Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmastide Blessings to You All!

  Are you keeping the Twelve Days of Christmas?  This can be a wonderful antidote to the enormous "crash" that comes right after the cultural celebration of Christmas.  For Christians, the twelve days are the bridge between two great feasts of the Church - the Nativity and the Revelation of the Christ (Theophany) at Epiphany.

Below is a link to the website of Holy Trinity German Catholic Church which has this nice set of pages on the customs of Christmas and Epiphany.  I especially thought the discussion of the Christmas Tree was interesting.  It, according to some sources, is not just a pagan practice but also represents the Paradise Tree found in the Garden of Eden and, I suppose, in the garden of the Heavenly Jerusalem.  Here are the comments...

The Christmas tree was traditionally put up only on Christmas Eve and taken down on Twelfth Night, the Vigil of the Epiphany. The reason for this is that contrary to popular belief, the Christmas tree was not a Christian "baptism" of pagan yule traditions, but an entirely Christian symbol. In the Eastern churches December 24 was the Feast of Adam and Eve, our first parents. Though this feast has never been  observed in the Latin calendar, church officials nevertheless allowed Roman Catholics to appropriate this Oriental custom. In the Middle Ages special mystery plays were held on this day which featured a Paradise Tree, a tree representing both the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil as well as the Tree of Life from the Garden of Eden. Thus the tree was decorated with apples (for the forbidden fruit) and sweets (for the Tree of Life). When the mystery plays were suppressed during the fifteenth century, the faithful moved the Paradise trees from the stage into their homes. The apples were later substituted for other round objects (such as shiny red balls), and lights and the Star of Bethlehem were added, but the symbolism remained essentially the same. Thus, our modern Christmas tree is actually the medieval Paradise tree, a reminder of the reason why God deemed it important to become man in the first place and a foretaste of the sweet Tree from which our Lord's birth would once again enable us to taste. The lights of the Christmas tree also form a glowing Jesse tree, with each light representing one of Christ's ancestors and the Star representing our Lord Himself.

Here is the link to the website   Holy Trinity German Catholic Church

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

You and Yours are Most Warmly Invited
to a Commemoration of 
The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ
6:30 pm December 24, 2012
Village Chapel of Ease
St. James Santee Parish Church
McClellanville, So. Carolina
Holy Communion, Sermon, Christmas Carols,
Organ and Classical Guitar

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Letter to St. James Santee


Dear St. James Santee Family and Friends,

            By now you may have seen newspaper headlines and received emails from the Diocese about what is happening with Bishop Lawrence.  Below is an attempt to shed a little light on a complex situation.  My “editorial” comments are in italics.

The Bishop:

1.  Un-named persons (two clergy and twelve lay) in the diocese have accused Bishop Lawrence of “Abandonment of Communion.”  This means that they believe he has departed from the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of the Episcopal Church.    Usually, this is the charge when a Bishop has departed the Episcopal Church and joined another denomination which has not happened in his case.

2.  A committee of TEC (the national church) has agreed with their accusations and formally charged him.

3.  The Presiding Bishop has issued an order that he not be allowed to function at the present time as a Bishop, Priest or Deacon in the Episcopal Church.  The charges  against the Bishop will be “tried” in an Ecclesiastical Court at some point.  The date is not known at present.

The Diocese:

1.  The Standing Committee (like the Vestry or a governing board) of the Diocese had put into place two resolutions which would “trigger” action if the National Church did move against Bishop Lawrence.   The first resolution disassociates the Diocese of SC from the National Church, and the second calls for a special convention which will be held on Nov. 17th.

            At this point, it is unclear to me what the practical implications of all these actions may be for St. James Santee. Personally, I continue to have great affection and respect for Bishop Lawrence and hope that a way can be found for him to continue serving as the Fourteenth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of SC.    The clergy of the diocese will gather tomorrow, and I will be glad to make a report to you on Sunday.  Until we have more information, I would encourage you to be calm, prayerful, and to continue in the worship and servanthood ministries of St. James Santee Episcopal Church.

                                                       Your sister in Christ,



PS.  For more information and relevant documents, please see the Diocesan website at

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Beautiful Prayer

Dear Jesus,
help me to spread your fragrance wherever I go.
Flood my soul with your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly
that my life may only be a radiance of yours.
Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with
may feel your presence in my soul.

Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus!
Stay with me and then I will begin to shine as you shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others.

The light, O Jesus, will be all from you; none of it will be mine.
It will be you, shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise you in the way which you love best,
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach you without preaching, not by words but by example,
by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love my heart bears for you. Amen.

--John Henry Newman (1901-1990)



John Henry Newman began his career as an Anglican churchman and scholar and ended it as a Roman Catholic cardinal. Newman was a leader in the Oxford Movement -   a High Church effort to return to the foundations of the faith--the sacraments, episcopal governance, and apostolic succession--and to affirm the Anglican Church's status as the via media, the middle ground between Roman Catholicism's claims to authority and infallibility and the Dissenter’s emphasis upon spiritual liberty and private judgment.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

VBS was Great!

..and such a fun time.  This year's Village VBS was a joint effort of  McClellanville First Baptist, McClellanville Methodist; New Wappetaw Presbyterian, and St. James Santee Episcopal.   We had anywhere from 55 to 70 children who went "Diving Deep" into God's love via Cokesbury's Operation Overboard.  Lots of enthusiastic singing, art projects, teachings, games and snacks made for a fine experience.  And..the decorations were terrific.  Thanks, everyone.   See you next year at VBS 2013!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Fourth of July evocative of so many things...In honor of the day, here is a video of the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps which is followed by a prayer for our nation written by Thomas Jefferson. 

There is a very nice history of this group on the YouTube can get to the history by clicking on the YouTube logo in the bottom right of the frame.

A Prayer for the Nation

Almighty God, Who has given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people, the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth. In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thomas Jefferson--Washington D.C., March 4, 1801

Village VBS 2012

Village VBS - 2012
July 9th-13th
9-12 pm

         Our theme this year is Operation Overboard  and we will be challenging participants to
Go Deep with God.
 We warmly invite all Village children (preschool to 4th grade)
 to participate. Older children and youth are very welcome
 as helpers.  Join us for a fun and faith-building time.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pentecost... upon us.  This coming Sunday, we will celebrate one of the great Feasts of the Church - the giving of the Holy Spirit.  We also are celebrating the arrival of our new church musician Mr. Gary Stegall.  In honor of both occasions, here is a rendition of one of the most well known hymns of Pentecost - Veni Creator Spiritus..(English tranlastion of the Latin text below)

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our hearts take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heav'nly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O Comforter, to Thee we cry,
Thou heav'nly gift of God most high,
Thou Fount of life, and Fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

O Finger of the hand divine,
the sevenfold gifts of grace are thine;
true promise of the Father thou,
who dost the tongue with power endow.

Thy light to every sense impart,
and shed thy love in every heart;
thine own unfailing might supply
to strengthen our infirmity.

Drive far away our ghostly foe,
and thine abiding peace bestow;
if thou be our preventing Guide,
no evil can our steps betide.

Praise we the Father and the Son
and Holy Spirit with them One;
and may the Son on us bestow
the gifts that from the Spirit flow.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Great Photos from Brick Church Sunday 2012

Dear Folks,

Walter Shockley has published a very nice set of photos from this year's Brick Church service.  The link is here. 

Brick Church 2012 Photos

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Brick Church Sunday - April 15

...and we hope you can join us. It will be a great day. Our preacher will be The Rev. Dr. Ladson Mills, III.   The service will be RT I and Holy Baptism.

Service begins at 11:00 am. Bring a covered dish, your most joyful Easter spirits and join us.
The picnic will still be on even if it is raining. In the event of SEVERE weather (tornadoes), the picnic will be moved to the Morrison House (the parish house of the Chapel of Ease - directions to the right).

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter!!! Jesus is on the Loose!

Look at the vigor of the Risen Christ!  I love this painting by Titian with sunrise on the horizon --Who is the witness on the left?  Here are some thoughts from the Archbishop of York on Easter ..check out his website..

" Someone recently told me that their favourite verse in the bible was Philippians chapter 4 verse 13 which says ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me’. She said, ‘This tells me that God can make the impossible, possible.’
The resurrection of Jesus that we celebrate today shows us that nothing is beyond God’s power to make a difference, not even death. Because He went to hell and back and that means that there is always hope.
My prayer is the same for all people. I pray that you will know that God loves you and has a purpose for you. I pray that you will be inspired to become all that God has created you to be. I pray that you will be enabled to change your environment and to make it the place that God wants it to become. The challenge starts now and it is a challenge for you and for me!
There is hope, and, whatever our past, together with God, suddenly anything is possible. This is truly fantastic news."

The rest is here     (Click and scroll down)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday 2012

“The Passion” by George Herbert

Since blood is fittest, Lord, to write
Thy sorrows in, and bloody fight;
My heart hath store; write there, where in
One box doth lie both ink and sin:
That when sin spies so many foes,
Thy whips, thy nails, thy wounds, thy woes,
All come to lodge there, sin may say,
No room for me, and fly away.
Sin being gone, oh fill the place,
And keep possession with thy grace;
Lest sin take courage and return,
And all the writings blot or burn.


“The Coming” by R.S. Thomas

And God held in his hand
A small globe. Look, he said.
The son looked. Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour. The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows: a bright
Serpent, a river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
With slime.
On a bare
Hill a bare tree saddened
The sky. Many people
Held out their thin arms
To it, as though waiting
For a vanished April
To return to its crossed
Boughs. The son watched
Them. Let me go there, he said.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Almost Easter...

..but still Lent.  However, we turned the corner this past Sunday by switching the proper preface for the Eucharistic prayer.  The azaleas are blazing around here and the dogwoods are lighting up as well.  Hope there will be flowers for the flowering of the cross Easter Day - BUT we always wonder and there is always something.  God is good!  Palm Sunday is little less than two weeks away.  The GL Taber azaleas in my backyard are looking a little leggy (wish I could say the same thing about myself) so that means it will be time to do a big cutback.  In a way, this is what Lent can be for us - a chance to cut way back and to get down to the growing heart of our spirits.  It's not too late for this year for you because its still Lent.  Blessings one and all.

My backyard this week.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes - Coming Right Up!

St. James Family and Friends are warmly invited to our annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper - February 21st - featuring pancakes, sausage, and all the trimmings.  Please plan to join us. 

The next day is Ash Wednesday -Feb. 22, service at 6:30 PM.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy Twelfth Night! - Epiphany Party this Sat, Jan 7, 5:00pm

Today, Jan 5, is the twelfth day of Christmas. In the Orthodox Churches, Twelfth Night is celebrated the same way we celebrate Christmas Eve. Children receive their presents just as the Three Kings brought presents to the Christ Child and all are admonished to follow the Light of Christ.

Everyone is reminded of our Epiphany Party this coming Saturday at 5:00 pm at the Hurteau home. Please join us for chili, fun and a celebration of the Three Kings.

Fractal Art above by an artist who identifies himself only  as FracFx.  Here is his website  Deviant does not refer to character but to  show fractal variations on a theme in his art. Check it out.