Join the choir this Sunday!


This Sunday, August 23, is the last installment of our “Join the Choir” program this summer.

Always thought it would be fun to sing in the choir? Now you can! Just show up on Sunday morning at 9:15, and Jesse will get you set up.

We’ll be singing “Be Thou My Vision” this Sunday. Click here to listen.

Questions? Email Jesse.

History of Saint James’: Hamilton Parish


Lord Hamilton
Lord George Hamilton, handsome fellow

On the outside front wall of the church is a sign that reads, “St. James’ Episcopal Church, Hamilton Parish, Established 1730.”

Our Parish of Hamilton was established by an Act of the Virginia Assembly 285 years ago.  It was named for Lord George Hamilton (1666-1751) who had distinguished himself in battle and was made Governor of Virginia by King William III.  Although appointed in 1698, apparently he never visited the colony.

At its beginning, Hamilton Parish covered a vast area, including the present counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and Fauquier.  Over time, other parishes were formed from Hamilton and it was reduced in size.  Today, the Parish encompasses about 140 square miles in central Fauquier

Earliest Original Document – Hamilton Parish In the library of the Theological Seminary at Alexandria, there is a leaf bound in the front of the vestry book of Dettingen Parish which appears to have been taken from the Hamilton Parish Register of 1748-49.  Its two pages contain the signatures of vestrymen of Hamilton Parish who affirm, as follows:

“I do declare that I do believe there is not any Transubstantiation in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper or in the Elements of bread and wine at or after the consecration thereof by any person whatsoever.  (signatures follow)….”

This fragment, believed to be the earliest Parish document extant, dates from the time of the first Minister of Hamilton Parish, the Rev. James Keith (1733-1751).

History of Saint James’: The Baptismal Scallop Shell

Baptismal shell

The rite of Holy Baptism is administered at Saint James’ Church using the symbol associated with Saint James himself – the scallop shell.  Parishioners have witnessed the celebrant use the shell in dipping water from the font, and baptizing the candidate therewith – the culmination of this ancient ceremony.

On these occasions at Saint James’ Church, the celebrant uses a beautiful shell made of silver and having a cross engraved on the small handle.  The shell was a gift in 1952 from Mrs. Samuel Spencer Hall, Jr. (known as Pearl) in memory of her son and only child, Samuel Spencer Hall III, tragically killed in action in Korea on September 27, 1952, at age 23.  He had been baptized, confirmed and was a communicant at Saint James’.  He was buried in Warrenton Cemetery on November 28, 1952. Young Sam had married Anne Benney the year before his death; he and his wife had a baby girl, Jeanne Hambleton Hall, born August 30, 1952.  Sam knew of his daughter’s birth – a month before he died.

The late Anne Brooke Smith, life-long faithful member of Saint James’ Church, and its historian, wrote in January 1999, “I was assistant to Mrs. Hall that year (1952) in her nursery-kindergarten class in Sunday School.  I can see Mrs. Hall holding the scallop shell up and explaining to the children what it was and how it would be used in baptism scooping the water up to be poured over the head.  I think it was used first when her granddaughter was baptized.” – on January 4, 1953

Softball Wrap-Up


Thanks to everyone that made it out to the field last night.  Glad that the rain held off as long as it did so that we could play at least one game – then the deluge!

For the history books, the scores were:

Game #1 – St James 17 – Fauquier Comm Child Care 0

Game #2 – Called due to lightning / rain (although St James was ahead at the time  :)

This means that for the first time in several years, St James Episcopal Church ended the season with a WINNING RECORD (3-2)CONGRATS – You are part of the history books!

We were so happy to see some additional new faces join us for last night’s games!  Hailey Place, Maddie Carter, and Joe Irvin all had big hits for us and kept our team moving on the bases.  How about those slides into second by Sam Borgstrom and Brittany Cooper (including taking the shortstop out of that play)?  That’s dedicated!  And a second home run of the season for Jason Cooper – imagine how many he might get with a full season of play?

Your defense made the job for our pitching staff of Mike Lillard and myself easy, keeping most batters to one base at most.  We even had back-to-back innings of 3 pitches / 3 outs before we had to call the games due to the weather.  Wonder how many more innings we could have kept that streak alive if the lightning and rain hadn’t showed up?

Plenty of hits and runs from all corners of our roster – glad to see those bats come alive for so many of our players, even if it was at the end of the season.

Alas, our brief season is coming to a close, as we could not get enough players committed to games on Sunday afternoon due to vacations, injuries, and other commitments.  We can see that the commitment is renewed from our group and others to work on a fledgling ‘league’ for next summer that would allow us a few more games.  More information to follow on that next spring.

Thank you to everyone who joined us on the field this season as well as those that watched us play – we had more than 30 players between our few double headers which was quite a feat!  I’m going to miss thanking a few of you since there were so many, but know that we valued the play, sportsmanship, and fellowship from each and every one of you for the few games we had!

Special thanks to the field crew (Brett Nungesser, Eric Cox, Dorothy Smith, Jeff Loving, Zach and Nate Borgstrom, and others missed) who helped prepare the field, set up bases, and pick them back up again each night!

Coy Ferrell – thanks for the pictures and getting only our ‘good sides’ for Facebook and Instagram!

Can’t forget faithful scorekeeper Sabrina Borgstrom, who has been keeping score for us for several years!

And to my lovely co-captain / co-coach / co-everything Debbi Borgstrom – thanks for keeping us on track and sane this season!

Players – rest up and enjoy the rest of your summer!

PS – Spring Training starts in 192 days!

History of Saint James’: Warrenton’s First Churches

Journalist M. Louise Evans and Warrenton’s First Churches (II)

In an earlier church bulletin (Sunday, March 8, 2015) excerpts from an article by long-time parishioner and journalist Louise Evans appeared.  The article, originally published in The Fauquier Democrat in 1950, dwelt on her close attachment to Saint James’ Church.  The following year, on June 21, 1951, she wrote an informative piece on Warrenton’s first churches, excerpted below:

…the first church edifices in Warrenton were exceedingly primitive and not one of them is now standing,  The old Methodist Church stood northwest of Ullman’s (department store), on the corner of Lee and Fourth Streets, and it was built of wood, unplastered and whitewashed, within and without.

The oldest Episcopal Church in this community was called the Turkey Run Church (built in 1755 about a mile south of Warrenton.  The early settlers were moving farther into the interior; the church was a large frame building erected to serve the growing crossroads settlement, soon to be known as Fauquier Court House, then Warrenton).  There is nothing there to mark the site…with the exception of a few old graves.  They say in 1814 Bishop Moore confirmed a class of over fifty candidates there.   The next Episcopal Church stood upon the site occupied (today by the First Baptist Church just below the court house)….  In those days the pastor, Mr. Lemmon, walked from the rectory to the church in his robes, according to a good old custom.

The original Presbyterian Church stood at the end of Main Street… and this structure was small and probably rather unsubstantial as it was carried away by a cyclone which swept that part of Warrenton in 1855.

…the Catholic Church was built in 1859 (still standing on Lee Street and now converted for commercial use) but was not entirely completed until after the Civil War.

The Baptists were the last to build and their first brick church stood on the site of the present large edifice.  During the Civil War all the churches, the Episcopal excepted  (by then on Culpeper Street), were used by the Union army for hospitals.  The Episcopal Church was left unharmed because of its Gothic architecture which made it unsuitable for a hospital, and it was used as a place of public worship by all denominations.  The Presbyterian Church was even used as a stable, the horses being kept in the basement and the hay thrown down through holes in the floor of the auditorium.  In 1908 the U.S. Court of Claims awarded these churches damages to the amount of about half the loss sustained.

African-American churches were established after the Civil War.  The First Baptist Church was the first in Warrenton.

Saint James’ Softball Update


We want to see EVERYONE at the field for our next game!

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

We’d like to check the interest on a Saint 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 so we can get a head count.

–Colin and Debbi Borgstrom

eMeditation: “Forward Day by Day” online

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 10.19.34 PMInspiring readers since its first issue was published in 1935, Forward Day By Day is a significant resource for daily prayer and bible study to more than a half million readers around the world. Now instead of leafing through the quarterly pocket-size booklet, you can access it through your phone.

Forward Day by Day App: Available for iPhone.

Forward Day by Day Podcast: Search for the Forward Day by Day Podcast in the iTunes podcast store or listen at

Saint James’ still provides the booklets, which are available in the small pocket size and large print edition, at the back of the church and in the Parish Hall.

Saint James’ Builds: Next Workday is August 15

Saint James’ Builds has a new build date of August 15th. We’ll be working on the rotted floor of a trailer. So far we have four labor volunteers and one possible lunch provider. Ideally, we could use about five more people, skilled or unskilled. We will be ripping up the floors, the part of the under-frame that I could see looked solid, so we should just be adding subfloor and vinyl or vinyl tile etc depending on which of the three or four spaces we fix. We may also fix her tiny dog yard, which is some propped up grating at the moment. She has three dachshunds, who are very important to their family. Please get involved – SJB only works and helps our community if you volunteer. Contact Dorothy

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




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.