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.

 

Ministry of the Month: Learning Starts Early + Gobble, Gobble, Run or Wobble 5k

NOVEMBER 2017 MINISTRY OF THE MONTH

On Saturday, November 18, the third-annual Gobble, Gobble, Run or Wobble 5k & Kids’ Fun Run will wind through the streets of Old Town Warrenton. You can register for the race here.

While the event is an absolute blast, complete with a turkey mascot on a bicycle, it also serves a much more profound purpose: funding efforts to increase access to preschool in Fauquier County through a Saint James’ initiative called Learning Starts Early.

Learning Starts Early (LSE) is an outreach ministry with a simple vision: that each child is a beloved child of God, and that each child should enter kindergarten ready to thrive and grow academically, socially and emotionally.

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2017 Stewardship Letter from the Senior Warden

Dear Saint James’ family,

As your senior and junior wardens, we are writing this year’s annual pledge campaign letter. Newcomers and visitors reinforce what we all feel when they observe that we are a church that radiates meaning, purpose and vitality. The vestry bears the responsibility for the finances of the church, and as their officers, we can state with confidence that our budget is designed to support what makes Saint James’ exceptional.

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Ministry of the Month: Saint James’ Firewood Ministry

October 2017

“Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” – Romans 12:13

Fauquier County is one of the materially wealthiest places in the United States. But that’s not true for everyone who lives here.

Roughly 4,000 people in Fauquier live below the poverty level. And in an area where land prices are high and affordable housing scarce, even more people struggle to make ends meet and to afford those basic needs like decent housing and heat during the winter.

Colin Borgstrom, who heads up the Saint James’ Wood Ministry, emphasizes that the need is everywhere, not just in areas of the county that have been especially left behind in economic development.

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Trip to Haiti & How You Can Help!

Vitamins and Medications needed

As Fr. Ben preached on Sunday, a team of eight, including six members of Saint James’ Episcopal Church and School (Lee and Terry Owsley, Marianne Lynch, Cammie Fuller, Coy Ferrell, and Fr. Ben), are heading to Terrier Rouge, Haiti from Monday October, 23rd – Sunday, October 29th. They’ll be staying at Saint Barthélémy Episcopal School, part of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti.

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Wood Ministry Event: Saturday, August 26

The Wood Ministry is picking up steam as we end the summer and head into fall. This Saturday, please join us for a Split/Stack event at the collection site in Warrenton.  The weather looks really good after the past two weekends, and we have two log splitters on site ready for volunteers.  We’ll plan to meet at 8am and be completed around 10 so you can enjoy the remainder of your day. 

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Job Opening: Director of Family Ministries

Laura Updyke, our Director of Family Ministries, recently began a job with Fauquier County Public Schools and is stepping down from her church position later this month. Over the last year she has done a wonderful job working with the young people and families in our Church and School and we thank her for her dedication and service. 

If you or someone you know is interested in this rewarding part-time position within our growing Church, please send a resume to Father Ben at rector@saintjameswarrenton.org. For a full job description, click here.

2017 SC Youth Missions Trip Recap

Thank you for your prayers and all the ways you supported our mission team while down in Hollywood, South Carolina. Thank you also to all of the adult volunteers (and their families) who volunteered their time and talents, and to our youth who represented Saint James’ so wonderfully. The trip was a transformative experience.

Read blog posts from each day of the missions trip

Please take the time to watch the youth (and our Director of Family Ministries) reflect on their experience, and if you watch the whole service you will even hear them sing and play the ukulele!

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Update on Family Ministries: 2017 Summer Newsletter

by Laura Updyke, Interim Director of Family Ministries

Acolytes

Calling all acolytes! There will be an acolyte training session on August 27th immediately following the 10:15 service. It will last about an hour. Current acolytes wishing to take on a new role or those wishing to become an acolyte should plan to attend. Here are the roles your children can play in the service:

  • 3rd grade and up – Torch
  • 5th grade and up – Crucifer
  • 7th grade and up – Server
  • 9th grade and up – Chalicer

We do not have an age limit for Epistler, because we believe that is self-selecting. Whenever your child feels comfortable reading out loud, they are welcome to take it on.

If you have any questions, please contact Laura Updyke at laura.updyke@saintjameswarrenton.org.

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Green Team Update: Appalachia and Coal

FROM THE GREEN CORNER:

From the Ashes, a National Geographic documentary and Tribeca Film Festival 2017 Selection, will be broadcast on the National Geographic Channel Sunday, June 25 at 9 PM (check your local listing to verify time).

This documentary provides a thought-provoking look at Appalachia, the use of coal for energy production, the problems that arise, and some possible solutions. The Green Team, Warrenton Climate Change Group, and Virginia Interfaith Council co-sponsored a preview of the documentary last week at Saint James’ and recommend the film.

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Green Team Update: Response to Leaving the Paris Climate Agreement

For all of us, our country’s departure from the Paris Climate Agreement was deeply disturbing. Responses however, have included some very positive suggestions which focus on the fact that we, as Americans and Christians, believe that individuals are empowered to act. Please consider the following ways to respond:

— We pray because the Earth is God’s creation, and it is in His hands. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church made the following statement. A number of Episcopal Church bishops have also issued a joint statement.

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From The Ashes: Environmental Film Night is Thursday, June 15

Thursday, June 15 @ 7:00 PM in the Parish Hall

FROM THE ASHES is being shown in small venues all over the U.S. before it premiers on the National Geographic Channel later in June.  The Interfaith Power and Light network is distributing advance copies of the film with the intention of raising awareness that will potentially result in both thought-provoking conversation and constructive action.                      

FROM THE ASHES captures Americans in communities across the country as they wrestle with the legacy of the coal industry and what its future should be.

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Earth Day Events in the DC Area

FROM THE GREEN CORNER

Do you have plans for EARTH DAY on April 22? There are many good events going on that help us appreciate our planet.

But did you know that the Anglican Communion recognizes a similar but much older celebration on April 25?  It is called ROGATION DAY, and the earliest ceremonies were believed to have been practiced in the British Isles in the 7th century when farmers asked the priest to bless their newly planted crops.

Even then, people understood the vital need of healthy soil and God’s blessing for abundance. Take time to  pray for the health of our planet during the upcoming week. Consider the many pressures upon our planet’s resources and how you can help.

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Family Ministries Update: March 2017

Laura Updyke is the interim director of family ministries – you can contact Laura here

Sunday School

If you see one of our Sunday School teachers, please take a minute to say thanks for the great job they’ve been doing this year! We are especially grateful to Haifleigh Pritchard, who is giving her time every Sunday to work with our 3rd-5th graders, helping them manage the crucial shift from Sunday School to confirmation preparation.

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Green Team Update: Water Justice & Upcoming Events

“Water is the hammer through which climate change hits the earth.” – GreenFaith

Over the next weeks, the Green Team will consider how we can conserve and protect our planet’s clean water. We can use biodegradable soap products. We can return unused pharmaceuticals to proper sites rather than flush them into the sewer (Fauquier Hospital will accept them April 22, 9 am-12 noon).

What other ways can you suggest to protect our water? Email us your ideas!

GreenFaith and the Trinity Institute in New York City will be hosting a global theological conference, Water Justice, on March 22-24.

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Parents’ Night Out on February 11!

Saturday, February 11 | 5:00 – 9:00 PM

Enjoy an early Valentine’s night out and support our Soroti students ministry!

  • The cost is $275 to support a younger student and $500 for older students, all money raised will go toward supporting this important church ministry!
  • Drop-off in Parish Hall. Separate rooms for younger kids and elementary age students.
  • Snacks provided (please feed your children dinner before arrival or send a lunch box). Games and movie provided.
  • Donations requested.
  • Learn more about Soroti Ministry here

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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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