The weekly parish KneeMail to parishioners and friends of Saint James Church, Texarkana
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Kneemail from Saint James Church

21 May 2021 AD


After I had accepted a call to a previous parish, I was informed that during the interim they had instituted a "worship committee" to plan liturgy and that I was "invited" to attend their next meeting.  Since I was very new, I did not have the heart, or the capital, to inform the well-meaning member of the committee that: a) the Episcopal Church does not have "worship committees"; b) liturgy is the purview of the Rector and those he might call upon to assist; c) the committee would be disbanded.  So, instead, I said I would be glad to attend.  Let me just say, it was quite interesting to watch a committee argue over which prayers ought to be used, and what material that was not from the Book of Common Prayer should be added to make liturgy more "meaningful".

As they planned for a full quarter, Pentecost was on the agenda.  One request was to read the lessons in other languages to "re-enact" what it was like on Pentecost.  The other was a statement from another cleric that, "In seminary we had everybody jiggle their keys during the reading from Acts so it would sound like windchimes."  I have to admit I chuckled at that one, I could just visualize everyone tinkling away with their wind chime keys.  I was tempted to suggest that since everyone was seen to have a tongue of fire on their forehead we should ask everybody to bring a Zippo and wave it in front of their face.  However, discretion ruled the day.

The problem was not that anyone wanted to do something "special" to mark a very special day in the life of the Church, but that there was an assumption that the Liturgy needed our help to make it even more special or "meaningful" than it already is, and in so doing missed the point of the exercise. What was being argued for were distractions to the fullness the Liturgy.  There was a sense of entertaining rather than engagement with the depth of the Liturgy.

There is no need to read the lessons in languages that are not "understanded of the people" (Articles of Religion XXIV).  Yes, the Apostles were gifted to preach in languages not their own, but the point of the miracle was so that the Gospel could be understood by those who were hearing in proclaimed to them.  We do a disservice to Pentecost when the Gospel is not proclaimed in a clear and understandable voice in a clear and understandable language. (Of course, congregations that are bi-lingual do this every week in both languages).

One of the things that makes Pentecost meaningful is that because of the gift of the Holy Spirit we have come to hear the Gospel in our own day in our own language.  The Holy Spirit empowered the Apostles with the gift of evangelism that continues to our own day, and we are part of that great tradition. 

The Liturgy does not need our help to make it meaningful, it already is because its content is Divine. What we need is to prepare ourselves for the celebration of the Liturgy, for the particular Liturgy for the particular day which we are celebrating, and to engage each Liturgy with our "whole heart, mind, and voice".  As we celebrate Pentecost this weekend, let us all pray that God the Father, through the Son, will renew us in the Holy Spirit, that we might participate fully in the Divine Service and being renewed proclaim the risen Christ to the world in a language "understanded of the people".

As for the jingling of keys, that is another story all together...



Announcements for the week of May 21, 2021 

COVID Guidelines (In response to Bishop Sumner's latest announcements)

1. We have an "Open Door" policy (or maybe a "The Doors are Open" policy?).  Effective immediately all attendance limitations are removed. Come "in person" as often as you can, and as you feel comfortable. 

2.  Fellowship gatherings may now be resumed without limitation.  We have a coffee hour every Sunday after the 10AM service. Stop by for a cup of coffee, a mimosa, and a donut, but stay for the fellowship and holy conversation.

3.  We will continue to treat each other with respect and love, while honoring each individual's choice in the matter of wearing a mask.  While we will not, and cannot, mandate we do encourage you to make a decision based on your conscience and your health concerns.  We highly recommend that anyone who is immunosuppressed continue to wear a mask for their own protection.

Tuesday Bible Study continues at 12:05 in the Library. We are currently studying 1 John.

is scheduled for June 2 at 6:00 pm.   The cost is $35 which includes all supplies needed.  Bring a beverage of your choice and a snack to share.  Contact Diana Daly (708)707-2777 or call the church office (903) 794-9224 to sign up.

Sunday (5/23) Pentecost
8 AM Rite I
10 AM Sung High Mass Rite II

Last Chance Mass will be celebrated 6/6, 6/13, & 6/20.

Scheduling: As we reemerge from COVID restrictions we need to know from our Chalice Bearers, Lectors, and Acolytes if you are still willing to serve.  We want to have a master calendar for the Summer and Fall produced in the next couple of weeks. Please let us know your decision so we can plan.

Graduate Recognition: We will recognize our graduates at the 10 AM Mass on May 30.

Cliff Short St. James’ Memorial Scholarship  St. James’ high school graduates who have been active participants in the life of St. James’ are encouraged to apply. Deadline for submission is June 1. Applications and guidelines are available from Sandra in the church office or from Mary Nell Short.

Men's Breakfast: All men of St. James are invited to a Men's Breakfast on Saturday, June 5th at 8 AM in the Great Hall.  This will be an opportunity for fellowship, prayer, and discerning how we can revive our ministry together as men of the church.  For those who wish to help cook, we will begin at 7:15.
Did you know that you can now pay your pledge or make a gift to Saint James' Church through our secure online payment system?  

See for details.
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