From 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.
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 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
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.
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.
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
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
Looking Back: Growth and Enlargement of Saint James’
Historically – since the doors to Saint James’ were opened in 1853 on Culpeper Street, there have been four major enlargements to the building complex; the most recent was 50 years ago. They are:
1874 – Extension of the main body of the church by 18 feet, to which a recessed chancel was added; church capacity increased by 100 sittings.
1929 – A new and commodious Parish House was built.
1949 – Removal of wall separating Chapel and the main body of the Church.
1966 – The Education Wing built for the Sunday School, Children’s Chapel, choir rooms, meeting rooms, offices.
Previous essays have dwelt on the 1874 and 1949 improvements; this essay focuses on the 1929 Parish House.
The Spilman Memorial Parish House
In 1920, when the Rev. Paul D. Bowden took charge of the parish, the property consisted of the church building, a small parish house, and a rectory; on the latter there was a debt of $9,000. In 1921, there was a threat of a beer hall and night club to be built on the vacant lot next to the church. Fortunately, a parishioner, Mr. Preston, bought and made a gift of the property to Saint James’, on the condition that a new Parish House would be built for the Sunday School. There was considerable pressure on the Vestry to meet this obligation, but it delayed action for some years on account of the rectory debt.
In 1926, General Baldwin Day Spilman died. He had long served as vestryman; he with his family, had been faithful members and supporters of Saint James’ In 1927, his widow wrote to the Vestry of her – and the family’s wish – to give a new Parish Hall to the church in General Spilman’s memory. The offer was accepted and the new Parish House was completed in April 1929. The architect, Irwin Fleming, designed the building in the Tudor Revival style with a cloister-like porch on the side. Within the porch is a bronze tablet bearing the inscription:
“To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of Baldwin Day Spilman /Erected by his Family. 1928.”
On the formal opening and dedication, it was written: “A large congregation assembled for the opening service, which consisted of a simple religious service and dedicatory prayer by the Rector. Bishop Tucker (The Rt. Rev. Henry St. George Tucker) then made an address, accepting the building on behalf of the parish and the entire church. He referred to General Spilman and his deep interest in all church affairs, and special desire that the parish should have a house of this kind.
“At the close of the Bishop’s talk, all present went through the building, inspecting and admiring it, and delicious refreshments were served by the Ladies’ Aid, tables being set in the porch and on the lawn.”
General Spilman (1853-1926) was the son of Judge and Mrs. Edwin M. Spilman of Warrenton. He was appointed to West Point by Col. John S. Mosby. Later, he was a veteran of the so-called “Indian Wars,” and called by the governor of West Virginia to improve the National Guard. Spilman commanded a West Virginia regiment in the Spanish-American War. It was written, “He was every inch a soldier and a man. He was even more the latter than the word carries – he was a gentleman.”
In retirement, General Spilman built “Elway Hall,” then the largest house in Fauquier County – completed in 1907 outside Warrenton, where he and Mrs. Spilman lived the rest of their lives, and raised their children.
Below is a letter written to the parishioners of Emmanuel, Delaplane by their rector, Rev. Amanda Knouse. (her husband, John, is our new Director of Family Ministries at Saint James’)
I have always believed that a healthy and vibrant congregation is an informed one. Recognizing that we are part of something bigger than ourselves and paying attention to important events and happenings in The Episcopal Church is just one of our responsibilities as members.
In less than a week, bishops, priests, deacons, and laity from all 109 dioceses who make up the Episcopal Church will gather in Salt Lake City, Utah for General Convention. They will worship together, elect a new presiding bishop, work through resolutions and budgets, and continue the work of re-imaging the Episcopal Church.
This year, I’d like to invite you to participate in this important gathering. I’m including in this email two attachments and various links that I hope you will find useful. The first attachment is a booklet that explains the purpose and breakdown of General Convention. It’s a very easy read. (read it here)
The second attachment includes a biography of each of the 4 nominees for Presiding Bishop. I encourage you to pray for each of these gifted and qualified candidates. Pray, also, for the Spirit to move among the hearts of those who will elect our next leader. (read it here)
Lastly, I’m including the following links which address different aspects of Convention. This is going to be what I would consider a “church changing convention.” So, please join me as we witness and participate in the resurrection of The Episcopal Church.
centeraisle.net – Written by members of the Diocese of VA, the centeraisle will include numerous blog posts about convention
episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/gc/ – This is the media hub for Convention. You can view the livestream during legislative sessions, worship, and press roundups
acts8movement.org – The Acts8 Moment is a Missionary Society made of lay and clergy members of the Episcopal Church and was formed during the last General Convention. Follow prophetic voices in the Episcopal Church as they share their insights, stories, and ideas on changing the conversation in The Episcopal Church from death to resurrection.
Basically, bishops, and elected members of the clergy and laity the Episcopal Church (The arm of the Anglican Communion consisting of the United States, as well as 15 other nations) gather as a legislative body every three years.
The convention this year will be held in Salt Lake City from June 25th through July 3rd.
This is an extremely important event and time for the Episcopal Church. From the national Church down to each parish, we are grappling with our relationship with the worldwide Anglican Communion, our responsibilities to the disenfranchised and to the oppressed both in America and abroad, the nature and effect of ecumenical efforts both within our church and from other faith groups, and how best to reflect the love and do the work of Christ in this time in history and with the resources we possess.
The next Presiding Bishop, in particular, will have to be a spokesperson for Christ in the world, and this convention must wrestle with poignant issues which affect our national Church.
You are the church – be informed! Here are some resources:
We went to Shrine Mont, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia’s Conference Center, nestled in the mountains roughly 90 minutes from Warrenton in historic Orkney Springs. We arrived in time for dinner on Friday, June 12th, and departed following lunch on Sunday. We stayed in beautiful cottages with spacious porches, enjoyed delicious food and beverage, and participated in the myriad of activities from swimming, volleyball, tennis, great hiking, a labyrinth, and planned group activities. We relaxed with new and old friends. We worshiped Sunday morning in our diocesan cathedral, the beautiful outdoor Shrine of the Transfiguration. For more about Shrine Mont visit their website:http://shrinemont.com/index.php
If you missed it, sign up next year!! It was GREAT FUN!!
Recently, we’ve been able to make some major improvements to our sound system!
Last week a sound engineer spent two days in the church installing a number of upgrades to our system. Sound will always be a work in progress given our church’s architecture, but along with last year’s improvements, the quality should be noticeably better. Let Fr. Ben know what you experience.
Here are the recent improvements:
New amplifier and mixer – This brings our entire audio rack (the black box in the side chapel) up to current digital standards, which will improve the quality of the sound as well as provide more channels for additional microphones. The entire audio system is now controlled by software on a new dedicated iPad which operates from a new Wi-Fi router. This iPad allows us to adjust the sound in real time from anywhere in the nave.
New transmitter for our Hearing Assistance Equipment – This new transmitter sends a stronger signal to our four individual devices, which are stored in the front of the nave near the roll top video desk. Each device can be used with a simple ear plug or it can be used with a “T-coil” loop which works well with digital hearing aids. Ushers will provide them for you, and let Nancy know if you would like someone to help you use these devices.
Two additional microphones and stands – These will greatly amplify our children’s voices when they sing, as well as be used for individual musicians who need amplification.
Side Chapel speaker – This speaker has not worked for years, however with the extra channels now available, this speaker was able to be connected and is operational.
Lyn’s microphone – Everybody had heard its annoying crackle. The sound engineer was able to isolate the problem, and the ear piece is being replaced (under warranty!).
Finally, all of these significant improvements were made possible through the same generous gift that enabled last year’s upgrades and video installation. The enhanced sound and video ministry have exceeded expectations with a broader reach and application than originally envisioned.
Thank you to everyone who has tracked us down asking about summer coed softball. We are working to have a short series of ‘exhibition’ games against local opponents later this summer.
First up will be a double header against the Church of Latter Day Saints on Tuesday night, July 14, starting at 6:15pm. We’ll play two games that night – one hour each. If your schedule does not allow for the 6:15start time, come out for the second game and we’ll work you into the lineup.
We’ve also set a double header with our cross-town rivals, Oak View National Bank, on Tuesday night, July 21, starting at 6:15pm.
After the second game each week, we will adjourn to Foster’s Grille in Warrenton for fun and fellowship (and ice and ibuprofen!)
We are working to secure a few other games, possibly some on Sunday afternoons for those who cannot make a weeknight game. More information to follow when those dates are announced.
Games will be played at Taylor Middle School in Warrenton – close to the church with plenty of parking and a playground for the kids.
As in previous years, we have an age-limit of 14 and up for safety reasons. Even though it’s slow pitch, the balls come off the bat pretty hard and we don’t want any injuries. There’s no upper age limit though, so let’s find the all of the octogenarian players hiding in our pews – No experience necessary!
Make sure to pass this along to anyone from the church or school who you think would be interested in playing.
Please let either Debbi or I know if you are able to play on these dates so we can get a head count.
Find your gloves, cleats, and bats and plan to join us at the fields – PLAY BALL!
WHAT: The main door from Culpeper Street will return predominantly to church space. Signicant proposed changes include the addition of a ramp, elevator, larger accessible restrooms, flower guild room, altar guild room, additional office space, and a music wing with instrument room (where bell rehearsals will take place), and larger rehearsal and changing area for choir. Proposed for the lower level, the space will be recongured to provide additional school offices, the children’s chapel restored, and an entry area added to enhance security and provide a clear point of welcome. The basement level will remain relatively unchanged.
WHERE: The proposed expansion is roughly 9,200 square feet elbowing from the end of the 1966 expansion (far stairwell) toward 3 rd street. The hallway will run along the fence, which currently separates the parking lot from the playground. We intend to move the playground over below the black top and continue to use the neighboring property for an open play area already fenced and replete with swings. The main door will provide seven classrooms, a library, and a meeting room in addition to storage and restrooms. The basement level will provide potential recreation space .
WHEN: If the project is determined feasible, we envision construction beginning in the Fall of 2017 after completion of a successful capital campaign. Renovation of our existing space would follow expansion, and the project should be complete by the Fall of 2018. At this point, the scope suggests an estimated cost of between $2 and $4 million.
Again this is the proposed vision of the vestry and school board and will be further shaped and made possible by you and our collective community. Please reach out to a vestry member, school board member, Stacey Irvin our Head of School, or Fr. Ben to learn more.