Senior Sermon- Rachael Brown
I have attended St. James since I was 2 years old. At first I was attracted to the food at coffee hour, because who doesn't love (free) food? Then I fell in love with the people and how welcoming and kind they are. Once I figured out what acolyting was I was eager to participate and when I was finally old enough to do it I was overjoyed. Since then I have learned so much more about what goes into running the church and how hard everyone works within it, and thanks to everyone here this church is amazing.
I will forever have so many memories of walking up to church from our house with my Dad and brothers. As the years went on my dad stopped carrying us on his shoulders because we were too big and the older we got the more we complained about having to walk up the hill, you could say my brothers and I are a bit lazy. I have also always loved the pancake dinners because it was a great excuse to eat breakfast food for dinner, and when I was given the chance to help out I loved it even more. I will always remember the Secret Santa when my dad would make me run up to a church members house and leave a gift, but I could never be obvious about it which was difficult for a young kid who didn't really understand the word "subtly" or "quietly".
This church has been a huge part of my life. I spent summers on mission trips I didn't want to leave and almost every Sunday sitting in a pew. On the missions trips I grew closer with the other teens in the church and even my brother. On the mission trips I learned from interacting with the people we were helping, how touched someone can be when they are shown kindness and love and that is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
I always thought about how I couldn't wait to go away to college, but the closer I get to the day I leave the more sad I get and the more I want to stay in Montclair. Montclair hasn't just been a place to live, it has made me into the person I am today. St. James has taught me how to care for others in ways I never would have thought of and ways to give back to my community.
I have always viewed St. James as a giant family and our events are like family reunions. Some of my best memories have been at this church, and I am so happy to have been able to spend 15 years here with such amazing people.
Senior Sermon- Grant van Inwegen
Hi, I'm Grant van Inwegen. I have been a member of St. James my entire life, and now I will be leaving Montclair and heading off to college in the fall. Before I go, I would like to tell you about the role that St. James has played in my life.
One of the earliest activities I participated in at St. James was the Christmas pageant when I was only 2 months old. I peaked then as an actor, playing the part of baby Jesus. Unfortunately, at my next pageant, I got demoted to sheep number four. However, I worked my way up the ranks of Sheppards for a few years until I finally got my big break, ending my career as the innkeeper.
I have fond memories of Sunday school and of participating in the red hotts, who sang during church services. I remember going to church on all the big holidays like Easter, Christmas Eve, and even Christmas day where I would often present my favorite gift to a parish of about 20 people. I remember starting to think more about God as I entered Rite-13, and then youth group with Reverend Audrey and Mrs. Torisi. I also started doing more activities within the church, like the annual sidewalk sale, the Halloween Haunted House, pancake suppers, Super bowl parties, and helping my dad put up the star on the tower for Christmas. As I got older, I decided I would take the path to get confirmed in the church. I got closer with all the other youth group members as we went on our mission's trip, where we stayed together for a week and worked with a group to help restore homes affected by Hurricane Sandy. This all led up to the moment where I got confirmed and officially became an adult member of St. James.
Throughout my time here, St. James has been a community that I have been happy to be a part of. My time here has helped build my character as I was exposed to numerous examples of service, like the food drives and gift donations for the less fortunate. It has also been an important foundation for me. No matter what crazy things were happening in my life, St. James was always there. For example, when Hurricane Sandy hit, and my power was out for two weeks, St. James provided me with a place to go. I could be found there at most times of the day, charging my phone and computer, eating meals, doing schoolwork, and watching movies. I also received guidance and support from St. James as I went through the process of becoming an Eagle Scout. Reverend Audrey, Reverend Melissa, and Mr. Jim Griffin all helped me get through that challenge.
St. James has helped me along my spiritual path. From my baptism in 1998, through confirmation classes and confirmation, to now, I have strengthened my relationship with God through the church. I found that every time I went to church, it was like a timeout from my hectic schedule where I could look inward and see what kind of person I was and think about what kind of person God would want me to be.
In conclusion, St. James has played a large role in my life and helped me develop into the person I am today. I hope that St. James will continue to be a spiritual home for its parishioners, while playing a large role in the community. I have remembered my time at St. James fondly, and I want to thank you all for giving me such a great experience. I will take the lessons I have learned with me as I move on to the next chapter of my life. Thank you