Whether you have spent your entire life in an Episcopal pew or have never stepped foot in any church, you are free and encouraged to worship with us or simply to listen to our liturgy.
At various times in a service, people may stand, sit or kneel – all of this has a meaning, but never feel as though you have to do anything. We are overjoyed that you chose to come join us. There is no need to do anything else except whatever makes you feel most comfortable. You are welcome, simply and purely. There are no caveats.
Eucharist is an ancient Greek word for “thanksgiving”. We gather each week and share a meal of bread and wine in thanksgiving for Christ’s loving sacrifice of his body and blood upon the cross. Our form of worship has changed little over the centuries, and we continue this practice because Jesus invites us to share his body (bread) and blood (wine) in remembrance of him. When we gather, we prepare ourselves to receive God’s grace, we come to the table shoulder to shoulder in communion (as a community) with one another and with Christ, and are immediately sent to share that grace with the world. Sometimes this is also called the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion or the Mass.
We worship God together. What does that mean? It means we are not passive participants in the worship of God. Of course, you could stay seated and quiet throughout our service, but you would miss out on a great opportunity to participate. Our worship is taken directly from the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) found in the rack in front of each pew. In 1549 the first Book of Common Prayer was groundbreaking in that it was in the language of the people and encouraged people to be active participants in worship. We unite our voices to the glory of God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Why? Because everyone has a role to play! The clergy act as masters of ceremonies, or prompts, if you prefer, guiding everyone through prayers and singing. They teach, preach, and lead everyone in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, which is why they are called “celebrants”. The choir supports us all as we sing together. Members of the congregation, called the laity (or laypersons or laypeople) lead readings from the Bible, and help the clergy by serving as acolytes, crucifers (cross bearers), and chalice bearers and servers in Holy Communion. At all times, worship is a corporate and cooperative experience; it is never a “one-person show.”
We find our identity rooted in the sacrament of Baptism, which is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s body, the church (BCP 298). Sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace (BCP 857).
Through sacraments we experience the presence and grace of God. Thus to be sacramental is to believe the grace of God is made present in the world, particularly in worship and the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist. Our experience of these sacraments governs our worship and our worldview, since through them we know God is not distant but present with us in these acts and in the world.
In Person Service
In Person Service (Livestreamed)
Sunday is the pinnacle of the week at Saint James’. We celebrate the Eucharist at 8:00 AM and 10:15 AM worship services, and offer opportunities to learn and connect for both adults and children.
Above is our current Sunday schedule. Since there are occasional exceptions to this schedule, make sure to check out our events page for more detailed information.
Every Sunday morning, Saint James’ offers two opportunities to worship together as a community. While both worship services follow the same general format, including celebrating the Eucharist (Communion), each service speaks to people a bit differently.
At any service at Saint James’ where the Eucharist is offered, we invite everyone who feels called to come forward to receive the bread and wine. If you are more comfortable doing so, you may also come to the altar rail with your arms crossed over your chest to receive a blessing.
Interested in becoming one of our worship servers? Learn more.
Our early worship service uses the traditional, eloquent and especially-poetic language from Rite I of The Book of Common Prayer. This order of worship emphasizes contemplation and reflection. There is no music during this service, leaving quiet spaces for meditation within the prayers, Scripture readings and sermon. As with both our Sunday-morning worship services, the Eucharist is the high-point of our worship. Generally, our 8:00am worship lasts a little over one-half hour.
For the larger of the two Sunday-morning services, we gather at 10:15am to the sound of the organ as the choir, acolytes and other worship ministers process through the congregation. This service follows the more celebratory and contemporary language of Rite II from The Book of Common Prayer, complemented by hymns, anthems and service music among prayers and periods of silence before culminating with the celebration of the Eucharist. This service usually lasts around one hour and fifteen minutes.
Children are invited to attend Sunday school during the first half of worship or are equally welcome to remain with their families for the entire service. Additionally, nursery is available from 10:15-11:45 AM every Sunday.
The altar in the sanctuary is not the table of Saint James’ or of the Episcopal Church – it is the Lord’s Table, and we invite all baptized Christians to receive Communion. (also called the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, and the Mass) You are welcome to stand or kneel at the rail, and you may receive the wine either by drinking from the chalice or by intinction. If you do not wish to receive communion, you are free to come to rail to receive a blessing from the priest. Simply cross your arms over your shoulders so the priest knows to bless you.
It is because of your love and dedication that Saint James' continues worship on Culpeper street since 1853. Your faithful donations are essential to what we are able to do together.