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.

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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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Adult Formation Journal: February 23

Dear Saint James’ Learners,

The next session is our last one for the season of Epiphany. I hope that all of you can attend one of the Sunday learning groups or the Tuesday learning group. Not only will we talk about the final two chapters (only 11 pages!) of our study book, but we will also look forward to the Lent course, “Learning More about Jesus and Holy Week.”

Scroll down to read the outline and study questions for our last discussion group.

Faithfully,

Randolph

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Update on Adult Formation | January 12, 2017

Dear Parishioners,

55 of you have registered for the “New Testament Stuff I Need to Know” course. That’s fantastic! It is a fact that congregations that read and study Scripture together grow together. We grow closer to each other and to God  as we learn more about God’s Word and share our learnings with each other.

I have posted below the syllabus for the course. There are 20 more course books available, and I hope that every one of them finds a home with one of you. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at randolph@saintjameswarrenton.org  I am the facilitator for all Sunday sessions and most of the Tuesday sessions.

Faithfully,

Randolph

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Plan for Adult Formation in Epiphany

A Report to the Parishioners of Saint James’ from the Adult Formation Discernment Team

Dear Parishioners,

The mission of the Adult Formation Discernment Team was to determine and launch new adult formation programs at Saint James’. Christian formation is Christian education with the added dimension of cultivating an openness to being formed and shaped by God.

The purpose of creating new adult formation offerings is threefold:

  • to serve more parishioners, especially those who have not been regular participants in formation programs before,
  • to choose one area of learning which could be a shared experience for the entire parish during a liturgical season or a period of time, and
  • to provide both scholarly content and practical application to daily living.

The team gathered data through conversations with parishioners and a parish survey. More than a hundred parishioners participated in the survey. We also looked at resources and methods of learning.

Based on our discussions and discernment, here are the plans for the Season of Epiphany, January 6 to February 28:

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Fr Randolph’s Reflections on Advent

Advent, in so many ways, is a strange and countercultural concept. The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is probably the busiest of the entire year. Our calendars are filled with both enjoyable and challenging events – parties, family, friends, meals, travel, presents, sorrow, depression, memories, reconnecting, year-end deadlines, semester exams, anxiety, high expectations, disappointments, deep emotions, faith commitments, relational responsibilities, practical worries, hope and joy for the future, celebrations of life… the list goes on and on. It’s exhausting.

In our culture, the month before Christmas is fast and active, but the Church calls us to slow down and wait during the season of Advent. What a concept! Waiting may be just as important as acting. Of course, we will always spend a much greater portion of our day doing things, but waiting is also a critical part of our lives – waiting for clarity, waiting for the right moment, waiting for a response, waiting for inspiration, waiting for someone.

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Adult Formation for Advent & Epiphany

Advent Begins This Sunday!

The Season of Advent begins this Sunday, November 27.

Your Adult Formation Discernment Team is inviting and encouraging the entire Saint James’ Parish to read and discuss What Are You Waiting For?, a book of brief daily Advent meditations written by Christine McSpadden, an Episcopal priest, and published by Forward Movement.

The Formation Team is providing a free copy to the first 100 parish households who commit to reading the daily meditations (two short pages) and discussing them in a group setting before or after worship on Sunday, or with a group of friends sometime during the week.

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2016 Adult Formation Discernment & Survey

Dear Adult Parishioners of Saint James’,

Fr. Ben has asked us to begin a process of developing adult formation programs at Saint James’. The term formation refers to deepening spiritual journeys through learning, praying, and worshiping in a way that both touches our hearts and minds, and allows us to be shaped and formed by God.

Here is our plan:

  • Affirm and support current formation programs.
  • Conduct a parish survey to learn the formation needs and preferences of adult parishioners.
  • Discern and launch new programs for the Season of Epiphany (January 6-February 28).
  • Create a ministry team or committee structure for the ongoing oversight and coordination of adult formation programs.
  • Commission the leaders and participants of adult formation ministries on January 8, the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord.

We are using Survey Monkey for our parish survey, which will facilitate data compilation and analysis. We are asking every adult to complete a survey by November 23. We need to hear from you. We want to hear from you.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY

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