No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome at St. James United Church of Christ.
This week’s bulletin:
May 5, 2013
Latest blog posts:
Easter and Equality in Marriage
Join us for after church coffee and conversation time – look for us in the fellowship hall next to the church, starting around 12 noon. All are welcome!
“It is true that marriage equality will change the institution of marriage. When two men can get married, or two women, it means that marriage has new life as a partnership between two equals, not an arrangement defined by an inherent difference in status and power. Religious literalists have made an idol of a structural inequality symbolized by Christ and the Church, and in doing so have nearly destroyed marriage. Marriage equality can save it.”
Our Easter Sunday worship begins with Sunrise Service at 6:40 am (old St. James Cemetery, Lovettsville Road) followed by a potluck breakfast (and there’s always plenty to go around) at 7:30 am in the Fellowship Hall, and then EASTER FESTIVAL WORSHIP with Communion at 9 am. All are welcome! Please join us!
Come back to me with all your heart…
God’s invitation reminds us that Lent is a time for something to be going on inside of us, in our inner-spirits, private places known only to us and God. And that does not just mean coming back to God… but opening ourselves up to allow God to come into our lives… in whatever transcending way that might happen.
NEW DATES: Saturday, November 17 from 9:00-3:00 and Sunday, November 18 from 1:00-4:00
Support our local historic church with your holiday shopping!
Sunday, October 21, 11:00 am
In worship, we will be reflecting with The Rev. Lauren Stanley around Mark 10:35-45 and Job 38:1-7,34-41 on a spirituality THAT TRANSCENDS PRIVILEGE. She’s an Episcopal priest who serves as a preacher, celebrant, retreat leader and consultant and served most recently in the Diocese of Haiti. From 2005-2009 she was the Episcopal Church’s only full-time missionary in Sudan, but was expelled by the bishop for stating that “lgbt persons are human beings.” (!) She’s a contributor to a publication called Wisdom Found: Stories of Women Transfigured by Faith, and writes regular newspaper columns about the presence of God in our lives. Before becoming an Episcopal priest she was a journalist for 20-plus years, as well as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya in the mid-1980s.
You can read some of Rev. Stanley’s sermons here.
Each third Sunday at St. James we offer Bible school for children (pre-school through 7th grade) and Adult Education, both beginning at 10:00 am.
Our Adult Education group this season will be viewing and discussing the UCC film Call Me Malcolm. Malcolm Himschoot, now a UCC minister serving a community in Colorado, shares his own journey of coming to embody his true gender as well as the stories of others, giving us “a glimpse into the real lives of people who are transgender.” Study guides can be found here, and below is a trailer for the film, described as “an amazing story of the human spirit and God’s spirit, and the liberating struggle to realize and express with confidence the marvelous gift of one’s truest sense of self.”
All praise to you, Oh Lord, for all these brother and sister creatures. – St. Francis of Assisi (read Brother Francis, afflicting the comfortable)
All are invited to bring their four-footed, creeping, crawling or flying friends, large or small, to St. James United Church of Christ for a Blessing of the Animals in honor of the festival day of St. Francis of Assisi.
German kitchen | Historic church open house | Welcoming people
St. James will be open Saturday, September 29 during Lovettsville’s Oktoberfest from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
- Enjoy a meal from our famous traditional German kitchen, with delicious soups, homemade pies and donuts, and more.
-Visit our historic church building and learn about the history of St. James in the Town of Lovettsville.
-Meet members of our church family and learn why we seek to live out a new vision of Christianity.
The award-winning film Bag It is a touching, often funny, and powerful investigation into plastics and their effect on our waterways, oceans, and even our bodies. The film focuses on plastic as it relates to our throwaway mentality, our culture of convenience, our over consumption of unnecessary, disposable products and packaging – things that we use one time and then, without another thought, throw them away. But where is AWAY??
“I didn’t expect a movie about plastic bags to change my life in such a deep and profound way. Gripping, funny, intelligent, and sure to change your life.”
- Louie Psihoyos, Director of The Cove
See more about Bag It at www.bagitmovie.com, and join us for what is sure to be an enlightening and entertaining evening. Co-sponsored with Sustainable Loudoun and John and Holly Flannery.
Easter Sunday begins with sunrise service at 6:30 am (old St. James Cemetery, Lovettsville Road) followed by potluck breakfast at 7:30 am in the Fellowship Hall, and then EASTER FESTIVAL WORSHIP with Communion at 9 am.
Throughout the Easter season we will continue celebrating resurrection and life with special music out of different cultures and religious experiences…see more
Join local civil rights attorney and columnist John P. Flannery for a discussion of the continued relevance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to “a radical revolution of values” that challenges “the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism,” of heightened importance in the context of election year rhetoric about what kind of nation we should be.
Our Adult Education group is currently watching and discussing the PBS series “God in America” (you can watch all six episodes online here). Join the conversation at our blog – each episode will be added with a link to its study guide as we go through the series. If you’re unable to attend the sessions (3rd Sundays of the month at 9:45 am), or have to miss one, you can still watch and participate – all are welcome! The current episode couldn’t be more timely, as it’s concerned with the revolutionary idea of religious liberty in the Bill of Rights – an ‘experiment’ continuing to unfold right now on the lawn of the Leesburg courthouse.
Formerly the Loudoun Alternative Gift Fair, Loudoun Gifts for Good is now entirely online and year-round. Instead of buying more “things” for friends and family who have more than enough, consider making the gift of a helping hand to someone in need. Loudoun Gifts for Good selects around a dozen local charities each year, each of which offers meaningful gifts to make in the name of your loved one that strengthen our community.
Several St. James members attended and helped with the 3rd Annual Interfaith Day of Thanks, held at the Baha’i Center in Sterling. If you missed it, you can see pictures from the event here.
“Caretakers of God’s Creation” will help children in grades 1-5 understand what it means to be good stewards of God’s creation. Children will build their faith while learning about the Bible and how to care for our Earth. “Green” crafts and projects will accompany related Bible stories.
For more information, contact Patty McGovern at 703-980-4801.
The sanctuary at St. James will be open to all for silent reflection and meditation from 8:30 am on Sunday, September 11. The traditional ringing of the church bells begins at 8:46 am, continuing at 9:03, 9:37, and 10:03. At 11:00 am we will enter into more formal moments of interfaith prayer and reflection in a spirit of confession, compassion, and commitment to renewed listening and community building.
The congregation at St. James seeks ways to honor all those who have been lost to the events set in motion that day, to heal, to declare ourselves part of one human family. We take note of continuing cycles of violence, and choose to lift up peace. We invite all in the community who wish to come together and tell their stories, hear the stories of others, or to simply seek a place for quiet prayer and reflection. A wreath of peace will be outside the sanctuary, on which people can place flowers as a memorial to all those lost to indiscriminate violence.
Loudoun Out Loud was launched in January to meet the need of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth, and their families and allies, for support and safe space. In a community that as recently as 2005 was being threatened by anti-gay censors over a student play (whose author also visited St. James), LOL is creating that much needed safe space through monthly support groups and reaching out to the community through other activities.
Lori Stevens and some of the youth who brought LOL into being will be sharing their stories with us. You can read more about LOL here.
11:00 am, St. James United Church of Christ.
How does the U.S. relate to CUBA today? Join us in welcoming Ms. Mavis Anderson, a staff-member of The Latin America Working Group, who will lead us in a forum focusing especially on U.S. policies regarding Cuba.
Since 1997, Mavis has covered U.S. policy toward Cuba, cultivating congressional, organizational and grassroots support for the LAWG coalition’s efforts to end the U.S. embargo on Cuba.
11:00 am, St. James United Church of Christ.
Is it really about sin and personal salvation – or do the creeds of empire misrepresent the story of Easter?
By focusing on the life of Jesus of Nazareth and building our lives around values of mercy, justice, and peace, we embrace a different meaning of death and resurrection. Come and see.
Because this coming ‘Good Friday’ is also Earth Day we are going to be doing a special Earth Seder as a way to lift up Liberation From The Pharaohs of Today… with some reminders that the earth and the environment have too often been sacrificed on the idolatrous altars of greed, power, and wealth. So as we make connections with ancient stories that invite us to ask questions in order to be in tune with historical memories… we will be asking: Who are the Pharaohs and Caesars of today? And what are some of the forces of oppression that need to be addressed today?
“We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris.” – excerpt from the Clergy Letter Project, open letter from American Christian Clergy.
The Clergy Letter Project was started in 2006 in response to the creation of a false dichotomy between science and faith. (Read more on our blog.) Since then, the second weekend in February has been an invitation to faith communities to discuss and reflect on the relationship between faith and science, asking questions such as “Are science and religion really mutually exclusive worldviews?”, “What does it mean to say that the process of natural selection is ‘purposeless’ or ‘mindless’?”, and “What does it mean when a person of faith is accused of ‘worshipping the creation instead of the Creator’?” In light of the third question, St. James is among many congregations that will be focusing on the context of specific environmental issues.
Please join us for a screening and discussion of the documentary Renewal: Stories from America’s Religious Environmental Movement, which presents eight stories of faith communities – Evangelical Christians, Muslims, Jews and interfaith groups – confronting mountaintop removal in Appalachia, climate change, food security and other “green” issues through a variety of ecological initiatives.
Food Bank collection
Please keep the food coming! We’re learning about more people in need every week.
St. James continues to collect food weekly for distribution to our neighbors who need some help. We contribute to the Lovettsville Food Closet housed at New Jerusalem Church; Interfaith Relief in Leesburg; and Loudoun County Department of Family Services Drop In Center. For guidance on some great items to donate, see here.
The Bible and the UCC
What do we mean at St. James when we say that we take the Bible seriously, not literally?
We see the ‘library’ of writings we know as the Bible as testimonies of faith, the living word of God handed down to us through the experience of fallible human beings. It is God’s story, a story intended to include us.
We do not fear, but rather embrace the ambiguity and contradictions we find in the Bible; we can marvel that God thought so highly of us that we were not left with a mere rule book, but rather a word of so many dimensions that it would take a lifetime to explore.
We understand that the Bible has been misused, to mislead and do harm; but also that the answer to misuse is never disuse, but better use. We take the word of God seriously enough to question our own and others’ understandings with regard to the limitations of time, place and culture.
It can take some time for the implications of the truths revealed in the Bible to be fully realized. For instance, today we understand that slavery is wrong and irreconcilable with a Christian way of life. Yet early Christians, including the Apostle Paul, seemed to accept the practice. When Paul said that in Christ there is “no longer slave or free,” it came like a revelatory flash, but even he did not understand all the implications fully. Only hundreds of years later were the full implications of that understanding seen or lived.
We recognize that God is not restrained by the borders of our imagination. We are as fallible as those human beings who have gone before us, and we do not know through whom the Holy Spirit might speak. We have no authority figure telling us how we must interpret the Bible, rather we study, listen and seek discernment in community.
Excerpts in italics are from The Bible and the UCC, a booklet prepared by the United Church of Christ Writer’s Group – download PDF (5.60MB).