Sunday is Whitsunday, Pentecost Day. This Sunday we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. Christ Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit will transform our life if we will only accept it. Bishop Owensby recently wrote that “our good works-motivated and empowered by the Holy Spirit-provide a sign that God is at work …” Sharing Christ is a mission statement adopted by our church family and a sign of God’s presence in the life of St. James. Invite a friend, a co-worker, neighbor or acquaintance to join you for worship at St. James. Don’t be surprised if they accept.
Recently Father Fred challenged the Evangelism Committee to explore how St. James could encourage and bring more of its people to be involved in “Sharing Christ.” The Evangelism Team has spent part of its last two meetings in discussion seeking to explore how to better engage the entire parish family in the ministry of evangelism. In this Easter season we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. May I suggest that you ask the Holy Spirit to empower you in “Sharing Christ.” Follow that up by asking someone to come as your guest and visit St. James one Sunday. Try it and leave the rest to the power of the Holy Spirit.
We southerners are known for our hospitality. It’s part of our DNA. Certainly that’s true here at St. James as shown by our various ministries as we continuously express our southern hospitality. The response from the community, as well as our church family, to these acts of fellowship and hospitality affirm the importance of St. James in the life of this community. The story of Lydia in Sunday’s reading from Acts exemplifies the gift of hospitality in the ministry of evangelism. Lydia invites Paul and others into her home. That same act of hospitality by inviting others into our church home is our call. The "Welcome" articles introducing new members to St. James found, in the Journal and on our website, confirm that when we invite a person or family to St. James many times they respond to our offer of hospitality. Will you extend the gift of hospitality and invite someone to join you at St. James?
My first visit to St James was a great experience. I was looking for a church home to continue my faith journey in that I could feel peace,love,and acceptance. As a first time visitor I felt welcomed from my first steps into the church. I had been to churches where NO ONE said anything to me. The vibrant group of believers at St. James went out of their way to welcome, greet, meet, and made me feel welcomed. Since that first Sunday I have become part of the church growth and development here at St. James proclaiming Christ, him crucified, and raised from the dead, until the day of his coming. I have found a church home here at St. James in Alexandria.
- Gina B. Gilchrist
As we celebrate and remember the gifts of the Holy Spirit granted to the apostles this Pentecost Sunday, let us also be mindful of the gifts granted to each of us by the same. There are a host of opportunities around our parish for utilizing our God-given talents for His glory. If you have a flair for the creative, try your hand at arranging flowers for the High Altar. If you’re a master of organizational skill, volunteer in the parish office. Love a good party? Team up with Parish Life to host an event! Do you love being outside? Organize a spruce-up day to help out at Mt. Olivet. If you’re more of an academic, volunteer with the tutoring program to help change the lives of local students. Maybe you’re more of the musical type. Make a joyful noise with the choir and Episcobellians. Do you have a nurturing spirit? Help build the brand new Parish Nursing Ministry from the ground up! Maybe your talent is as yet unrealized. Take an opportunity to try out a variety of these opportunities and many more available at St. James. You may discover a hidden passion while strengthening our parish ministries. You are sure to have a good time along the way!
Stewardship is most often thought of in terms of money, but the three-pronged approach to stewardship begins with "Time". At St. James, our greatest asset is our membership. We are called to be the body of Christ--his living church--and that requires an investment of our time. One of the simplest and most basic ways we can do that is simply to show up. From Sunday worship and Wednesday night table fellowship to committee meetings and outreach projects, sharing time together strengthens our parish, our ministry and our community. It is important to make investing time a priority in fulfilling our roles as good stewards of Christ's church. If your time investment in the church has waned of late, get back into the swing of things. We will all be the better for it!
Spring is upon us in the midst of this Easter season, bringing with it a sense of renewal and revitalization. What an excellent time, also, to renew and revitalize our stewardship commitments. At St. James, God has gifted us with such a great bounty. It is out of a deep sense of gratitude for these many gifts that we embrace the tithe as the Biblical minimum standard of giving to help maintain and grow our church and its worthwhile ministries. As we enjoy the return of mild weather, clear skies and beautiful blooms, let's be ever mindful to remain good stewards of God's gifts by continuously giving back to the One from whom all blessings flow.