ST. JAMES’S MINISTRIES
Below are brief descriptions of the principal ministries of St. James, as sketched by those who participate in them.
TO CELEBRATE. . . .
Worship at St. James’ takes many forms: a brief informal prayer before the weekly soup kitchen starts serving; the quiet work of the intercessory prayer group that responds to prayer requests; the bedside prayer led by a Lay Eucharistic Visitor bringing the congregation to a homebound member; the short prayers that begin the meetings of various groups that gather in homes to explore some common interest or concern. But at its heart lies the Book of Common Prayer.
At St. James’ the Book of Common Prayer heritage, which we occasionally supplement with liturgy from sister traditions (the Nigerian, for example) performs a dual function: it not only guides our worship services but also it binds together our remarkably diverse congregation. With members who experienced their first Anglican worship services in Korea, Nigeria, Jamaica, Great Britain, Sierra Leone, Canada, several Caribbean nations, and all over the United States, as well as those who have come to St. James’ from other Christian denominations, these forms of worship that are both grand and familiar, help us understand that we are all part of “the body of Christ.”
Finally, the most common form of our formal worship—the Eucharist—provides a weekly liturgical drama that speaks a universal language. But we also vary the formality of this celebration, with a range from the informal and shorter family service on second Sundays, to a once-monthly solemn choral Eucharist with incense at the principal service.
8:00 a.m.- The Holy Eucharist, Rite I
This is a traditional language service with a sermon, organ music and hymns, but generally without a choir.
9:30 – 10:15 a.m. – Family Service
Second Sundays of the Month
This monthly service is less formal than the other services and geared toward families with children and includes hymns, readings, and a brief homily—all aimed at being understandable to children—and culminating in communion; it also features the St. James' School Choir.
10:30 a.m.- The Holy Eucharist, Rite II
This service is offered in a rich panoply of ancient and contemporary language, ritual and song. The Choir of St. James' (September through May) offers music ranging from Gregorian Chant and Renaissance polyphony to traditional Anglican Cathedral music and anthems written by today’s most celebrated living composers. Once a month this service is a solemn choral Eucharist with incense.
12:15 p.m. - The Holy Eucharist, Korean Language, Rite II
Every 1st, 3rd & 4th (and 5th) Sunday of the Month, Holy Eucharist from the
Korean-language version of The Book of Common Prayer is celebrated in the main church with music and preaching followed by fellowship in the Parish Hall.
Every 2nd Sunday of the month, and on major feast days, the Korean-language community joins in fellowship and celebrates with the entire congregation at the 10:30 service.
4:30 p.m. - Solemn Choral Evensong (October through May)
Solemn Evensong forms the centerpiece of the musical offerings at Saint James’ in the City. Patterned after the choral services offered daily in the great Cathedrals of England, these services are sung on the second Sunday of the month, October through May at 4:30 p.m., by the Choir of Saint James’ and are followed by an organ recital. This service typically draws a congregation from a broad part of Los Angeles, including many who do not regularly worship at St. James.
7:30 p.m. - Compline in the Church
Drawn from the most contemplative of the monastic offices begun in the middle ages, the candle-lit service of Compline offers music from Gregorian Chant and early polyphony to the contemporary music of modern mystics. The gentlemen of the Schola Cantorum of Saint James’, featuring Los Angeles’ finest professional vocalists, sing this service on the fourth Sundays of the month in November, February and April at 7:30pm.
Tuesdays, 12:15 p.m.- Holy Eucharist, Rite II, in the Chapel
Thursdays, 7:00 p.m. - Holy Eucharist, Rite II, Korean Language, in the Chapel
Fridays, 5:45 p.m. - Chapel Prayer Service (following Soup Kitchen)
Vergers, Lay Clerks, Eucharistic Ministers, and Acolytes
St. James’ draws this group of over 50 volunteers from a wide spectrum of the congregation, with ages ranging from 9 to 80 years and from all segments of our community, including two sets of teams from St. James’ School that serve at the 10:30 a.m. service on the second Sundays of the month.
Choirs of St. James
St. James’s several choirs enrich our liturgy and “raise a glad sound” that reaches far beyond the walls of the church. Directed by Organist and Choirmaster James Buonemani it sings not only at our principal services but also at monthly Evensongs and Compline services, and a number of special services during the year. It has also by invitation sung at Westminster Abbey as well as other international venues.
Saint James’ Children’s Choir is a joint project of Saint James’ Church and School and is open to children in grades three through six. It generally performs on the second Sunday of the month October through May, for the 10:30 AM Sunday service.
Schola Cantorum. The Schola Cantorum of St. James’ is a rotating body of singers from the Choir of St. James’ assembled for the performance of small-ensemble choral music. Three times a season, members of the group sing services of Compline which presents the music of Gregorian Chant alongside renaissance motets and the music of modern mystics. Approximately twice a season, the Schola Cantorum perform multi-voice renaissance masterpieces, often one voice to a part, at Sunday Solemn Eucharists.
Korean-language Choir. The Korean-language choir, with around 15 members, serves the 12:15 p.m. Korean Mass on 1st, 3rd, and 4th Sunday. On 2nd Sundays, the choir serves the 10:30 a.m. Sunday United Mass. Currently, Dong-Yul Lee serves as conductor along with Hyungjung Lee, accompanist. The hymns sung by this choir are all drawn from contemporary Korean sources.
Sunday School Chorus. Our Sunday school children love to sing! Part of our art-based Sunday School program called HeArts for God includes a summer focus on what we call Choir Camp. Children learn favorite hymns and offer up their talents during selected services. This year we will incorporate Choir Camp into our once per month family services during the summer.
Great Music at St. James’
Great Music at St. James’ is the umbrella term for a variety of musical events outside the regular Sunday services. These include monthly Solemn Evensongs, usually followed by a recital by an internationally distinguished organist, monthly Compline services featuring Gregorian chant, an annual Concert of Remembrance and a Lessons & Carols service at Advent, and various other special events. All these are facilitated by our splendid and historic organ, originally in the diocesan cathedral whence it was rescued from demolition and refurbished.
The program is supported by grants and fundraising independent of the parish budget. Great Music draws congregations and audiences from the greater Los Angeles area, and supports the choir’s trips to international venues.
TO SERVE. . . .
The Arlington Al Anon Family Tuesday night group has been meeting at St. James’ since 1951. As described by the members of that meeting:
“We have met at St. James’ Episcopal Church continuously except for a few years in the late 1980s when the church was being remodeled. One of our members either sat on the remodeling board or was consulted about the room we meet at now. . .
“The room has been the place for recovery from the burdens of alcoholism for thousands of people over the years. People have healed themselves, their relationships and mostly their spiritual connections with a Higher Power. . . .
“It is important to many of us to be supported by a spiritual community. Recently we had a meeting in your old chapel, and aside from anyone’s prejudices about candles and pews, the meeting was almost transcendental for manyof us.
“Thank you for asking about how you can continue to support us. We would like to continue to meet at the church (thank for your generous rental rate).”
More than thirty years ago a small group of passionate St James' parishioners created the Food Pantry Ministry to feed the hungry. In 1988 several local congregations including St James' joined forces to create Hope Net, an interfaith coalition, to better serve needy families and individuals. There are currently 16 supporting congregations in the HopeNet network. Our Food Pantry Ministry distributes canned foods and dry goods. The food items are collected, bagged and presented to the recipients by a group of parishioner volunteers every Thursday between 8am and 9am. Approximately 900 bags of groceries are given away weekly, mostly to those from our immediate neighborhood. Many of the volunteers come from Father John Kim’s residence for homeless Korean men, a double blessing since a number of the pantry’s clients also some from this group.
The weekly soup kitchen serves needy individuals, including many who are homeless. Every Friday at 5:00 pm we open the gate of the courtyard for those who would like to share our meal of soup, pasta dish, salads, sandwiches, and a simple dessert, usually of fruit and cookies. We also offer a brief volunteer-led prayer service in the chapel for those guests who wish it. Both volunteers and clients find the Soup Kitchen marks a very special time in the week. Besides the nourishing and delicious meal they receive, guests value the social occasion (including dinner music, provided by our guests, on the first Friday of each month), and some care deeply about their time in chapel. Volunteers find themselves blessed to be able to do something to feed both body and spirit of those in need.
St. James’ Manor
St. James’ Manor is owned and managed by a separate and independent non-profit corporation, St. James’ Wilshire Foundation, which was organized by St. James’ and several parishioners, notably the late Roger Thomas and Jim Alexander (who currently serves as the Manor’s on-site manager). The Foundation’s Board includes the Bishop in Charge of St. James, who currently serves as President and Chair, and current parishioners of St. James. The Foundation’s mission is to provide affordable housing to households with very low to low incomes, who are eligible to receive housing assistance payments from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”). In conformity with HUD regulations, the Manor is open to all persons meeting the HUD requirements to receive housing assistance payments. The Foundation looks for opportunities to enrich the lives of Manor residents, and both St. James’ School and members of the St. James’ community interact with residents of the Manor.
St. James’ Episcopal School
At St. James’ Episcopal School serves some 370 boys and girls in grades K-6. The educational program is a unique and magical blend of rigor and richness, learning and laughter, tradition and innovation. Set in the heart of one of the liveliest cities in the world, St. James’ reflects the boundless energy and diversity that marks L.A. as a true multicultural metropolis. Like all Episcopal schools, we facilitate a stimulating, carefully scaffolded educational environment that leads to the highest levels of literacy and learning. We intentionally nourish the children’s natural curiosity and challenge their eager intellects to solve real-world problems collaboratively, sharing youthful acumen and wisdom with each other as they make meaning of the world around them. But we also treasure those qualities of heart and mind and spirit that constitute nobility of character. Each day of a child’s time with us, from preschool through 6th grade, we intentionally cultivate kindness and truth telling; caring and respect; hard work and courage; service to others and responsible stewardship of the earth’s resources. St. James’ Episcopal School is a microcosmic model of what the world can become when children are invited to understand and embrace differences; to develop an insatiable appetite for lifelong learning; and to probe the depths of their own spiritual dimension within a wholesome and compassionate community of learners. The School is an integral part of the parish’s outreach; though it functions through a board, its budget is subject to approval by the vestry.
Saint Joseph’s Guild
St. Joseph’s Guild is a group of parishioners who help the church and rectory with the church’s buildings including the school and rectory as well as the physical plant needs, making recommendations to those primarily charged with these tasks. Saint Joseph’s Guild helps to keep the church and surrounding facilities in the best shape possible. The role of Saint Joseph’s Guild varies from an advisory group to the Vestry with regard to plans and programs for upkeeping the church’s buildings, to providing assistance in writing job descriptions and advertisements, to developing church and parish hall cleaning programs or providing assistance to the sexton in performing maintenance in and around the church, parish hall and rectory. You are invited to join Saint Joseph’s Guild and help maintain and upkeep our church and surrounding facilities.
TO GROW. . . .
Education for Ministry
This program—part of a national ministry—constitutes course of study and reflection designed to do two things. First, it aims to acquaint participants, all laity, with the Hebrew and Christian scriptures in their historical and religious contexts (the Old and New Testaments), the history of the church, and an understanding of basic theology. Just as important, the program seeks to have its members come to a deeper practice of their faith, and to discern how that faith might shape their lives. The program requires four years to complete and asks its participants to commit both to weekly 2-3 hour meetings during the academic year and to do the required readings and reflections each week. The program is open to all—both parishioners and others.
St. James’ began offering Sunday School in 2015 after a period where there was no children's formation. With the return of a Sunday School we revived the Christmas Pageant on Christmas Eve. After recognizing the enthusiasm for performing that our children displayed, we decided to revamp our program and call it HeArts for God. This past year parishioners and a paid professional have been working with an original Art-based program idea developed by the clergy for our children utilizing visual arts, music and theatre. In the summer of 2017 our children will learn hymns and present them during the 9:15 family services. The children range from 4-12 years of age and there are approximately 7-14 children who attend on any given Sunday. The challenge in going forward is finding enough volunteers and stipendiary teachers to maintain a viable program that is not clergy driven. As the children get older, the next step will be to explore a youth program that will speak to pre-teen and teenagers.
Intercessory Prayer Group
The intercessory prayer group consists of some sixty women and men who pray for people and for causes brought by parishioners, visitors to Saint James’, and other members of the St. James’ community. The requests come via Prayer Request Cards found in the pew racks and also through the church office and from individual Prayer Ministers. “God’s protection and love,” “Healing, strength and God’s comfort,” “Thanksgiving for successful treatment” are among the prayers that we say daily each month. Members rotate the preparation of the prayer list and the sending of a card to each prayer’s requester that assures that the prayer will be offered up by the group.
In 2015 St. James’ joined the Islamic Center of Southern California, the Institute for Religious Tolerance, Peace and Justice, the Wilshire Boulevard Temple and Muslim Women Speak Forum in a cooperative enterprise seeking both mutual understanding and service to the community. This ministry aims are two-fold. First, it allows members of these organizations to meet face-to-face to further understanding. Second, it sponsors community activities. Recent events in which St. James’ has participated include 1) a Muslim Women Speak forum; 2) an all- day conference on combatting homelessness sponsored by city councilperson Gil Cedillo and attended by many civic officials and held in the Tom Bradley Conference Room atop the Los Angeles City Hall; and 3) interfaith efforts aimed at ministering to the incarcerated.
Women of St. James’ hold an annual retreat, typically at the Mount Calvary Monastery and Retreat House in Santa Barbara. Usually led by various members of the clergy selected by the group, these retreats build on great tradition of fellowship on Friday and Saturday evenings, allowing the members to establish new relationships and deepen old ones. The group is happy to offer the women of St. James’ a time to deepen their spiritual life in community.
TO CONNECT. . . .
African Christian Fellowship
The African Christian Fellowship provides a forum for all people: men, women, and children in Southern California, most especially at St. James’ Church, to embrace and maintain unity, culture and values of Africans both in the United States and Africa, with emphasis on religious closeness and the importance of family.
Membership is open to all Africans and other interested people of all religions. The group gathers over lunch at St James, usually in the School, monthly, on the 1st Sunday of each month after the 10:30 am service in the school hall.
The Fellowship’s members participate actively in a number of St. James’ ministries, including the Vestry, Women’s group, Intercessory prayer group, Soup kitchen, Greeters, Ushers, Lay Readers, Intercessors, Lay Representatives, Oblation Bearers, youth programs and Sunday school. The Fellowship makes regular donations to St. James’ Church and School, Soup Kitchen and other charities. It hosts a coffee hour several times a year, keeps wakes for bereaved members’ families, celebrate milestones in members’ lives, and provides lectures on a variety of topics including but not limited to financial and health literacy.
A core value of St. James’ in the City is respecting the dignity of every human being. As such, the full inclusion and affirmation of all LGBT people, as congregants, staff members and clergy are essential parts of the vitality and diversity of this community. St. James' is a place where love is celebrated whatever it looks like. It is also a place that encourages people to live fully and openly as their authentic selves, a place that recognizes that families come in many different forms and a place that seeks reconciliation with those who have often found themselves hurt by the Church. Looking ahead, the community seeks to continue its historic position in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles as a leader in the quest for equality. St. James' is deeply committed to reaching out to and ministering with those who seek justice - including all LGBT people - in the spirit of our baptismal vow to seek and serve Jesus Christ in all people.
The Stewardship Committee takes a comprehensive and holistic view of our stewardship, recognizing that Stewardship is much more than taking care of our money - it includes taking care of our time, talent and treasure. Early steps on this journey include the Committee's work and support for the semi descriptive budget (transparently describing how we deploy our resources in God’s service) for this year’s pledge campaign, and volunteer guides to help parishioners with questions and concerns that they had during the campaign. It is our hope that these guides will serves as the seeds from which will blossom warm and vibrant relationships that will strengthen and serve the diverse needs of our spiritual community and glorify God. We want to encourage every parishioner who has an interest in sharing their time, talent or treasure as they pertain to our common life or our outreach ministries to contact any one of the guides so we can develop and take care of the abundant blessings at Saint James.
Through an initiative and partnership with The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, this group works to keep St. James’ diverse and scattered members informed of our many ministries and opportunities for worship and spiritual growth. Recent achievements include”: a newly designed website formatted to meet 21st Century interaction and mobile-friendly devices; updated branding including newly designed logo, color scheme, text format and public online presence and clear partnership with St. James’ School; new social media platform campaigns and designs: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram; a social media business plan; and outreach to civic and religious leaders in the L.A. region. Newly crafted, designed, printed and distributed Welcome cards in pews and welcome table reflecting a more genuine and lively picture of St. James’ community for new comers and frequent attendees.
St. James’ boasts a significant Korean-speaking congregation and offers Korean language services on three Sundays a month led by Fr. John Kim. Many members of the Korean congregation attend English language services, including some Korean speakers who see St. James’ as a welcoming place both for them and their (generally bilingual) second-generation children and grandchildren. In addition, the Korean congregation has a particular empathy for the ministries of Fr. Kim. Those ministries include a residence for elderly homeless Korean- speaking men and women, which is largely supported by the Korean congregation and is operated by a separate non-profit corporation. In recent years, St James has also had a Korean choir, directed by Dong-Yul Lee, that sings on Second Sundays (the one Sunday each month where our Korean and English speaking congregations worship together) and greatly enriches the range of our musical offerings.
Lay Eucharistic Visitors
These lay persons are licensed by the bishop to go to hospitals and homes to those who are unable to be present due to ill health. While a Lay Eucharist Visitor does not take the place of the ministry of a priest or deacon regarding the administration of the Eucharist, those who participate find that it provides a way to be part of the worship community and share the Eucharistic feast.
International Book Club
The club meets monthly to read books with an international focus. It aims to find and discuss books which will interest our multi-cultural congregation. This ministry wishes to challenge its members not to be afraid to better understand the lives of our international brothers and sisters by indulging in their literature as well as American literature. Our ministry challenges our members to partake in the discussion of the lives of people from various religious and cultural backgrounds, outside of their own, through the power of the written word. We hope to establish the fact that all people are worthy of respect and honor because all are created in the image of God, and reading helps the member better understand his or her relationship with the people in our church, and within their community, within our world.
The Men’s Group is a loose-knit volunteer organization of men at Saint James’ who meet for monthly fellowship to explore their lives as Christians in this world. It welcomes the participation of each and every man in the parish. It provides a chance to get to know one another, and to engage with each other as members of this faith community. About fifty parishioners are on the mailing list. Each month about a dozen or so members from the Group gather at the home of one of the participants, for a social hour and dinner, followed by a general discussion. Conversation springs from a topic or brief reading contributed by a volunteer moderator, and often moves off in mysterious, sometimes hilarious, ways. In addition, each year has featured a weekend retreat.
Boy Scout Troop Ten is the oldest Boy Scout troop in the United States. Since 1914, Troop Ten of St. James’ Church has introduced boys in the mid-Wilshire area to life in the outdoors, through hiking, camping, swimming, fishing, boating, and other outdoor activities aimed at developing young men whose Scout Oath pledges them to be “physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” Currently consisting of over 70 boys along with fourteen adult leaders, the Scouts hold overnight campouts at the Malibu Creek State Park, attend Camp Cherry Valley (for the 32nd year) and attend the Log Cabin, a high adventure camp in the mountains where they teach survival and outdoor skills. Representing eight different local public and private schools and virtually every ethnic group and income level in the area, Troop Ten also engages in a number of community service projects, including cleanup at the Taste of Larchmont, volunteering at the St. James’ Soup Kitchen and the One Voice Christmas Charity (handing out presents and food to 300+ underprivileged families in East Los Angeles) and volunteering at the downtown Midnight Mission. Cub Scout Pack Ten has been sponsored by St. James’ Church for over 75 years and currently has 36 boys ages 6-10.
St. James’ Vestry consists of the Rector (or Bishop or Priest-in-Charge) and fifteen members of the congregation, two of whom are the Junior and Senior Wardens; additional non- voting attendees include the Clerk of the Vestry, other staff clergy, the Treasurer, and the Director of Music. Meetings are chaired by the Rector and typically last about two hours, depending on the amount of business.
Once an entirely male and white preserve, our Vestry now reflects the diversity of the parish as a whole, a fact of which we are proud. On the more challenging side, recent years have made it clear that we need to improve our communications among our broad set of ministries (we inventoried 31 for this profile) and with the congregation as a whole. To that end we have a new and greatly improved website and a presence on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The Wardens are faithful in giving updates on the search in both written and oral form. Vestry minutes and financial reports are available to any parishioner who requests them in addition to the full reporting done at the time of Annual Meeting.
The long-term challenge is moving from a scarcity model of stewardship to a stewardship born of the Spirit in which we “offer ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice”, giving generously of our time, our talents and our financial resources out of gratitude for all God has given us and thereby taking greater responsibility for our common life.