Photos from Haiti: October 2017

In late October 2017, a small group from Saint James’ visited North-East Haiti. This was not a mission trip; rather, we traveled there to learn about how Saint James’ could be a long-term partner in the work that Haitians are already doing to improve the educational lives of children.

Our goal was twofold.

First, we went learn about primary education in northern, rural Haiti and to connect with Haitians improving the educational opportunities of children there, especially in an Episcopal context. We were able to board for a week at St Barthelemy Episcopal School in Terrier Rouge, where we gained insight into the potential of an Episcopal school in this region and what a transformative impact it can have on a small town.

Second, we went to seek out and connect with an Episcopal primary school in the area, with the goal of providing long-term financial support and establishing a lasting relationship. We found this in St Luc Episcopal Church & School in Trou du Nord.

Because the largest ministry of Saint James’ is our school, and because Haiti is the largest diocese in the American Episcopal Church, it seems a natural fit that we use our material resources and intimate knowledge of the challenges facing an Episcopal school to do what we can to support a similarly-sized school in Haiti, where the effects of quality education can be absolutely transformative to individuals and to a community. 

These are images from our trip.

PHOTOS BY HAITIAN BOYS

“Each of the following photos was taken by a Haitian boy in Terrier Rouge. Three boys took an especially keen interest in my camera: Jeff, Dervilien and Hermetz. All three are students at Ecole St Barthelemy, and each boy is either nine or ten years old. At various points during the week, I was able to hand my camera to them and they took it from there. I think these are the most valuable images from our trip, because they show what Haiti looks like to Haitian children themselves.” -Coy

Daily Life in Terrier Rouge

Though only about 20 miles from Cap-Haïtian, the second-largest city in Haiti, Terrier Rouge is a quintessentially rural town of 10,000-15,000 residents. We got the distinct sense that everyone in the town knows everyone else. Almost no one lives on the outskirts of the town; to live in an isolated house would mean unacceptable isolation from the life of the community. Most structures in town are made with cinderblock and concrete, the ideal building materials in a place where air-conditioning is almost non-existent and where, despite the rarity of any rain at all, flooding is an ever-present risk from those storms that do make it over the mountains.

Ecole St Barthelemy

Ecole St Barthelemy was founded in 2001 as a preschool with just 30 students. Since then, it has grown into a student body of 1,100 students ranging from preschool all the way through the upper secondary-school grades. From the two graduating classes so far, each of the 40 students has gone on to university, an astonishing feat in a country where only 32% of the population has even some secondary-school education, much less university experience. The school is run by Pere Jean Bruno, a retired Episcopal priest. He also chairs the board of Esperance et Vie, a nonprofit which funds the school, a local medical clinic and community improvement projects. Almost all students at St Barthelemy cannot afford the <$100-per-year tuition and attend through scholarships, funding for which stems mostly from donations by individuals and churches in the United States.

Ecole St Luc

St Luc’s school was founded in the early 2000’s in Trou du Nord, a town somewhat larger than Terrier Rouge and about five miles away. Unlike St Barthelemy, St Luc has not had the blessing of such steady funding or a singular driving force like Pere Bruno to push it forward. Ecole St Luc currently enrolls about 250 students from preschool through the first year of secondary school. This number will greatly reduce by the end of the school year; many families cannot afford the tuition for the entire year, and must pull their kids out early. Of its $40,000 yearly budget, about $15,000 has been funded by an Episcopal Church in Maine, though this source of funding will drop to about $5,000 next year. The priest of Eglise St Luc, Pere Sadoni Leon, has put special focus on improving the quality of education at Ecole St Luc in the two years since he arrived in Trou du Nord. All new teachers graduated at least from secondary school in Cap-Haïtian, where the quality of education is generally much higher than in towns further east.

Eglise St Luc

On Sunday morning, we attended church at Eglise St Luc, the Episcopal church that runs the school. Pere Sadoni invited Fr Ben to give the sermon. Although the service is in Haitian Kreyòl, the primary spoken language in the country, the order of the service is almost identical to an Episcopal service conducted in English – a testament to the multilingual reach of the Book of Common Prayer. There were some marked differences from a typical American Episcopal service; drums formed a musical backdrop for many of the prayers and liturgies. The Prayers of the People, especially, were a vibrant expression of reverence and fervor. While only 20-30 parishioners attended on this particular morning because of some confusion about the time of the service, Pere Sadoni says about 70 people count themselves members of St Luc, most of whom attend every Sunday.

 

Table Talk: Week of September 24, 2017

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story.  Please read the summary, look up the story online,  in your bible, or a children’s bible,  and begin the discussion.  Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development.  What a gift to provide a child.  Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories. 

In Sunday School this week, your children learned the Parable of the Sower. In it, the Sower spreads their seeds on many different soils. Those seeds that landed on rocks, or among thorns, or were eaten by birds, did not grow. Only those seeds sown in the good earth were able to push their roots into the ground and grow to be harvested.

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Table Talk: Week of September 17, 2017

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story.  Please read the summary, look up the story online,  in your bible, or a children’s bible,  and begin the discussion.  Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development.  What a gift to provide a child.  Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories. 

Thanking God

This week, our Sunday School students reflected on the story of Job. Job was a very wealthy man, who loved and praised God, giving him thanks for all that he had, which please God. What was truly remarkable, however, is that Job praised God even when things didn’t go his way. Job lost his wealth, his family, and his friends, but he refused to blame God or renounce him. Job remained steadfast in his faith when tested by Satan, and for that God rewarded him.

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Table Talk: Week of September 10, 2017

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story.  Please read the summary, look up the story online,  in your bible, or a children’s bible,  and begin the discussion.  Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development.  What a gift to provide a child.  Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories. 

God’s Gifts

This Sunday, our students learned about God’s first gift. In the creation of the world, God gave us the gift of light, the oceans and the land on which we live, the plants and animals which feed and support us and he gave us life.  Creation was a process, taking place over time with each layer receiving the same care and attention. Starting from nothing, God created a world teeming with life.

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Sunday School Starts Tomorrow!

Sunday School start time is changing! Beginning this Sunday, September 10, we will no longer be asking parents to drop off their children for Sunday School children before the service. Instead, you should bring your children into church with you and they will all process out together at 10:15 am, when Father Ben starts the announcements. Thank you in advance for helping us make this transition!

Please reach out to Laura Updyke  at laura.updyke@saintjameswarrenton.org if you have any questions.

Job Opening: Director of Family Ministries

Laura Updyke, our Director of Family Ministries, recently began a job with Fauquier County Public Schools and is stepping down from her church position later this month. Over the last year she has done a wonderful job working with the young people and families in our Church and School and we thank her for her dedication and service. 

If you or someone you know is interested in this rewarding part-time position within our growing Church, please send a resume to Father Ben at rector@saintjameswarrenton.org. For a full job description, click here.

Update on Family Ministries: 2017 Summer Newsletter

by Laura Updyke, Interim Director of Family Ministries

Acolytes

Calling all acolytes! There will be an acolyte training session on August 27th immediately following the 10:15 service. It will last about an hour. Current acolytes wishing to take on a new role or those wishing to become an acolyte should plan to attend. Here are the roles your children can play in the service:

  • 3rd grade and up – Torch
  • 5th grade and up – Crucifer
  • 7th grade and up – Server
  • 9th grade and up – Chalicer

We do not have an age limit for Epistler, because we believe that is self-selecting. Whenever your child feels comfortable reading out loud, they are welcome to take it on.

If you have any questions, please contact Laura Updyke at laura.updyke@saintjameswarrenton.org.

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Read the Bible in 91 Days!

“Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” – Book of Common Prayer, Proper 28

The adult formation ministry team is challenging all parishioners to read the Bible in 91 days! Can you do it? Will you do it?

Here’s the plan:

The summer program to read the Bible begins on Trinity Sunday (June 11) and ends on the Sunday after Labor Day (September 10). That’s 91 days.

— The book we will be using is The Path: A Journey Through the Bible. It includes all the primary passages of the Bible, using the New Revised Standard Version, which is the same translation you hear in church. In addition to actual Bible passages, there is connecting text to covers the sense of the omitted portions in order for readers to experience the complete Bible story.

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Table Talk: Week of May 7, 2017

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story.  Please read the summary, look up the story online,  in your bible, or a children’s bible,  and begin the discussion.  Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development.  What a gift to provide a child.  Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories. 

The Good Shepherd

This week in Sunday School your children heard about how God, and Jesus with him, cares for us like a shepherd, bringing us to good grass and still waters and protecting us from danger.  We can see how he was there in the past and he will be there in our future, supporting us in good and hard times. The 23rd Psalm affirms that God is always with us, with Jesus caring for us as a Good Shepherd.

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Adult Formation in the Season of Easter

Mission Statement for Adult Formation

Adult formation is learning about the faith and being formed by the Triune God through study of religious sources, contemplative prayer, meaningful conversation, and participation in the life of a faith community. 

Learning Group Course: Episcopal Identity

Dates

– Four sessions, offered twice, beginning Sunday, May 7

Primary Book

The Episcopal Way: Church’s Teaching for a Changing World ($10, 100 pages; $10 Kindle)

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Holy Week Service Schedule & Notes

The church invites all Christians to worship soon and often during Holy Week and through Easter Day. This is when we remember and embrace in a dramatic way the journey, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Palm Sunday: Jesus enters Jerusalem and confronts the domination powers of the Roman Empire and the temple authorities.

Maundy Thursday: Jesus shares the his last meal with the Twelve and washes their feet.

Good Friday: Jesus is crucified and dies.

Easter Eve: A new fire is kindled in the darkness, the Paschal Candle is lit, people are baptized, and we celebrate the first Eucharist of Easter. Christ is risen!

Easter Day: Christ is risen indeed! We joyfully celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior.

God is calling us all to gather for worship this Holy Week through Easter Day.

I invite your comments and questions.

Fr Randolph


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

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Table Talk: Week of April 2, 2017

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story.  Please read the summary, look up the story online,  in your bible, or a children’s bible, and begin the discussion.  Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development.  What a gift to provide a child.  Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories.

Miracles and Mysteries

This week in Sunday School your children focused on the miracles Jesus performed and the mystery of Easter they led towards.

Our youngest and oldest students learned about the raising of Lazarus. When Mary and Martha’s brother died, Jesus came to comfort them and raised Lazarus from the dead. This both showed Jesus’ humanity, as he grieved with the sisters, and pointed towards the greatest mystery of all, Jesus rising from the dead.

To illustrate the burial of Lazarus, each child wrapped a stuffed animal in paper and “buried” them in a “tomb.” (under a desk)

Students in Godly Play heard about this great mystery. Lent is leading us through a time of preparation for this mystery. Just as Mary and Martha experienced sorrow and then joy as their brother was raised from the dead, so we are preparing for our time of sorrow and rejoicing. Sorrow at the death of Jesus on Good Friday and joy following his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Table Talk Questions

  1. When friends or people in your family look like they’re really sad, what do you usually say or do?
  2. How do you think Mary and Martha felt when their brother, Lazarus, died?
  3. What did Jesus do to comfort and care for Martha and Mary?
  4. What might you do, as Jesus’ followers, to offer God’s love and care to people who are sad?
  5. How are we impacted by Jesus’ death on the cross? How does this make you feel? How do we share that time and those feelings with others?
  6. What is different about Easter morning? How do we feel then? How do we share those feelings?
  7. How can we support those in our lives who are suffering? How can we share in their joy?
After rolling away the “stone” (chair), the stuffed animals were “resurrected” from the grave.

Table Talk: Week of March 26, 2017

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story.  Please read the summary, look up the story online, in your bible, or a children’s bible,  and begin the discussion.  Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development.  What a gift to provide a child. Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories.

This week Sunday School focused on the reading from Samuel, hearing how God called on Samuel to select a new king and led him to David. Samuel went to Jesse’s house in Bethlehem and there he met all of Jesse’s sons that were brought before him, but God chose none of them. Instead, Samuel had Jesse bring in his youngest son, who was watching their sheep, and he, David, was the one chosen, despite his age.

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SJES Family Fun Night @ The WARF

Friday, March 31 | 5:00 – 8:00 pm

Join us at the WARF for a family fun night of swimming benefiting the SJPA!

Pizza, snacks and drinks will be sold onsite for $1.

ALL children must be supervised (6 and under must have a swimming adult) and attendees must comply with WARF rules listed on the the back of the form below.

When signing up, please keep in mind:

  • Children 2 years and younger are free and do not need a wristband.
  • Children under the age of 6 must have a swimming adult with them in the water. The swimming adult needs a wristband.

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Table Talk: Week of March 19, 2017

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story.  Please read the summaries, look up the story online, in your bible, or a children’s bible, and begin the discussion.  Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development.  What a gift to provide a child.  Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories. 

God Provides

This week Sunday School focused on the reading from Exodus, learning how God always provides for us. Moses was leading his people to a new home, a journey of many miles across a desert.  This was a scary time for the people, often they were hungry and thirsty and doubted they would get there. Moses asked them to have faith that God would provide, but it was hard. God did provide for them, though. When they were thirsty, he gave them water.

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Family Ministries Update: March 2017

Laura Updyke is the interim director of family ministries – you can contact Laura here

Sunday School

If you see one of our Sunday School teachers, please take a minute to say thanks for the great job they’ve been doing this year! We are especially grateful to Haifleigh Pritchard, who is giving her time every Sunday to work with our 3rd-5th graders, helping them manage the crucial shift from Sunday School to confirmation preparation.

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Table Talk: Week of March 12, 2017

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story. Please read the summary, look up the story online, in your bible, or a children’s bible, and begin the discussion. Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development. What a gift to provide a child. Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories.

God Calls

This week Sunday School focused on the reading from Genesis, God calling Abraham. Our 3rd-5th graders encountered it for the first time, while our younger children had read this story earlier and revisited it.

The focus this week was on God’s directions to Abraham. God chose Abraham and Sarah to start his family. God’s call to Abraham directed him to leave his home, and everything familiar, and travel to a new land, with no assurance other than God’s word that all would be well. Abraham followed God’s directions, even though it wasn’t easy for him to do this. He trusted in God and his love for them.

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Table Talk: Week of February 19, 2017

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story.  Please read the summaries, look up the story online,  in your bible, or a children’s bible, and begin the discussion.  Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development.  What a gift to provide a child!  Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories.

Following God’s Laws

All of our children read about the laws that God gave Moses to share with his people. The central laws, the Ten Commandments, are still the basic rules Christians are expected to follow in their interactions with God and all people.

God did not say that these would be easy rules to follow, he knew that they would be hard, but he challenged his people to act always through love and to show that love through their actions.

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