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.
Laura Updyke is the interim director of family ministries – you can contact Laura here
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.
Its rich and varied family programs drew us to Saint James’ originally, so when Fr. Ben approached me about filling John’s position on an interim basis, it was an easy yes. We’re sad to see John leave and I’m happy to help out in this time of transition and provide the church with the space needed to reflect on our needs and conduct a thorough search for his replacement.
John Knouse, our Director of Family Ministry, has tendered his letter of resignation citing the need to address personal issues and dedicate time to prioritize his family.
In his short time with us John made an enormous impact. I am personally, very grateful for his tireless work, his willingness to wear countless hats, his affable way, and the connections he made, especially with our young people. John expressed similar appreciation for the people of Saint James’ Episcopal Church and School.
We thank John for all he has brought to Saint James’ and will keep him, Amanda, Ruthie, and Caleb in our prayers and in our hearts.
As a church and school, we have always been very deliberate in the formation of our young people-it is a hallmark of who we are as a community. With the fall program year fast approaching, rest assured that this will continue and that the leadership will work together to optimize staffing to ensure successful and substantive formation for the children and youth of Saint James’. We look forward to updating you soon.
I must begin by telling you, facetiously of course, a piece of my upbringing.
As many of you already know it was in a very rural area of Central Pennsylvania, and because of such, I’ve come to loathe the “legendary fur-ball” of Gobbler’s Knob; Punxsutawney Phil. It is this year however, with his measly 39% accuracy rating engraved in the back of my mind that I am hoping, more than ever, that he is right and an early spring is on the horizon.
This is not necessarily because spring is my favorite season, which is just so happens to be, but more so because all we have on the horizon here at Saint James’ in the next several months, including the spring season.
We will soon gather to celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Savior, and in doing so will be moving ever so quickly toward the new season, the bloom of daffodils and the smell of fresh cut grass. That’s when our opportunities to be involved in various events and activities expands enormously.
Focusing first for a moment on the new: we are very blessed and excited to welcome Mrs. April Walker to the staff at Saint James’ as our Assistant to the Director of Family Ministries. April will be assisting me, on a part-time basis, with various Christian Education and Family Ministry opportunities. When you see her on Sundays, please take a moment to welcome her aboard!
Then as we move deeper into spring and toward early summer, the children, youth and adults of the parish will have wonderful opportunities to visit my absolute favorite place in The Diocese of Virginia – outside of Saint James’ of course – Shrine Mont. Please see the dates and brief info below, feel free to call or email me with any questions, and contact us to sign up today. Registration forms for youth events at Shrine Mont are available here.
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.