Adult Formation Journal: April 19, 2018

by Randolph Charles

Becoming Easter People: Session Three

In the course “Becoming Easter People,” we will learn how the first Christians lived into a way and a community that was grounded in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and how deep prayer can be just as important for us as it was for those first believers.

Learning groups meet on Sundays at 9:15 and 10:45 and on Tuesdays at 10:30 in the Reception Room. All are welcome.

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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!

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Notes on Chapter 7: The Heart of Christianity

Learning More about Christianity

The Quotes and Questions for Chapter 7 of The Heart of Christianity are attached. I hope that you will check them out. This is a very important chapter, “The Kingdom of God: The Heart of Justice.” You don’t have to read the book. Just come and participate in the conversation. All are welcome.

Sundays at 9:15 and 11:45  and Tuesdays at 10:30 in the Reception Room

– Fr Randolph

ALL ARE WELCOME!

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Notes on Chapter 2: The Heart of Christianity

Learning More about Christianity

For the seasons of Epiphany and Lent, we are using The Heart of Christianity, by Marcus Borg. I am very excited about this book and the meaningful conversations about our faith that it invites! There is a spirit moving within Christianity (and also in other faiths) that is calling us into a more honest and passionate experience of God, and a commitment to be more intentional about letting that sacred experience shape our daily living. “Learning More about Christianity” is an opportunity for us at Saint James’ to walk that path into a deeper faith together.

Fr Randolph

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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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Thanksgiving and the Parable of the Talents

It’s not about the money; it’s about our relationship with God”

On Sunday, I preached on the Parable of the Talents, which is about our relationship with God. At some point during the Thanksgiving holiday, I invite you to reflect on the following three points of that relationship:

  1. Receive with joy and gratitude the gifts God gives you.
  2. Use them enthusiastically in service of others and all of God’s Creation.
  3. Treasure and trust your relationship with God; let God love you, lead and guide you.

-Fr Randolph

Worship Notes: Praying Shapes Believing

by randolph charles

The way we pray shapes the way we believe is a core principle in Anglican worship. That’s why it’s so important to be intentional about our liturgical prayer. Is what we say and do in corporate worship encouraging our spiritual growth? Is it both challenging and nurturing us as disciples of Jesus? Is it building us up as a faith community and preparing us to be sent into the world to do God’s ministry? Let’s talk about it.

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Notes on Chapter 4: Learning More about St Francis and Creation

Eager to loveChapter four, “Home Base: Nature and the Road”

Quote from page 47

Creation itself – not ritual or spaces constructed by human hands – was Francis’s primary cathedral, which then drove him back into the needs of the city, very similar to Jesus’s own movement between desert solitude and small-town healing ministry. The Gospel transforms us by putting us in touch with that which is much more constant and satisfying, literally the “ground of our being,” and has much more “reality” to it, rather than theological concepts or the mere ritualization of reality. Daily cosmic events in the sky and or the earth are the Reality above our heads and beneath our feet every minute of our lives: a continuous sacrament.

Conversation Question

  • How might the cathedral of God’s Creation be an environment in which you can be transformed by the Gospel?

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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.

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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.

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Adult Formation Journal: Focus on The Path (Session 6)

Session 6 Dates: July 30 at 9:15 and August 1 at 10:30

Each week, Fr. Randolph leads a discussion about The Path: A Journey Through the Bible. This book is our current focus in adult formation, and consolidates the Bible into easily-managed sections, with the goal of reading through the Bible by this fall. You can read more about this program and view the full syllabus here.

Conversation Chapters: Chapter 11 and Chapter 12

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Adult Formation Update: Summer Plans

The Final Sessions of “Learning More about Today’s Episcopal Church

Sunday, June 18, 9:15 and 11:45 and Tuesday, June 20, 10:30

The Episcopal Way

  • Chapter 12, “Falling in Love with God Again”
  • Conclusion, “Walking the Episcopal Way”

People of the Way

  • Chapter 7, “Living as Disciples”
  • Chapter 8, “Organized for Mission”

All are welcome, whether you have read the assignments or not! Seriously!!

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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.

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Palm Sunday: Sermon & Scripture Readings

It is right to praise you, Almighty God, for the acts of love by which you have redeemed us through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. On this day he entered the holy city of Jerusalem in triumph, and was proclaimed as King of kings by those who spread their garments and branches of palm along his way. Let these branches be for us signs of his victory, and grant that we who bear them in his name may ever hail him as our King, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life; who lives and reigns in glory with you and the Holy Spirit, now and  for ever. Amen. – Book of Common Prayer, Page 271

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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.

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

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Adult Formation Journal: Holy Saturday

This week, we will be learning more about Holy Saturday, the day the body of the crucified Jesus lay in the tomb. On Saturday night, Easter Eve, the beginning of the next day for the Jews, Christians celebrate The Great Vigil of Easter, which includes The Lighting of the Paschal Candle, Holy Baptism, and the first Eucharist of Easter. The journey from Crucifixion to Resurrection is made.

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Worship and the Power of Silence

During Lent at Saint James’, we are experimenting with a few modifications of the 10:15 Eucharist, such as the use of silence. After Easter Sunday, there will be an opportunity for discussion and feedback with the clergy, Jesse, and worship ministry team. In the meantime, I welcome your comments and questions.

Silence gives us emotional space to consider the ways we have not put our whole trust in God as we prepare for the Confession of Sin. Silence allows us to reflect on the meanings and message for us in the readings, Gospel, and sermon. Holy silence creates God moments throughout the liturgy.

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Message from Fr Randolph: Adult Formation in Lent

The Season of Lent is a time for us to examine our commitment to Jesus Christ and take steps to be more intentional in our faith as we prepare for Holy Week, when we remember with our hearts the last week of Jesus in Jerusalem.

Our worship on Ash Wednesday asks us to do three things:

  1. examine the quality of our relationships with God and with the people in our lives, and ask God to lead us into reconciliation,
  2. practice activities that can move us deeper into our faith journeys, such as contemplative prayer, meaningful fasting, and releasing whatever stands in the way of a fuller faith in God, and
  3. study and pray God’s Word.

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