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  • March 27, 2021

Lent 2021 Services and Classes

On Wednesday, February 17th, we will begin our annual six-week pilgrimage through the holy season of Lent. The pandemic forces us, once again, to be creative with our services.  


Ash Wednesday

Bishop Taylor has asked the clergy of the Diocese of Los Angeles to refrain from physically imposing ashes on the foreheads of parishioners on Ash Wednesday.

This year, we will distribute ashes in advance of our online 7:00 pm Ash Wednesday service. We will take a moment within the service for each of us to mark our own foreheads with ashes in sign of the cross.

Small containers of ashes will be available on Sunday from 10:15–11:00 am in the church parking lot and again, on Ash Wednesday, from 7:00–7:30 am, 12:45–1:15 pm, and 4:30–5:00 pm.

Our Ash Wednesday 7:00 pm service will be live streamed on Facebook and our website.


Lenten Classes

Classes will be held on Wednesday nights during Lent via Zoom at 7:00 pm with a variety of speakers, each addressing the topic of prayer from their own life of prayer. Find Zoom links on our Class Schedule page on our website here. Please join us!

February 24 @ 7:00 pm: “The Ignatian Examen – Finding God in All Things”

Guest Speaker: Susan Baker

Susan is a long-distance friend of St. James’ and knows our church well. She has ministered on the staff of the Jesuit Center in Wernersville, Pennsylvania for twenty-eight years, served as Director of the Center for ten years, and is a gifted spiritual guide and retreat leader.

Have you ever come to the end of a day and wondered where the time went? Have you ever felt burdened by regret over the way you may have handled a situation or treated someone? Have you ever received good news or felt relieved by something in your day and rarely had time to take that in or celebrate it?

In the busyness of our lives, the act of daily living can become a blur rather than what God desires for us: living life richly, living in the fullness of life. To help us become more present to the experience of God in our everyday living and to encourage us to live more consciously, St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit Order and Ignatian Spirituality gifted us with what he called “the most important prayer” – the daily Examen. In our time together, we will explore and reflect on this spiritual practice which invites us to maintain a posture of discernment as a way of daily living.

In the class, Susan mentions the following books as well as this free app. We've included links here so you can enjoy these resources!

March 3 @ 7:00 pm: “Praying the Jesus Prayer”

Guest Speaker: Mother Victoria, Orthodox Church of America

Mother Victoria is Abbess of St. Barbara Monastery, Santa Paula, CA. Mother Victoria is also a friend of St. James’ and has remembered us in prayer over the years. Mother Victoria is a kind and thoughtful theologian, scholar, religious leader, contemplative, and an insightful guide of souls. She has prayed the Jesus Prayer for much of her life.

Someone recently asked His Grace, Rowan Williams, retired Archbishop of Canterbury, how he survived his term as Archbishop during painful and turbulent times in the worldwide Anglican communion. He replied, “I prayed the Jesus Prayer each morning.”

For at least 1700 years, the Jesus Prayer, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner, has been the cornerstone of the spiritual life of the Eastern Church. The aim of prayer,” says Mother Victoria, “is not to come to the end but to come into the presence of God.” Mother Victoria will teach a way of personal prayer known as “The Prayer of the Heart.”

If you would like to view a recording of her class, please email the church office and we will send you a link. For a good introduction to praying the Jesus Prayer, Mother Victoria recommends The Jesus Prayer, by Kallistos Ware.

March 10 @ 7:00 pm: “Exploring Centering Prayer”

Guest Speakers: Allison Rector, Cynthia Sherman, and the Rev. Dr. Michelle Baker-Wright

Our Senior Warden, Allison Rector, long time parishioner, Cynthia Sherman, and Rev. Michelle have practiced Centering Prayer for many years. They will share with us how the practice of Centering Prayer has shaped their spiritual lives.

There are many different ways to pray, which often involve our speaking our thoughts and concerns out loud to God, which is good and important. Centering Prayer starts from a different place, out of the recognition that we often get so caught up in our thoughts and feelings that we fail to be fully attentive to God’s presence. When we enter into Centering Prayer, we practice releasing our own concerns as often as we need to, while sitting before God in silence.

If you would like to download the free Centering Prayer app from Contemplative Outreach, click here.

These are a few books that can help you learn more about Centering Prayer:

March 17 @ 7:00 pm: “Cultivating Inner Stability Amidst Outer Instability”

Guest Speaker: Wil Hernandez, PhD, Obl. OSB.

Wil is a long-time member of St. James’ and a Benedictine Oblate of St. Andrews Abbey, Valyermo, CA. He ministers as a spiritual director, an International Retreat Leader, and Director of CenterQuest, an ecumenical hub for the study and practice of Christian Spirituality. Wil is the author of several books. His most recent publication: Accidental Monk: A Chronicle of Struggle, Faith and Surrender.

During this season of uncertainty and seeming instability, the reality of the pandemic has brought into focus many crises that we must face. Our guest speaker asks: how can we stay grounded in everyday spirituality? This class will focus on a core value of St. Benedict, the dynamic of centeredness.

Click here to see the presentation slides from Wil's class.

March 24 @ 7:00 pm: “Resting on the Run: Practical Prayer Tips for the Distracted Overachiever”

Guest Speaker: Bishop John H. Taylor

Bishop Taylor serves as the 7th Bishop Diocesan of Los Angeles. Bishop Taylor brings a wealth of background and insight to the complexity of issues followers of Jesus must bring to prayer. Prior to his ordination to the priesthood, he served as Chief of Staff to former President Richard Nixon, and later as Executive Director of the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, CA. Bishop Taylor served as Vicar of St. John's Episcopal Church and School of Rancho Santa Margarita prior to his election. We are grateful to Bishop Taylor for offering to teach a class for us as part of our Lenten program.

We look forward to hearing Bishop Taylor share his reflections with us. There will be an opportunity for discussion following his presentation.

Click here to view Bishop Taylor's handout on prayer.