February 22, 2023

Saint James the Less Weekly News & Updates

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A Note From Father Rock

Blessings as we begin Lent today. 

Near the beginning of our services today, we use these words...

Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith. I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word

Think on where you are, and where you hope to be by Easter. What do you need to add to get there, or perhaps, remove from your daily life? Ponder that. Be intentional. One of the great gifts of faith in Jesus' way of loving God is that we need not remain where we are. He enables, empowers, and encourages us to take the steps to more fully conform in our Christlikeness. 

Yearly we take this solemn season of penitence, contrition, absolution, and forgiveness to get further along the Way, Christ's Way. He calls us to take up our cross and follow him. He is not asking us to go it alone. We have him and we have each other. Thanks be to God! He asks us to go the way he has already gone as he "turned his face to Jerusalem." Lent allows us to follow him more closely.

Our services for Ash Wednesday are at 7:30 am without music and 7 pm with music. If you are unable to come to the service, we also have our imposition of ashes at our Ashes-To-Go at the Ashland Town Center from 7:30 to 9:30 am and 11am-1 pm. This is sponsored by the Ashland Clergy. I hope you can make it to one of those.

Blessings on your holy Lent!



Wednesday, February 22, 2023

  • 7:30am- Ash Wednesday Eucharist Rite II & breakfast to follow
  • 10:30am-Vinyasa Yoga
  • 7pm- Ash Wednesday Service

Thursday, February 23, 2023

  • 6pm- Handbell Choir
  • 7pm- Parish Choir

Sunday, February 26, 2023

  • 8am- Eucharist Rite I (no music)
  • 9am- Sunday School (children & adult)
  • 10am- Eucharist: Rite II (music)
  • 5:45pm Journey to Adulthood

Monday, February 27, 2023

  • 10:30am- Vinyasa Yoga (for all fitness levels)
  • 10:30am- Good Grief group

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

  • 10am- Book Club via Zoom
Click Here to Watch Services Live or Later

What an awesome time being together for Shrove Tuesday! Thank you to all our volunteers for making this happen. It was such a lovely evening sharing pancakes together.


Backpack Program

The backpack program is part of the Food Ministry of Western Hanover. It was started in 2014 by Devon Erickson, under the auspices of Yancey Jones and the Supply Room Co. The program was designed to meet the needs of students who were deemed eligible to receive food for the weekends. They packed about 30 backpacks for Henry Clay, Gandy, Elmont and Southanna.

Today the program has expanded to serve those schools as well as Beaverdam and Liberty Middle Schools. Every week backpacks are made for over 170 students. The school guidance counselors refer children they feel need this service.

Each backpack contains 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners and 2 snacks per student. The food is ordered from the Ashland Food Lion, picked up by volunteers, and delivered to a warehouse in the Supply Room Co.where it is unloaded. Weekly menus are planned. On Thursdays volunteers meet at the warehouse and pack the food into backpacks, which takes about an hour. Each school has volunteers who pick up the backpacks on Thursday afternoon or Friday morning and deliver them to the schools, where they are distributed on Friday afternoon.

The program is funded by individual donations. If anyone is interested in helping with this mission, in any way, please contact Bobbie Street, Kasey Buckland or Yancey Jones.

Toys For Pigs

The children are collecting old playground balls, soccer, basketball balls, sheets, blankets, and Tractor Supply gift cards (for feed and straw) for the pigs and other rescue animals at Loving Acres. Please place your donation in the boxes in the hallway. We will be collecting through March 1.

Loving Acres is a small, privately owned farm in Chester, Virginia. They take in farm animals in need of a home due to being sick, injured, disabled, or abandoned. The owner is also a certified Wildlife Rehabilitator in the state of Virginia.

Food Drive

Our amazing youth are feeding those who struggle with food insecurity at the end of the month. They are working with Seva Food Truck to cook a meal that will be served to families that may not know where their next meal is coming. We need your help with this. If you are able to give, we need: (there will be a box in the hallway for donations)

  • Dried black beans
  • Canned kidney beans
  • Canned corn
  • Long grain rice
  • Canned tomatoes
  • 10 inch tortillas

SevaTruck Richmond Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing hunger in the Richmond area by serving free nutritious meals to those in need, with a focus on children of Title 1 schools and the homeless. Through their Free Meal Service campaign, they aim to serve nutritionally-balanced meals mostly sourced from local farms, and in partnership with local area food banks, shelters and nonprofit organizations. They strive to address the effects of poverty in Richmond and fulfill a higher purpose of serving humanity.


Ash Wednesday Service

Please join us for our Ash Wednesday services- 7:30am (no music) or 7pm (with music) TODAY, 2/22. This is a service that helps us mark the first day of Lent. We enter into this season with intention.

Acolyte Training

For those who might be interested in becoming an acolyte, we want to invite you to a training session THIS Sunday, February 26th after the 10am service. Child, youth or adult, we would love to have you join team.

Lenten Study

We are looking forward to our upcoming Lenten Study on Matthew. It will be held on Tuesday nights at 7pm in Brydon Hall, starting on February 28th.

Annual Meeting

Mark your calendar for Sunday, March 5th at 9am for our Annual Meeting in Brydon Hall. We will meet in between our two services for an update on our Parish. We have such incredible things going on within our walls. We look forward to sharing with you.

End of Life Planning

Please join us on Sunday, March 12 following the 10am service (around 11am). We will be giving you resources to help plan for end of life care. We will have information available for preparing documents, funeral services, obituaries and planned giving. We hope you will join us!

Vestry Nominations


We are so blessed to have some amazing candidates standing for our next Vestry election. We are grateful for their willingness to serve our community with their incredible gifts. We will vote to elect these candidates at our annual meeting on March 5th.

We are so grateful to our current Vestry members and their service to us. We are so sad to see Alice Cobb, Ana Bajcsi, and Harry Hassell rotate off, but know we are deeply appreciative for their service.

James Allen

My name is Jim Allen, and I am honored to be nominated to run for a Vestry position.  My wife Kris and I joined SJtL last year.  We relocated to Richmond from Northern Virginia a few years ago, and after visiting several churches in the metro area we were happy to find SJtL.  We felt welcomed and were made comfortable, by both the congregation and the clergy, from our very first Sunday here.  We look forward to meeting more of the family and becoming more involved at SJtL.

We were members of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Ashburn, VA for over 20 years, and there I served on the Vestry (including terms as both Jr. and Sr. Warden), chaired a Rector Search Committee, served as a delegate to the Diocesan Convention, served as an usher captain, was a founding member of their chapter of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, served on a lay committee for a summer Seminarian, served on a discernment committee for a Seminarian-to-be, and filled numerous other roles.

Kris and I currently live in Mechanicsville.  I am an attorney for a crane rental company that is headquartered in Richmond. Our three grown children were raised in the Episcopal Church to which we belonged before moving to Richmond, and are now spread out across Central Virginia.  Kris is a middle school math teacher for HCPS, and has volunteered to serve SJtL as an offering counter.  I would say that we are enjoying being empty nesters, but my wife would point out that I forgot the dogs.

George Field

St. James the Less has been my church home and my spiritual center for over thirty years. In past service, I have completed two previous vestry terms and am currently completing the term of a vestry member who was not able to finish her term. I would be very honored to serve for another three-year term. Over the years, I have enjoyed being active in the church, serving as a Chenery Committee member, Shrine Mont Parish Retreat organizer, recycler, Supper Club Coordinator for many years, Property Warden and Parish Life Warden, Petersburg Work Camp chaperone, ROMEOs co-convener, and other various activities.

As a lifelong Virginian and a lifelong Episcopalian, I came to St. James the Less in the late 1980s with my late wife, Mary. While much has changed for me over the years, with times of both joy and sadness, St. James the Less has always been a major part of my life and has been a source of strength and comfort. My son Keenan was raised and confirmed here. My fiancée, Faith Boyle, a longtime member of St. James the Less, and I feel a deep commitment here.

On a personal level, I also enjoy life in Ashland, an old house, old cars and several other hobbies.

I believe that we are currently enjoying an exciting period in the life of our church, with excellent leadership and many new faces, who will keep us strong and thriving. I look forward to being a part of the next chapter of St. James the Less.

Melissa Hoar

I’m a cradle Episcopalian and long-time member of St. James the Less. As a child, my siblings and I were active in Sunday School, Choir, Youth Group, and Acolyte ministries. My parents were also active in the church. These early experiences created a life-long love for the Episcopal church and the community of St. James the Less.


My husband John and I were married at St. James the Less in 1985. We served as Youth Group leaders for a couple of years until our daughters, Olivia and Rachel, were born. Both our daughters were Acolytes and active in Youth Group at St. James the Less.


Previous service to St. James the Less includes Youth Group leader, Sunday School teacher, Vestry member, and Chenery Committee member. I’m also an Education for Ministry (EFM) “grad” via St. James the Less. I’m active in the community as a volunteer at the Ashland Farmer’s Market (Thank you, Betty Moore!) and Circles Ashland.


Prior to my retirement last June, I was the Annual Fund and Grants Manager for The Doorways, a non-profit hospital hospitality house located in downtown Richmond. Prior to that, I worked primarily in larger, corporate environments in various management roles with a focus on healthcare management, medical policy, product and business development, marketing, and communications.


I’m deeply indebted to St. James the Less and all that the community here has given to me. I would be honored to serve on the Vestry, and I thank you for the opportunity.

Melissa Roberts

As a cradle Episcopalian, I have been a member of St. James the Less for 51 (!) years.  Church was a family affair for us growing up.  Since my time at this church, I have been part of the Youth Group and a Youth Group leader, a member of the youth choir and adult choir, and was one of the first two female acolytes at St. James the Less. I have worked with the clinic since its inception, taught Sunday school, served on the Chenery Committee and Vestry. Rick and I were married at this church.  Our children, Kathryn and Chip, were baptized and grew up in this church.  Most recently, our grandchild, Evelyn, was baptized here.  This church has been central to our family’s life. 

Rick and I have lived in Glen Allen (Henrico) for 30+ years.  We both retired together in 2021 to enjoy spending time together, time our friends and family, traveling and visiting our children and grandchild.  I am honored to serve on the Vestry. 


  • Sign up to bring meals for the Clinic Volunteers HERE
  • Help stock our Emergency Food Pantry (outside the clinic)
  • Send in your Pop Tops for McDonald House
  • Bring in Hygiene or laundry items for Peter Paul
  • Donate to ACES (see below)


Beef stew

Pork & beans

Canned fruit

Personal care items (soap, toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, deodorant, toilet paper, etc.)

Cleaning products (laundry soap, dish soap, etc.)

Adult Clothing:

Men's athletic shoes (all sizes)

Men's work boots (all sizes)

Men's jeans (waist sizes 30 - 38)

Men's and Women's plus size sleepwear

Women's bras (band 36 and above; cup D and above)

Women's underwear (sizes 8 and larger/XL and larger)

Children's Clothing:

Boy's and Girl's shoes (larger sizes - kids 5, 6, and 7)

Boy's and Girl's larger size winter clothes (sizes 12 - 18)

Boy's and Girl's larger size pajamas (sizes 10 - 18)

Diapers (size 4, size 6 and size 7)... They do not need pull-ups.

ACES is open on both Mondays and Wednesday from 8:30-11:30am. Thank you for your continued support!


Lord, we lift up this nation struggling with itself these days, reeling from this pandemic and its repercussions. Encourage us to faithfulness, righteousness, and compassion for all God’s Children. We lift up Justin, Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael, our Presiding Bishop, Mark, our Bishop, Rock+, our priest, and Dawn+, our Deacon. May they be strengthened and encouraged as the work with us to proclaim your Good News in this world. We pray for Joe, our President, Glenn, our Governor, and Steve, our Mayor, and all our elected officials. Guide them to lead us to the common good. 

We ask your prayers for peace; for goodwill among nations; and for the well-being of all people. Remembering especially Gus Miller, Erin Yagla, Meredith Moon, Meghann Batten, Michael Fox, Bill Blakemore, Dennis Folsom, Debra Bernard, Smith family, Court Warfield, Andrea Alexander McCallum, Janet Taylor, Jessica and family, Joy Stevenson, Kim Keene, Brad Rose, Wendy Vaughan, Sara Reece, Andy Newchok, Pam Bowers, Bettilee, Iana Mason, Bill Mercier, Jonathan Smith, Rebecca Hottman, Lyde Longaker, Haden Hopkins, Charles Bridges, Hilda Kelly, Lee & Susan Chambers, Michele Murphy, James Crump, Sr., Ginny Tilton, Tre’ Michael, Brennan McFarlane,Tim Easter, Marie Bohrer, Melanie Fischer, Frank Buckingham, Jim Segneri, Barbara Brzozowski, Richard Grosse, Harry Hassell and Allison Provencher. 

We ask your prayers for the poor, the sick, the hungry, the oppressed, and those in prison. We also ask your prayers for those serving in the diplomatic corps, the military, and as missionaries: Larson Flangan, Kemper Jones, Greg Ericksen, Matthew Thomas, Philip Morison, James Ashley, Andrew Brunson, Jordan Fox, and Katherine Murphy. 

We ask your prayers for those who have died, especially Jonathan Smith. We ask your prayers for those who grieve.  

We pray for governments and governing bodies of Metropolitan Richmond: For the Mayor and City Council of Richmond, the City Administrator, and all city employees.

For all those who seek peace in the world and for ourselves, that we may bring about God's Kingdom here on earth. For our enemies, and for those who wish us harm.

Praise God for those in every generation in whom Christ has been honored.

This Weeks Homily

February 19, 2023

Last Sunday After Epiphany


February 22

Grace May

February 25

John Wade

Forrest Lewis

February 26

Conner Freeman


Saint James the Less Episcopal Church

125 Beverly Road

Ashland, VA 23005

(804) 798-6336


The Rev. Rock Higgins, tssf Rector

The Rev. Deacon Dawn McNamara Deacon

Reggie Long- Organist/Music Director

Miriam Smith- Christian Formation- Children & Youth Director

Kasey Buckland- Parish Administrator

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Weekly E-News Deadline:  If you have an announcement to be shared with the parish, please get the information in no later than noon on Monday.