As you know, the Blessing of the Animals was held Oct. 5. Chosen because of its proximity to the Feast Day of St. Francis, this event honors his love of creation. Last Sunday, Ed led a fascinating Adult Ed discussion on the life of Francis, and the Blessing was a great follow-up.
The Green Team had earthworms blessed as part of our SPOTLIGHT on composting (thanks, Dorothy S!). During the Blessing service, we read St. Bonaventure‘s comments about St. Francis. In describing St. Francis’ care for creation, St. Bonaventure included this:
I asked this question on my first Sunday at Saint James’ four years ago this winter. I talked about asking my daughter that question half way through a rather rigorous hike, I encouraged you to consider all the ways that Jesus asked his followers that same question, and whether God might be asking the people of Saint James’ Episcopal Church the same question.
Years later I am ever more convinced both of God’s call to us and our resounding answer, “ADVENTURE!!!”. Here is the rub. Adventure is not easy. Jesus certainly never said it would be.
One of my favorite prayers, attributed to 16th century explorer, Sir Francis Drake, asks the same question of us. Have we arrived safely because we sailed too close to shore… (have we) fallen in love with life and ceased to dream of eternity?
Sunday’s Epistle was a reading from a letter that Paul wrote to Timothy. In it, Paul encourages Timothy to be a leader in the church and tell others about his faith, not be ashamed of it, because only by sharing our own faith can we encourage its growth in others. As an example of this, Paul writes about how Timothy’s mother and grandmother helped to grow Timothy’s faith, reminding him of the impact we have on those around us.
Oct. 4 is the Feast Day of St Francis. There is much to learn about this extraordinary man who lived in the 12th century and inspired others to honor God’s creation. When Jorge Bergoglio (Pope Francis) was elected Pope by the Catholic Church in 2013, he chose to honor this man by using his name.
In honor of St Francis, please considering participating in one or more of the following:
Lazarus, a poor man, begs outside the gates of a rich man, who does not help him. When Lazarus and the rich man both die, Lazarus, who suffered on earth, is found by Abraham’s side in Heaven, while the rich man, who thought only of himself, is found in hell.
The Parable of the Shrewd Manager is one of the more challenging lessons Jesus shared with his followers. The manager, caught cheating by the rich man who employed him, is fired. Uncertain of his future, the manager comes up with a plan to help others, reaching out to all who owe the rich man money and changing the amounts so they can pay less, in hopes that they will remember and help him later. He then goes back to the rich man and tells him what he has done, earning his former employer’s praise.
In Sunday’s reading, the children heard the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin. When the Pharisees questioned the time Jesus was spending with sinners and tax collectors, he used these parables, or teaching stories, to help them understand why he sought out those he considered lost. In the first, a shepherd hunts far and wide for a lost sheep, although he has 99 others, rejoicing when he finds it and celebrating with his neighbors. In the second, a woman with 10 silver coins loses one and hunts for it throughout her house. Again, rejoicing when it is found and celebrating with those around her.
Parishioners will recall that a vital part of our 19th century history came to light in July 2015. It was revealed in a slim, inconspicuous notebook-style Parish Register containing essential information for the years 1859 through 1871, a period before, during, and after the Civil War. Owing to the absence of Vestry Minutes for that tumultuous time, and an incomplete reference file, it was thought that no records existed within Saint James’ for those years.
While we are starting a new program year, much feels like an extension or culmination of where we have already been.
We continue to celebrate our bicentennial year with a service in September taken from the 1789 Prayer Book. Our annual Gala in October will celebrate the light we have been in the town of Warrenton and the exciting and important ministry ahead. And we will celebrate our place among the communion of saints with an All Saint’s organ recital and choral evensong. It has been a rich experience to learn more about our history, the people and the pivotal events, and see our place in God’s still unfolding story.
John Knouse, our Director of Family Ministry, has tendered his letter of resignation citing the need to address personal issues and dedicate time to prioritize his family.
In his short time with us John made an enormous impact. I am personally, very grateful for his tireless work, his willingness to wear countless hats, his affable way, and the connections he made, especially with our young people. John expressed similar appreciation for the people of Saint James’ Episcopal Church and School.
We thank John for all he has brought to Saint James’ and will keep him, Amanda, Ruthie, and Caleb in our prayers and in our hearts.
As a church and school, we have always been very deliberate in the formation of our young people-it is a hallmark of who we are as a community. With the fall program year fast approaching, rest assured that this will continue and that the leadership will work together to optimize staffing to ensure successful and substantive formation for the children and youth of Saint James’. We look forward to updating you soon.
April 20- May 1, 2016 // Personal Reflections by Scott Christian, member of Saint James’ Episcopal Church, Warrenton, VA & the Fellowship of St. John, Cambridge, MA
Two students asked a rabbi, “Why does God command us to put the word of God on our hearts. Why did God not say to put God’s word in our hearts?” The rabbi responded, “We are commanded to place the word of God on our hearts because our hearts are closed and the word of God cannot get in. So God commands us to place the word of God on our hearts. And there it sits and waits for the day when our hearts will be broken. When they are broken, then the word of God will fall gently inside.” This parable was shared early on by one of our leaders, and this pilgrimage indeed broke open my heart. We talk of God-moments in our lives; these were God-days.
You’re invited to a Communities of Peace event called “Sharing Stories of our Connection to Nature.” The event will take place this coming Saturday afternoon from 1:30 – 3:00 at the Airlie Conference Center, 6809 Airlie Road Warrenton VA.
The three speakers will be Ambassador John W. McDonald, “The Father of UNEP,” telling the story of the creation of the United Nations Environmental Programme, Father Don Conroy, telling the story of the creation of Earth Day at Airlie, and 9-year old Astrid Determan, sharing the story of her action to save endangered species.
You’ll find more information on the attached flyer. rsvp’s are important to receive by this Thursday!
Godly Play- 1st & 2nd Grade: “The Good Shepherd and World Communion”
The children in our Godly Play class will hear from two lessons that are both different, but are connected to our Gospel lesson for the day and what the other classes and parents will be hearing. The lesson starts out similarly to our Gospel reading for the day, where there was someone in the land doing such wonderful things and saying such amazing things that people wondered who he was. Finally, they couldn’t take it anymore, they had to ask him. When they did, he answered them and said, “I am the Good Shepherd. I know each one of the sheep by name, and they know the sound of my voice.” He then went on to say his sheep follow him, and he shows them the way to “good grass”. Then moving on into the lesson, the children hear how the “Good Shepherd”, Jesus, calls all of his “sheep”, all the people of the world, to gather around a table. This isn’t just any table, it’s His table. During this gathering Jesus is in the bread and the wine. As this lesson comes to a close, it ends with the children looking at a very powerful image of the sheep and people of the world surrounding the table of the Good Shepherd. Continue reading “What Your Children Learned: April 17”
Saint James, aka Saint James the Greater, Saint James the Elder, and James, son of Zebedee
Fellow parishioner Jim Timberlake is now on a walking pilgrimage – the route is called “El Camino de Santiago,” or “The Way of Saint James” as its often called in English – to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain, believed to be the burial place of Saint James. One of the Twelve Apostles, James was distinguished as being in Jesus’ innermost circle and the only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament (Acts 12:2). Born in Galilee, Palestine, he died 44 CE in Jerusalem by order of King Herod Agrippa I of Judea
Medieval Christian legends tell us that Saint James had traveled widely on the Iberian Peninsula, bringing Christianity to the Celtic peoples. Following his martyrdom, his relics were supposedly taken back to Spain and enshrined. During Roman persecution, however, the early Spanish Christians were forced to abandon the shrine and with the depopulation of the area following the fall of the Roman Empire, the location of the shrine was forgotten. In 813 CE, so the legend goes, a hermit led by a beckoning star and celestial music discovered the location of the buried relics.