Adult Formation Journal: April 11, 2018

By Randolph Charles

BECOMING EASTER PEOPLE

During the season of Easter, the Sunday and Tuesday learning groups will be learning more about The Acts of the Apostles and the Early Church and will be “easing into contemplative prayer.” We will be focusing on the ways that the first believers experienced the risen Christ and formed church, and we will practice contemplative prayer as a way for us to access that same spiritual excitement of those early Christians.

The only required readings are from the book in the Bible called “The Acts of the Apostles”; however, there are two optional books which I recommend and will be using.

Conversations with Scripture: The Acts of the Apostles, by C. K. Robertson

“The Acts of the Apostles is a bridge between the four gospels and Paul’s epistles, revealing the missionary roots of the Christian story. Here we follow Jesus’ first disciples from their call to be witnesses ‘to the ends of the earth,’ through their initial days of harmony and numerical success, to the challenges they faced as God’s mission imperative unfolded. We discover the leadership changes that resulted from these challenges and the emergence of Paul, the champion who, against all odds, became the church’s chief interpreter to the world of his time.”

Armchair Mystic: Easing into Contemplative Prayer, by Mark E. Thibodeaux, S.J.

“This user-friendly book blends theory and practice, gently and concretely taking the reader through the first steps of contemplative prayer. Armchair Mystic begins with the necessary details of time and place to pray, then presents the maturation of the prayer life in four stages. Step-by-step exercises throughout the book provide concrete examples of how to use the concepts discussed. Armchair Mystic will prove invaluable to individuals and small groups who are new to contemplative prayer.”

Click here for the course syllabus.

To sign up for this course, you can email me at randolph@saintjameswarrenton.org or put your name on the registration sheet on the parish house bulletin board. You can also let me know if you want one or both of the books. They each cost $10.

Worship Notes: Ring Your Easter Bells!

by Fr Randolph Charles

Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil/Easter Day are all important, even essential, to the Christian faith. The church encourages all Christians to participate in all the liturgies of this weekend, because only then do we hear the whole story; only then do we remember and reconnect [“re-member”] emotionally, mentally, and spiritually to the fullness of God’s love for humanity through Jesus Christ.

A focal point of our liturgical journey through the weekend is when the presider proclaims at the Easter liturgies, “Alleluia. Christ is risen.” and the people respond, “The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.” To make that joyful proclamation even more joyful, we invite all worshipers to ring bells that they have brought to church. We will have the bells and Alleluia streamers that we used at our Mardi Gras celebration available, but that won’t be enough bells for everyone, so please bring a bell, any kind of bell, and smile in church when you ring it at the appointed time!

Continue reading “Worship Notes: Ring Your Easter Bells!”

A Musical Journey: Holy Week and Easter

by Jesse Ratcliffe, Choirmaster

for a schedule of worship services in Holy Week, click here

The days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday are laden with emotion—the catch-breath of joy as we celebrate the triumphant entry to Jerusalem; the sorrow and heaviness of the crucifixion; and ending with the bliss of Easter Day. As a church musician, conveying these emotions through music can often prove to be challenging. The task is governed by the balance of musical language and text with listener approachability. At Saint James’, each service will be filled with some of the most poignant pieces of choral literature.

Continue reading “A Musical Journey: Holy Week and Easter”

Holy Week 2018: Schedule of Services

Saint James’ you to attend as many of our Holy Week 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.

(scroll to the bottom of the page for photos and video from Holy Week services that have already occurred)


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March 31 | The Great Vigil of Easter

8:00 PM

Possibly the most beautiful service of the church year, the Easter Vigil begins outside in our courtyard with the kindling of a fire from which the paschal candle is lit.

After processing into the church, each person lights their candle from that paschal candle as the service begins in darkness. While still in the tomb we read of God’s saving work throughout history.

Then, after we have proclaimed our new life in Christ through the renewing of our baptismal covenant, we reign in Easter with the lighting the altar candles, the illuminating the worship area, and singing and ringing of bells.

Then we joyfully celebrate that first Easter Eucharist.

The service actually takes us from death to new life and we really experience that Easter moment. If you have not been to the Vigil, please consider making it your Easter celebration.

Also, following the service, Lent is officially over, we will celebrate with a champagne and chocolate reception in the parish hall.


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April 1 | Easter Sunday

8:00am and 10:15am

Come celebrate Easter Day with us!

Having completed our journey and walked through the sorrow of Holy Week, we now come ready to experience Easter Joy.

Our 10:15 service begins with the children flowering the cross and following behind it in procession. The joyful music fills the space as we tell the story of the empty tomb and the reverberations of that moment throughout history and in our lives. Following the service our children will continue the celebration as they search for Easter eggs.


previous services

Palm Sunday

“Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, and especially the hearts of the people of this land, 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.” – Collect for Justice


Maundy Thursday

“Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” – Collect for Maundy Thursday


Good Friday

“Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” – Collect for Good Friday

Holy Week 2017 Recap: Photos, Video & Scripture Readings

Thank you to everyone who made this year’s Holy Week so special! So many hands go into every service and every church activity – you can learn more about our clergy, music programs, children’s ministry, ushers, acolytes, altar guild, flower guild and so many other parts of the Saint James’ community throughout our website.

Below you will find photos and video of each service in Holy Week, and Scripture readings for each day of the week. We know that Holy Week can be an overwhelming time, with so many services and so many stories packed into such a short time. We hope that you will reflect on each day, and the power of each moment, at your own pace.

Continue reading “Holy Week 2017 Recap: Photos, Video & Scripture Readings”

Easter Sunday: Collect & Scriptures

Collect

Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Continue reading “Easter Sunday: Collect & Scriptures”

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.

  • On Palm Sunday, the service starts outside as the crowd waves palms and processes into the nave

Continue reading “Holy Week Service Schedule & Notes”

Message from the Choirmaster: March 2017

Jesse Ratcliffe is Saint James’ director of music. He can be reached here

The Great Vigil of Easter (April 15)

Easter Vigil is one of the most beautiful services of the church year as we segue from the reflective and somber atmosphere of Lent into the joy of Easter. The choral anthem for this service, Alleluia, composed by Randall Thompson conveys all the emotions of this holy day.

Thompson, born in 1899 and died in 1984, was an American composer who taught at many prestigious schools, including the University of Virginia (1941-1945), whose compositional style is regarded as “distinctly American”. Alleluia was composed in five days with the text being two words: “Alleluia, Amen”-with the latter being sung once at the final chord which spreads the choir into seven parts. This composition was a reaction to the war, especially the fall of France.

Continue reading “Message from the Choirmaster: March 2017”

What Your Children Learned: April 3

Pre K-K & 3rd-5th Gospel: John 20:24-29 “Doubting Thomas”

In the past seven weeks we have been building toward the Easter story and all that led to Jesus’ arrest, death, and resurrection. So this week, we will pick up where we left off. It was a very sad time for Jesus’ disciples after he died on the cross. It seemed like all their work and effort had come to an end. The man they believed in and had expected to restore God’s Kingdom again in Israel was now dead and buried. What were they going to do? Then the excitement of the news of the resurrection came! Continue reading “What Your Children Learned: April 3”

Easter Sunday | Worship Services

easter-2Read the Gospel for Easter SundayEaster Sunday | 8am & 10:15am

Come celebrate Easter Day with us! Having completed our journey and walked through the sorrow of Holy Week, we now come ready to experience Easter joy.

Our 10:15 service begins with the children flowering the cross and following behind it in procession. The joyful music fills the space as we tell the story of the empty tomb and the reverberations of that moment throughout history and in our lives. Following the service our children will continue the celebration as they search for Easter eggs.

Holy Saturday & Easter Sunday Worship Services

holy saturdayRead the Gospel for Holy SaturdayHoly Saturday | Easter Vigil, 8pm

Possibly the most beautiful service of the church year, the Easter Vigil begins outside in our courtyard with the kindling of a fire from which the paschal candle is lit. From that candle each person lights their candle as the service begins in darkness. While still in the tomb we read of God’s saving work throughout history.

We then enter the sacrament of baptism and as we are pulled from that watery grave, we reign in Easter with the setting and adornment of the altar, lighting the altar candles, organ fanfare, and illuminating the worship area before we celebrate that first Easter Eucharist. The service actually takes us from death to new life and we really experience that Easter moment.

If you have not been to the Vigil, please consider making it your Easter celebration. Also, following the service, Lent is officially over, we will celebrate with a champagne and chocolate reception in the parish hall. Continue reading “Holy Saturday & Easter Sunday Worship Services”

Holy Week | Worship Services

stations of the cross-1


Read the Gospel for Good FridayGood Friday | Stations of the Cross, 12pm | Good Friday Liturgy, 7pm

At noon we gather in the nave and tell the story of Christ’s crucifixion as an acolyte moves from station to station as we read and respond to each event. The readings for each station are distributed to members of the congregation prior to the beginning of the service.

Our poignant 7pm service begins in silence and includes a reading of the Passion according to John, solemn prayer, and then the veneration of the cross. Continue reading “Holy Week | Worship Services”

Holy Week | Worship Services

ash wednesday-3Read the Gospel for Maundy ThursdayMaundy Thursday | 7pm

Eucharist with foot washing and the stripping of the altar.

There is heaviness in the air as Jesus gathers his closest friends with the knowledge this will be the last meal they will share together on this side of the grave. We also remember that on this night Jesus washed his friends feet and to illustrate his new commandment that we love one another the way that he had loved them. Then after we break bread together for the last time before Easter, we acknowledge Christ’s impending death by stripping the altar and departing in silence. Continue reading “Holy Week | Worship Services”

History of Saint James’: A Poem for Easter

Last week, we introduced Mildred Grace Street (1880-1956), chorister at Saint James’ Church for 28 years, and her husband, T. “Willie” Street, organist.  As a team, Mr. and Mrs. Street were very much a part of the Saint James’ family, dedicating their lives by glorifying God through musical talent.

Mildred was also a gifted poet; her love of nature, the good earth, and her faith are reflected in her verse.

Reprinted here is an illustration of her work, appropriate to the season. Continue reading “History of Saint James’: A Poem for Easter”