Getting ready to throw a feast fit for James

It’s July, so that means our thoughts are inevitably turning to the Feast of Saint James, which technically is July 25, but which we’ll be observing on Sunday, July 28. 

 A small corps of parishioners has been diligently working for weeks now to make our patronal feast memorable. Initially, John McCormac was chair of the event, and he had the good sense to name Carol Cozart as his co-chair. Thus, when illness felled John last month – and continues to keep him laid up for awhile longer – Carol stepped in to take on much of the planning. And Carol had the good sense to name Cathy Loomis as herco-chair. Fortunately for us, we have a deep leadership bench around here these days, for which I am grateful. 

 This year, we’re tweaking our Saint James Day worship just a bit. As in the past, we’re moving our worship service start time back one hour, to 10 a.m. But unlike the last couple of years, when we worshipped outside, this year we’ll keep the service itself inside. That saves us the effort of moving all those chairs and an altar outside, AND the traffic noise from 44thAvenue won’t drown out our worship. We’ll still be outside for our cookout, but worship itself will remain in our sanctuary.

 Our music this year will be a little more gospel-y and a little less bluegrass-y than in the past. We haven’t yet determined just which gospel group will be providing the music for our service, but we’ll be singing traditional spirituals, such as “Swing low, sweet chariot,” “Down by the riverside,” “Standin’ in the need of prayer,” “Peace like a river,” and songs of that ilk. It will be memorable and lively. 

 After worship ends, we’ll move outside for a cookout and potluck, and more singing and festivities. I CAN tell you the group that will perform outside: It’s Dragon Mouth Stew, a group of four friends – including our own Chris and Cheryl Netter – who love to make music together. They play old time fiddle tunes, old time gospel, “and whatever else we happen to like,” Chris says. The group features Cheryl on accordion, Chris on hammered dulcimer, Ellen Baranowski on mountain dulcimer and Bob Elieson on ukulele, bass ukulele  and banjo. Once again, this is a Sunday not to be missed. 

 I bet that just about now you’re thinking, “Wow! That sounds great! I wonder what I can do to help?” So glad you asked! Here’s our wish list:

 1.     Show up at church on Saturday, July 27, about 10 a.m. and help us get ready. Rather than carrying all our chairs out of the parish hall, as we have in the past, this year we’re renting 40 plastic chairs, which will be much easier to carry. We’ll set up a staging area in the east side of the sanctuary, where we’ll place tables, chairs, tents, etc., so we can quickly and easily haul them out that east door on Sunday morning. 

2.     On Sunday, bring plenty of food to share. The church is providing the meat for the grill, plus buns and condiments, but we’re looking to parishioners to provide side dishes, salads and desserts. Last year, we had so many visitors, we very nearly ran out of food. That’s a good problem to have, but just to be on the safe side, let’s all bring lots to share. If you have any questions, see Shirley Mosher, who again is coordinating the meal. 

3.     If you have folding chairs, please bring them. Or if you would like to picnic on the ground, bring along blankets or quilts. We’ll have our picnic tables set up, and they can seat 30, plus we’ll have those 40 rented chairs, but we’re trying to avoid hauling any more tables and chairs out of the parish hall than we absolutely have to. (Because they’re heavy and we’re old!)

4.     Invite your friends! We’ll be sending out email invitations to folks on our mailing list, and putting up announcements on Facebook and other social media. But the most effective invitation is one friend inviting another. It’s going to be a fabulous day in the life of Saint James, so let’s not be shy about sharing it!