A Meditation for You
Make Me An Instrument of Your Peace
For the rest of this month into November we will examine civil discourse. Readings will be excerpted from the web page of the Office of Government Relations of The Episcopal Church. Learn more and read the unedited responses here.
Episcopal Leaders from across the country to share their thoughts on civil discourse based on the following prompt: What are your values as an Episcopalian as they relate to issues of public policy? How are you living into your values when considering civil discourse and civic engagement?
The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee Bishop of Chicago responded, “It’s a bold thing to say about a church whose members make up less than 1% of the American population, but I believe that especially in these tumultuous and fractious times, we Episcopalians have a particular vocation and responsibility to bring people together across political divisions. Our tradition of the via media—the middle way of Anglicanism—offers this country a desperately needed model of what public discourse might become.
Perhaps the best champion of the Anglican middle way in public life is Senator John Danforth (pictured), who represented Missouri in the U.S. Senate for nearly 20 years and also served as ambassador to the United Nations and as a special envoy to Sudan. Before he took on the vocation of politics, he was ordained an Episcopal priest; the ethos of our faith has enlivened his entire political career. At a pivotal time in our church’s own political turmoil… he charged us to remember what he said is our highest and noblest calling—to be agents of reconciliation in this fractious world.
Senator Danforth pointed at some of the thorniest problems facing us as a nation then—in many ways, they pale in comparison to what faces us today—and said, “When Jesus prayed that we all may be one, didn't he mean it?” he said. “So that to me is particularly the message of the Episcopal Church. We have always, always seen ourselves as the middle way.”
I resonate deeply with Senator Danforth’s call to hold the middle way. The Anglican via media is one important reason why, as a searching young adult, I chose to be an Episcopalian, and why I find the ethos at the heart of our way of being Christian so appealing as a model for civil discourse. The Anglican tradition was shaped in definitive ways by the rough-and-tumble politics of the English 16th century; we were born as a way to hold the middle ground in tough political times, and I believe it’s what God still calls us to today.
Let us Pray
O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 824)
A Note From Father Rock

I love you. I care for you. I care for this community, this county, our Commonwealth. In speaking with so many recently, there is a level of anger and frustration that is being expressed openly and unapologetically. And feelings and anxiety on what is happening on the national and international stage begins to trickle down to our interactions with one another. My hope is in Christ. And my hope is in you all, and the role of our Lord, the Prince of Peace, in your lives. I hope as we continue together through the next month that we will increase our care, promote our patience, and pray for our nation as we never have before. 

The last two years we have held a Call to Prayer and Communion Service on the eve of the election. We had a packed house our first year, and a good number for our second. This year we cannot gather, but we are doing a service jointly that will be pre-recorded, and we will share it as well as many of our sister churches here in Ashland. When that tradition first started people wondered if it was going to be political. Yes, in the sense that we were trying to influence how we will live together. No, in that it is not partisan and divisive. (Look up the etymology of politics.)

On those nights, and the recording to come, we will pray prayers from the Book of Common Prayer, appealing to "the better angels of our nature." When the crazy comes out in full force and the headlines make you want to shake your head or curse, instead you could stop and pray. That is my new commitment. To you and to Christ. For me, and for all of us. Here is one of the great prayers found on page 820-827. A Prayer for our Country: (BCP, 820)

Almighty God, who hast 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 industry, 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 multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. 
Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to 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 the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God bless America. God forgive America. God heal America.

Happening This Weekend
We will be having Sunday morning worship outside this Sunday, October 11, at 10 am WEATHER PERMITTING. It will be a Eucharist service, Rite II. Communion will be in one kind (wafers). A few things to remember as we prepare to be together again. 

  • Bringing seating will help us significantly. Seating for some will be available at the picnic tables.
  • This is obviously weather dependent. We will make a call at 9 am and put it on our social media and send an email if there is any question.
  • We will be hand sanitizing in coordination with receiving.
  • We will be maintaining social distancing throughout the service.
  • There will be no singing during the service.

Prerecorded Morning Prayer Worship will premier at 9am on Sunday morning on Facebook and YouTube for those watching online on the weeks that we have Eucharist Services. We will have a live feed from our Eucharist Service at 10, but wanted to give people the option to have this other service since we don't know exactly how our sound will be as of yet. Thank you for your patience with us as we evolve alongside these changing times. Links to both services and their bulletins are below. 

Upcoming dates for your calendar, weather permitting:
  • October 18th- 10am- Virtual Morning Prayer Service, 4-6pm Food Truck, & 6pm Compline Service (in person, outdoor rules apply)
  • October 25th- TBD
  • November 1st- 9am- Virtual Morning Prayer Service, 10am- Eucharist: Rite II (in person, outdoor rules apply) for All Saints Day, & 5pm- Contemplative Service (online) 
Staying Connected
Friday, October 9, 2020
  • 12pm- Noonday prayers (online) 

Sunday, October 11, 2020
  • 9am- Children's Sunday School (online)
  • Link to join
  • 9am- Morning Prayer Worship (online)
  • Link to watch services
  • Link for bulletin
  • 10am- Eucharist Service (online & in person outdoors)
  • Link to watch services
  • Link for bulletin

Monday, October 12, 2020
  • 10:30am- Grief Group (Memorial Garden)
  • 12pm- Noonday prayers (online)
  • 5pm- Prayer for our Country (Memorial Garden)

Join us daily for Noonday Prayer online here. You can follow along with the service on page 103 of the Book of Common Prayer or visit (Click on "Daily Office" and then "An Order of Service at Noonday")

If you can't join us live-time, no worries. All of these services can be viewed at your convenience afterward on Facebook. All our Sunday morning and Contemplative services will be posted on our YouTube Channel, "St. James the Less Ashland VA." You can access that here.
  • Click here to see the VA & DC Diocese plan for the phased reopening.  
  • Click here for the most current response from Bishop Goff and The Diocese.
  • COVID VA- Download the Covid Virginia app the Governor recommends.
  • Randolph Macon College COVID Dashboard- Link here
Helpful Links
  • Prayer List- Prayers of the People
  • Giving Online- Click here to give online or text "GIVE2THELESS" at 73256 from your phone.
  • Ask for prayer-Send in your prayer request (please acknowledge if the prayer is private or for our Parish list)
  • Forward Day By Day- Email us if you would like us to mail you a copy of the Forward Day By Day. Please make sure to include your first and last name and US Postal address.
  • Giving to the First Baptist Food Pantry- Here's all you need to know about giving to our neighbors.
  • List of Local Food Pantries- Click here for a complete list of local food pantries.
  • Fall Line Farms- A wonderful organization that supports local farmers. Click here to order food so you can pick it up here at SJTL on Thursdays.
  • Self- Guided Ways Of Worship Brochure- It has wonderful ways of engaging with your own space (and the spaces around the church) to find the Holy, already present, within them.
  • Good Chi Yoga- Barbara Olin is offering her yoga classes, via Zoom, on Wednesday and Fridays. Click the link to email her and let her know you are interested in joining!
  • Father Rock's Blog- Access reading of all of Father Rock's Homilies.
  • Blessings & Dressings- A copy of the SJTL Cookbook
St. James the Less
125 Beverly Rd. | Ashland VA 23005 | (804) 798.6336