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


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.

  • 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!


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”

Adult Formation Syllabus: Learning More About Christianity

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.]

Continue reading “Adult Formation Syllabus: Learning More About Christianity”

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.


“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.


Notes on Chapter 13: Learning More about St Francis and Creation

Eager to loveChapter THirteen, “Francis: A Natural Spiritual Genius”

Quote from page 191, 204

If your only goal is to love, there is no such thing as failure. Francis succeeded in living in this single-hearted way and thus turned all failure on its head, and even made failure into success. This intense eagerness to love made his whole life an astonishing victory for the human and divine spirit, and showed how they can work so beautifully together. That eagerness to love is the core and foundation of his spiritual genius….

Love is not love until you stop expecting something back. The moment you want something in return for your giving, all love is weakened and prostituted. This is the nature of the divine energy that transforms; it is inherently contagious, and it is holiness itself. This is Francis and Clare.

Continue reading “Notes on Chapter 13: Learning More about St Francis and Creation”

(Brief!) Adult Formation Survey

Looking ahead to Epiphany and Lent (January 7th through March 24th, 2018), the Adult Formation Ministry Team wants to have your input on what kinds of learning groups would best suit your situation and schedule.

We have been using learning groups at Saint James’ as a way to provide a structured and supportive environment in which meaningful conversations about our faith can take place.

Continue reading “(Brief!) Adult Formation Survey”

Notes on Chapter 10: Learning More About St Francis And Creation

Eager to loveChapter Ten, “Entering the World of Another: Francis and the Sultan of Egypt

Quote from page 153

The connection that Francis makes with “the enemy” in his lifetime might end up being his most powerful statement to the world about putting together in inner life with the outer, and all of its social, political, and ethnic implications. He also offers an invitation to – and an example for – the kind of interfaith dialogue that provides a much-needed “crossing of the borders” so we can understand other people at even basic levels. Like few other incidents in his life, Francis’s meeting with the Sultan of Egypt took him far beyond the usual saccharine portrayals of him. Francis’s kind of border crossing is urgently needed in our own time, when many of the exact same Christian-Muslim issues are at play all over again.

Continue reading “Notes on Chapter 10: Learning More About St Francis And Creation”

Notes on Chapter 9: Learning More about St Francis and Creation

Eager to loveChapter nine, “The Legacy of Clare: Living the Life at Depth

Quote from page 138-139

Clare’s letters and writings are so consistently upbeat, positive, hopeful, encouraging to others, and lovingly visionary that we can only conclude that she faced her demons down, dove into the negativity that all of us avoid in ourselves and in the world, and came out the other side as clear light or Chiara. Clare allowed herself no place to run or hide, and lived for forty years in one little spot of earth, outside the walls of Assisi, called San Damiano. She was both a master and mistress of letting go of all that was unnecessary or unimportant. She went inside instead of outside, and subsequently discovered the outside  to be a perfect mirror for the grace she had already found within – and vice versa. Clare went deep instead of far, low instead of high – and thus redefined both high and low. Breaking all records, the formal process for her canonization began only two months after she died.

Continue reading “Notes on Chapter 9: Learning More about St Francis and Creation”

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


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.

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

Notes on Chapter 6: Learning More about St Francis and Creation

Eager to loveChapter Six, “An Alternative Orthodoxy: Paying Attention to Different Things

Quote from page 81-82

One of the earliest accounts of Francis, the “Legend of Perugia,” quotes Francis as telling the first friars   “You only know as much as you do.” His emphasis on action, practice, and lifestyle was foundational and revolutionary for its time and at the heart of Franciscan alternative orthodoxy (“heterodoxy”). For Francis and Clare, Jesus became someone to actually imitate and not just to worship.

Continue reading “Notes on Chapter 6: Learning More about St Francis and Creation”

Notes on Chapter 5: Learning More about St Francis and Creation

Eager to loveChapter five, “Contemplation: A Different Way of Knowing

Quote from page 61-62

I believe the very foundation of what we mean by holiness or, in this case, mysticism, is that [Francis and Clare] knew and loved from a different source; they knew by participation in a Larger Knowing that many of us call God. Or, as Paul says, “They knew as fully as they were known” ( 1 Corinthians 13:12)

This kind of shared knowing, which is nothing but full consciousness is what many of us mean by contemplation. True contemplatives surrender some of their own ego boundaries and identity so that God can see through them, with them, and in them – with a larger pair of eyes. It is quite simply a higher level of seeing, and, if you do not like the religious language, you can just call it consciousness, or deep consciousness. But you still have to let go of your small, egoic self to get there (John 12:24). “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

Conversation Question

  • What could you let go of and how could you let go in order for you to experience a closer union with God?

Continue reading “Notes on Chapter 5: Learning More about St Francis and Creation”

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?

Continue reading “Notes on Chapter 4: Learning More about St Francis and Creation”