When it comes to churches I have been around the block more than a few times. And after forty-six years of ordained ministry I know a good church when I see one. Here is what I think about St. James’. I see it as a great congregation, a church of excellence, in a number of ways. Let me note four areas of excellence.
First, St. James’ offers excellent music. In fact, it stands as the finest church music program I know of. We have a world-class choir and organists. Special kudos go our genius director of music, Canon James Buonemani.
Second, St. James’ stands for excellence in liturgy. We worship in a way that allows us to carry our deepest thoughts and feelings to God in praise and prayer. When you leave you know that you have been in the presence of the God revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Third, St. James’ can point to excellence in preaching. When was the last time you heard a dull or irrelevant sermon from either Mother Kate or Fr. Jon? They are able to connect a deep study of scripture with our human situation in such as way that divine sparks fly.
Fourth, St. James’ carries out an excellent ministry of outreach to the community around the church. We are all aware of the needs we see simply by walking into the church, and we have responded with a heavy-duty program aimed especially at the homeless.
That’s what I think of St. James’. We are a community in which people can be encountered by God, a church which rejoices in the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus. I now ask you to consider responding in two ways. Recently you have heard the Rector’s request that we spread the good news of our church by inviting people to visit via our live streaming liturgies. She noted that you can simply send the church web link to friends with a simple invitation. That would be a great gift to your friends. Second, be generous in your financial support to the work of Jesus that takes place in and through St. James’. You have recently received a pledge card asking you to tell the vestry what you hope to give in the coming year. Do it. And consider rounding up your pledge this time.
That’s it. I hope you share my enthusiasm for St. James’ and that you can find ways to let it show.
The Right Rev. Frank Brookhart