Church/School Expansion Update: September 2017

When will we break ground?

That is the question asked almost daily from parishioners, school parents, staff, neighbors. The answer is “as soon as we possibly can”! Originally we had hoped to begin at the beginning of September but are now shooting for the end of the month/ beginning of October. We are currently seeking final approval of our site plan, construction drawings, and necessary permitting.

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Parish Meeting on July 23, 2017

Hopefully one last parish meeting before we break ground on the expansion building project!

As we file all of the necessary paperwork for us to break ground in early September we need a more specific resolution regarding our financing and collateralizing of our endowment and rectory as conditions of our loan.

Come to church on Sunday July 23rd and cast your vote! We will open the meeting right after the 8am service and will keep the meeting open until after the 10:15 service and ballots can be cast at any time during that window. Please make sure to make it to church that Sunday as this is an important requirement.

CONNECTED Capital Campaign: What Makes SJES Unique

Our church and our school are truly CONNECTED.

Saint James’ Episcopal School’s first fifth grade graduation in May, 2015 was a monumental achievement for our community. What in 2010 had been just a dream had become a reality. This dream made manifest was realized in no small part thanks to the unwavering support of the Church.

Our Church and School continue to remain extremely intentional in their interconnectedness and this is why both entities continue to thrive. As an Episcopal School, we are the Church’s largest, most vibrant, and most closely connected ministry.

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CONNECTED Capital Campaign: Spotlight on our Endowment

We are CONNECTED in our future.

Two hundred years ago our founding parishioners understood that their dreams could only grow from a church set on a solid foundation of support. Legacy donations to the Saint James’ Endowment serve to keep our beautiful, historic church alive and vital for future generations.


Our relatively new Endowment hopes to become like the older buildings on our campus—sustaining a myriad of ministries and increasing in value over time. And yet often the Endowment goes unnoticed, just as we take our buildings for granted at times– rushing about from the parking lot through the doors, from the nave into the Parish Hall, and from classrooms to the playground. The Endowment funds are invested to provide an annual stream of income to the church, but the principal is never touched.

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CONNECTED Capital Campaign: Music

We are CONNECTED by music.

February 19, 2017

Corporate worship lies at the heart of Saint James’ spiritual life, and music plays an important role in almost all of the worship services that we offer. It is the mission of Saint James’ music ministry to aid the congregation in offering up praises to God.

Members of the Saint James’ Youth Chorale rehearse in the music room before a performance in February 2016.

As Episcopalians, we have a musical heritage that is one of the world’s richest and most deeply spiritual. For over 500 years, Anglican church music has sought to tell the Christian faith with authenticity and truth. Our music is an extremely diverse and multi-layered art form that celebrates and encompasses many different traditions. You might be interested, when singing hymns, to read the small print below each one and note the many and varied sources of the poetry and the music.

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CONNECTED Capital Campaign | February 12, 2017

Our beautiful, historic, welcoming church will be made even more hospitable with the addition of new handicap parking spaces in the parking lot, permanent ramps, a lift for Parish Hall access, a centrally-located elevator in the new building, and ADA-certified bathroom facilities.

Father Ben shared this remembrance which highlights just one example of how needed and how welcome the planned accessibility upgrades will be:

“The Director of Christian Education from my previous church in Louisville came to church one Sunday. Lauralee wanted to show Ms. Martha her classroom so she led her down the stairs. Ms. Martha has some mobility issues and I forgot how much she had depended upon the elevator in Louisville. As I watched her slowly go down each step backwards, clinging to the rail, and wincing the entire way, I realized that the most formative person in my children’s faith development would hardly be able to teach Sunday school at Saint James’ much less serve as Director of Christian Formation. It was a profound recognition of the need and the fact that it is not just those confined to wheelchairs whose ministries are limited by our space.”

Our exciting renovation plans will open up our spaces to everyone who wants to share in them!

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CONNECTED Capital Campaign | February 5, 2017

As a church and a school, we strive to be an icon of Christ’s expansive love and care for the world. That love does not set conditions or limits to its reach.

Unfortunately our space does.

In terms of accessibility, available space, and a facility equipped for 21st century ministry, our beautiful grounds fall woefully short.

It has been 50 years since our last major expansion or renovation and it shows.

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Summary of Vestry Minutes | November 28, 2016

Treasurer’s Report:

The Endowment went over $1million and Capital Funds also increased. Pledge and plate offerings remain slightly below budget for the year. Expenses are also down and the year is expected to end in the black.

Buildings and Grounds:

Bill Turnure, Senior Warden, and Jody DelSignore, Property Manager, are planning for expected expenses 3-5 years in the future and creating a budget to ensure having the necessary funds available.

Rector’s Report:

Father Ben noted the many activities taking place in and under the sponsorship of St. James’ in November and in preparation for the holidays. He singled out the Episcopal Church School conference in New Orleans where Stacey Irvin, Head of School, was recognized for her work to establish and maintain the vibrant dynamic between church and school at St. James’.

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CONNECTED Capital Campaign Update

Project update

The new architecture firm, Kerns Group Architects, is swiftly refining our drawings and integrating their new ideas into the project. We have been very impressed with their careful listening and quick turn around. I think a few of the most impressive changes include the addition of a distinct school entrance and a richer incorporation of our existing architectural details, most notably highlighting the ascension window and pitch of the church, and a more cost effective and accessible location for the elevator to serve both church and school.   We continue to grow more excited with each revision and cannot wait to share the final schematics with all of you later this fall.

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From the Vestry – Why Should We Build?

 From the Vestry – Why Should We Build? (Part 2 of 4) 

Can we exist as we are? Yes, but we cannot fully thrive and be the best representation of who we are. This expansion is predominantly about living fully into who we are right NOW. 

We are an institution committed to the town of Warrenton and Fauquier County, but we lack the space to say “Yes” to all that is asked of us much less reach out and invite support groups or proactively meet community needs. We are a community committed to inclusion. We beautifully represent the spectrum of age, backgrounds, ideologies, and we are committed to extravagant welcome. 

We treasure all of our members, especially our aged and infirm. However, our church plant defines how far that hospitality and care extends. Someone in a wheelchair can attend worship or make his or her way into our parish hall but cannot use our restrooms or access our program areas. Ramps, restrooms with entrances, stalls, and turning areas ample enough for a wheelchair, and an elevator would drastically express God’s open arms. 

Our music ministry has flourished while the spaces available to them have shrunk dramatically. In order to continue to enjoy the fruits of a vibrant talented music program we need appropriate facilities. 

Our formation groups and committees squeeze into insufficient space or gather in the cavernous parish hall. The proposed project would dedicate specifically designed space to enable vibrant large, medium, and small group discussions. 

Our school has committed to remaining a Pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade Episcopal School. The number of proposed classrooms reflect far more the desire to return space to the church and to have space appropriate for the age of their older students than room for additional growth. The addition would keep space from limiting the effectiveness of our programing and impeding opportunities such as our preschool initiative. The expansion would allow our children’s chapel to be restored, and free space for the aforementioned church improvements to be possible.

As you can see, the vision that necessitates this project is not a fuzzy optimistic hope but one already being realized. Again, please seek members of the vestry, school board, our Head of School, or our clergy to learn more and express your thoughts.

Saint James’ Possibilities

Saint James’ Possibilities 

Saint James’ Episcopal Church is turning 200 years old next year and we are not just looking back but contemplating our place in her story, the contribution we will leave for the generations to come. 

While we have certainly done yeoman’s work shoring up our current plant, 2016 will also mark fifty years since our last significant expansion and renovation. 

The leadership of the church and school has been studying our current needs and possibilities and envision beginning our next 200 years with a facility that is accessible to all and equipped for the ministry of today and tomorrow.
This would include: 

An elevator, ramps, and larger fully accessible restrooms to allow full accessibility to all.  Fresh updated bathrooms would also include changing tables.

Ample meeting spaces equipped for audio/visual presentations.

A music wing that would allow instrument space for bell rehearsals, room for choir rehearsals, changing areas, music storage.

Flower guild room and an expanded sacristy.

A nursery located closer to worship area.

Rededication of children’s chapel.

Sufficient office space for church staff. 

In addition, the vision under consideration also provides the space for Saint James’ Episcopal School to continue to thrive in harmony with the growing church community. 

Please help us discover what is possible at Saint James’.   Engage a member of the vestry or Fr. Ben with your questions and your dreams for tomorrow

Stay tuned for additional pieces regarding why we believe this project is critical to our future, the logistics (when/what/where?)  of what is being discerned and the fruitful partnership b/n the church and school that has us entering the next century on uniquely remarkable footing.