Category Archives: Uncategorized

11th Annual International Banquet for the Persecuted Church – A Great Event!

Thanks to the grace of our Lord, the persecuted church banquet was a resounding success. This was our first banquet to be held on the campus of another church, and the Lord blessed it in special ways. Our friends at Calvary Chapel Living Word in Irvine opened their hearts to us as well as their large sanctuary, which they set up with tables for the event. Kim Hensley, of Calvary Chapel Living Word, is a volunteer with Open Doors, as I am, and she worked very hard to help me organize this important event. Open Doors calls us Bridgebuilders, and truly bridges were being built on May 18, not only between all of us and the worldwide persecuted church, but also between the approximately 10 churches who participated in the event!

 

Our speaker Pete Stohlman of Voice of the Martyrs was a stellar speaker! Our hearts were stirred and prayers lifted up for the worldwide persecuted church, and our chefs from three different churches delivered international cuisine worthy of the best restaurants in incredibly variety. I am so thankful to everyone who contributed their time and talents for this important event (too numerous to list here, but you know who you are)! Everyone had a great time, and we were able to raise $3,067 to help families of martyrs around the world who have literally lost everything for the sake of Jesus. Thank you so much for your generosity in supporting our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ!

 

Pete sent me a beautiful thank you card and asked me to thank all of you. Here are his gracious words:

“If I might impose upon your love for Christ one more time, may I ask you to please take pains to convey my deep gratitude and tender affection for my new families at St. James Anglican and Calvary Chapel Living Word. All of you made me feel so very welcome and at home. With thanksgiving to God for you, Pete, the Voice of the Martyrs.”

 

Pictures from the event:

IMG_1523

Our wonderful musicians: Ian Knepher, Bob Fleming, Michael Knepher, Dean Howard

Preparing in the kitchen:  Kim Hensley, Marcia Kear, Sharon Hutchison, Peter Kiriakos

Preparing in the kitchen: Kim Hensley, Marcia Kear, Sharon Hutchison, Peter Kiriakos

Enjoying the feast, the Dunlaps, the Buehners, and Pastor Joyce make some new friends from other churches.

Enjoying the feast, the Dunlaps, the Buehners, and Pastor Joyce make some new friends from other churches.

 

82 people from many churches enjoyed the event in Calvary Chapel’s spacious sanctuary.

82 people from many churches enjoyed the event in Calvary Chapel’s spacious sanctuary.

IMG_1548

Pete Stohlman issued a great challenge to all of us to not forget the persecuted church!

Thank You to St. James from Arleen Harvey

Editor’s Note:
We bid farewell to parishioners Bernie and Arleen Harvey in mid-January when they left Southern California to live closer to their children in Alabama.  The Harvey’s were key members of our nursing home ministry and were faithful readers and servers in our Sunday worship services.  It is always hard to say “goodbye” to parish family members but we pray God’s blessings upon Bernie and Arleen in this new phase of their life.
Here is Arleen’s thank-you to the St. James family!

?????????????????????

Dear St. James Family,

To say that Bernie and I will miss our St. James family is an understatement!  We want to thank all the clergy and fellow parishioners who were so kind as to pray for our move to Alabama and to offer gracious comments. For anything we have done [for the church], in return we have received the best of gifts possible.

Six years ago, 7:30 parishioner Harlan Chandler urged and convinced me to come to St. James Anglican Church. I had never heard of an Anglican Church and wasn’t in the frame of mind for “any” church.  I had just moved from New Jersey to California and had lost my husband of 45 years rather traumatically.  God?   But I finally did attend a service and was impressed with the sincerity of the welcome I received from clergy and parishioners, so I decided to continue.  Not long after, Bernie and I met.  St. James and Rev. Cathie gave us a beautiful wedding ceremony.  And soon after, we both began getting involved with church activities.

I personally want to thank specifically, Rev. Cathie, Kathy Daniels, Pastor Joyce, and Wendy Habicht for their unfailing mentoring and emotional support for me.

So this is what I believe – St. James is all about: People, faith, constancy, truth, sincerity, actions and l-o-v-e.  And I will always love you (pretend you hear a little Whitney Houston singing in the shower – pun intended!)

Truly, we love you and will continue to watch and follow your future and continue to pray for God’s blessing on whatever the future holds for our family.

With love and blessings,

Arleen Lynne Harvey (and Bernie too!)

10 Best New Year’s Resolutions for Christians

by the Rev. Cathie P. Young, associate rector

glass-happy-new-year

With 2014 knocking at our door, I highly recommend a little “God-exercise” that Philip and I have followed since our early married years.  With the beginning of each New Year, we do two things.  First, we spend some intentional time talking about what God has done in our lives in the previous year and thanking Him for His goodness.  Now this need not be lengthy, complicated, or elaborate – usually we do it at a breakfast out on New Year’s morning!  It’s a beautiful way to make sure that we have our sights trained not on ourselves or our achievements, but on God and His action in our lives.

And the second thing we do is equally important.  We ask God what He has planned for us in the New Year!  We look at what He has done in the previous year and as we recognize His movement, we prayerfully anticipate His direction and desire for us in the New Year.  Again, this is to make sure we have our sights trained not on our own plans, but on God’s plans.

Usually this “God-exercise” results in making a few commitments or resolutions for the New Year.  No, not the “lose weight, stop smoking and drinking and eating chocolate” kind of resolution, but the kind of resolution that forms and shapes us over time more into the image of our Savior Jesus Christ.

So from our years of following this “God-exercise”, let me offer what I believe to be the 10 Best New Year’s Resolutions for Christians!  They are not in any particular order or priority.  I hope you will read them and then adopt one or more or ALL (!) of these great ways to become more like our Savior!

  1. Resolve to stay faithful to Jesus no matter what.  No compromise, no matter the pressure from family, job, peer group, or culture.  Remaining faithful to Jesus in both big and little ways and everything in between is what being a Christian is all about.
  2. Resolve to make what matters to God’s heart matter to yours.  Consider what makes God happy and what breaks His heart and make those things matter to you also.  Does He care about the poor, the widow, the fatherless, those in prison?  Then care about them also.  Does it matter to Him how you speak to your family?  Then let it matter to you also.
  3. Resolve to take seriously the Sabbath.  When we allow anything to get in the way of weekly worship in God’s House with God’s people, we are breaking the 4th Great Commandment of “keeping the Sabbath day holy”.   Weekly worship is the most basic and one of the most important of Christian commitments.
  4. Resolve to pray like you’ve never prayed before.  Follow the example of Jesus who rose early each morning to spend time with His Father.  If Jesus needed and desired time in prayer, so do and so should we.  Start simply with just 15 minutes in God’s presence when you tell Him how grateful you are for all His blessings to you and let prayer grow from there.
  5. Resolve to not allow anything – possessions, people, hobby, career, sports – become an object of worship.  In Exodus 10, God said, “I am the Lord your God.  You must not have any other god but me.  Make no idols.”  Let’s not kid ourselves – God will not tolerate the devotion which belongs to Him to be shared with anyone or anything else!
  6. Resolve to tell one person each week something about Jesus.  How will they know if we do not tell them?  So many need to hear a good word about what God has done for you or how you have come to know Jesus or how God loves them.  Don’t be fancy or complicated!  Just share a word about Jesus from your life with them.  Leave the results to Him – who knows what God might do?
  7. Resolve to step out in service once each month.  It’s possible for a whole year to go by without a Christian stepping out in service to others – and that’s tantamount to “Christian crime”!  We need to put feet to our faith and to move out to serve others!   Look for places to serve – proactively seek them out.  Don’t just wait for opportunities to come to you.
  8. Resolve to watch your language and eliminate destructive talk.  If you use the Lord’s name in vain, stop.  If you criticize or condemn or gossip, if you speak in anger or blame or self-pity, give your tongue to God and pray every day that He would give you words that bless, not hurt, and words that build up, not tear down, others.
  9. Resolve to grow in your love of God’s Word.  And there is no way to grow in your love of anyone or anything without getting to know them more deeply!  Read and learn and enjoy God’s Word daily.  Use the New Living Translation Chronological Bible this year.  For an online version, go to www.oneyearbibleonline.com and click on “Chronological Readings”.  Set your default to “NLT New Living Translation” and then just click on the day’s reading!  For a softbound copy, purchase at www.Christianbooks.com and input “NLT One Year Chronological Bible”.
  10. 10.  Resolve to tame “Mr. More”.  Our culture tempts us every day to find fulfillment in possessions, experiences and entertainment.  “Mr. More” tell us the more we acquire, the happier we will be.  Yet our hearts are hungrier than ever!  True joy, fulfillment and satisfaction will happen only when we fill our hungry hearts with God and deep relationship with Him.  Want God more and things less this year.

Advent Scripture Devotions: Not Your Ordinary Advent Devotion! Join In!

Gretchen Passatino Coburn is a member of St. James church and heads a ministry called “Answers in Action”. She has been in ministry for some 40 years and brings deep biblical knowledge and appreciation of church history and the gospel-aspects of Christian holidays as she offers an Advent series of Scripture Devotions.
You are invited to join in!

Advent Scripture Devotions is neither your ordinary Advent Devotion nor your ordinary Bible or small group study. In this short, focused weekly gathering Gretchen will discuss subjects such as:  Why doesn’t the Bible give the date of Christ’s birth? Why did the early church choose to celebrate it on 25 December? How does the Old Testament prepare us for the coming of Christ? Do the 12 Days of Christmas fit in there spiritually somehow?

Advent Scripture Devotions will take place on three Tuesdays on December 3, 10, and 17 and will be held the Costa Mesa home Gretchen shares with her husband Pat Coburn. Recognizing the
busy schedules of many during Advent, the study is just one hour –
from 7 to 8 pm – but there will be much good learning packed
into the short 60 minutes!

The Coburn’s address is 858 Joann Street in Costa Mesa and you may email Gretchen at gretchen.passantino@answersinaction.org
or call her at 949.290.2819.

Please join in!

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) 2013 – an Evening of Inspiration!

Sunday, November 3, 2013 was a very blessed day for us at St. James as, for the first time ever, we worked with another congregation to host IDOP.  Grace Fellowship Church, just down the street from Mariner’s Christian School, graciously opened their doors and their hearts to us.  They joined with us in producing the program, providing one of the prayer leaders, the media engineer, and the sound engineer.  The approximately 40 people attending were from many different churches in addition to St. James and Grace Fellowship people.  It was a great night of prayer and inspiration as we heard about the persecuted church in many different countries from the new CEO of Open Doors USA, Dr. David Curry. IMG_1464

An offering was taken for a compassionate project to help fund an Open Doors project called ALIVE, which will provide much needed vocational and literacy training.  Women in the Middle East often do not have the opportunity to learn to read and write, and literacy training makes a huge difference in their spiritual lives, since they can now read the Bible.  Thanks to your generosity, we were able to raise $1,645 for this project that will show God’s love, encourage the persecuted church in their outreach to Muslims, and advance the Kingdom of God.  Thanks very much for your prayers and support for those on the front lines of the spiritual battle!

IMG_1465 IMG_1466 IMG_1467

Singing the Books of the New Testament: A Fun Video!

We are recommending you take one minute of your time to watch and listen to this short video. Part of Christian discipleship is learning the Bible and here’s a delightful glimpse of a young boy who was taught to sing the books of the New Testament. Now, watch to the end because it has a surprise before it closes. We assume this little Christian must be from Texas!

Click this URL: http://safeshare.tv/w/xeRtjAJmXr

Sharing Faith in Jesus Christ at the World Series

As we grow in learning to make disciples, be encouraged that the players in this year’s World Series are doing the very same thing!  Six baseball players in the great sports battle between the Boston Red Socks and the St. Louis Cardinals were not shy about sharing their faith in Jesus Christ when they were interviewed by the press.

Watch this compelling 6-minute video which portrays their bold testimonies and ask yourself:  When and where can I follow their examples and be bold in sharing my testimony about Jesus Christ?

http://www.cbn.com/tv/2767768004001

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP)

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) Features New CEO of Open Doors USA –Dr. David Curry

Dr.David Curry

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (Romans 15:13)

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)

In this often dark world, our only hope is in Jesus Christ – “Christ in us, the hope of glory.”  The Lord, in His grace, often arranges special times of encouragement for us.  I’m excited to share with you that He has graciously arranged such a time for us at St. James on November 3.  In fact He has used this time to also encourage us that others are willing to stand with us in our journey.  Grace Fellowship Church, just down the street from Mariners Christian School (at Red Hill and McCormick), has opened their doors and their hearts to us, and they are excited to participate in IDOP with us!  Hallelujah!

The evening will start in the Grace Fellowship sanctuary at 6 p.m., and there will be light refreshments afterwards.  This year, our IDOP features Dr. David Curry, the new CEO of Open Doors USA.  Dr. David Curry has always held a special place in his heart for those who are suffering, living in despair or facing challenging circumstances. That passion has led him to training impoverished pastors in South America and serving the homeless in the Tacoma (WA) area.  Now Curry has taken his burden for the oppressed to Open Doors USA as president/CEO. He began his new position with Open Doors on Aug. 1, 2013. Open Doors, which will celebrate 60 years of ministry in 2015, is an international ministry which supports and strengthens persecuted Christians in some of the most dangerous countries in the world.

David will share his incredible heart for the persecuted church in the Middle East with us.  You will be empowered and inspired to pray for our precious brothers and sisters there as he shares their current plight, which has become much worse since the Arab spring.  Your faith will be strengthened as you hear about their incredibly close walk with Jesus and how the Lord is moving through these saints to reach Muslims for Christ.  This is something significant that the Lord is allowing you to be part of – building His kingdom through prayer in these exciting times!  You will be given an opportunity to partner with Open Doors in reaching out in Jesus’ love to help believers living in poverty through a great literacy and vocational program.  Come to bless our brothers and sisters in Christ, and I guarantee you will receive more blessings than you give!

Discovered Teasures

Editor’s Note:  This reflection by our Junior Warden Bud Davis is timely in consideration of our move, our focus on Vision and Future, and the adventure of Christian discipleship which God has planned for the people of St. James.  We commend it to you for your thoughtful prayer.

I have attended a number of great Christian weekends.  I go up the mountain and return, but what spiritual enlightenment do I bring back that becomes a part of my daily walk with the Lord?  I would have to say I am not sure, but this morning something special happened and I need to share it after last night’s Vestry prayer time.

This morning I was in my home office and looking for a sales receipt that I had put in a safe place.  Apparently it was a very safe a place.   In the process I discovered two Anglican Men’s Weekend notebooks in a file drawer.  I decided to take a look at my notes and see what was going on spiritually with me at that time.  To my surprise the notes I had written down applied to me today.  Here is what I found.

May 2008, Archbishop Henry Orombi was speaking on the topic, Courage. By the way the leader of the weekend was John McLaughlin.

How does crossing the Jordan River relate to me?
Keep in mind it takes courage to cross a river.
Where I am today is not my final destination.
Crossing the Jordan River means new things for us.
We tend to stay in the familiar as we desire the comfort.
Where does God want me?
To find out seek a deeper experience with Him.

Moving ahead to May 2011, Archbishop Greg Venables was speaking on, Transformed Lives.

Sin kills (tough beginning)
Repent and be baptized
Jesus must be written in your hearts

Deuteronomy 8:2  “Remember how the Lord Your God led you all the way in the desert for forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart….”

The Archbishop’s comments relating to Romans 8:28
God humbles us to ready us to do his work.
The desert can make you humble for God.
Learn to trust God in the desert.
Satan can make it tough for us.

1 Thessalonians 1:4 “For we know, brothers loved by God that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.”  We must pass it on!

Those are the treasured words I found. Perhaps you will identify with some of these statements.  For me it all fits and I know that without a doubt that I was led to find two books I shall treasure even more. Thank you Lord.
Blessings to all,

Bud Davis

Junior Warden

“Sorrow may not be fleeting: How Do We Cope?”

by the Rev. Cathie P. Young, associate rector

Sorrow

Dear Ones,

Sunday, September 15, our congregation held its final services in our beloved church in Newport Beach where we have worshiped for over 70 years.  With all my heart, I longed to be with you and attend at least one of the morning three services, but my recovering body wouldn’t let me.  So I sat tearfully in my recovery chair and prayed throughout the morning until I knew that the final song from the final service had been sung and the final dismissal had been given.  That’s when I knew, “THE CHURCH HAD LEFT THE BUILDING!” because the church is not the bricks and mortar, but rather, the church is YOU – the people of St. James!

During the services, I got marvelous little text messages from some of parishioners with pictures and short videos. Especially compelling was the video that showed Pastor Richard leading the congregation out of the church with a shepherd’s crook in one hand and a Bible in the other.  Then the Church standing united on that lovely patio and singing together the closing hymn.

I know that even with the worshipful spirit of those final moments, it wasn’t an easy day for anyone — saying goodbye is so painful.   Sorrow is clearly a main player in this church drama.  And what we experienced on our last Sunday, we will surely experience in future weeks.  You see, sorrow is not usually fleeting but may remain for days, weeks, even months.  For us, for some time, sorrow and hope will live side-by-side.

St. Paul speaks honestly about this experience of sorrow and hope living side-by-side in what I call the “Christian dichotomy” – a dichotomy being a contrast between two things which are opposed or utterly different.  He minced no words when he spoke about the reality of how hard the Christian journey can be but at the same time he spoke eloquently about the eternal hope that sits alongside the greatest difficulty and sorrow.

In 2 Corinthians 4 as he describes it this way in Eugene Peterson’s The Message:

“We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken … While we’re going through the worst, we’re getting in on the best!”

And I saw exactly this reflected in the pictures and video I received from our last Sunday service.  There were tears on some faces, smiles on others.  Some looked triumphant and encouraged – others were downcast.  And these same feelings will be repeated many times over the next many months as we transition from our beloved church building to the new places where God is leading us.

It will be important in this time to acknowledge and speak to our sorrow.  That’s the reason our “Pastoral Care Response Team” will continue to offer times to process together how we are doing!  It’s also the reason Pastor Joyce Brooks and I will be opening our schedules to meet with those who need a chance to talk about their sorrow and the difficulties they may be having with the transition.  We also have trained lay persons who can sit, listen and pray with you!

We should not ignore our feelings of sorrow.  Nor should we hide them.  St. Paul role modeled for us that speaking about how hard things can be is a Christian thing to do!  And as we speak together in a godly environment, we can be assured that God’s Spirit will bring to us the hope of Christ that will allow us like St. Paul to say, “While we’re going through the worst, we’re getting in on the best!”

If you need someone to speak to in this transitional time, please contact Pastor Joyce Brooks at pastor.joyce.brooks@gmail.com or be in touch with me at cyoung@stjamesnb.org or on my mobile phone at 949 279-1246.  We are here for you!