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 who brings 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 a three-thousand-year-old treasure: the communal liturgy set forth in the Book of Common Prayer, a guide to worship with roots that stretch back to early Jewish worship, one that incorporates Christian worship services from the “house Eucharists” of the early Church to the sparse and quiet practices of convents and monasteries, to the elaborate rituals of medieval and early modern Christianity. This wealth of practices gives St. James—and the Episcopal Church in the United States—a liturgical smorgasbord from which to choose, ranging from simple suggestions for brief family prayers and graces to the choreographed drama familiar from British coronations and funerals of U.S. Presidents.
At St. James this Book of Common Prayer heritage performs another function as well: it binds together our remarkably diverse congregation. With members who first experienced their first Anglican worship services in Belize, Korea, Nigeria, Jamaica, Great Britain, Canada, 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. Even very young children, who may not be able to understand the language of the Communion service, understand its deeper meaning: that they are being invited to a shared meal, a gathering of all of God’s children. As they come forward with their parents to receive a blessing, they understand something that even the most eloquent words of prayers and sermons cannot convey—that they are members (“very members incorporate,” say the words of one prayer) in a community that stretches back time and out in space to include all.
The Celebration of the Holy Eucharist is the centerpiece of our Sunday morning experience. In it, we strive as a community to lift the human spirit into a closer relationship with God through worship that is both ancient and contemporary: stirring music, mindful prayer, thoughtful preaching, mystical ritual. Wherever you find yourself on life’s faith journey, you are welcome here. One body are we; for though we are many, we share one bread.
The Holy Eucharist, Rite I
This is a traditional language service with a sermon, organ music and hymns.
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 from Gregorian Chant and Renaissance polyphony to traditional Anglican Cathedral music and anthems written by today’s most celebrated living composers. The Sermon, rooted in biblical scholarship, addresses relevant issues for day-to-day living.
** Sunday School is available from 10:15am-12:15pm in the Parish Hall.
The Holy Eucharist, Korean Language, Rite II
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.
Solemn Choral Evensong (October through May)
Solemn Evensong (sung Evening Prayer) 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 4:30pm, by the Choir of Saint James’.
Evensong in an Anglican Church is a magnificent act of worship. Sung daily since the sixteenth century, this service is one piece of the total worship of God offered by Christian people at every hour of the day and night in every part of the world. Drawn almost entirely from the Bible, its primary purpose is to proclaim the wonderful works of God in history and in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Its secondary purpose is to evoke from the worshiper a response of praise, penitence, prayer and obedience.
A free organ recital follows at 6 PM. Click here for a schedule of recitals.
This schedule is subject to change. Holidays’ schedule of services varies.