Table Talk: Week of November 6, 2016

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. 

Yesterday, we welcomed two new members into the church through Baptism. In Sunday School, your children talked about baptism and its role in marking us a members of the church. Baptism symbolizes our entrance into God’s family, the Communion of Saints, just as their names, given by their parents, symbolize their entrance into your families.

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Table Talk: Week of October 30, 2016

Jesus and Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)

In this week’s Gospel, we again saw Jesus meet with a person who has made choices that had not pleased God.  Jesus’ friends grumble when Jesus chooses to spend time with him.  Zacchaeus was a wealthy tax collector, a group that the people of the time really disliked because many were dishonest. When Jesus enters Jericho, Zacchaeus climbs a tree to be able to see him. Jesus calls to Zacchaeus and tells him that Jesus will be his guest today and Zacchaeus promises to give away half of his possessions and change his ways. Jesus promises Zacchaeus that God has a place for him in heaven.  Those with Jesus, however, don’t understand why he is giving such attention to a “sinner”. Jesus reminds them he has come, not to reward those already following God’s teachings, but to seek out and save the lost.

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Table Talk: Week of October 23rd

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.

This week’s lessons reminded us that none of us are without failing and that we are all dependent on God’s mercy and forgiveness. We are also blessed, however, because we know that God’s mercy will always be there for us, when we are ready to seek it out.

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Table Talk: Week of October 9, 2016

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.

The Ten Lepers

This week’s Gospel told the story of Jesus’ encounter with the ten lepers.  In it, we hear how Jesus encountered 10 lepers on his journey to Jerusalem, who begged him for mercy. Lepers were condemned to a sad life, they were not allowed to live in the towns because people were afraid of catching their disease. Jesus took pity on the ones who called to him and sent them to see the priests. When they realized they had been cured, nine of the lepers rushed to the priests and home to their families, happy that they no longer had to live all alone. Only one went back to Jesus and thanked him.

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Green Team Update: Earthworms & October 16 Meeting

Dear Green Team,

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:

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A Stewardship Message from Fr Ben

Do you choose easy or do you choose adventure?

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?

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Table Talk: Week of October 2, 2016

PK-K and 3rd-5th Grade

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.

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Upcoming Green Team Programs

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:

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Table Talk: Week of September 25, 2016

PK-K and 3rd-5th Grade

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus from today’s Gospel is one of the many times Jesus spoke to his followers about what God wants from us.

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.

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Table Talk: Week of September 18, 2016

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.

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Table Talk: Week of September 11, 2016

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.

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History of Saint James’: Reconstruction and the African-American Community

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.

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We need YOU to help with Sunday School!

St. James Episcopal Church still needs to fill 13 Sunday School teacher slots across all grade levels by September 11. Is this the year you can help out?

Teaching only requires 45 minutes of your time,  once a month. You will work with a partner and be provided with the curriculum, no planning required.

If you have children in Sunday School, it’s a great way to give back or, if your children are long gone, it’s a great way to connect to the younger generation.

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John Knouse

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.

Scott Christian’s Reflections on his Holy Land Pilgrimage

SSJE HOLY LAND PILGRIMAGE

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

Scott in the Garden of Gethsemane

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.

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