Support Learning Starts Early on Give Local Piedmont Day

On May 1, Give Local Piedmont day, please click here and donate generously to Saint James’ Learning Starts Early, a pioneering program to support preschool education in Fauquier County. Contributions are tax deductible.

Preschool education is the gateway to success in kindergarten and beyond. Numerous studies have found that children lacking preschool training, many — but not all — from low-income families, are more likely to struggle in school, over time increasing the likelihood discipline problems, unwanted pregnancies and incarceration. The cost to society is staggering.

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Photos from Haiti: October 2017

In late October 2017, a small group from Saint James’ visited North-East Haiti. This was not a mission trip; rather, we traveled there to learn about how Saint James’ could be a long-term partner in the work that Haitians are already doing to improve the educational lives of children.

Our goal was twofold.

First, we went learn about primary education in northern, rural Haiti and to connect with Haitians improving the educational opportunities of children there, especially in an Episcopal context. We were able to board for a week at St Barthelemy Episcopal School in Terrier Rouge, where we gained insight into the potential of an Episcopal school in this region and what a transformative impact it can have on a small town.

Second, we went to seek out and connect with an Episcopal primary school in the area, with the goal of providing long-term financial support and establishing a lasting relationship. We found this in St Luc Episcopal Church & School in Trou du Nord.

Because the largest ministry of Saint James’ is our school, and because Haiti is the largest diocese in the American Episcopal Church, it seems a natural fit that we use our material resources and intimate knowledge of the challenges facing an Episcopal school to do what we can to support a similarly-sized school in Haiti, where the effects of quality education can be absolutely transformative to individuals and to a community. 

These are images from our trip.

PHOTOS BY HAITIAN BOYS

“Each of the following photos was taken by a Haitian boy in Terrier Rouge. Three boys took an especially keen interest in my camera: Jeff, Dervilien and Hermetz. All three are students at Ecole St Barthelemy, and each boy is either nine or ten years old. At various points during the week, I was able to hand my camera to them and they took it from there. I think these are the most valuable images from our trip, because they show what Haiti looks like to Haitian children themselves.” -Coy

Daily Life in Terrier Rouge

Though only about 20 miles from Cap-Haïtian, the second-largest city in Haiti, Terrier Rouge is a quintessentially rural town of 10,000-15,000 residents. We got the distinct sense that everyone in the town knows everyone else. Almost no one lives on the outskirts of the town; to live in an isolated house would mean unacceptable isolation from the life of the community. Most structures in town are made with cinderblock and concrete, the ideal building materials in a place where air-conditioning is almost non-existent and where, despite the rarity of any rain at all, flooding is an ever-present risk from those storms that do make it over the mountains.

Ecole St Barthelemy

Ecole St Barthelemy was founded in 2001 as a preschool with just 30 students. Since then, it has grown into a student body of 1,100 students ranging from preschool all the way through the upper secondary-school grades. From the two graduating classes so far, each of the 40 students has gone on to university, an astonishing feat in a country where only 32% of the population has even some secondary-school education, much less university experience. The school is run by Pere Jean Bruno, a retired Episcopal priest. He also chairs the board of Esperance et Vie, a nonprofit which funds the school, a local medical clinic and community improvement projects. Almost all students at St Barthelemy cannot afford the <$100-per-year tuition and attend through scholarships, funding for which stems mostly from donations by individuals and churches in the United States.

Ecole St Luc

St Luc’s school was founded in the early 2000’s in Trou du Nord, a town somewhat larger than Terrier Rouge and about five miles away. Unlike St Barthelemy, St Luc has not had the blessing of such steady funding or a singular driving force like Pere Bruno to push it forward. Ecole St Luc currently enrolls about 250 students from preschool through the first year of secondary school. This number will greatly reduce by the end of the school year; many families cannot afford the tuition for the entire year, and must pull their kids out early. Of its $40,000 yearly budget, about $15,000 has been funded by an Episcopal Church in Maine, though this source of funding will drop to about $5,000 next year. The priest of Eglise St Luc, Pere Sadoni Leon, has put special focus on improving the quality of education at Ecole St Luc in the two years since he arrived in Trou du Nord. All new teachers graduated at least from secondary school in Cap-Haïtian, where the quality of education is generally much higher than in towns further east.

Eglise St Luc

On Sunday morning, we attended church at Eglise St Luc, the Episcopal church that runs the school. Pere Sadoni invited Fr Ben to give the sermon. Although the service is in Haitian Kreyòl, the primary spoken language in the country, the order of the service is almost identical to an Episcopal service conducted in English – a testament to the multilingual reach of the Book of Common Prayer. There were some marked differences from a typical American Episcopal service; drums formed a musical backdrop for many of the prayers and liturgies. The Prayers of the People, especially, were a vibrant expression of reverence and fervor. While only 20-30 parishioners attended on this particular morning because of some confusion about the time of the service, Pere Sadoni says about 70 people count themselves members of St Luc, most of whom attend every Sunday.

 

Ministry of the Month: Learning Starts Early + Gobble, Gobble, Run or Wobble 5k

NOVEMBER 2017 MINISTRY OF THE MONTH

On Saturday, November 18, the third-annual Gobble, Gobble, Run or Wobble 5k & Kids’ Fun Run will wind through the streets of Old Town Warrenton. You can register for the race here.

While the event is an absolute blast, complete with a turkey mascot on a bicycle, it also serves a much more profound purpose: funding efforts to increase access to preschool in Fauquier County through a Saint James’ initiative called Learning Starts Early.

Learning Starts Early (LSE) is an outreach ministry with a simple vision: that each child is a beloved child of God, and that each child should enter kindergarten ready to thrive and grow academically, socially and emotionally.

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2017 Pledged Giving FAQ

Why Pledge?

Pledging…

  • commits us to building God’s kingdom on earth through the mission and ministry of Saint James’
  • allows the vestry to budget responsibly
  • helps determine our priorities in life when we first pledge a proportion of our income to the Church and then create our household budget
  • can be an act of sacrificial love

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2017 Stewardship Letter from the Senior Warden

Dear Saint James’ family,

As your senior and junior wardens, we are writing this year’s annual pledge campaign letter. Newcomers and visitors reinforce what we all feel when they observe that we are a church that radiates meaning, purpose and vitality. The vestry bears the responsibility for the finances of the church, and as their officers, we can state with confidence that our budget is designed to support what makes Saint James’ exceptional.

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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.

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Church/School Expansion Update: September 2017

When will we break ground?

That is the question asked almost daily from parishioners, school parents, staff, neighbors. The answer is “as soon as we possibly can”! Originally we had hoped to begin at the beginning of September but are now shooting for the end of the month/ beginning of October. We are currently seeking final approval of our site plan, construction drawings, and necessary permitting.

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CONNECTED Capital Campaign: Frequently-Asked Questions

What does “Pledge Day – April 2, 2017” mean?

  • “Pledge Day – April 2, 2017” is the day we will hand out the pledge cards to everyone and also the day we will collect the pledge cards.

Can I take my pledge card home on April 2nd and think about my gift?

  • Of course you can, but our hope and desire is that all pledge cards will be filled out and handed in on the same day – Pledge Day, April 2, 2017. The weeks leading up to April 2nd will highlight aspects of the capital campaign and allow time for individuals to consider their gift.

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CONNECTED Capital Campaign: What Makes SJES Unique

Our church and our school are truly CONNECTED.

Saint James’ Episcopal School’s first fifth grade graduation in May, 2015 was a monumental achievement for our community. What in 2010 had been just a dream had become a reality. This dream made manifest was realized in no small part thanks to the unwavering support of the Church.

Our Church and School continue to remain extremely intentional in their interconnectedness and this is why both entities continue to thrive. As an Episcopal School, we are the Church’s largest, most vibrant, and most closely connected ministry.

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By The Numbers: Saint James’ Church & School

As we look ahead with great hope and optimism to Pledge Day, April 2, 2017, it is fitting that we take a moment to look more closely at our largest ministry, largest donor, and continuing success story, Saint James’ Episcopal School. The numbers below leave no doubt that education is a central passion and gift of our parish. 


Saint James’ Episcopal Church & School by the Numbers

50

50 years ago the education wing was built onto our church. At that time there was no school and the parish consisted of 309 members.

898

898 adults and children call Saint James’ their home today

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CONNECTED Capital Campaign: Spotlight on our Endowment

We are CONNECTED in our future.

Two hundred years ago our founding parishioners understood that their dreams could only grow from a church set on a solid foundation of support. Legacy donations to the Saint James’ Endowment serve to keep our beautiful, historic church alive and vital for future generations.

The CONNECTED Capital Campaign shines a SPOTLIGHT ON OUR ENDOWMENT:

Our relatively new Endowment hopes to become like the older buildings on our campus—sustaining a myriad of ministries and increasing in value over time. And yet often the Endowment goes unnoticed, just as we take our buildings for granted at times– rushing about from the parking lot through the doors, from the nave into the Parish Hall, and from classrooms to the playground. The Endowment funds are invested to provide an annual stream of income to the church, but the principal is never touched.

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CONNECTED Capital Campaign: Music

We are CONNECTED by music.

February 19, 2017

Corporate worship lies at the heart of Saint James’ spiritual life, and music plays an important role in almost all of the worship services that we offer. It is the mission of Saint James’ music ministry to aid the congregation in offering up praises to God.

Members of the Saint James’ Youth Chorale rehearse in the music room before a performance in February 2016.

As Episcopalians, we have a musical heritage that is one of the world’s richest and most deeply spiritual. For over 500 years, Anglican church music has sought to tell the Christian faith with authenticity and truth. Our music is an extremely diverse and multi-layered art form that celebrates and encompasses many different traditions. You might be interested, when singing hymns, to read the small print below each one and note the many and varied sources of the poetry and the music.

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CONNECTED Capital Campaign | February 12, 2017

Our beautiful, historic, welcoming church will be made even more hospitable with the addition of new handicap parking spaces in the parking lot, permanent ramps, a lift for Parish Hall access, a centrally-located elevator in the new building, and ADA-certified bathroom facilities.

Father Ben shared this remembrance which highlights just one example of how needed and how welcome the planned accessibility upgrades will be:

“The Director of Christian Education from my previous church in Louisville came to church one Sunday. Lauralee wanted to show Ms. Martha her classroom so she led her down the stairs. Ms. Martha has some mobility issues and I forgot how much she had depended upon the elevator in Louisville. As I watched her slowly go down each step backwards, clinging to the rail, and wincing the entire way, I realized that the most formative person in my children’s faith development would hardly be able to teach Sunday school at Saint James’ much less serve as Director of Christian Formation. It was a profound recognition of the need and the fact that it is not just those confined to wheelchairs whose ministries are limited by our space.”

Our exciting renovation plans will open up our spaces to everyone who wants to share in them!

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CONNECTED Capital Campaign | February 5, 2017

As a church and a school, we strive to be an icon of Christ’s expansive love and care for the world. That love does not set conditions or limits to its reach.

Unfortunately our space does.

In terms of accessibility, available space, and a facility equipped for 21st century ministry, our beautiful grounds fall woefully short.

It has been 50 years since our last major expansion or renovation and it shows.

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2017 Annual Pledge Campaign

Our goal for 2017, the beginning of our third century of ministry in Warrenton, is 170 pledging households. Please prayerfully consider what amount you can pledge to God’s work in our community. Everybody should have received a pledge packet last Sunday or in the mail this week. If not, please contact Nancy in the office and she will mail one to you. Thanks to those of you who have already dropped off or mailed in your pledge.

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A Stewardship Message from Fr Ben

Do you choose easy or do you choose adventure?

I asked this question on my first Sunday at Saint James’ four years ago this winter. I talked about asking my daughter that question half way through a rather rigorous hike, I encouraged you to consider all the ways that Jesus asked his followers that same question, and whether God might be asking the people of Saint James’ Episcopal Church the same question.

Years later I am ever more convinced both of God’s call to us and our resounding answer, “ADVENTURE!!!”. Here is the rub. Adventure is not easy. Jesus certainly never said it would be.

One of my favorite prayers, attributed to 16th century explorer, Sir Francis Drake, asks the same question of us. Have we arrived safely because we sailed too close to shore… (have we) fallen in love with life and ceased to dream of eternity?

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Community Touch Charity Golf Tournament

Community Touch, an organization based in Bealeton, is holding its 6th Annual “Holes for the Homeless” golf tournament on May 2 at Fauquier Springs Country Club. Their goal is the raise money to help them provide beds, food and clothes for homeless people in Fauquier County, and to provide tutoring for at-risk kids and life skills for their parents through their Victory Transitional Housing program.

To sign up as a sponsor or participant for the tournament, fill out this form

You can also sponsor one of the 18 holes for the tournament by filling out this form.

VTH is a one year program that offers transitional housing to homeless men, women and children with a broad range of needs. The program helps individuals achieve and sustain a higher quality of life through resources, and various training opportunities. Residents pay off debt, save money and clean up credit while living in the program. Community Touch also operates Clara’s Food Pantry, which feeds the hungry, and Noah’s Ark Outreach, which distributes free furniture and clothing to the less fortunate in our community.