Message from the Rector: 2018 Spring Newsletter

by fr. ben maas

I have been struck recently by how small my world can become, and it troubles me. Why do the relatively insignificant disappointments and tribulations of my children preoccupy my waking hours and even interrupt my sleeping ones? Why can I not recall tossing and turning in my bed over the child who has known nothing but a refugee camp, war, hunger, illness, homelessness, drugs, or violence? Obviously, I know I have the capacity to ache, and not just ache, but to be willing to move mountains for someone. How can I harness that love, that relentless desire to fix, console, and remove obstacles, or better yet, equip to ascend?

I think much of the power of Bishop Curry’s sermon at the royal wedding is that it got outside of the smallness of the moment. Despite the billion who tuned in worldwide, the attention and careful choreography, the considerable pomp, it was simply a moment between two people and their families. Two people found each other, fell in love, and decided to commit themselves to one another. Most of us have known the specific power that love has had on us, the magnetic pull that drew us to our beloved, that made every other person in the room fade away, that seemed to limit our ability to focus on anything but that one person. Curry invited us to think about the nature of that love, its power, its source. He then opened our imagination to think about what could be possible if we could channel that love beyond the smallness of our world.

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

Table Talk: Week of May 13, 2018

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story. Please read the summary, look up the story online, in your bible, or a children’s bible, and begin the discussion. Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development. What a gift to provide a child! Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories.

Praying and Deciding

In Sunday School your children heard the story of Jesus and the Twelve and how the remaining 11 had to make an important decision in the selection of the new apostle, Mattheius to replace Judas when he betrayed Jesus.

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of May 13, 2018”

Adult Formation Journal: May 10, 2018

Becoming Easter People: Session Six

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 11:45 and on Tuesdays at 10:30 in the Reception Room.

All are welcome.

Readings for Session Six

  • May 13 & 15 Acts 16:1-18:21
  • Conversations with Scripture: The Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 6 (Optional)
  • Armchair Mystic: Easing into Contemplative Prayer, Chapter 14 (Optional)

Outline of Acts 16:1-18:21

  • Acts 16:1-10 | Timothy recruited by Paul, directed by the Spirit through Asia Minor to Troas.
  • Acts 16:11-40 | Paul and Silas in Philippi.
  • Acts 17:1-15 | From Thessalonica to Athens.
  • Acts 17:16-34 | Paul at Athens.
  • Acts 18:1-17 | Paul in Corinth.
  • Acts 18:18-21 | End of the second missionary journey.

Conversation Guides for Session Six

  • Understanding the Text
  • Was Luke ever a companion of Paul? Explain.
  • How did Paul decide to go to Macedonia instead of Asia?
  • Who were some women that participated in Paul’s mission?
  • Who were the Epicureans and the Stoics?
  • Connecting the Text to Our Daily Life and Church
  • What are the gods of our world in the 21st century that Paul would have addressed?
  • What are some ideas of how our parish does and could proclaim the good news of Jesus?
  • How do you react when faced with hatred and hostility about something you believe in? Can you learn anything from Paul’s example?

Letting God Guide Us through Prayer

“In a way, I, as a pray-er am like an astronomer trying to understand the entire universe I call ‘me’ by visiting that ‘place’ where the Big Bang first banged. Once I do understand it, it is here in this place that my universe must be re-centered. My worlds must be put back on their axes, orbiting around the true Son. For what happens here at this micro-cosmos – this epicenter of my creation – ripples through all my existence. This re-centering is actually a re-perceiving, for God was, is, and always will be God. What is in need of repair, then, is the blindness that keeps me from understanding my divine origins and from experiencing God as the universe wherein my star shines.”

Learning Group Conversation Norms

Honest, open, focused, non-judgmental, shared, helpful, respectful, speak to the group

Learning Group Creed

I am beloved of God. I am on a faith journey with Jesus Christ that touches my heart, and I am grateful to be walking in faith with companions along the way. I don’t need to be right; I do want to be faithful.

Education for Ministry at Saint James’

What is EfM?

Every baptized person is called to ministry, and the four year Education for Ministry (EfM) program is preparation for that ministry. Lay persons face the difficult and often subtle task of interpreting the richness of the church’s faith in a complex and confusing world. We benefit from a theological education that supports our faith and also teaches us to express it in our day-to-day lives. With the knowledge and skills developed during EfM, we are better equipped to live out the vocation for which we pray at the end of the Eucharist: “And now, Father, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.”

How is EfM structured at Saint James’

A seminar group of 8 people is presently completing Year One of the EfM program, and we meet Wednesdays, from 9:00-11:30 a.m. We will finish in mid-June, and then in September we will have 4 spots for new people to join in Year One, as the other 8 move into Year Two. EfM is designed so that multiple “Years” learn together. (Please don’t be discouraged from finding out more about EfM if Wednesday mornings don’t fit your schedule. See below for a list of other EfM groups in the area which meet at different times; there’s also an online option.)

Continue reading “Education for Ministry at Saint James’”

Talk Talk: Week of April 29, 2018

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story. Please read the summary, look up the story online, in your bible, or a children’s bible, and begin the discussion. Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development. What a gift to provide a child! Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories.

Philip and the Ethiopian

Today in Sunday School our 3 classes came together to hear the story about Philip and the Ethiopian. This story is found in the book of Acts 8:26-40.

Philip loved Jesus and tried to act like Jesus. One day God sent an angel to Philip and told him to travel on a hot, dry road and share God’s love along the way.

Continue reading “Talk Talk: Week of April 29, 2018”

Adult Formation Journal: April 27, 2018

Becoming Easter People: Session Four

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 11:45 and on Tuesdays at 10:30 in the Reception Room.

All are welcome.

Readings for Session Four

Apr 29 & May 1

  • Acts 9:1-12:25
  • Conversations with Scripture: The Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 4 (Optional)
  • Armchair Mystic: Easing into Contemplative Prayer, Chapters 8-10 (Optional)

Continue reading “Adult Formation Journal: April 27, 2018”

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.

Continue reading “Adult Formation Journal: April 19, 2018”

Adult Formation Journal: April 11, 2018

By Randolph Charles

BECOMING EASTER PEOPLE

During the season of Easter, the Sunday and Tuesday learning groups will be learning more about The Acts of the Apostles and the Early Church and will be “easing into contemplative prayer.” We will be focusing on the ways that the first believers experienced the risen Christ and formed church, and we will practice contemplative prayer as a way for us to access that same spiritual excitement of those early Christians.

The only required readings are from the book in the Bible called “The Acts of the Apostles”; however, there are two optional books which I recommend and will be using.

Conversations with Scripture: The Acts of the Apostles, by C. K. Robertson

“The Acts of the Apostles is a bridge between the four gospels and Paul’s epistles, revealing the missionary roots of the Christian story. Here we follow Jesus’ first disciples from their call to be witnesses ‘to the ends of the earth,’ through their initial days of harmony and numerical success, to the challenges they faced as God’s mission imperative unfolded. We discover the leadership changes that resulted from these challenges and the emergence of Paul, the champion who, against all odds, became the church’s chief interpreter to the world of his time.”

Armchair Mystic: Easing into Contemplative Prayer, by Mark E. Thibodeaux, S.J.

“This user-friendly book blends theory and practice, gently and concretely taking the reader through the first steps of contemplative prayer. Armchair Mystic begins with the necessary details of time and place to pray, then presents the maturation of the prayer life in four stages. Step-by-step exercises throughout the book provide concrete examples of how to use the concepts discussed. Armchair Mystic will prove invaluable to individuals and small groups who are new to contemplative prayer.”

Click here for the course syllabus.

To sign up for this course, you can email me at randolph@saintjameswarrenton.org or put your name on the registration sheet on the parish house bulletin board. You can also let me know if you want one or both of the books. They each cost $10.

Syllabus: Becoming Easter People

Adult Formation at Saint James’

Adult formation is learning about the faith and being formed by the triune God through the following:

  1. study of religious sources [Bible, Prayer Book, tradition, etc.]
  2. prayer [contemplation, lectio divina, centering prayer, examen, etc.]
  3. meaningful conversation [honest, open, focused, non-judgmental, shared, helpful, respectful, etc.]
  4. participation in the life of a faith community [learning groups, St. James’, The Episcopal Church, etc.]

Learning Groups

The purpose of this 7-week course is to learn more about The Acts of the Apostles and the Early Church and to practice contemplative prayer.

Consider this goal:  15 minutes of Bible and prayer daily.

  • Sunday Learning Groups |  9:15am and 11:45am in Reception Room (Childcare for 5 years and younger)
  • Tuesday Learning Group |  10:30am in Reception Room
  • Home Learning Group | Form your own group of two or more; meet in your own space.

Resource Books

  • Conversations with Scripture: The Acts of the Apostles, by C. K. Robertson
  • Armchair Mystic: Easing into Contemplative Prayer, by Mark E. Thibodeaux, S.J.

Continue reading “Syllabus: Becoming Easter People”

Table Talk: Week of March 18, 2018

Whether or not your children were able to make it to Sunday school, you can still engage them in this week’s story. Please read the summary, look up the story online, in your bible, or a children’s bible, and begin the discussion. Increasing your child’s biblical knowledge will be foundational in their faith development. What a gift to provide a child! Adults also reap the benefit of digging in deeper to these stories.

Muscle Memory & The 5th Sunday in Lent

In our 3rd – 5th grade classroom, the children talked about the book of Jeremiah, chapter 31, verses 31-34.

We are constantly learning. There is a need to practice what we learn to become better. The more we practice, the easier a skill becomes. We also know what it’s like to memorize something and know it “by heart”. Sometimes we teach our bodies to do an action without even thinking about it – such as clapping. Sometimes we practice something over and over (such as the Lord’s Prayer) – soon, we know it by heart.

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of March 18, 2018”

Update on Family Ministries: 2018 Winter Newsletter

by Jen Taylor, Director of Family Ministries

Sunday School

Wow! We are well into 2018 and just 3 months left of our Sunday school curriculum for the year.

Don’t let that mislead you, we still have lots to do!

A very special thank you to all our Sunday school teachers! We have over 25 volunteers for Sunday school. Every Sunday there are dedicated teachers to tell our youngest parishioners a relevant story, read bible verses with, and facilitate a conversation about what they learned.

Continue reading “Update on Family Ministries: 2018 Winter Newsletter”

Syllabus: Learning More about the Acts of the Apostles and Contemplative Prayer

Adult Formation at St. James’

Adult formation is learning about the faith and being formed by the triune God through the following:

  1. study of religious sources [Bible, Prayer Book, tradition, etc.]
  2. prayer [contemplation, lectio divina, centering prayer, examen, etc.]
  3. meaningful conversation [honest, open, focused, non-judgmental, shared, helpful, respectful, etc.]
  4. participation in the life of a faith community [learning groups, St. James’, The Episcopal Church, etc.]

Learning Groups

The purpose of this 7- week course is to learn more about The Acts of the Apostles and the Early Church and to practice contemplative prayer. Consider this goal: 15 minutes of Bible and prayer daily.

  • Sunday Learning Groups, 9:15 and 11:45 in Reception Room (Childcare for 5 years and younger)
  • Tuesday Learning Group, 10:30 in Reception Room
  • Home Learning Group Form your own group of two or more; meet in your own space.

Continue reading “Syllabus: Learning More about the Acts of the Apostles and Contemplative Prayer”

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!

Continue reading “Notes on Chapter 7: The Heart of Christianity”

Lenten Family Nights & Other Programs in Lent 2018

“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” (BCP p. 265)

Saint James’ Warrenton is offering three activities during Lent 2018 to support your spiritual journey in this season of reflection, and you’re invited!

Lenten Family Nights

The adult formation and family ministries leaders have planned a program of Lenten Family Nights for the people of Saint James’. It will be held on the first four Sunday evenings in Lent: February 18, February 25, March 4, March 11.

Whether it’s just you or you have a whole family in tow, you’re invited to this new program that will deepen our relationships with each other and our faith.

Schedule
  • 6:00 Supper
  • 6:45 Worship
  • 7:00 Program: Adults, High School, Middle School, Childcare
  • 8:00 Good Night

We will begin with everyone gathering for a shared meal at 6:00. Click here to sign up to bring part of the meal. Then we will worship 6:45 with an informal evening liturgy. At 7:00, the High School and Middle School Youth Groups will follow their usual program on the scheduled Sundays. Childcare will be available for all four nights.

The program for adults is based on Brian McLaren‘s new book, The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking A Better Way to Be Christian. We will begin with a 15-minute video of Brian speaking and talking with others about the basic points of the book. There is no reading or preparation needed for this program; just come and participate. There will be a facilitator at each table to guide the conversations. We will end the night with a brief gathering and sending forth.

The following is a description of the program we are using, which is called Way of Life.

“Participants learn how shifting away from an outdated system of beliefs to a new way of life based on love can lead to new, more redemptive communities and practices. McLaren challenges participants to focus less on doctrine, more on new ways of reading Scripture, and ultimately on love as manifested in the life of Jesus.”


Adult Formation Learning Groups

Learning groups meet in the reception room every Sunday at 9:15am and 11:45am and on Tuesdays at 10:30am.

These are meaningful conversations about having and living an honest and passionate faith in God.

Currently, we are focusing on the book The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith by Marcus Borg.

To see the syllabus of this learning group, click here. And to see the latest news about adult formation, including discussion questions for each chapter, click here.


Self-Guided Devotion

The book Saint James’ is offering for a self-guided journey through Lent is Ashes and the Phoenix: Meditations for the Season of Lentwhich is published by Forward Movement.

“Threaded throughout with the stunningly visual and visceral poems of Len Freeman and guided by the collects for Lent and Holy Week, Ashes and the Phoenix seeks to lead us through the emotions, symbols, sights, sounds, and scents of Lent. Featuring original woodcuts by artist Jason Sierra, this book is a feast for hungry hearts and weary eyes. If you are seeking a way to answer the Church’s invitation to observe a holy Lent, Ashes and the Phoenix is an excellent companion for your journey to Easter.”

Books available at the rear of the church for $5.00.

Notes on Chapter 4: The Heart of Christianity

Learning More about Christianity

We are currently using The Heart of Christianity, by Marcus Borg, in our adult formation learning groups. I am very excited about this book and the meaningful faith conversations that it invites!

ALL ARE WELCOME!

Continue reading “Notes on Chapter 4: The Heart of Christianity”

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

Continue reading “Notes on Chapter 2: The Heart of Christianity”

Advent Message from the Choirmaster

by Jesse Ratcliffe, Director of Music

Hymn Writing: the marriage of text and melody

This Advent season, two hymns of sturdy composition and poetic beauty will bookend the season: Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending and Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.

Of the thousands of hymn-writers known in Christendom, the works of brothers John and Charles Wesley (1703-91 & 1707-1788) have proved to be timeless. Both were ordained as Anglican clergymen and served as missionaries, which exposed them to various types of music across Europe.

Continue reading “Advent Message from the Choirmaster”

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.”

Continue reading “Adult Formation in Advent”

Advent Update on Family Ministries

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.

Continue reading “Advent Update on Family Ministries”