This July “Growing Together” is our theme for happenings around St. James’. As we are formed in Christ together in community, our focus will be on formation and fellowship in the coming weeks. Yesterday Eric Law from the Kaleidoscope Institute started us off in the right direction with facilitated conversations across diverse ethnic and generational groups that were surprising, moving and delightful by turns, deepening relationship and understanding. The following is a sneak peak of what lies ahead:
Children in Church: Normally children take part in our Sunday School activities in the parish hall during the first part of our 10:30 service, joining the adults at the Peace. During July, however, the children will be present for the entire service, growing together with the congregation as a whole. Children may not understand all the nuances of liturgy, but much research and study has shown how open children can be to profound religious and spiritual experiences. We invite all children and their parents to experience the sacredness of liturgy and worship right down front! You probably already noticed that we moved the altar closer toward the congregation. This year we also moved the chairs where the clergy usually sit so that we can set up the area under the pulpit with a rug, comfortable pillows, and other items. This will be the “Pray-Ground” for children during the service. Parents can sit in the front pews and keep watch, or join their kids if they wish. Children’s participation and formation is vital to the health of any parish, and we will be doing whatever we can to engage our younger congregants in worship in July.
All-Parish Forum July 10: Join Parish leadership, both lay and ordained for a mid-year all-parish forum after the 10:30 service. We look forward to sharing with you how we are doing as we approach the mid-point of the year. This will be a good time for fellowship, to raise issues, provide feedback or just share information. Refreshments will be provided.
Patronal Feast, Picnic, Interfaith Guests, and Instructed Eucharist on July 24th: On this day we will celebrate the Feast of St. James’ with our annual picnic after the 10:30 service. This year, we will once again use the St. James’ school grounds and there will be plenty of great food and games for kids – stay tuned for more information!
During the 10:30 service we will also be welcoming members and guests of IRTPJ – The Institute for Religious Tolerance Peace and Justice who will be worshipping with us. With the Institute’s desire to learn more about the religious practices and beliefs of religions other than their own, we will be offering an “Instructed Eucharist” – Instead of a sermon, we will present throughout the service concise explanations of what is going on in the liturgy. Whether you are new to the Episcopal Church or you’ve been here a while, we hope this will enhance your understanding of why we do what we do.
Ordinary time will be anything but ordinary! We look forward to a great summer – Growing Together!
~ In Peace, Jenifer+