St. James Episcopal Church
October 2015 - Monthly Communicator
Greetings Sisters and Brothers in Christ,  

Beergardens, Baptisms, and Blessings 

Icon of St. Francis
Saint Francis of Assisi - More than just a nice peasant

 At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you've hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have shown them to babies. Indeed, Father, this brings you happiness. (Matthew 11: 25-26)

It is possible -- perhaps even likely -- that there's never been an October like the one we're about to live into at St. James. The month begins with a bountiful weekend of joyous back-to-back events. God only knows what will unfold as autumn and a true season of transformation unfolds in and around us through the remainder of the month.

It seems appropriate that we're celebrating special occasions with beloved St. Francis.  Francis' Feast Day occurs on Oct. 4th in The Episcopal Church.  He's a great guy to like because of his simplicity and compassionate heart. We're not alone at St. James with placing a statue of St. Francis in our garden. Take a look at him when you're outside near our front garden this weekend. Francis is fun to behold.

And yet, as Sam Portaro states: Francesco Bernardone (St. Francis) definitely marched to the beat of a differenct drummer. ...he preaches the gospel not in words but in images to bold to dismiss and a life that was itself a parable. ... He speaks the truth by living the truth." (Portaro, Brightest and Best, pps. 175, 176)

I imagine that Francis would have loved to participate in everything that we've got going on this weekend.  He seemingly adored children and God's creatures. He went out of his way to create a community based in Christ's compassion, especially for outcasts. He cast himself out from the social castes of his own time in order to more fully accept God's love. He wasn't nearly as interested in the Church's hierarchy as he was in the Church's mission.

Consequently, ... Francis didn't fit in with society. He very well might have been much like the bearded, smelly, psychologically unusual people that we pass by on street corners and park benches each and every day. Francis' life spoke in languages that most people couldn't and probably still can't understand. Clearly, very few people can live as Francis did. We observe him as being someone who suffered physical and spiritual pain. He deliberately impoverished himself. Despite all this he lived in a coincidental abundance of joy.  Simply put, it is much easier for us to enjoy him from the safe distance of our flower gardens. I invite us to touch him and Jesus alike with our lives more than is comfortable for us.

Francis, perhaps more so than any other Christian invites us to understand that God's love is not dependent upon external happiness or possessions. Francis teaches us to humbly and boldly believe in God's realm through the very essence of accepting God's love each day - from and within our hearts.

Saint Francis

So, in the spirit of Francis' Christlike, whole-hearted love, I invite you to be with us as we celebrate two baptisms this weekend. Barrett Lanich will be baptized in the church's chancel at 5:15 on Saturday afternoon. This will be somewhat less formal and a real chance for Westwood's community members to participate in this celebration.  There's more information on Westwood Work's Facebook Page. We continue with a special Child-centered Eucharist on Sunday morning at 10 AM.  We will baptize Eli Redmond as well as invite our younger children to lead us into a deeper understanding of Christian life.  Then, on Sunday afternoon, we'll be back at 1 PM for a fun-filled Blessing of the Animals.

There may be no better weekend for everyone to invite friends and family members to participate in St. James' community-focused Christian life. These baptisms, community gatherings, and thanksgivings for our furry friends should provoke us to recall that a selfless life is a life offered to God, neighbors, as ourselves alike. We're all about celebrating, sharing, and communicating Christ's love. Join in this weekend while making sure to check in throughout the month as other events and announcements arise.

Blessings along The Way, Jim+
Oct. 2012 Blessing of the Animals
October Communicator

This month's Communicator is published and ready for your reading. Thanks to everyone who contributed. Make sure you check it out and download the calendar to keep track of what is going on.

One of Sunday's Hymns - Check it Out!
One of Sunday's Hymns - Check it Out!

You may or may not know this hymn. It is joyous; so, check out the video to "rehearse" or remember it. Let's  enter in the Spirit of excitement this weekend. There's going to be great music!