History of Saint James’: Relationship with Grace, Casanova

The parish house built in 1909 by Grace Church, Casanova. (undated photo, courtesy of Grace Church, Casanova)
The parish house built in 1909 by Grace Church, Casanova. (undated photo, courtesy of Grace Church, Casanova)

In September, Grace Church, Casanova, will celebrate its beginning 150 years ago at the close of the Civil War in 1865.  Grace Church, familiar to many, is located 8 miles from Warrenton on the Old Carolina Road and lies on land of the King Carter grant.  The congregation first assembled for worship in a brush arbor close to the sight of the present church.

At the time, the rector of Saint James’ Church, the Rev. James. R. Hubbard, D.D., wrote, “A new congregation has been organized in the Parish (Hamilton), and services are held regularly twice a month at Emmanuel Chapel, recently built….  This is a most important and encouraging work.  It is a neighborhood where a church has long been needed, and where the services of our Church are very earnestly desired.  It is impossible, for the Rector (Dr. Hubbard himself), in addition to his other parochial duties, to bestow upon this new and important enterprise the time, services and care it demands; and it has become necessary to have the services of an assistant minister in the parish, with special reference to carry on this work.”

Later, at the Diocesan Council of 1871, Hamilton Parish was divided and Emmanuel Parish formed from it.  Thus, after 6 years of being connected with Saint James’ and Hamilton Parish, Emmanuel Chapel became Grace Church, Emmanuel Parish.  Currently, Grace Church is in Cedar Run Parish, with a sister parish, St. Stephen’s Church, Catlett.

There are further parallels between Saint James’ and Grace, two of which are noted here:

(1) the Rev. Edwin S. Hinks served as rector of Saint James’ from 1908-1913, and later as rector of Grace Church from 1927-1932.

(2) misfortune struck Saint James’ in 1910 when the church and parish house were destroyed by fire; Grace Church burned in 1908; its rectory burned in 1911. At that time, the building, now the Parish House, was used as a wintertime church, located in the village of Casanova – with the rectory next door.   Regarding the latter, Betty Gookin’s grandfather, G. Thurston Williams, lived close by at “Rockhill,” Casanova.  He wrote on February 6, 1911, “Our rectory burnt up last night and is now nothing but a heap of smoking ashes.  The fire originated in the dining room.  The parson, Mr. Mayers*, was upstairs sick in bed with a bad cold; Mrs. Mayers was upstairs with the children in bed; they were saved out of the upstairs window; they escaped with little more than their lives.  The Rector and his family were taken in by the Williams at Rockhill.


Our parish takes this opportunity to renew the bonds of affection and closeness toward our sister parish as it celebrates a joyful sesquicentennial.  We at Saint James’ will celebrate our bicentennial in 2016 and hope that Grace Church will join us at an event marking that important milestone.

* The Rev. D. Campbell Mayers, Rector of Grace Church 1909-1915

History of Saint James’: Pew Rental

Church pews have an interesting history.  Backless stone benches began to appear along the walls in English churches by the 13th century.  By the 15th century, wooden benches replaced stone benches and were often fixed to the floor in the nave.  It followed that certain areas of the church were considered to be more desirable than others, as they might offer a better view of services, or might make a certain family or person more prominent or visible to their neighbors.  Those pews might command a higher rent.

Until the early/mid twentieth century, such was common practice in the United States.  Churches rented pews to families or individuals as a principal means of raising income.  Unlike Europe, American churches lacked government support through mandatory tithing.  The rental of pews was the practice at Saint James’ Church, presumably from its origin, until 1918 when the rector and vestry decided that pews would not be reserved; there would be open seating and parishioners would be free to sit wherever they pleased.  Henceforth, funds to support the church would be raised through an envelope system that took effect in April 1919.

Church archives contain a small file of original receipts and other material related to pew rentals. Reproduced herewith is a vestry proposal to the rector dated October 14th 1859, in which church wardens Horner and Tompkins recommend a 30% pew rental increase, which would bring the annual income to $1,363.35.  The list includes Gov. William Smith (1797-1897), twice Governor of Virginia (aka “Extra Billy”) and Inman Horner Payne (1821-1905) in whose memory the window “Christ’s Appearance to Mary Magdalene” was given – and which survived the fire of 1910.

Fascinating to tie long-ago people and events together!

1859 pew rental document 2

1859 pew rental document 1


Fr. Ben’s Sermon – July 19, 2015.

On Sunday, Fr. Ben talked about how the lectionary tied together to tell us about Christ’s work in the work in the world in making God accessible to all people, everywhere, regardless of where they might have come from.

Read the lectionary first, and listen to Fr. Ben’s reflections.

May God be accessible to all people, in all times.

Softball Scores and Photos


What a great start to our season last night!  We had an inside the park home run, a double-bobbled catch in the outfield, and several innings of multiple runs scored – congrats!

Final scores for our double headers were:

Game #1 – St James 10 – Oak View 9

Game #2 – Oak View 12 – St James 8

Thank you to all of the players and fans who came out play and enjoy the festivities.  Everyone I talked with had a great time and hopefully this morning, we’re all recovering nicely!

Upcoming schedule (all games at Taylor Middle School):

Tuesday evening, July 28 – Double Header vs Latter Day Saints – 6:15 start – end around 8:15p – Foster’s afterwards

**Just Added**  Tuesday evening, August 4 – Double Header vs Fauquier Community Child Care Staff – 6:15 start – end around 8:15p – Foster’s afterwards

Also, with our turnout from last night and the others who were on vacation and couldn’t make it, it looks like we have enough players to field TWO teams.  We’d like to check the interest on a St James intra-squad game on Sunday afternoon, August 9, from 1-3:30 pm.  This would be a great way to cap off our summer season.  If you are interested and able to play that day, please email us back so we can get a head count.

For those who were out of town or unavailable for last night’s games, next Tuesday is your opportunity; please confirm that you will be there for the July 28th game so we can start planning now.

Have a great week and rest up!

–Colin and Debbi Borgstrom

Upcoming Softball Games July 21, July 28

softball21Our first game was rained out, but it’s been rescheduled to July 28, so join us then!

For the rest of July, this is the schedule:

Tuesday, July 21, 6:15pm at Taylor Middle School – double-header vs Oak View National Bank. Foster’s Grille afterwards.

Tuesday, July 28, 6:15pm at Taylor Middle School – double-header vs. Latter Day Saints. This is the make-up for the game that was cancelled last week due to the weather. Foster’s afterwards.

As in previous years, you have to be over 14 y.o. to play. (we have to do this for liability purposes)

See you there!

SC Mission Trip Photos

Our group who traveled to South Carolina last week worked hard through the southern heat to show the love of Christ. The need is great in South Carolina, and there is tremendous need here as well. Thank you to all the youth and adults who made the trip to act as the Body. We are his hands!

History of Saint James’: Rev. William Laird & Brig. Gen. William Payne

LairdAt the beginning of the last century – 111 years ago, the Rev. William H. Laird began his ministry at Saint James’ Church and inscribed the following in the Parish Register:

“Having accepted the call to succeed the Rev. G. W. Nelson as Rector of St. James Church, Warrenton, Va. I took charge on Wednesday March 2nd, 1904, & preached my first sermons on the Sunday following.  I found the church free from debt, & with a membership of 161, including the 20 members of the Chapel at Baldwin’s Ridge.  My first official act recorded after taking charge was reading the Burial Service over the remains of the late gallant Gen’l Wm. H. Payne (emphasis added), March 31st, 1904. —H. Laird Wm. H. Laird, Rector”

Background:  The Payne family has deep roots in Fauquier County and Warrenton, having arrived on Virginia shores in 1609.  When the Civil War broke out in 1861, William Henry Fitzhugh Payne (1830-1904), to whom Mr. Laird refers, enlisted as a private in Warrenton’s Black Horse Cavalry.  Young Payne had tremendous courage and leadership ability, distinguishing himself in many engagements, was recognized as a hero, and promoted through the ranks to brigadier general.

On his death, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported, “A Noble Virginian Crosses the River.”  Black Horse Cavalry survivors formed the honor guard for his funeral, conducted by Mr. Laird, the new rector of Saint James’.  One trooper, William P. Helm, wrote a eulogy in behalf of the unit:

“Oh death thou are indeed a thief           Payne

To steal away from us so great a man;

Our idolized, beloved leader,

The pride and boast of our command.

He was a man, take him for all in all.

We ne’er shall look upon his like again.

Peaceful be thy slumbers and happy thy eternity.”

Gen. W. H. F. Payne

NOTE:  A daughter of General Payne’s, Minerva Winston Payne (1861-1897), married Eppa Hunton, Jr. of Warrenton and Saint James’.  She died young and is memorialized in the Archangel Gabriel window in the choir at the west end of the church.

SC Missions Trip: Tuesday Summary



(via scmission2015.wordpress.com)

Workday:  We made more progress on our worksite today- The flooring in the kitchen is complete, the deck is undergoing a second coat of stain, the walls of the shed are almost finished being built and will be put up tomorrow, and we started installing trim inside the rooms of the house.

Evening:  We had a special treat tonight for dinner, as Tuesday is always the night of the Seafood Jamboree at the Rural Missions Headquarters. We heard prayers and stories from Linda, the director of Rural Missions, and others in the community  as well as songs from Linda’s family and the residents of the home we are working on. After dinner, students enjoyed dancing and singing to uplifting spiritual music, and then spent some time on the pier taking pictures in the beautiful sunset.

Tomorrow we look forward to making more progress at the site, and will also be starting a separate project at Christ St. Pauls, to remove and replace the roof of a building on their property.


History of Saint James’: The Smith Window (St. John the Divine)

stainedglass-3From the beginnings of the church – and in attestation of faith, mankind has been inspired to create the ultimate expression of beauty in its places of worship.  We see this at Saint James’ through architecture, design, painting, music, language, literature, liturgy, and countless other forms.  This essay draws attention to one example of the church’s extraordinary collection of stained glass windows.

As one enters the church, on the right hand wall, the second window is a depiction of the Apostle St. John, The Divine.  It was designed in 1958 in the semi-cubist style and mirrors the spirit of the time.  The inscription “And I saw a new Heaven and a new Earth” is drawn from The Revelation to John (The Apocalypse). 

The window was given in memory of Stuart Archer Smith (1913-1957), a vestryman of Saint James’ and an active member of the Warrenton community.  Mr. Smith was a 1934 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, a lieutenant commander in the Naval Reserve, and a Naval Aide to Virginia Governor Thomas B. Stanley.  A native of Fredericksburg, he was a senior executive in the family business started by his father – the Fredericksburg Launderers and Dry Cleaners Company, which had four other laundry companies in Virginia, including one in  Warrenton.  He served as president of the Virginia State Chamber of Commerce.        

Mr. Smith was married to Margaret Noland of Warrenton; they lived at the corner of Lee and Clay Streets.  He died at age 43 of leukemia.  The following year his widow, Margaret Noland Smith, gave the window to the glory of God and in memory of her husband, Stuart Archer Smith.

Youth Mission Trip


Please follow our blog while we are on the mission trip to South Carolina this week! (July 4-11).  Go to Mission Blog

Visit the blog to see updates, student reflections, and pictures every day during the week. Please leave comments of encouragement on the blog so that we can relay them to the students throughout the week! Thank you so much

Sacred Threads Quilt Exhibition July 10 – July 26

Quilt Exhibit

Quilt Exhibition

Sacred Threads is an exhibition of quilts exploring themes of spirituality, joy, inspiration, peace/brotherhood, grief and healing. This biennial exhibition was established to provide a safe venue for quilters  who see their work as a connection to the sacred and/or as an expression of their spiritual journey.
For the exhibit, quilts are divided into categories based on theme. These are Expressions of Joy, Spirituality, Inspiration, Grief, Healing and Peace/Brotherhood.  The artwork themes provide thought-provoking insights, encouragement, inspiration and healing responses to grief and human hardships. It has attracted a wide array of visitors and has proved appropriate for all ages from young teens to seniors. The exhibit is a positive influence on the human spirit, giving joy as well as addressing concerns of the soul and mind.

Exhibit Dates: July 10 – July 26, 2015
Monday – Saturday, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sundays, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

$5.00 for seniors (65+) and Children (7-12)
Children 6 and under are free
$20 for 3-day pass

Location: Floris United Methodist Church, 13600 Frying Pan Road, Herndon, VA 20171

Saint James’ Builds: You Can Help!

unnamed (1)We have started with the new family that needs our help. This time we’ll be fixing the floors in a trailer in Bealeton. This is a mom with two sons, the older son is working and pretty much on his own and a much younger son, who lives with her. She not able to make ends meet and cannot afford many of the basics, let alone repairs. Leeann is working hard to improve her situation though, both by continuing to work and by taking classes that will eventually help her to secure a higher paying job. Unfortunately the floors of this old trailer are wrecked in three places that are in immediate need of fixing before someone falls through. This nasty damage was caused by frozen pipes and also by a badly leaking washing machine. As a hard-working, but financially strapped mom, Leeann simply doesn’t have the ability to pay to have the work done. Your outreach has already helped by finding a used, but decent washer/dryer to replace the wrecked, leaking and dangerous ones she had. To that end Robert Downey, Lynn Ward and I headed over and (with the eldest son’s help) put the used machines in place. Robert is graciously doing some electrical repairs that became apparent as well. I think it is becoming crystal clear to him that whenever he sets foot in one of these projects, the awful state of the electrical systems will require far more help than anyone previously mentioned. Anyway, Now that the leaking washer is out, the floor in that area will start to dry, so in a month or so we can come in and work on the floors. We really need a builder to head the crews and at least two people with some skills and two or three who are unskilled, plus some willing foodies. Call or email Dorothy 540-219-9001 or Fineart111@aol.com.

General Convention elects Bp. Michael Curry as next Presiding Bishop!

The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop Elect of the Episcopal Church. (Photo courtesy of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina)
The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop Elect of the Episcopal Church. (Photo courtesy of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina)

One of the responsibilities of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church gathered in Salt Lake City from June 25th – July 3rd, is the election of a Presiding Bishop to serve for the next nine years. I was very excited to learn that The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Bishop of North Carolina, has been chosen. He is a faithful leader and a remarkable preacher. Three years ago at the previous General Convention, I had the great pleasure of hearing him preach this sermon. Also, here is his powerful reflection on the Eucharist.  It is worth noting that Bishop Curry is the first African American ever elected to this position.



History of Saint James’: 1930 Bicentennial


Saint James’ has a tradition of marking the anniversary of significant events in its history.

Today, we recall an earlier bicentennial – 200 years of Hamilton Parish, 1730-1930, celebrated 85 years ago with a gift to the church that continues in use and will symbolize the devotion of parishioners for generations to come. The following is recorded in Vestry Minutes:

Wednesday, May 21st, 1930, the Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev. St. George Tucker, D.D. consecrated the Memorial Chalice presented to the Hamilton Parish on the two hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Parish.

This chalice was made of silver, gold and precious stones, given by the members of the congregation, in memory of the following persons:

Mrs. Martha Pickett Brooke | Mrs. Patsy Gordon PerkinsMrs. William Horner | Mrs. Ann Morson Scott Payne | Mrs. Alexander John Marshall | Rev. Upton Beall Bowden | Mrs. Sidney Mason | Gen. Baldwin Day Spilman | Mrs. Eliza Clarkson Marshall | Mrs. Sarah Bryson Sublett | Rev. James Keith | Robert. E. Marshall | Mrs. Sarah Agnes Keith | Mrs. Martha Tyson Marshall | Mrs. Harriet A. Hilleary | The Butler Family of Fauquier Institute | Mrs. May Gaines Bell | The William Sheppard Family | Fairfax Gaines | Mrs. Maria Dawson Pendleton | Grenville Gaines | Thos. C. Thornton | Mrs. Grenville Gaines

Vestry Meeting Minutes Summary – May 12, 2015

Capture (1)

A joint meeting of the School Board and the Vestry was held on May 12 at 6pm to hear a report by Brad Layland of The Focus Group and to decide whether or not to proceed with Phase 2 of the feasibility study for a Capital Campaign to renovate and expand the church/school facility.

Following Brad’s presentation and the questions and comments from the church/school leadership, the question of whether or not to proceed to Phase 2 of the Feasibility Study was presented. Both boards then approved proceeding with Phase 2 of the Feasibility Study and released the necessary funds from their respective development funds.

Fr. Ben Reflects on the Supreme Court Marriage Ruling

(note: this was written before the General Convention vote on changes to the Episcopal canons on marriage)

On Friday, June 26th the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that states do not have the legal authority to ban same-sex marriage, thus making it legal in all 50 states.

This decision has been an occasion for incredible joy for many, but certainly not for all. For people I care deeply about this represents the greatest legal victory in their long fight for the recognition and protection of their relationship or potential future relationship. This also is a public acknowledgement that their love and commitment is valid.   For others I also care deeply about this is an erosion of a biblical and moral framework they have worked tirelessly to maintain for themselves and for their children. Not only is there sadness over this particular decision but tremendous anxiety around the potential for continued fissuring of that foundation.

As I reflected on Friday’s ruling, several parishioners flashed before me. I have pastored to a parishioner still reeling from being violently beaten some 40 years ago by his own father upon discovering his son was gay. I have also listened as a man described knowing he was different in a rural Canadian town before he had any word to describe what he was. He attempted taking his own life and described with visible relief moving to a place where he learned he was not alone. Both of these men expressed the hope that young people growing up today do not have to suffer as they did.   I also recall two brave women expecting their second child sitting near the front of the church unsure how their family would be received. Upon later inquiry, they expressed that they did not want to raise their children in a “gay” church but in a place that valued children and ministered effectively to them.

I have also heard from parishioners who describe the frustration of being told they are “the greatest generation” but then are also told that their beliefs, their worldview, their language is wrong. Still others have expressed the difficulty of parenting today and trying to instill clear values and morals when so little seems absolute.   They count on their church to be that anchor, their moral compass, and struggle when the needle wavers. Even our ancient texts seem to be revealing new truths.

My prayers, influenced by so many who have shaped my ministry, have been varied.   I thank God for what I see as the Spirit’s work in expanding the sacred.   I give thanks to those I see stepping out from decades of shame and fear and for those who hopefully will not endure such pain. I pray that all might find a glimpse of God’s abundant and unconditional love in intimate committed relationships.

I pray for those who are deeply hurt by this decision. I pray that the deep conviction girding those individuals will not be unfairly seen as hatred or bigotry, but as fidelity to their understanding of God’s will.

I pray that all will respect the deeply held Episcopal conviction that people of faith do not agree and do not have to agree on this issue. Across religions and denominations people of considerable devotion and scholarship come to different conclusions.   Certainly in The Episcopal Church our greatest minds have faithfully utilized the three-legged stool of scripture, tradition, and reason to arrive at different deeply held convictions.   Therefore, I also pray for guidance.

We do our best to discern God’s will for the world. The Bible helps, but is not always unequivocal.   Certainly scripture contains passages denouncing homosexuality; however, in the pages in which we confer the greatest authority, Jesus makes no mention of it. In fact, he spends the bulk of his ministry broadening our understanding of who is within the reach of God’s embrace and condemning laws and religious leaders that separate people from the love of God.

I pray that at Saint James’ we commit ourselves to digging deeper, sharing our different perspectives, and fully engaging scripture.    I do not know what the Supreme Court decision means for our parish or how our General Convention will respond, but I am convicted that we are called to walk that journey together. I feel a great pull in my ministry as rector between leading where I sense God nudging me and my commitment to guard the unity of Christ’s church, the Body of Christ in the world.   I also believe there is far more that unites us including the considerable ministry to which the Lord is calling all of us.

The Body is not called to be stagnant, but the Body is weakened when part is left behind or regarded as expendable.   I have found when we all come to the Eucharistictable our faith and understanding grow and we more fully reflect the God who invites us and feeds us unconditionally. Therefore, know that I will exercise my liturgical authority as your rector with considerable care.   From you, I ask that you continue your ministry of radical hospitality and careful listening so that Saint James’ may be a welcome home to those who see with similar eyes and those who stretch you the furthest.

I truly find it a privilege to help parishioners wrestle with these difficult issues and respectfully share our common and divergent beliefs and would gladly discuss this further with you. I also look forward to broader discussions and study groups regarding how our faith and our reading of scripture inform our views on this and many other issues that confront us. Thank you for walking beside me.



A Note from John Knouse

john knouse

Greetings friends,

Before I go into how excited I am, I’d like to share a brief story:

“No, I’ll never work in a church”, I very bluntly stated to the girl beside me I’d just met the week before during staff orientation. You see, I was absolutely in love with camp and outdoor ministries and had very little room in my heart for a place with “four walls” and cheesy organ music. (No offense to Jesse!) She smiled and concurred, she planned to work at a camp as well.

Fast forward 11 years through a lot of different outdoor ministries/events, and that girl I’d just met, Amanda, is now my wife. We have now spent almost 7 wonderful years of marriage serving congregations AND camps in Maryland and now Virginia. We’re now in love with and dedicated to those “four walls” and the community of people that reside within. As she serves as the Rector of neighboring church Emmanuel, Delaplane and I now with you, we envision and strive to raise our two children (Ruth-3yrs & Caleb- 3months) in the place we once vouched was “not for us”.

Now for the excitement part:

Sometimes, it’s very unclear what God has planned for us and where he is calling us. The story above is an example of one of those times in my life. This my friends, is not one of those times for me. From the moment I first set foot on the property at Saint James campus, I could see the dedicated service of many and the work of God, plain as day. My heart yearned for it, and now, I am extremely excited to become a part of it.

I look forward to not only sharing my family with you, but welcoming you as a part of it. I’m excited to share together the love of our incredible savior Jesus Christ.

I can’t wait to meet you all and begin our journey together.


John Knouse


Expanding Saint James’ through its History: The 1960’s

Parishioners gather for the dedication of the education wing in 1968.
Parishioners gather for the dedication of the education wing in 1968.

The Education Wing

As we outgrow space in the Parish House, it is well to note that nearly 50 years ago the fourth – and last enlargement – at Saint James’ became a reality.  In 2016, when we celebrate our bicentennial year, half a century will have passed since groundbreaking for that major expansion.

This essay focuses on the major addition of the Education Wing, designed to provide a large, functional multiple-purpose building, appended to the Parish House.  With the growth of Saint James’ at that time, its purpose was to accommodate the Sunday School and to include a children’s chapel, choir rooms, meetings rooms, offices, a youth activities area, and to meet future needs.

In addition to church activities, Parish House facilities were being used by five Scout organizations, garden clubs, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, American Red Cross, the Fauquier Association for Retarded Children, meetings of ministers, committees of the Episcopal Diocese, and other service organizations.

The first step had been taken in 1961 during the ministry of the Rev. Paul D. Bowden when land to the rear owned by Hickman Chevrolet was acquired.  Later, in 1964, the vestry established a planning committee and in 1965 a well-known architect was engaged to draw up plans.  David Jay Greer was rector and William DeF. Doeller was general chairman and coordinator for the building program. Ground breaking ceremonies were held in May 1966 with the first shovel of earth turned by Bishop Frederick D. Goodwin.

Completion and Dedication

Two years later, with wide support, the addition was completed.  On Sunday, October 27, 1968, Bishop Samuel Blackwell Chilton dedicated the structure in thanksgiving for the “long and faithful ministry” of Paul Bowden who served as rector from 1920 until 1963 and as rector emeritus from 1963 until his death in 1968.

Records show that the dedication service began in the church and concluded at the Beckham Street side where Senior Warden Beverly B. Sale and other members assisted with tours of the new facilities.  A buffet luncheon was held in the original Parish House which had been renovated with a much improved kitchen.

Statement from Diocese of Virginia on the Charleston Shooting

Today we grieve with our brothers and sisters in Charleston, South Carolina, as news of last night’s tragedy at Emmanuel AME Church continues to unfold.

We pray for all of those affected by this tragedy, for the nine lives lost, for the families now so deeply plunged into grief, for those who allow hate to prevent them from seeing humanity, and for a community now left to pick up the pieces. 

We stand with and offer our prayers for our brother, the Rt. Rev. Charles vonRosenberg , bishop of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, as he seeks to lead our Church’s witness and ministry in that land with strength and understanding.  

The tragedy in Charleston reminds us yet again the importance of our diocesan work on racial reconciliation. This work that began in April with the first three Hand-in-Hand Listening Sessions and will continue this fall with additional sessions. 

We as a diocese are especially suited, and divinely charged, to be facilitators of reconciliation, both within our own walls and in the broader community.

As we witness this tragedy and the many instances of racially motivated violence in our nation, may we serve as agents of change and as pillars of strength and comfort for all involved. 

A prayer for social justice:

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart 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.