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”

Message from the Rector: 2018 Winter Newsletter

by Fr Ben Maas

Despite the fact that I have not turned a shovel of dirt or driven a nail, there is something remarkably satisfying about watching the expansion take place. I make it a regular part of my day to see the progress. Even before the first sign of construction, I reveled in the enormous hole that provided a glimpse of what would eventually fill the space. I have had a childlike enthusiasm on those big days when walls or floors are poured. Now with the basement formed and the foundation of what will be the new school entrance in place, I can practically envision the completed wing. I find myself looking over the construction sign with the completed rendering and then at the site, attaching finished walls, windows, a roof, etc. Even on the occasions where weather interrupts work or those days that just don’t show remarkable progress, I still find myself looking out the window and appreciating how far we have come.

Continue reading “Message from the Rector: 2018 Winter Newsletter”

2017 Stewardship Letter from the Rector

Dear Saint James’ Family,

As a child, a significant rite of passage during our summers in Vermont, was that leap from the top rock of the cliffs above Lake Champlain. We would prepare for that harrowing moment by years of jumping from the various lower outcroppings. As thrilling as any of the lower jumps might have been, there was nothing quite like that moment when through deep breaths and wobbly knees, we gathered up just enough will, courage, and encouragement to raise our front foot off the rock, close our eyes, kick off with that back foot and just fly through the air. At that moment the fear meets exhilaration and pride and then after what seems like an eternity, our feet would break the water’s surface and the coolness of the lake would consume us.

Continue reading “2017 Stewardship Letter from the Rector”

Meet Randolph Charles

[This is the complete and unedited version of an article that Connie wrote for the Fall Issue of inFauquier. I am grateful to Connie for writing it and I share it with you, the people of St James’, because I want you to know more about my life. RCC]

by Connie Lyons

Sixteen years old, and as teenaged boys will, Randolph Charles and a friend are cruising around a lake, soaking up the South Carolina sunshine and scents of summer. And as teenaged boys will, they are discussing what they’re going to do when they grow up. “You know, Randy,” says the friend, “Somehow I’ve always seen you in the priesthood. Or as some kind of clergy type person.” Charles is surprised, intrigued; his interest is piqued. Nevertheless, the idea seems alien, and he tucks it away for future reference in the deep quiet underwaters of his subconscious.

Continue reading “Meet Randolph Charles”

Corporate Worship at Saint James’

The Episcopal Church is a “wide tent” denomination. We welcome people with different social views, different theological views, different political views, different biblical views, different lifestyle views, and yet all of us are connected to a strong faith center, and through that center we are bound to each other.

When it comes to corporate worship, we have lots of options because we honor the diversity of parishioners and the validity of the many ways to praise God in the Episcopal tradition.

Continue reading “Corporate Worship at Saint James’”

Personal Reflection: Why I Stand to Pray in Church

“The people stand or kneel.” – Book of Common Prayer, page 362

by Norma Thatcher

I began attending the Episcopal Church in 1986.

Having been raised as a Methodist, I didn’t quite get the standing, kneeling, genuflecting, crossing of oneself, etc. I simply followed the lead of those around me, just as visitors to Saint James’ do currently.

Continue reading “Personal Reflection: Why I Stand to Pray in Church”

Personal Reflection: Why I Kneel for the Prayers

“The people kneel or stand.” – Book of Common Prayer, page 334

by Ninie Laing

Everyone should feel comfortable doing what seems appropriate for her own spiritual growth. I am a visual person, easily distracted by the scene around me. If I stand to pray with my eyes open, I am tempted to focus on my surroundings and not my inner dialogue with God.

Continue reading “Personal Reflection: Why I Kneel for the Prayers”

Scott Christian’s Reflections on his Holy Land Pilgrimage


April 20- May 1, 2016 // Personal Reflections by Scott Christian, member of Saint James’ Episcopal Church, Warrenton, VA & the Fellowship of St. John, Cambridge, MA

Scott in the Garden of Gethsemane

Two students asked a rabbi, “Why does God command us to put the word of God on our hearts. Why did God not say to put God’s word in our hearts?” The rabbi responded, “We are commanded to place the word of God on our hearts because our hearts are closed and the word of God cannot get in. So God commands us to place the word of God on our hearts. And there it sits and waits for the day when our hearts will be broken. When they are broken, then the word of God will fall gently inside.” This parable was shared early on by one of our leaders, and this pilgrimage indeed broke open my heart. We talk of God-moments in our lives; these were God-days.

Continue reading “Scott Christian’s Reflections on his Holy Land Pilgrimage”