A Musical Journey: Holy Week and Easter

by Jesse Ratcliffe, Choirmaster

for a schedule of worship services in Holy Week, click here

The days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday are laden with emotion—the catch-breath of joy as we celebrate the triumphant entry to Jerusalem; the sorrow and heaviness of the crucifixion; and ending with the bliss of Easter Day. As a church musician, conveying these emotions through music can often prove to be challenging. The task is governed by the balance of musical language and text with listener approachability. At Saint James’, each service will be filled with some of the most poignant pieces of choral literature.

Continue reading “A Musical Journey: Holy Week and Easter”

Table Talk: Week of March 18, 2018

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.

Muscle Memory & The 5th Sunday in Lent

In our 3rd – 5th grade classroom, the children talked about the book of Jeremiah, chapter 31, verses 31-34.

We are constantly learning. There is a need to practice what we learn to become better. The more we practice, the easier a skill becomes. We also know what it’s like to memorize something and know it “by heart”. Sometimes we teach our bodies to do an action without even thinking about it – such as clapping. Sometimes we practice something over and over (such as the Lord’s Prayer) – soon, we know it by heart.

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of March 18, 2018”

Holy Week 2018: Schedule of Services

Saint James’ you to attend as many of our Holy Week services as you are able. They dramatically walk us through Jesus’ last days and allow us to more fully enter the story and receive the love poured out for us. The experience of Holy Week also adds to the richness, joy, and bounding hope of Easter.

(scroll to the bottom of the page for photos and video from Holy Week services that have already occurred)


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March 31 | The Great Vigil of Easter

8:00 PM

Possibly the most beautiful service of the church year, the Easter Vigil begins outside in our courtyard with the kindling of a fire from which the paschal candle is lit.

After processing into the church, each person lights their candle from that paschal candle as the service begins in darkness. While still in the tomb we read of God’s saving work throughout history.

Then, after we have proclaimed our new life in Christ through the renewing of our baptismal covenant, we reign in Easter with the lighting the altar candles, the illuminating the worship area, and singing and ringing of bells.

Then we joyfully celebrate that first Easter Eucharist.

The service actually takes us from death to new life and we really experience that Easter moment. If you have not been to the Vigil, please consider making it your Easter celebration.

Also, following the service, Lent is officially over, we will celebrate with a champagne and chocolate reception in the parish hall.


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April 1 | Easter Sunday

8:00am and 10:15am

Come celebrate Easter Day with us!

Having completed our journey and walked through the sorrow of Holy Week, we now come ready to experience Easter Joy.

Our 10:15 service begins with the children flowering the cross and following behind it in procession. The joyful music fills the space as we tell the story of the empty tomb and the reverberations of that moment throughout history and in our lives. Following the service our children will continue the celebration as they search for Easter eggs.


previous services

Palm Sunday

“Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” – Collect for Justice


Maundy Thursday

“Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” – Collect for Maundy Thursday


Good Friday

“Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” – Collect for Good Friday

Update on Family Ministries: 2018 Winter Newsletter

by Jen Taylor, Director of Family Ministries

Sunday School

Wow! We are well into 2018 and just 3 months left of our Sunday school curriculum for the year.

Don’t let that mislead you, we still have lots to do!

A very special thank you to all our Sunday school teachers! We have over 25 volunteers for Sunday school. Every Sunday there are dedicated teachers to tell our youngest parishioners a relevant story, read bible verses with, and facilitate a conversation about what they learned.

Continue reading “Update on Family Ministries: 2018 Winter Newsletter”

Syllabus: Learning More about the Acts of the Apostles and Contemplative Prayer

Adult Formation at St. James’

Adult formation is learning about the faith and being formed by the triune God through the following:

  1. study of religious sources [Bible, Prayer Book, tradition, etc.]
  2. prayer [contemplation, lectio divina, centering prayer, examen, etc.]
  3. meaningful conversation [honest, open, focused, non-judgmental, shared, helpful, respectful, etc.]
  4. participation in the life of a faith community [learning groups, St. James’, The Episcopal Church, etc.]

Learning Groups

The purpose of this 7- week course is to learn more about The Acts of the Apostles and the Early Church and to practice contemplative prayer. Consider this goal: 15 minutes of Bible and prayer daily.

  • Sunday Learning Groups, 9:15 and 11:45 in Reception Room (Childcare for 5 years and younger)
  • Tuesday Learning Group, 10:30 in Reception Room
  • Home Learning Group Form your own group of two or more; meet in your own space.

Continue reading “Syllabus: Learning More about the Acts of the Apostles and Contemplative Prayer”

Message from the Rector: 2018 Winter Newsletter

by Fr Ben Maas

Despite the fact that I have not turned a shovel of dirt or driven a nail, there is something remarkably satisfying about watching the expansion take place. I make it a regular part of my day to see the progress. Even before the first sign of construction, I reveled in the enormous hole that provided a glimpse of what would eventually fill the space. I have had a childlike enthusiasm on those big days when walls or floors are poured. Now with the basement formed and the foundation of what will be the new school entrance in place, I can practically envision the completed wing. I find myself looking over the construction sign with the completed rendering and then at the site, attaching finished walls, windows, a roof, etc. Even on the occasions where weather interrupts work or those days that just don’t show remarkable progress, I still find myself looking out the window and appreciating how far we have come.

Continue reading “Message from the Rector: 2018 Winter Newsletter”

Table Talk: Week of March 11, 2018

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.

Amazing Grace & The Fourth Sunday in Lent

In our 3rd – 5th grade classroom, the children talked about what it is like to earn things. (rewards for good grades, places on teams, money for doing chores)

Unfortunately, children already tie their sense of self-worth to what they have earned and they observe this in the adult world too. It is a challenge for Christians of all ages to accept God’s grace as an unearned, unmerited gift of enduring acceptance, love and mercy. Grace is God’s loving mercy for us, no matter what.

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of March 11, 2018”

Notes on Chapter 7: The Heart of Christianity

Learning More about Christianity

The Quotes and Questions for Chapter 7 of The Heart of Christianity are attached. I hope that you will check them out. This is a very important chapter, “The Kingdom of God: The Heart of Justice.” You don’t have to read the book. Just come and participate in the conversation. All are welcome.

Sundays at 9:15 and 11:45  and Tuesdays at 10:30 in the Reception Room

– Fr Randolph

ALL ARE WELCOME!

Continue reading “Notes on Chapter 7: The Heart of Christianity”

Firewood Ministry Event Update and Drivers Wanted

Due to the rain and forecast for more rain this weekend, we are cancelling the planned split/stack event for this Saturday (Feb 24). Please plan to join us at our next planned event on Saturday, March 10!

In the meantime, winter is still hanging around (even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment!) and we have weekly requests for delivery of wood to homes in central/southern Fauquier. If you have a pickup truck or trailer and can spare an hour or more once a week, please contact Wood Ministry Team Leader Colin Borgstrom at 540-270-3285 or via email at theborginva@gmail.com to be added to the delivery email list. Thank you in advance for your help with this vital ministry!

To learn more about Firewood Ministry and the impact it has on Fauquier County, click here.

Table Talk: Week of February 18, 2018

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.

Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat by Simon de Myle
Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat by Simon de Myle, 1570

A Fresh Start

This Sunday, was the first Sunday of Lent. Sunday’s Sunday School lesson focused on a reading in Genesis (Genesis 6:5-9:17) – the children will embrace how God’s covenant with Noah gives all people hope for second chances.

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of February 18, 2018”

Lenten Family Nights & Other Programs in Lent 2018

“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” (BCP p. 265)

Saint James’ Warrenton is offering three activities during Lent 2018 to support your spiritual journey in this season of reflection, and you’re invited!

Lenten Family Nights

The adult formation and family ministries leaders have planned a program of Lenten Family Nights for the people of Saint James’. It will be held on the first four Sunday evenings in Lent: February 18, February 25, March 4, March 11.

Whether it’s just you or you have a whole family in tow, you’re invited to this new program that will deepen our relationships with each other and our faith.

Schedule
  • 6:00 Supper
  • 6:45 Worship
  • 7:00 Program: Adults, High School, Middle School, Childcare
  • 8:00 Good Night

We will begin with everyone gathering for a shared meal at 6:00. Click here to sign up to bring part of the meal. Then we will worship 6:45 with an informal evening liturgy. At 7:00, the High School and Middle School Youth Groups will follow their usual program on the scheduled Sundays. Childcare will be available for all four nights.

The program for adults is based on Brian McLaren‘s new book, The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking A Better Way to Be Christian. We will begin with a 15-minute video of Brian speaking and talking with others about the basic points of the book. There is no reading or preparation needed for this program; just come and participate. There will be a facilitator at each table to guide the conversations. We will end the night with a brief gathering and sending forth.

The following is a description of the program we are using, which is called Way of Life.

“Participants learn how shifting away from an outdated system of beliefs to a new way of life based on love can lead to new, more redemptive communities and practices. McLaren challenges participants to focus less on doctrine, more on new ways of reading Scripture, and ultimately on love as manifested in the life of Jesus.”


Adult Formation Learning Groups

Learning groups meet in the reception room every Sunday at 9:15am and 11:45am and on Tuesdays at 10:30am.

These are meaningful conversations about having and living an honest and passionate faith in God.

Currently, we are focusing on the book The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith by Marcus Borg.

To see the syllabus of this learning group, click here. And to see the latest news about adult formation, including discussion questions for each chapter, click here.


Self-Guided Devotion

The book Saint James’ is offering for a self-guided journey through Lent is Ashes and the Phoenix: Meditations for the Season of Lentwhich is published by Forward Movement.

“Threaded throughout with the stunningly visual and visceral poems of Len Freeman and guided by the collects for Lent and Holy Week, Ashes and the Phoenix seeks to lead us through the emotions, symbols, sights, sounds, and scents of Lent. Featuring original woodcuts by artist Jason Sierra, this book is a feast for hungry hearts and weary eyes. If you are seeking a way to answer the Church’s invitation to observe a holy Lent, Ashes and the Phoenix is an excellent companion for your journey to Easter.”

Books available at the rear of the church for $5.00.

Photos: Ash Wednesday 2018

“Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism.

“It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

Continue reading “Photos: Ash Wednesday 2018”

Notes on Chapter 4: The Heart of Christianity

Learning More about Christianity

We are currently using The Heart of Christianity, by Marcus Borg, in our adult formation learning groups. I am very excited about this book and the meaningful faith conversations that it invites!

ALL ARE WELCOME!

Continue reading “Notes on Chapter 4: The Heart of Christianity”

Upcoming Firewood Ministry Split & Stack Events

Our wood ministry is in full force during these cold winter months!  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 weeks, and we have two log splitters on site ready for volunteers.  We’ll plan to meet at 9am and be completed around 11am so you can enjoy the remainder of your day.

Working in conjunction with the Fauquier Community Coalition, our volunteers donated more than 70 hours of labor at the wood collection site in Warrenton.  From this site, donations of firewood were made to more than 60 families in Fauquier and Rappahannock counties that would not have had wood for heating or cooking without this ministry.

The upcoming months will allow us to organize and get a jump on preparations for the next season; we plan to have split and stack events on the second and fourth Saturdays each month in February, March and April.

Continue reading “Upcoming Firewood Ministry Split & Stack Events”

Worship Notes: The Liturgy Explained

The Worship Ministry Team has been studying The Liturgy Explained, by James Farwell, Professor of Liturgics at Virginia Theological Seminary. The following is a quote from the book.

“In the liturgy, the people who call themselves followers of God… praise the source of beauty and truth, listen to the proclamation of love and laws of human flourishing in the kingdom of God, lament that which is broken in the world, focus their energy on help for those broken, acknowledge their failings and commit to begin again to seek God and the good, make peace with one another, and welcome one another to a shared table.”

Continue reading “Worship Notes: The Liturgy Explained”

Notes on Chapter 2: The Heart of Christianity

Learning More about Christianity

For the seasons of Epiphany and Lent, we are using The Heart of Christianity, by Marcus Borg. I am very excited about this book and the meaningful conversations about our faith that it invites! There is a spirit moving within Christianity (and also in other faiths) that is calling us into a more honest and passionate experience of God, and a commitment to be more intentional about letting that sacred experience shape our daily living. “Learning More about Christianity” is an opportunity for us at Saint James’ to walk that path into a deeper faith together.

Fr Randolph

Continue reading “Notes on Chapter 2: The Heart of Christianity”

Ministry of the Month: Saint James’ Breakfast Sandwich Ministry

“…I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” Matthew 25:35

“The neat part about Warrenton is that it’s a real community,” says Bob Meceda, who usually delivers the breakfast sandwiches made every third Sunday in the Saint James’ kitchen. People begin lining up a half hour before doors open at Warrenton UMC, where volunteers there have made coffee. The origin of the sandwiches is anonymous. They are there for anyone who needs a healthy breakfast no one is turned away. 

Greg Arthaud got himself through college by working the morning shift at McDonalds, so he knows a thing or two about cracking eggs. For the past seven years, Greg has spent his time in the Saint James’ kitchen most months on the third Saturday, prepping breakfast sandwiches for local residents who might not otherwise have a healthy meal on a Saturday morning. 


facts and needs

  • The next sandwich-making day is Saturday, January 21st at 7:00am.
  • This ministry operates year-round on the third Saturday of each month.
  • Volunteers prepare ten-dozen breakfast sandwiches.
  • We always need volunteers!
  • This is a great ministry for the whole family to get involved.
  • The sandwiches are distributed at Warrenton United Methodist Church via Fauquier County Food Distribution Coalition.
  • If you are interested in helping prepare sandwiches, contact Greg Arthaud.

Continue reading “Ministry of the Month: Saint James’ Breakfast Sandwich Ministry”