From the Rector: November 2022
“There your heart will be also.”
Dear St. James Parish Family,
Two years ago, from my office in Portland, Oregon, I had my first Zoom conversation with the St. James Rector Search Committee. Time has gone by quickly, yet I will always treasure the wonderful and creative season of prayer, curiosity, and discernment which began that afternoon. Indeed, Jennifer and I felt and trusted God’s presence all the way through the endeavor, and I remain so grateful God called all of us to share in this beautiful ministry together.
As you might imagine, the search committee shared an abundant supply of surveys and reflections for consideration throughout the process. One particular “data point” was compelling for me. The community of St. James ranked exceptionally high in its desire for spiritual growth and learning. One would think that such a statistic would be true for any worship community, yet the family of St. James stood out in this regard.
Since my arrival, I have seen the very real and practical applications of this data point play out in the programs and interactions of our church community. St James’ parishioners desire to see, experience and participate in excellent liturgy and preaching during Sunday worship. There is an abiding passion for the spiritual growth of our young people. Deep and sustaining pastoral care connections are a premium. Parishioners are eager to commit their time and presence to formative spiritual and scriptural learnings, both in large and small group settings. All of these fall under a clear and compelling desire to follow Jesus Christ. Such a robust and growing program requires a foundation of staffing energy and dedicated support.
I believe that our Parish is in an opportune moment, as we importantly ponder together the notion of seeking out and recognizing our neighbors. In her wonderful St. James Speakers Series presentation on the evening of November 3rd, the Rev. Becca Stevens encouraged all in attendance to look past simply seeing our neighbors, and rather live into a truly Christian model of loving our neighbor - even when love seems culturally defiant -even when, in her words, “we just don’t feel like it.” To me, that resonates with the true heart of spiritual growth and learning - beginning with love.
May I encourage all of you to stay engaged this stewardship season with your commitment to the mission and ministries of St. James. Your time, talent and treasure make all of the difference, and we need you! Indeed, we need each other - all to the glory of Christ our Lord.
The Rev. Phillip Craig