From the Rector – Seeing the Face of God in Each Other

Last weekend over 20 Vestry members, staff, and ministry leaders from St. James’ attended a two-day antiracism workshop sponsored by the Diocese.  It was challenging work – listening and dialoguing – about issues of power, class, and race in American history and today.  At the end we were asked to share one word about our experience.  I said grateful – because as uncomfortable as the work made me, and others around me, I was grateful that the people of this community showed up to engage in this issue which carries strong emotions and is the source of so much enmity in our nation.

I’d like to share briefly my experience of the weekend.  I learned some new things, there were things that felt like a truth gut-punch, there were things that made me feel defensive and frustrated, and I woke up Monday morning with a “vulnerability hangover” – physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.  My thoughts have continued to swirl all week long.  I’ve continued to pray and wrestle with it all.  What am I supposed to do now?  For me the image that is rising up is the story of Jacob wrestling the angel (Genesis 32:22-31).  Jacob didn’t walk away, he wrestled and wrestled until he received a blessing.  That is what I hope and plan to do:  wrestle with the new knowledge I have, that it can inform me going forward, and wrestle with the things that challenged me, until I can pull a blessing out of it all.

I invited everyone who attended to share reflections.  What was something new they learned?  What challenged them?  What frustrated them?  What did they find hopeful?  We will continue to share these in the coming weeks if more folks feel called to share, but for today please read reflections from Blix Winston and Marilyn Hancock below.

Yours in God’s peace,


From Blix Winston:

I thought I had a pretty good handle on the complexity of the subject area before we started until we dove into trying to define what we were talking about.  It surprised me that there really isn’t a good definition of the word “race”, although I’ve made a race designation on nearly every form I’ve ever filled out.  We looked at the evolving definition of “racism” in updated versions in Webster’s dictionary only to find that none of them really agreed on what it means.  Some of the definitions had a distinct political or emotional tone.  In a related vein, I came to understand that “my” language, or how I speak about and understand racism, is not spoken or shared by everyone who talks about racism; that there are pretty significant differences between what I think and see and what others think and see looking at the same topic.  I have to conclude that over the two days, we barely scratched the surface.  But this is too important to me to just sit where I am.  I have too many questions now and my emotional cauldron has been too fired up to not go further, so I want to continue to learn and discuss it.

 From Marilyn Hancock:

Something new I learned was about white privilege and the positive ways that “it is okay” to use it in a kind way to help teach others not to be racist, i.e. the grocery store scenario with two black ladies, one dark skinned and one very, very light skinned–speak up to enlighten the cashier that they should both be treated equal.

A challenge is to look at my occasional small thoughts, that before I may never have had a second thought about, but now realize IS racial, i.e.  I saw a young black girl rolling a recycle dumpster out to the curb of a very large home and thought, my, her family has a beautiful home–stop, would I have thought the same had it been a young white girl?!?  Probably not.

My hope is that all who attend these training sessions walk away enlightened in some way.

Nursery School

The Pre-K 4’s classes took a school bus to Piney Run Nature Center at the beginning of this week. They had a presentation on hibernation and migration and took a nature walk. Petting the snake was particularly exciting!

Basket Raffle and Quartermania

Holiday Quartermania!

Friday, December 1st, will be a great night to begin your holidays by gathering with your family and friends to win special gifts for yourself and your loved ones.

St. James’ Church will hold it’s Holiday Quartermania event at the church on FRIDAY, DEC 1st; the doors will open at 6 pm with the games beginning at 7 pm.  Delicious refreshments will also be available for purchase throughout the evening.

For those who may not know, Quartermania is a game that can be played by anyone from three to 93–a great family activity!  Imagine a game that combines Bingo and an Auction using only quarters with lots of prizes to bid on!

E-mail or call Judy @ 240-674-1961 to advance reserve a seat for $5 (a $3 discount!); admission fees will be collected at the door.  Come join us to begin your holidays by experiencing this fun game!!!

Marilyn Hancock,   Chairperson

Basket Raffle and Silent Auction Thank YOU!

We are pleased to report that our 11th Annual Basket Raffle and Silent Auction one-day Fall Fest event was fun and quite successful; our profit for the church and it’s outreach projects is $5,472!

This would not have been possible without the generosity, both in materials, time, talent and spirit, of so many of you.  We would like to first thank the Raffle Committee—from our “CEO” who coordinated the Silent Auction as well as made sure things ran smoothly from beginning to end—to our fantastic official correspondent and donation solicitor–to our excellent volunteer coordinator—to our awesome “Basket Brigade” assemblers!

Also, to those who graciously posted flyers, our wonderful treasurer,  many ticket sellers and  super “muscles” to move many tables baskets and assemble tents–to the energetic ladies who called the winners–all deserve a huge thanks!!

In addition, we are very grateful for all of the wonderful donations of lovely items and baskets received.  A special thanks goes to Laura in the church office for cheerfully donating her talents and, once again, to the Windsors for obtaining the loan of a huge box trailer for our use; it was an enormous asset to our transporting operations.

Many thanks again also to our Nursery School and Thrift Shop for their continued support of this important fundraising event.

~Averelle Smith and Marilyn Hancock, Co-Chairpersons, 2017 Basket Raffle and Silent Auction


Thanksgiving Donations
This year the Outreach Committee is asking for holiday type food donations (potatoes, rolls, fruit, stuffing) for Mt. Airy Net.  Mt. Airy Net will take our donations and make dinners for families in our community.  We would love to see as many fresh donations as possible. (A bag of potatoes rather than canned) Please see the poster in the narthex for more information or ask Patty Bullington or Jeannie Pellicier.  Please bring your donations to the church by Sunday, November 19th.   A box will be nearby if you would like to make a monetary donation for a turkey. Thank you!!

Vestry Nominations – Last Sunday to Submit Names!
The Vestry Nominating Committee is excited to announce they are accepting nominations for the 2018-2021 Vestry Class.  A nominating form is available in the narthex which details ideal qualities for candidates as well as Vestry member responsibilities.  Outgoing members Jim Bullington, Carla Kaufman, Tim McClanahan, and Blix Winston are also available if you are interested and have questions.  You can submit your name or the name or someone you think would be a candidate in the box in the narthex.


Bishops Unplugged: Western MD
November 18 (grades 6-12)
Saturday 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Cost: $5

St. James’, Mt Airy 
Spend the afternoon with both bishops in fellowship and fun! A revamp of our annual Bishop’s Bash: we will gather for a few hours of music, Bible study, and time to talk with our bishops. We ask that all adult leaders join us for a special gift and prayers of thanks! Join us for this time to gather with youth from the region and have fun.

Registration Forms are available in the narthex.


Breakfast with St. Nick at St Andrew’s Church, Glenwood
Saturday, December 2 from 9 to 11:30 am at 2892 State Route 97, just south of Glenwood middle School.  Free crafts and fun for the kids!  $1.00 Christmas Shop for kids to buy and wrap gifts.  $8 for those 10 and older.  $6 for children under 10.  Bring your camera to capture your visit with St. Nick.  To reserve a table, email Hannah at hgrahamstandrews  Tickets are available at the door.


Prayer Rotation
Please join the Daughters of the King in praying for each parishioner in rotation during 2017 by taking this notice home and by posting it where it will remind you to pray on a daily basis for the needs and blessings of:

Bryant and Karen Dulany
David and Brittany Echeverria
Kellen, Daxton
Kingsley Edwards and James Dunbar

A member of the Daughters of the King will be contacting  you this week for special prayer requests.