Wondering about Worship, Learning about Liturgy

by Fr Randolph Charles

Do you ever wonder why we do certain things and make certain statements in worship? I hope you do, because it means that you want to learn more about and be more centered in our worship at Saint James’.

The clergy, Adult Formation Ministry Team, and Worship Ministry Team have designed a summer program just for you!

For eight Sundays, beginning June 3, the clergy during the announcements will present a brief teaching about a segment of the Eucharist in preparation for the actual liturgy.

Then, following the Eucharist, a 45-minute conversation about that segment will take place in the Reception Room. All are welcome, and all questions and comments are honored. Worship is about God; worship is about us.

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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.

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Photos: Maundy Thursday 2018

“Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” – Collect for Maundy Thursday

Photos: Palm Sunday 2018

“Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” – Collect for Justice

A Musical Journey: Holy Week and Easter

by Jesse Ratcliffe, Choirmaster

for a schedule of worship services in Holy Week, click here

The days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday are laden with emotion—the catch-breath of joy as we celebrate the triumphant entry to Jerusalem; the sorrow and heaviness of the crucifixion; and ending with the bliss of Easter Day. As a church musician, conveying these emotions through music can often prove to be challenging. The task is governed by the balance of musical language and text with listener approachability. At Saint James’, each service will be filled with some of the most poignant pieces of choral literature.

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Holy Week 2018: Schedule of Services

Saint James’ you to attend as many of our Holy Week 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.

(scroll to the bottom of the page for photos and video from Holy Week services that have already occurred)


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March 31 | The Great Vigil of Easter

8:00 PM

Possibly the most beautiful service of the church year, the Easter Vigil begins outside in our courtyard with the kindling of a fire from which the paschal candle is lit.

After processing into the church, each person lights their candle from that paschal candle as the service begins in darkness. While still in the tomb we read of God’s saving work throughout history.

Then, after we have proclaimed our new life in Christ through the renewing of our baptismal covenant, we reign in Easter with the lighting the altar candles, the illuminating the worship area, and singing and ringing of bells.

Then we joyfully celebrate that first Easter Eucharist.

The service actually takes us from death to new life and we really experience that Easter moment. If you have not been to the Vigil, please consider making it your Easter celebration.

Also, following the service, Lent is officially over, we will celebrate with a champagne and chocolate reception in the parish hall.


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April 1 | Easter Sunday

8:00am and 10:15am

Come celebrate Easter Day with us!

Having completed our journey and walked through the sorrow of Holy Week, we now come ready to experience Easter Joy.

Our 10:15 service begins with the children flowering the cross and following behind it in procession. The joyful music fills the space as we tell the story of the empty tomb and the reverberations of that moment throughout history and in our lives. Following the service our children will continue the celebration as they search for Easter eggs.


previous services

Palm Sunday

“Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” – Collect for Justice


Maundy Thursday

“Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” – Collect for Maundy Thursday


Good Friday

“Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” – Collect for Good Friday

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.

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Photos: Ash Wednesday 2018

“Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism.

“It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

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Worship Notes: The Liturgy Explained

The Worship Ministry Team has been studying The Liturgy Explained, by James Farwell, Professor of Liturgics at Virginia Theological Seminary. The following is a quote from the book.

“In the liturgy, the people who call themselves followers of God… praise the source of beauty and truth, listen to the proclamation of love and laws of human flourishing in the kingdom of God, lament that which is broken in the world, focus their energy on help for those broken, acknowledge their failings and commit to begin again to seek God and the good, make peace with one another, and welcome one another to a shared table.”

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Christmas Eve Services at Saint James’

On Christmas Eve, we will celebrate the birth of the Christ child with three festive services. We will also have one morning service, at 9:30am, to celebrate the fourth Sunday of Advent.

Sunday, December 24 |  Christmas Eve Pageant with Eucharist

— 3:00 PM

Bring the family and enjoy the reenactment of the Birth of Jesus. All children are encouraged to participate. Please arrive 15 minutes early for your child to be fitted for a costume. No prior rehearsal needed. The pageant includes the singing of familiar Christmas carols and is woven into the celebration of Holy Eucharist. This service is especially geared toward preschool and elementary age children but a joy to all! >>> Photos from last year

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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.

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Photos: Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols 2017

Thank you to our talented and dedicated choirs for presenting this magnificent service in our Advent journey!

If you couldn’t make it in person or just want to experience the music and readings again, you can watch the service on YouTube at bit.ly/lessonscarols2017

Our choirs will present a Choral Eucharist at 10:00 PM on Christmas Eve, and we have lots of programs and services for the whole family coming up this week – check out our full calendar for the remainder of Advent and Christams at bit.ly/sjecchristmas2017

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Advent & Christmas Calendar 2017

Sunday, December 10  |  Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols


Tuesday, December 19  |  Saint James’ Elementary School Pageant

— 11:00 AM

Students from Saint James’ Episcopal School will re-enact the nativity of Jesus Christ with costume, song, and prayer. It’s a beautiful program and you shouldn’t miss it! If you can’t make it in person, this event will be streamed live on our YouTube channel

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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.

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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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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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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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Personal Reflection: Why I Stand to Pray in Church

“The people stand or kneel.” – Book of Common Prayer, page 362

by Norma Thatcher

I began attending the Episcopal Church in 1986.

Having been raised as a Methodist, I didn’t quite get the standing, kneeling, genuflecting, crossing of oneself, etc. I simply followed the lead of those around me, just as visitors to Saint James’ do currently.

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