Christmas Eve Services at Saint James’

On Christmas Eve, we will celebrate the birth of the Christ child with three festive services. We will also have one morning service, at 9:30am, to celebrate the fourth Sunday of Advent.

Sunday, December 24 |  Christmas Eve Pageant with Eucharist

— 3:00 PM

Bring the family and enjoy the reenactment of the Birth of Jesus. All children are encouraged to participate. Please arrive 15 minutes early for your child to be fitted for a costume. No prior rehearsal needed. The pageant includes the singing of familiar Christmas carols and is woven into the celebration of Holy Eucharist. This service is especially geared toward preschool and elementary age children but a joy to all! >>> Photos from last year

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Advent Message from the Choirmaster

by Jesse Ratcliffe, Director of Music

Hymn Writing: the marriage of text and melody

This Advent season, two hymns of sturdy composition and poetic beauty will bookend the season: Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending and Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.

Of the thousands of hymn-writers known in Christendom, the works of brothers John and Charles Wesley (1703-91 & 1707-1788) have proved to be timeless. Both were ordained as Anglican clergymen and served as missionaries, which exposed them to various types of music across Europe.

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Photos: Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols 2017

Thank you to our talented and dedicated choirs for presenting this magnificent service in our Advent journey!

If you couldn’t make it in person or just want to experience the music and readings again, you can watch the service on YouTube at bit.ly/lessonscarols2017

Our choirs will present a Choral Eucharist at 10:00 PM on Christmas Eve, and we have lots of programs and services for the whole family coming up this week – check out our full calendar for the remainder of Advent and Christams at bit.ly/sjecchristmas2017

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Advent Update on Greeting Ministry

 “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia

Many thanks to Angela Austin, Owen Barbeau, Chuck Boaz, Kay Boaz, Penny Dart, Nancy Duggan, Joanna Edrington, Anne Hall, Dick Jones, Ed Jones, Marionette Jones, Marie Lowe, Marie Moore, Terry Owsley, Patti Reid, Toni Shreve, Jennifer Taylor, Lee Thomson, Ginny Vawter, Carrie Wilvert, Ed Wright and Bonnie Zacherle for their cheerful service.

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Adult Formation in Advent

by fr randolph charles, priest associate

Our Advent/Christmas book of meditations this year is I Witness: Living Inside the Stories of Advent and Christmas, a Forward Movement publication. Below is a description of the book:

“Many of us have heard the story of Jesus’ birth, but have we lived inside it? Episcopal priest Kate Moorehead invites us to enter the story of salvation with our hearts and minds wide open, experiencing the miracle of Jesus through the eyes of witnesses: Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, and others. And Moorehead encourages us to bear witness ourselves – both then and now – to the marvel and majesty of a babe born in a manger, of Christ our King. These daily devotionals offer a companion through the seasons of Advent and Christmas and urge us to keep reading, keep listening, keep learning. The story of Christ’s birth can be both familiar and new in each re-telling. Come and see.”

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Advent Update on Family Ministries

by jen taylor, interim director of family ministries

First and foremost, I want to be sure you all know how incredibly grateful I am to have been offered the opportunity to work with all of our wonderful children and families at Saint James’. Over the last few weeks, I have been familiarizing myself with the Sunday School curriculum, learning where to find things and trying to get into the swing of things.

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Advent Letter from the Rector

Last week, I found myself at a concert, actually in a friend’s living room. The performer was an Irish acoustic guitar player whom I had never heard before he was introduced. In my more frequent concert-going days, I pretty much saw everyone on my bucket list from long-time legends to bands that faded into or never escaped obscurity. Despite extensive exposure to live music, I was mesmerized by this person’s guitar playing. I am sure part of it was the intimacy and vulnerability of playing within inches of a gathering of strangers.

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Advent & Christmas Calendar 2017

Sunday, December 10  |  Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols


Tuesday, December 19  |  Saint James’ Elementary School Pageant

— 11:00 AM

Students from Saint James’ Episcopal School will re-enact the nativity of Jesus Christ with costume, song, and prayer. It’s a beautiful program and you shouldn’t miss it! If you can’t make it in person, this event will be streamed live on our YouTube channel

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Christmas Eve & Christmas Day Worship Services

On Christmas Eve we will celebrate the birth of the Christ child with three festive services.

Dec. 24 at 3pm – Christmas Eve Pageant

Bring the family and enjoy the reenactment of the Birth of Jesus. All children are encouraged to participate. Please arrive 15 minutes early for your child to be fitted for a costume. No prior rehearsal needed. The pageant includes the singing of familiar Christmas carols and is woven into the celebration of Holy Eucharist. This service is especially geared toward preschool and elementary age children but a joy to all!

Dec. 24 at 5:30pm – Family Service

At 5:30 we will have a festive yet more informal and abridged (than our late service) Christmas celebration as we incorporate our youth into the worship service.   This service is intended for individuals and families whose children have aged out of the pageant (upper elementary and up) but find the hour of the late service…. well…just a bit too late. The service will also include Holy Eucharist and the singing of familiar carols.

Dec. 24 at 10:15 – Carols & Vigil

This service is one of, if not the, most beautiful and holy services of the church year as our choir leads us in carols as we sing out that Christ is born! Carols begin at 10:15, followed by the service at 10:30.

Dec. 25 at 9:30am – Christmas Day Eucharist

Let’s rejoice together on Christmas Day with an informal service as we remember the reason we celebrate Christmas. This service is a great way to celebrate Christmas Day with your parish family.

Christmas Week Worship Services

Dec. 21 at 7pm – Blue Christmas Service

A Blue Christmas Service or a Longest Night service acknowledges that Christmas is not always met with joy and celebration. Sometimes it can be difficult to participate in the glad carols and merriment of our Christmas services. This service provides an opportunity to light candles acknowledging the people we miss, the pain or emptiness we may feel. In lighting the candles we proclaim Christ’s presence and that foundational truth from that first chapter of John that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it”. We sing carols more reflective of Christmas hope than joy, we offer prayers for healing, we break bread together and (of course) we support one another.

Following the service there will be opportunity for continued prayer in the chapel and coffee and dessert in the parish hall.

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Table Talk: Week of December 18, 2016

As your children learn about Advent and the story of Jesus’ birth in Sunday School this season, we encourage you to continue the conversation at home. Each week, we will provide you with the reading done in church for the lighting of our Advent Candles and questions that can be used to discuss them. You can use them as you light your own candles or simply as a conversation-starter.

Reading for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

We have lit three candles ─ for hope, for peace, and for joy. Today we add the fourth candle ─ the candle of love. With this flame we signify the love of God that surrounds and fills us at all times, but that we recognize in a special way in the Christmas story. There is no greater power than love. It is stronger than rulers and empires, stronger than grief or despair, stronger even than death. We love, because he loves us.

(All four candles are lit.)

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Table Talk: Week of December 18, 2016

As your children learn about Advent and the story of Jesus’ birth in Sunday School this season, we encourage you to continue the conversation at home. Each week, we will provide you with the reading done in church for the lighting of our Advent Candles and questions that can be used to discuss them. You can use them as you light your own candles or simply as a conversation-starter.

Reading for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

We have lit three candles ─ for hope, for peace, and for joy. Today we add the fourth candle ─ the candle of love. With this flame we signify the love of God that surrounds and fills us at all times, but that we recognize in a special way in the Christmas story. There is no greater power than love. It is stronger than rulers and empires, stronger than grief or despair, stronger even than death. We love, because he loves us.

(All four candles are lit.)

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Bread Baking: Christmas Edition is This Friday, December 16!

Food for Friends – CHRISTMAS Bread Edition is Coming up THIS Friday, December 16, Starting at 3pm!

We had a very successful Thanksgiving Bread Baking project this year, baking over 700 loaves of bread in about nine hours a few weeks ago – thank you to the volunteers who partnered with us on that project.  We had so much fun that we’ve decided we couldn’t wait a whole year to do it again!  We are partnering with Fauquier FISH to provide loaves of bread for their Christmas food basket project later in December.

Mark your calendars for Friday afternoon / evening December 16. 

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Table Talk: Week of December 11, 2016

As your children learn about Advent and the story of Jesus’ birth in Sunday School this season, we encourage you to continue the conversation at home. Each week, we will provide you with the reading done in church for the lighting of our Advent Candles and questions that can be used to discuss them. You can use them as you light your own candles or simply as a conversation-starter.

Reading

We have lit the first two candles, one for hope and one for peace. Today we add the third candle, the candle of joy. We see joy all around us – in the children, the lights, the music, that gathering together. But how often do we let our preparations or our memories push joy aside? Joy is like an underground spring that wells up within us, but joy requires intention, deliberate cultivation. Like a muscle, it needs to be exercised. So today we open ourselves to joy, trusting that God has already planted it in us. So we give it care and offer it to share.

(The first, second and third candles are lit.)

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Update on Family Ministries

Sunday School

Thanks again to all of the parishioners who have stepped up to teach this year. We are very grateful and there has been a smooth transition as our new teachers have taken over.

As we head into the Advent season, the Sunday School students will be preparing to welcome Jesus into the world. On the first Sunday of Advent, everyone will be making Advent wreaths to bring home and use. Our Table Talks will include the readings done in church and also in Sunday School, and each week as we light the candles there will be questions that you can use at home to discuss the meaning of the candles and how we can prepare ourselves to welcome the Lord.

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Advent & Christmas Worship Services

December 11 at 4pm – Christmas Concert

This year’s program will feature the Saint James’ Adult Choir, Handbells, Youth Chorale, as well as a guest string quartet. The music ranges from plainsong, a chorus from the Messiah, to newly composed music, and it is  supported by scripture readings that chronicle the story of Christ. A reception with seasonal treats will follow the concert.

Dec. 16 at 11am – K-5 Christmas Pageant

Join us for the annual Saint James’ Episcopal School Elementary Christmas Pageant.  Students will re-enact the nativity of Jesus Christ with costume, song, and prayer. It’s a beautiful program and you shouldn’t miss it! It will be streamed too.

Dec. 21 at 7pm – Blue Christmas Service

A Blue Christmas Service or a Longest Night service acknowledges that Christmas is not always met with joy and celebration. Sometimes it can be difficult to participate in the glad carols and merriment of our Christmas services. This service provides an opportunity to light candles acknowledging the people we miss, the pain or emptiness we may feel. In lighting the candles we proclaim Christ’s presence and that foundational truth from that first chapter of John that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it”. We sing carols more reflective of Christmas hope than joy, we offer prayers for healing, we break bread together and (of course) we support one another.

Following the service there will be opportunity for continued prayer in the chapel and coffee and dessert in the parish hall.

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Fr Randolph’s Reflections on Advent

Advent, in so many ways, is a strange and countercultural concept. The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is probably the busiest of the entire year. Our calendars are filled with both enjoyable and challenging events – parties, family, friends, meals, travel, presents, sorrow, depression, memories, reconnecting, year-end deadlines, semester exams, anxiety, high expectations, disappointments, deep emotions, faith commitments, relational responsibilities, practical worries, hope and joy for the future, celebrations of life… the list goes on and on. It’s exhausting.

In our culture, the month before Christmas is fast and active, but the Church calls us to slow down and wait during the season of Advent. What a concept! Waiting may be just as important as acting. Of course, we will always spend a much greater portion of our day doing things, but waiting is also a critical part of our lives – waiting for clarity, waiting for the right moment, waiting for a response, waiting for inspiration, waiting for someone.

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Table Talk: Week of December 4, 2016

As your children learn about Advent and the story of Jesus’ birth in Sunday School this season, we encourage you to continue the conversation at home. Each week, we will provide you with the reading done in church for the lighting of our Advent Candles and questions that can be used to discuss them. You can use them as you light your own candles or simply as a conversation-starter. 

Reading for the Second Sunday of Advent

Last Sunday we lit the first candle─the candle of hope. Today we add the second candle, the candle of peace. We light it knowing full well that peace is elusive, and in some parts of the world, it is almost completely absent. Yet in this season of Advent, we trust that God is never absent from us. God is always preparing something new. And even where there is war and discord, whether between countries, within families, or within our own hearts, God is present, gently leading us to new possibilities.

(The first and second candles are lit.)

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Gingerbread House Making & Spaghetti Dinner on December 7

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7th @ 5:00 PM

Join us for this annual event of family fun!

The cost will be $10 per gingerbread house, and $5 per person for dinner (no more than $20 per family for dinner).

Let us know how many houses your family will need so we can be sure to have it available for you.

Fill out the form below to sign up; there is also a sign-up sheet outside the parish hall.

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