k

NOVEMBER 2017 MINISTRY OF THE MONTH

On Saturday, November 18, the third-annual Gobble, Gobble, Run or Wobble 5k & Kids’ Fun Run will wind through the streets of Old Town Warrenton. You can register for the race here.

While the event is an absolute blast, complete with a turkey mascot on a bicycle, it also serves a much more profound purpose: funding efforts to increase access to preschool in Fauquier County through a Saint James’ initiative called Learning Starts Early.

Learning Starts Early (LSE) is an outreach ministry with a simple vision: that each child is a beloved child of God, and that each child should enter kindergarten ready to thrive and grow academically, socially and emotionally.

Continue reading “Ministry of the Month: Learning Starts Early + Gobble, Gobble, Run or Wobble 5k”