February 15, 2023

Saint James the Less Weekly News & Updates

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A Note From Father Rock

Greetings, friends. I hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day. 

We are on the cusp of Lent, and all that entails. It is not about giving up, anything or on anyone. It is about embracing what we hold most dear, and with a spirit of contrition letting go of the things that get in our way of loving God all the more. As you prepare your hearts and minds for Easter, I would encourage you to think about what would draw you closer to Christ. It might be fasting from something, or giving up some bad habit for good. You know what you need to draw closer to Christ probably better than anyone else.

It might be that you need to take something on. In the book "Great by Choice," author Jim Collins looks at two explorers of Antarctica racing to the South Pole in 1911. While they both had to cover 1,400 miles across a hazardous, frozen terrain, they came at it differently. Robert Scott's approach was to go as far as they could on the good days, and to rest when a bad day came along. On the other side, Roald Amundsen had a strict regimen of 20 miles a day whether the weather was good or bad. On the nice days his people wanted to keep going, but on the bad days they knew they needed to cover 20 miles no matter what. Who do you think succeeded?

We might want to think that we work hard when things are going well, and take it easy in the hard times. But the opposite was true. The daily regimen won out, those consistent daily disciplines won the race. Our spiritual lives are no different.

You do not wait to pray "when you need to." You do not go to Scripture only "when you have to." Those daily habits of prayer, reading Scripture, worship, and service make the times, whether good or bad, work out for the best for you. You pray to be with God, not to "get it over with." You are invited into the presence of the Almighty. What greater privilege could there be? For Lent, you may want to begin doing Daily Devotions for Individuals or Families in the Book of Common Prayer, or the Daily Office. Both are great!

As you ready yourself for this season of contrition, penitence, and devotion, think on that. What cross are you being called to pick up so that you can follow Jesus all the more closely?

This Sunday we will have our Contemplative Service at 5 p.m. This month we will be having an experiential time of prayer, with meditative music and stations of devotion. Come and sit in the quiet, or wander through the stations, or kneel at the altar, or a little bit of all of it.  

One last note, before we fast, we feast! Our annual pancake dinner is this Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, and I hope you will join us for a time of fun and fellowship. Doors open at 5:30 and we will serve as long as we can or until 7, whichever comes first. We have had someone offer to pay for anyone from birth to 18, so families I hope you will bring everyone out for a great time as the kids are covered. The costs are $6 per person, or a cap of $20 per family maximum, and yes, we will have gluten-free options if you need them. Please come out if you can. 

Blessings, and hope to see you Sunday!



Wednesday, February 15, 2023

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

Thursday, February 16, 2023

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

Sunday, February 19, 2023

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

Monday, February 20, 2023

  • 10:30am- Vinyasa Yoga (for all fitness levels)
  • 10:30am- Good Grief group
Click Here to Watch Services Live or Later

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. 


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.

Altar Flower Sign Up

If you would like to honor a loved one by signing up for Altar Flowers for a particular week, you are welcome to sign up on the bulletin board or email us. Your loved one's name and dedication will be listed in our weekly bulletin. The cost is $35.

Fall Line Farm

Many of you may know that Fall Line Farm uses our facility on Thursday evenings as a place people can pick up orders they've placed with local farmers and artisans. You can checkout their website HERE. Fall Line Farms and Local Roots is a non-profit online farmers market in Richmond, Virginia and the surrounding counties. They are a producers' co-op of small family farms and local businesses providing fresh local food year round to our members.

They have offered us a free 3-month promo code to Fall Line Farms and Local Roots. The code is "LocalFood2023". Please make sure you check them out!


Contemplative Service

Please join us for our monthly Contemplative Service on Sunday at 5pm. This will be a reflective time to deepen your faith. We hope you will join us!

Shrove Tuesday

On Tuesday, February 21st we are hosting our annual Shrove Tuesday meal, aka Pancake Day. It is a day that we feast before we fast heading into Lenten season. Dinner will be served from 5:30pm-7pm. The cost is $6/person, with a max of $20 per family.

Acolyte Training

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

Book Club Meets Tuesdays

Please join us for Book Club on Tuesdays at 10am on Zoom, starting February 7th. We will be reading the book Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. You can purchase the book from Amazon HERE . Hanover Library systems have it available for free in multiple different forms. You can reserve your copy with them HERE. If you are not on our Book Club email list already and would like to receive messages and the Zoom link, please let us know. We would love for you to join us!

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.


  • 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, 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 12, 2023

Sixth Sunday After Epiphany


February 19

Derrick Rosser

February 20

Pam Gillette

Olivia Hoar

Grace May


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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