Adult Formation Journal: February 18

Dear Saint James’ Learners,

If you haven’t read the assignment for tomorrow, fear not. If you haven’t attended the sessions lately, fear not. If you feel guilty, have lost interest, or don’t want to be singled out, fear not!

I hope that all of the 80 parishioners who registered for “Learning More about the New Testament” will attend at least one of the two remaining sessions, if not both. The focus of adult formation at St James’ is to know that God is always with us, to be in community, and to continue our journey of learning more about God and how to be more faithful disciples of Jesus. So, please, come to one of the learning groups this week and next week.

I will be covering the book material and facilitating meaningful conversation, and I will do my best to make each session an event in which you will move deeper in your faith and closer to your fellow parishioners.

Attached is the outline for tomorrow and information about adult formation in the season of Lent and Holy Week.

(scroll down for an outline of The New Testament chapter 9 study guide)

Faithfully,

Randolph

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New Testament Stuff I Need To Know: Session 6

Chapter 8: Two Hidden Treasures   

Learning Group Discussion: 2/12-2/18

Reading Assignment Outline

Hebrews: Preaching as Theology

  • Author: anonymous, excellent Greek, rhetoric of exposition and exhortation, use of Torah
  • Date: between 60 and 90CE
  • Context: maybe ethnically Hellenistic Jews, also Christians,
  • faith community in danger of “falling away
  • superiority of Jesus to God’s earlier agents
  • engages the symbolism of the ancient cult, especially sacrifice
  • merging of biblical cosmology and Platonic categories (material/ideal, earth/heaven)
  • Christ is the perfect mediator between God and humans because he is (ontological) both divine and human, and because Christ’s mediating role is not static but dynamic (moral). p88
  • Christ represent humanity as its priest forever
  • cloud of witnesses
  • Jesus is both the cause of salvation and the model of obedient faith
6thC lunette mosaic, Abel & Melchizedek sacrificing - Basilica di San Vitale, Ravenna
6th-century mosaic in the Basilica di San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy, depicting Abel and Melchisedec making a sacrifice on an altar. Christians see scenes like this one as foreshadowing the Eucharistic ritual.


Continue reading “New Testament Stuff I Need To Know: Session 6”

Adult Formation Journal: February 8, 2017

It is a proven fact that we grow in our faith when we do three things:

  1. read and study the Bible daily, whether it is one verse, one chapter, or more,
  2. pray daily, whether it is ten minutes of being still and quiet with God, one hour of contemplation, or praying throughout the day,
  3. apply faith principles to our daily lives, whether it is occasionally or often.

I have attached the two latest Daily Meditations from Richard Rohr:

His topic is contemplative prayer. Granted, it’s counterintuitive and not the way most people pray, but anyone can learn a method of contemplative prayer. It may be the most important step we can take to grow spiritually in this age. I welcome your comments and questions at Randolph@saintjameswarrenton.org.

Table Talk: Week of February 5, 2017

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 summaries, 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.

Teaching God’s Word

The Gospel of Matthew formed the basis of our 3rd-5th graders lesson this week. Jesus calls on us all to be the Salt and the Light and to show others the power of God’s Word through our actions. The church was just beginning and followers were often in hiding to avoid persecution. Matthew is calling on the members of the church not to hide their beliefs, but to be a beacon of light and help to lead others to God’s teachings and the Salt that prevents the world from going bad.

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New Testament Stuff I Need to Know: Session 5

FEBRUARY 2, 2017

Dear Saint James’ Learners,

I have attached two documents for our New Testament course. One is an updated version of the syllabus. The other is a worksheet which includes an outline for Chapter 7: Paul and His Letters, discussion questions, and the assigned Scripture passage with guidelines for praying the passage. I hope you will be able to read the entire chapter and pray the Scripture passage once a day for three days.

Continue reading “New Testament Stuff I Need to Know: Session 5”

Table Talk: Week of January 22, 2017

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.

All God’s Family

Our 3rd-5th graders continued engaging Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. In today’s Epistle, Paul addressed the divisions that were occurring in the early church, reminding church members that we are all to work together.  The members should “be united in the same mind and the same purpose.” The children talked about what it means to argue with family or friends and explored the challenges in being part of a community and how they can work together as part of God’s family.

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of January 22, 2017”

Table Talk: Week of January 15, 2017

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.

God Is Faithful

Our 3rd-5th graders engaged the text of the Epistle, Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, in which Paul tells of God’s faithfulness, and explored what it means to be called to be God’s people. God’s faithfulness is what ensures that we will be able to grow in his love and what strengthens us and prepares us to be full members of his church. Paul notes that God has enriched his people in speech and knowledge to prepare them for their role and that the testimony of Christ is strengthened among them. They have been given all of the gifts they need to help spread his word and act in accordance with his teachings.

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of January 15, 2017”

Update on Adult Formation | January 12, 2017

Dear Parishioners,

55 of you have registered for the “New Testament Stuff I Need to Know” course. That’s fantastic! It is a fact that congregations that read and study Scripture together grow together. We grow closer to each other and to God  as we learn more about God’s Word and share our learnings with each other.

I have posted below the syllabus for the course. There are 20 more course books available, and I hope that every one of them finds a home with one of you. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at randolph@saintjameswarrenton.org  I am the facilitator for all Sunday sessions and most of the Tuesday sessions.

Faithfully,

Randolph

Continue reading “Update on Adult Formation | January 12, 2017”

Table Talk: Week of January 8, 2017

For the next few weeks, we will be experimenting with our Sunday School organization. Godly Play will encompass 1st-5th grade. Godly Play is designed to be used for all age levels and we have wanted to expand the experience. This desire, combined with the struggle to recruit teachers for this oldest group, persuaded us to try something new. In the lead up to Lent, we will see how having the groups together works and then evaluate how to proceed from there. We’d love to hear feedback from parents and children as the process unfolds.

Holy Baptism

The First Sunday after Epiphany is also known as the Baptism of our Lord. Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into the Church.

We baptize people in the name of the Father…the Son…and the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we call the Father the Creator. We call the Son the Redeemer. We call the Holy Spirit the Sustainer. People are baptized at all ages, from babies through the very old. We ask the person about to be baptized questions, or the parents or godparents if they are babies. We say prayers for them.

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of January 8, 2017”

Adult Formation in Epiphany: You’re Invited!

Adult Formation for the Season of Epiphany

January 6-February 28, 2017

We want EVERYONE to join our 2017 focus on learning more about the Bible!


BIBLE STUDY COURSE: “New Testament Stuff I Need to Know”

This book is both scholarly and basic and will be ordered for everyone that registers for the course. The cost is $6. Weekly reading assignments are about fifteen pages. Group discussion is important! Register for learning groups at main bulletin board OR email Fr. Randolph.

9:15 Learning Group

– Sundays, 9:15-10:00, Jan 8-Feb 26, Reception Room (childcare for 5 and younger in the nursery)

11:45 Learning Group

– Sundays, 11:45-12:30, Jan 8-Feb 26, Reception Room

Women’s Study Group

– Tuesdays, 10:30-11:30, Jan 8-Feb 28, Reception Room

Online Learning Group

– On Facebook … just join the Facebook group Saint James’ Warrenton | Adult Formation and add your voice to the conversation!

Self-select Learning Group

– Conversations with family and friends, Jan 8-Feb 28

Register for learning groups at main bulletin board OR randolph@saintjameswarrenton.org


PERSONAL BIBLE READING

Read the Bible in 24 weeks. You can order the book online OR email Fr Randolph

Read Bible stories with your children for 24 weeks. You can order the book online OR email Fr Randolph

Read the Gospel of Matthew with daily reflections in 50 days. You can order the book online OR email Fr Randolph


ONGOING FORMATION OFFERINGS

Men’s Spiritual Formation Group

– Mondays, 8:00-9:00, Reception Room

Holy Eucharist

– Wednesdays, 12:00-12:45

Chapel with the Bishop, followed by discussion

– Thursdays, 7:15-9:00

Book Study Group

– First Thursdays, 9:30-11:00


We want EVERYONE to join our 2017 focus on learning more about the Bible!

Feel free to contact Fr. Randolph at randolph@saintjameswarrenton.org with questions or comments.

Table Talk: Week of December 18, 2016

As your children learn about Advent and the story of Jesus’ birth in Sunday School this season, we encourage you to continue the conversation at home. Each week, we will provide you with the reading done in church for the lighting of our Advent Candles and questions that can be used to discuss them. You can use them as you light your own candles or simply as a conversation-starter.

Reading for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

We have lit three candles ─ for hope, for peace, and for joy. Today we add the fourth candle ─ the candle of love. With this flame we signify the love of God that surrounds and fills us at all times, but that we recognize in a special way in the Christmas story. There is no greater power than love. It is stronger than rulers and empires, stronger than grief or despair, stronger even than death. We love, because he loves us.

(All four candles are lit.)

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of December 18, 2016”

Table Talk: Week of December 18, 2016

As your children learn about Advent and the story of Jesus’ birth in Sunday School this season, we encourage you to continue the conversation at home. Each week, we will provide you with the reading done in church for the lighting of our Advent Candles and questions that can be used to discuss them. You can use them as you light your own candles or simply as a conversation-starter.

Reading for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

We have lit three candles ─ for hope, for peace, and for joy. Today we add the fourth candle ─ the candle of love. With this flame we signify the love of God that surrounds and fills us at all times, but that we recognize in a special way in the Christmas story. There is no greater power than love. It is stronger than rulers and empires, stronger than grief or despair, stronger even than death. We love, because he loves us.

(All four candles are lit.)

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of December 18, 2016”

Plan for Adult Formation in Epiphany

A Report to the Parishioners of Saint James’ from the Adult Formation Discernment Team

Dear Parishioners,

The mission of the Adult Formation Discernment Team was to determine and launch new adult formation programs at Saint James’. Christian formation is Christian education with the added dimension of cultivating an openness to being formed and shaped by God.

The purpose of creating new adult formation offerings is threefold:

  • to serve more parishioners, especially those who have not been regular participants in formation programs before,
  • to choose one area of learning which could be a shared experience for the entire parish during a liturgical season or a period of time, and
  • to provide both scholarly content and practical application to daily living.

The team gathered data through conversations with parishioners and a parish survey. More than a hundred parishioners participated in the survey. We also looked at resources and methods of learning.

Based on our discussions and discernment, here are the plans for the Season of Epiphany, January 6 to February 28:

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Table Talk: Week of December 11, 2016

As your children learn about Advent and the story of Jesus’ birth in Sunday School this season, we encourage you to continue the conversation at home. Each week, we will provide you with the reading done in church for the lighting of our Advent Candles and questions that can be used to discuss them. You can use them as you light your own candles or simply as a conversation-starter.

Reading

We have lit the first two candles, one for hope and one for peace. Today we add the third candle, the candle of joy. We see joy all around us – in the children, the lights, the music, that gathering together. But how often do we let our preparations or our memories push joy aside? Joy is like an underground spring that wells up within us, but joy requires intention, deliberate cultivation. Like a muscle, it needs to be exercised. So today we open ourselves to joy, trusting that God has already planted it in us. So we give it care and offer it to share.

(The first, second and third candles are lit.)

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Update on Family Ministries

Sunday School

Thanks again to all of the parishioners who have stepped up to teach this year. We are very grateful and there has been a smooth transition as our new teachers have taken over.

As we head into the Advent season, the Sunday School students will be preparing to welcome Jesus into the world. On the first Sunday of Advent, everyone will be making Advent wreaths to bring home and use. Our Table Talks will include the readings done in church and also in Sunday School, and each week as we light the candles there will be questions that you can use at home to discuss the meaning of the candles and how we can prepare ourselves to welcome the Lord.

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Fr Randolph’s Reflections on Advent

Advent, in so many ways, is a strange and countercultural concept. The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is probably the busiest of the entire year. Our calendars are filled with both enjoyable and challenging events – parties, family, friends, meals, travel, presents, sorrow, depression, memories, reconnecting, year-end deadlines, semester exams, anxiety, high expectations, disappointments, deep emotions, faith commitments, relational responsibilities, practical worries, hope and joy for the future, celebrations of life… the list goes on and on. It’s exhausting.

In our culture, the month before Christmas is fast and active, but the Church calls us to slow down and wait during the season of Advent. What a concept! Waiting may be just as important as acting. Of course, we will always spend a much greater portion of our day doing things, but waiting is also a critical part of our lives – waiting for clarity, waiting for the right moment, waiting for a response, waiting for inspiration, waiting for someone.

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Fr Ben’s Year-End Message

As we enter the last month of our bicentennial year, I find myself quite reflective. One particular thought has occupied my time, especially as we step back and participate in liturgies from the 1789 Book of Common Prayer. In a world so different than the one of our church founders how is our role in the community, our mission changing?

When Saint James’ first opened her doors, James Madison was president, we had only 18 states, and Edison’s light bulb was still over 60 years from conception as was the invention of the phonograph. Imagine the role the church played in that community. What happened each Sunday at Saint James’ was in all likelihood the most significant cultural and social event of the week. The church had little competition on Sunday morning (or any other day of the week for that matter). Imagine the transcendent beauty of listening to the organ and raising your voice in harmony with the gathered faithful prior to radio, records, tapes, cd’s, much less iPods and streaming music…. Contemplate the power of a well-crafted and delivered sermon in an age without film, television, or the internet. The church truly was the center of a community’s life.

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Table Talk: Week of December 4, 2016

As your children learn about Advent and the story of Jesus’ birth in Sunday School this season, we encourage you to continue the conversation at home. Each week, we will provide you with the reading done in church for the lighting of our Advent Candles and questions that can be used to discuss them. You can use them as you light your own candles or simply as a conversation-starter. 

Reading for the Second Sunday of Advent

Last Sunday we lit the first candle─the candle of hope. Today we add the second candle, the candle of peace. We light it knowing full well that peace is elusive, and in some parts of the world, it is almost completely absent. Yet in this season of Advent, we trust that God is never absent from us. God is always preparing something new. And even where there is war and discord, whether between countries, within families, or within our own hearts, God is present, gently leading us to new possibilities.

(The first and second candles are lit.)

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of December 4, 2016”

Table Talk: Week of November 27, 2016

As your children learn about Advent and the story of Jesus’ birth in Sunday School this season, we encourage you to continue the conversation at home. Each week, we will provide you with the reading done in church for the lighting of our Advent Candles and questions that can be used to discuss them. You can use them as you light your own candles or simply as a conversation-starter.

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of November 27, 2016”

Adult Formation for Advent & Epiphany

Advent Begins This Sunday!

The Season of Advent begins this Sunday, November 27.

Your Adult Formation Discernment Team is inviting and encouraging the entire Saint James’ Parish to read and discuss What Are You Waiting For?, a book of brief daily Advent meditations written by Christine McSpadden, an Episcopal priest, and published by Forward Movement.

The Formation Team is providing a free copy to the first 100 parish households who commit to reading the daily meditations (two short pages) and discussing them in a group setting before or after worship on Sunday, or with a group of friends sometime during the week.

Continue reading “Adult Formation for Advent & Epiphany”