St. James’ in the City
Parish Profile at a Glance
Where (and whence): One hundred five years old, St. James’ in the City has evolved from the church of a white suburban elite into what we are told is likely the most diverse Episcopal parish in the United States. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, the church, School, St. James Manor, and a preschool together occupy most of a city block.
Who: With an average Sunday attendance around 300 and an annual budget of about $950,000, we draw worshipping parishioners to five principal Sunday services (two English, one Korean, and a monthly family service and Evensong) from as far as 100 miles away. Our demographic profile reveals that we come from 41 zip codes in the City of Los Angeles alone as well as a score of nearby cities. Beyond worship, those parishioners fuel a splendid variety of ministries (we counted 31 for this profile) ranging from an intercessory prayer group to a residence for homeless men. Our principal outreach programs are a preschool (60 students), a thriving K-6 elementary school (370 students), two feeding programs, and an old age residence (65 units, separately incorporated and managed). We support an excellent music program, with 4 choirs and an historic organ, with Evensong, Compline and recital programs that draw from all over the region. First-time visitors report a warm reception that helps them feel at home wherever they hail from.
Challenges and Aspirations: In the discernment process accompanying this search, we identified four areas where we need further work: 1) to help our wonderfully different communities better communicate (a work in progress); 2) to establish a new, broader base of financial support; 3) to master new forms of communication and fellowship that will allow a congregation spread over a hundred miles of congested roads to practice community at times other than Sunday mornings; and 4) to better empower inspired laity to pursue ministries to which the Spirit leads them.
Our Next Rector: Informed by an all-parish survey with wide participation, we seek a rector who:
- has an established record as a multi-culturally competent bridge-builder;
- is a sensitive, compassionate, spiritually wise, approachable pastor;
- can preach powerfully, teach, lead, and inspire this diverse parish;
- has administrative and personal skills competently to manage parish finances and to interact constructively with major “adjacent” programs: the School, Great Music, and St. James’ Manor
The complete parish profile appears at http://stjla.org/