Why We Are Going to Haiti

October 2018

Later this month, a small group of parishioners led by Fr Ben will travel to south-west Haiti.  

Our goal is to expand the mission of Saint James’ Episcopal Church & School by finding an Episcopal church and school in that region of Haiti, share our stories and our culture, and help them prosper in their mission to expand access to primary education in their community.

In a country where educational opportunities have all too often been reserved for a tiny elite, the impact of support like this has the potential to be far-reaching.

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Support Learning Starts Early on Give Local Piedmont Day

On May 1, Give Local Piedmont day, please click here and donate generously to Saint James’ Learning Starts Early, a pioneering program to support preschool education in Fauquier County. Contributions are tax deductible.

Preschool education is the gateway to success in kindergarten and beyond. Numerous studies have found that children lacking preschool training, many — but not all — from low-income families, are more likely to struggle in school, over time increasing the likelihood discipline problems, unwanted pregnancies and incarceration. The cost to society is staggering.

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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.

 

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: Frequently-Asked Questions

What does “Pledge Day – April 2, 2017” mean?

  • “Pledge Day – April 2, 2017” is the day we will hand out the pledge cards to everyone and also the day we will collect the pledge cards.

Can I take my pledge card home on April 2nd and think about my gift?

  • Of course you can, but our hope and desire is that all pledge cards will be filled out and handed in on the same day – Pledge Day, April 2, 2017. The weeks leading up to April 2nd will highlight aspects of the capital campaign and allow time for individuals to consider their gift.

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SJES Family Fun Night @ The WARF

Friday, March 31 | 5:00 – 8:00 pm

Join us at the WARF for a family fun night of swimming benefiting the SJPA!

Pizza, snacks and drinks will be sold onsite for $1.

ALL children must be supervised (6 and under must have a swimming adult) and attendees must comply with WARF rules listed on the the back of the form below.

When signing up, please keep in mind:

  • Children 2 years and younger are free and do not need a wristband.
  • Children under the age of 6 must have a swimming adult with them in the water. The swimming adult needs a wristband.

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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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By The Numbers: Saint James’ Church & School

As we look ahead with great hope and optimism to Pledge Day, April 2, 2017, it is fitting that we take a moment to look more closely at our largest ministry, largest donor, and continuing success story, Saint James’ Episcopal School. The numbers below leave no doubt that education is a central passion and gift of our parish. 


Saint James’ Episcopal Church & School by the Numbers

50

50 years ago the education wing was built onto our church. At that time there was no school and the parish consisted of 309 members.

898

898 adults and children call Saint James’ their home today

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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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CONNECTED Capital Campaign 

MARK THIS DATE ON YOUR CALENDAR!

APRIL 2, 2017

On April 2nd we will be inviting you to make your pledge to the CONNECTED Capital Campaign.

Between now and Pledge Day, April 2nd, we will be sharing weekly information with you. Be on the lookout for updated building plans and renderings, a closer look at our campaign goal versus actual project costs, and a spotlight on the benefits this project will bring to the church, the school, and our greater Warrenton community.

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5th Grade Service Project | January 2017

Riley, a 5th grader at SJES, is working with RappCats for his service project.

RappCats is a volunteer organization working to help the stray, abused, abandoned, and injured cats of Rappahannock County. They assist with low-cost spay/neuter, veterinary care, and finding temporary and permanent homes.

They also operate the RappCats Adoption Center, a cageless, no-kill facility. They rely entirely on donations to support their operation.

This January, Riley will be collecting items from the organization’s wish list to take to them. Please help if you can. A copy of the list can be found on the bulletin board outside the Parish Hall.

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Gingerbread House Making & Spaghetti Dinner on December 7

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7th @ 5:00 PM

Join us for this annual event of family fun!

The cost will be $10 per gingerbread house, and $5 per person for dinner (no more than $20 per family for dinner).

Let us know how many houses your family will need so we can be sure to have it available for you.

Fill out the form below to sign up; there is also a sign-up sheet outside the parish hall.

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Comfort Cases Donation Drive

Hi,

My name is Madisyn and I’m in the 5th grade at SJES.

I’m looking for donations to help provide comfort and support for children who are entering the foster care system, who have been a victim of a crime, who have had to flee to an emergency shelter, or who have lost their home due to fire. I’m helping to gather donations until October 31.

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