St James’ has the smaller congregation and is more visibly Catholic in its worship style. It has adopted many of the metrical settings of the Mass in a book format and often uses special sheets to enrich the variety of hymns sung. A cantor leads worship each week and provides much appreciated musical detail during Communion. For major services, a professional choir provides high-quality classical settings of the Mass, conducted by our long-standing and also excellent Director of Music.
Preaching is important to us and we are used to clear, biblical, and thoughtful preaching. This helps us to understand the context of the Biblical narrative and to explore our faith.
The Sherriff Centre in St James’ Church opened in 2014. It was created by our former priest Fr Andrew Foreshew-Cain who saw an opportunity to use the church to provide a valuable service to the community when the local post office announced it was closing. It now has a Post Office, The Sanctuary Café, Hullabaloo, a lively children’s play area. Debt advice is also available to support those facing challenges in their lives. Take a look at their website here.
St James’: Celebrating God's Love to All
St James’ is well known beyond our immediate area because of our campaigning commitment to equality in the Church and because of our innovative creation of the Sherriff Centre to serve and engage with the local community in response to local needs. We are fortunate to have resources that enable us to provide pastoral support in the week, administrative support, and two able and active clergy (shared with St Mary’s, one self-supporting).
We’re called to be a place and a people of welcome because God has welcomed us by reaching out to us in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one in whom we see God face to face, in whose life we find purpose and meaning for our own, and in whose death and resurrection we see the utter commitment of God to us, a love and commitment that endure even beyond death. Knowing that love, we’re invited to share it with others – indeed, to ‘offer God’s love’ - in everything we say and do. We’re a community that aims to be:
· radical in our inclusivity – welcoming all God’s people, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or mental or physical ability
· liberal in our hospitality – embodying God’s love in offering the hospitality of our worship, our community and building; and through the work of the Sherriff Centre
· progressive in living our Christian faith – open in theology, ‘up for anything’, and supportive of those dear to God whose value the world doesn’t always see.
Radical in our Inclusivity
We believe that God welcomes us with an abundant love. We seek to reflect that welcome in our relationships with one another – a welcome without boundaries or exclusions.
In this parish, we actively seek to welcome all those who have not always been welcomed by the church. Among these are LGBTI people, those with mental and physical challenges, those from the full range of ethnic backgrounds, and the young – both young adults (who are represented in large numbers among our parish population), and children.
Liberal in our hospitality
Hospitality is basic to Christian witness and ministry, engaging with one another and the wider community in welcome and service. Creating the Sherriff Centre was a great response by this congregation to a need in the local community and our desire to be of service. It has brought a lot of goodwill and a growing number of people who know this Church and its values.
Progressive in our faith
We seek both to understand the history of our faith and to engage with modern thinking in a way that is shaped by the vision of God as the One who shares with us the truth that sets us free. Scripture, tradition, and reason – intellectual honesty – are all important to us. Preaching informs us; reading and study deepen our understanding. We are open to insights from those of all faiths and none, and we are willing to explore new patterns of service and worship.
As Catholic Anglicans, the sacramental life of the Church sustains us and strengthens our calling to live our faith in action. As a community, we support organisations that share our hopes for the Church as a whole – WATCH, Inclusive Church and Changing Attitude – and we actively promote a truly inclusive vision of the Church.
St James’ Congregation