Dear Parishioners, 

What a gift it is to live and worship in multi-faith communities like we have in Scarsdale and wider Westchester. I'm reminded of this at this time of year especially, when we have all around us people observing Lent (and soon, Holy Week and Easter), Ramadan, and (in April) Passover. Once again this year we have the honor of hosting in our Great Hall the Eid celebration in April of some Muslim neighbors.
With this privilege of living in close proximity comes a responsibility to understand each other and our shared histories as best we can. Earlier this week, our Bishop sent out a revised Good Friday liturgy. Good Friday, one of the holiest days of our year, has also historically been a day fraught with tension and even violence towards our Jewish brothers and sisters, and this revision seeks to address that. So while our service will be largely the same, we will be making the recommended changes and are grateful for the work of the men and women across the Episcopal Church who prepared this new version of our liturgy.
I encourage everyone to attend the Good Friday service. I'd also recommend you log onto an online seminar being offered by the diocese (details below). It will explain some of the history of this day and why it's important that we make sure our Good Friday observances avoid certain negative references to the Jewish faith that have done so much harm in the past. (This is by no means the first time this work has been done, but we're still learning and improving.)
Additionally, our offering on Good Friday, as has been the practice of the Episcopal Church for decades, will go to support the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and specifically the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, a ministry of that diocese. As Episcopalians, we have strong ties to Palestinian Christian communities in the West Bank and Gaza, many of whom are Episcopalians just like us. We remember them especially at this time, and continue to support them as we've done for many years.
Finally, the rabbi of nearby Shaarei Tikvah Synagogue is organizing a meeting with high school kids from several local religious communities to talk about events in Israel and Gaza. We are honored to be part of this conversation. Especially now, it's more important than ever to engage in dialogue wherever we can. 
Holy Week is a good time to redouble these efforts. It begins with Palm Sunday on March 24. Please see below for all the services being offered at St. James that week. I know that it will be a blessed time of growth and reflection for our community.