"News for the Journey"
June 20, 2013
Note: Phone numbers and email
addresses of parishioners are not listed on the website. Call the church office if you do not have a church directory.
Workcamp Trip: "What Do You Stand For?"
Please remember to pray for the 14 youth and
three adults who will be on the workcamp mission trip. They will depart for
Parma, Ohio, on Saturday, June 22, and return on Sunday, June 30.
A Group Workcamp is a unique opportunity to serve Christ in the world. A typical
workcamp has about 400 - 450 participants from churches around the country. At
the camp, they divide into work crews consisting of five youths and one adult.
Each crew will work to repair one house for the week. Collectively, the workcamp
will repair 60 - 75 houses in the community, usually repairing porches and
roofs, building wheelchair ramps, and painting and weatherizing houses. In
addition to the physical work, the workcampers' fellowship with the residents is
uplifting for all.
An important element of the week is spiritual growth for the workcampers, based
on core Christian tenets. Through the morning and evening programs, work crew
devotions and youth group devotional time, the workcamp participants will be
looking at several unique interactions that Jesus had with people. They will see
how Jesus met the needs of people in many ways, asking them profound questions
that left them changed forever. The week's theme, "What Do You Stand
For?" will provide chances throughout the week for each workcamper to pause
and think about their own responses to those same questions.
The workcampers ask that you pray for their safety as they travel and work, and
for strength and comfort as they work to repair houses for the poor and elderly,
and for the Lord's guidance as they each consider the week's theme in their own
lives. Pray also that those they encounter will see the love of Christ through
Save the Date! Parish Photo Shoot,
A printed church directory is in the works and a photo shoot has been scheduled
at the church for Thursday - Saturday, September 5-7. A photo directory will be
a great way for us to put faces to names and spread fellowship. Appointment
options and more details will be announced soon!
Reflections from the Music Director, Newton Lewis:
In my previous reflections on
church music and the history of church music in the Anglican and American
traditions, what I've discussed has all been from a Eurocentric point of view.
Here, in the US, that is only part of the story. Because of slavery and the
ensuing racial divisions in American culture, a whole other branch of religious
music blossomed in the slave community, pretty much under the radar of the white
master class or was ignored as primitive and not worth noticing. The genre that
I am discussing is that of "Spirituals."
Simply put, spirituals are the Southern sacred "folk" songs created
and first sung by African Americans during slavery. (They lend themselves easily
to communal singing.) Their original composers are unknown, and they have
assumed a position of collective ownership by the whole community. So, if it's
in LEVAS and has a composer, it's not a "spiritual."
Almost all the first Africans who arrived in the New World were slaves coming
from several regions of Africa's west coast. Once here, there was a systematic
effort to de-Africanize the captive workforce. They were forbidden from speaking
their native languages, playing their drums, or generally doing anything that
was reminiscent of their home.
All of the African communities from which slaves were captured placed functional
music at the center of their daily existence. In Africa, music was called on to
mark and celebrate virtually every event in tribal life, no matter how
insignificant. Daily routines of work, commerce or social discourse, as well as
major life events, such as birth, marriage or participation in war, were all
framed and punctuated with singing, dancing, drumming, or other forms of active
Another way in which to wipe away the memory of home was to convert them to the
religion of the masters. When slaves were brought to church, they were put in
benches where they were not allowed to shout, dance or do other things that had
spiritual significance for them. So they would meet after church, or at night
usually in secret. Sometimes in the rural South as many as thousands might meet
at these "bush" or "camp" meetings where Africanized
Christianity took root. At these meetings, the religious practices of their
homeland were sublimated into a Christian context. The blessing of being
spirit-possessed became being possessed by the Holy Spirit: for example speaking
in tongues. The music was accompanied by shouts, handclapping, dancing and
One example of this ecstatic worship was the ring shout. It was a survival of
African dance. So needless to say, educated ministers placed a ban on it. The
men and women arranged themselves in a ring. The music started, perhaps with a
Spiritual, and the ring began to move, at first slowly, then with quickening
pace. The same musical phrase was repeated over and over for hours. This
produced an ecstatic state. Women screamed and fell. Men, exhausted, dropped out
of the ring.
In fact, ring shouts are still practiced to this day in the Gullah Islands off
the Carolina coast. No doubt in these meetings laid the roots of Pentecostal
worship practices later on. Some African American religious singing at this time
was referred to as a "moan" (or a "groan"). Moaning (or
groaning) does not imply pain. It is a kind of blissful rendition of a song,
often mixed with humming and spontaneous melodic variation. This survives to
this day in the black Gospel style singing of the myriad of black pop artists
who grew up singing in church, such as Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston, just
to name a few.
Aretha Franklin's version of "Amazing Grace" takes ten minutes. It
takes four minutes to get through the first verse. I have often wondered if this
highly ornamented style of singing might be related to the fact that many of the
slaves were Muslims when they were in Africa. I find stylistic similarities
between Gospel singing and Arabic chant. Gospel singing of course has long since
adopted Western tonality. There's a thesis in here perhaps. But not only is the
music about the singer being taken up in the spirit, it's about the listeners
too being taken up in the spirit. It's not just that some people can clap to a
beat but rather it's very much a dialogue where listener and singer participate
No doubt the irony of preaching about a God of love and then brutally enslaving
people was not lost on the new converts. But with perhaps a doubled-back irony,
the stories in the new religion spoke to the suffering and conditions of the
slaves. After all, Exodus is one of the great liberation stories of all time. So
while the spirituals expressed the religious convictions of the newly converted
Christians, they also reflected deep longings for freedom. They often masked
secret codes in the lyrics and provided organized calls for revolt or escape.
For example, the "Jordan" river refers to the Ohio, beyond which there
is "home" or the "promised land" of freedom.
"Chariots" or "trains" coming to take us away refer to the
Underground Railroad by which slaves were able to escape to freedom. "Wade
in the water" refers to not only baptism but the good advice to stay in the
water to throw off the hounds' scent that would no doubt be following an escaped
slave. "Steal away to Jesus" meant someone was planning an escape.
The spirituals held the conviction that the slaves, as well as their slave
holders, had a right to the "tree of life." The strong value placed on
community welfare supported the principles of freedom and democracy that were in
line with both the values of the Africa they left as well as the democratic
values fermenting in the newly forming United States, even though they were
excluded from those ideals. As one author states, "As enslaved Africans
continued to create new spirituals, they were also beginning to experience,
stronger than ever, their right to be included in the definition of
'American.'" And while the spirituals conveyed poignantly the developing
social values of the enslaved community, the songs also mirrored and advanced
the ideals of Christian love and respect, in the context of a developing
After slavery, it seemed that the spirituals of a bygone era were no longer
needed. In fact many in the African American community wanted to put behind them
anything that reminded them of the painful experience of slavery. In the 1870s
the choir of Fisk University, a college for African Americans, was the first
group to take the songs of the slaves and sing them for white audiences here in
the US and in Europe. The music was well received and often led audiences to
tears. For many, a whole new stream of music, never before heard or known, burst
forth on the American musical landscape. American music, especially secular at
first, would never be the same. O brave new world.
Thank You, from Bishop Budde
Dear Cindy, James, and All of St. James,
As another Sunday worship begins, I write to thank you for your warm welcome to
me last week. It was a joy to be with you from the 8 a.m. service all the way
until pizza with the youth group! I came away impressed with the depth of your
commitment to Christ and one another, and I look forward to being with you
Special thanks for the beautiful prayer shawl that you gave me, which I cherish.
As promised, I send you information about the new member ministry process from
the congregation I served in Minneapolis. And if you would like to explore the
congregational survey on spiritual growth that I mentioned in the vestry
meeting, here is the link. http://www.forwardmovement.org/Pages/Item/6659/RenewalWorks.aspx
Please know that I and others on the diocesan staff are here to serve you in any
way we can.
The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde
Episcopal Diocese of Washington DC
Pizza Party! All Invited
All ages are invited to join the Seniors Luncheon group on Tuesday, July 2 at
11:30 a.m. in the undercroft. We'll have a pizza party with no formal program.
To ensure that we have enough food for all, please let us know you're coming;
contact Sarah Padgett. Then bring just $10.00 per person. Social time begins at
11:30 a.m., with lunch and social time from noon - 1:30 p.m.
Book Club, June 30
How The Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role
from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe is a non-fiction
historical book written by Thomas Cahill and our selection for the St. James'
Book Club discussion on June 30th.
Cahill argues a case for the Irish people's critical role in preserving Western
Civilization from utter destruction following the collapse of the Roman Empire.
Particular focus is placed upon Saint Patrick and his early struggles through
slavery; the book also examines Ireland before Patrick and the role of Saint
Augustine of Hippo. Focus is also placed upon Saint Columba and the monks he
trained and the monasteries he set up in the Hiberno-Scottish mission.
In a sense, these holy men salvaged everything possible, copying manuscripts of
Greek and Latin writers, both pagan and Christian, while libraries and learning
on the continent were forever lost. As Cahill delightfully illustrates, much of
the liveliness we associate with medieval culture has its roots in Ireland.
We gather at 6:45 p.m. in the parish hall meeting room on June 30. Let the
rector know if you would like to join in pizza for dinner: email@example.com.
This week starts our summer schedule. Please note our plans: at the 10:00
service time, children ages two through five will have the same program during
church. They'll start with playing, then story and craft and snack. Children in
first through third grades are invited to come downstairs after the Gospel
reading for a children's sermon. They will return to the service at the
exchanging of the peace.
Looking forward to our new schedule,
Don't Forget! Summer Worship Schedule Has
8:30 a.m. A "traditional" service with ALL scripture readings,
traditional and favorite hymns, and Holy Eucharist.
10:00 a.m. A slightly abbreviated service of Holy Eucharist with
"blended" music (i.e., both traditional and contemporary).
Children's Worship during 10:00 service:
o Childcare for infants through two-year-olds in the church lower level
o Ages three to five begin in the church lower level with a story, games and
o First through third graders begin worship in the church with their parents,
then process downstairs to the lower level for a children's sermon after the
reading of the gospel.
11:00 a.m. Refreshments and fellowship in the parish hall. Those who would like
to do so are invited to discuss the sermon with the preacher of the day (in a
corner of the parish hall).
5:30 p.m. Holy Eucharist with contemporary music and an interactive sermon time.
Sacrament of Holy Baptism on St. James'
Day, July 28
We will celebrate Holy Baptism on Sunday, July 28 at the 10:00 a.m. service when
we celebrate our 25th anniversary.
Anyone seeking baptism for him/herself or a child should contact the rector as
soon as possible to make known their desire and arrange for baptismal
instruction. For parents seeking baptism for a child, a baptism workshop (three
hours) will be scheduled on a Saturday during July at a time convenient for all.
First Sign of Warmer Climes: Fewer Guests
at Shepherd's Table, Wednesday, May 29
Yet, the routine remains the same, and our awesome volunteers know the drills.
The first shift starts at 4:00 p.m. and the second shift starts at 5:45 p.m.
Thank you to the "welcome" volunteers team, who set the tables,
assemble the salads, and fill the pitchers of cold water to put on each table:
Jerry and Alice Morrison, Mary Miers and her sister Madonna, Don Pewett and
Remaining to transition to the second shift of volunteers, the serving of the
meal team; helped by Joyce Graf (in spite of not feeling well-double mercis!),
Crawford Brown, Beverly Bartolomeo, wonderful Pat East and friend Henrietta; and
the Goodkind family, with Lisa serving the bread, coffee and deserts and the
twins boys helping tremendously by washing the dishes -- a task we have
difficulty filling. Thank you, Chris and Dan.
We were 13 volunteers and it was barely enough to do the job, including Tom and
The Shepherd's Table team is in DEEP NEED of extra hands and hope that some of
you can find it in your hearts and in your calendars to join our ministry of
serving a meal to the homeless. Participation is required only four times a
year, takes a couple of hours and Shepherd's Table can be reached after work in
Silver Spring. It is also a good opportunity for high school students to gather
the student service learning hours they need to graduate from high school.
Our next rendezvous shall be Wednesday, July 31. Please be numerous to sign in
and help Tom Goodkind do the job.
As always, we could NOT have done it without YOU ALL: deepest thanks to all the
volunteers of this beautiful task and opportunity.
--Claude Williams van Bellinghen
St. James' Day 50th Anniversary Celebration
Join us for St. James' Day Worship
July 28, 2013, 10:00 a.m.
The Rev. Rick Lord
Son of our founding rector, the Rev. Canon David C. Lord
The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde
Bishop of Washington DC
Brunch to follow in the parish hall.
Please respond via email to RSVP@stjamespotomac.org,
or call the church office: 301-762-8040.
Further information at www.stjamespotomac.org;
click on "Our 50th Anniversary", or go to www.facebook.com/StJamesPotomac
Save the Date: All Family Feast
September 21, 2013, 5:00 p.m.
Parish dinner, kids' activities and a concert by Christian
artist Jason Gray
An Update on the Sound/Video Project: Installation Has Begun!
Installation of the new audio and video system in the church and undercroft
(lower level of the church) has begun. Necessary electrical upgrades have
already been completed and the entire system should be completed by the first
week in July.
Many thanks to the forty households that have contributed to this project and
have made this dream become a reality.
If you are currently receiving both the printed copy of the Pilgrim
and the electronic version, please let us know if the electronic version alone
is sufficient. It would help conserve the environment and our financial
resources if we print and mail less. To get your name taken off the postal
mailing list, call the church office at 301-762-8040 or send an email to