• Welcome to St. James'
  • Worship Times
  • Directions/Map
  • For Children & Youth
  • What to Expect
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    { We're Glad You've Visited }

    We welcome you and invite you to enter into a deeper exploration of a community that shares the love of Jesus Christ with each other, our city, and the world. It takes more than a few words to describe a parish, but there are two things we can tell you right away: we are committed to Jesus Christ and from that commitment flows our care for one another and our ministries. In every ministry and program, we at St. James' Church on Madison Avenue at 71st Street invite you to enter more deeply into the life we share in Christ. We hope you will join us.

    The Rev. Brenda G. Husson, Rector

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    { Sundays }

    8:00 a.m.  |  Holy Eucharist (Chapel)

    9:10 a.m.  |  Holy Eucharist (Church)

    11:15 a.m.  |  Choral Eucharist (Church)

    6:00 p.m.  |  Candlelight Communion

    WEEKDAY WORSHIP
    Mon. - Fri., 8:00 a.m.  |  Morning Worship

  • { Getting Here }

    LOCATION: Madison Ave. between 71st and 72nd Streets

    GET DIRECTIONS: Click here to get directions via Google Maps

    MAP FOR EMAILING OR PRINTING: Click here for more map options

    OFFICE PHONE: (212) 774-4200

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    { First Time Families }

    We've found that St. James' mix of rich Anglican tradition and innovative, fun family worship and programming is just the right recipe for helping kids know God's love.

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    When you come to church at St. James', you can expect to find...

    SPACE TO PRAY. Our services include hymns, prayers, and time for silence, as well as Communion and sermons that connect our Scriptures to our lives.

    SPACE TO BE YOURSELF. Worshipers at St. James' come from many different places, backgrounds, and perspectives.

    SPACE TO MAKE CONNECTIONS. Whether it's your first time or your thousandth, there's always an opportunity to get better connected with God and one another. Join us at coffee hour or stop by the Welcome station on your way out. We look forward to meeting you.

Take My Hand

Moments of grace, of being touched with a sense of God's presence and loving grasp – we think of them, rightly, as bringing a sense of great peace but we also tend to think of them as coming at moments when we are already at peace. Parishioner Emilie Øyen here captures the surprises of these moments: their power and even violence along with their unearthly peace, and the often unexpected settings in which they can occur. As she opens our eyes with this reflection on Jesus' baptism, what moments of grace can we identify in our lives – or even in this day now?

 - The Rev. Craig Townsend

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And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: And, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  (Matthew 4:16-17)

Once upon a time when I was a small child, and the sky was perpetually blue and the sea was blue and the beach was always quiet and seemed endless, I was playing on the shore as I did most summer days, digging in the sand and carrying buckets of sea up to dump on the sand. The cicadas shrilled in the sea grass above the beach, the mothers chatted on their towels and I was content with my task. I may have been with my brother that day or with other children or alone. I may have wandered out too far, or perhaps a rogue wave pulled me in. I don’t remember how, but I do remember this: being caught up in a thunderous violent pull, swept away in great confusion and overwhelmed with fear. The ocean dragged me out, pulling me with tremendous force, turning the world into chaos, my face scraping along the hard ocean floor, my body twisted in the various currents. There was confusion and fear but also that weird, inner clarity that happens in the midst of a catastrophe, when a voice within casually suggests, This probably isn’t going to end well.

But then the violence stopped, and all was silent. I was swept up, lifted out of the fear and chaos, cocooned in the tunnel of an ocean wave -- weightless, unburdened. I was suspended there, without pain. I looked up and saw the details of the stones and sand stuck in the arch of water above me. Here was peace. I was home. I know how it feels to be protected by some force or faith that is too great and powerful to comprehend. I trusted it. I still had no control but I was no longer afraid. I was entering eternity, like when you lose yourself in a passage of a symphony and it totally sweeps you away.

And then the peace ended, the wave crashed down and I within it. The fall was brutal. The stones and sand scraped my face and body, ocean filled my nose, my teeth slammed against the ground. White torrents of sea rushed and whipped around me. I was sure that I was drowning. It seemed to carry on forever until finally the ocean delivered me to the shore -- disoriented, choking, and somehow transformed.

Can you imagine the force that happened when Jesus was baptized and went up straightway out of the water, and the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended like a dove? Was he startled by the sudden rush and violence? Did the energy of such a phenomenon reverberate across the land so the whole world felt it and paused -- each individual suddenly touched with a sense of mystery and a vague, unreachable peace? Perhaps the farmers looked up from their fields and the fishermen held their nets. The wars quieted. The suicide bomber did not detonate his bomb but walked away from the restaurant. The army helicopters changed their course and flew back to base. The boy ran to safety in time, his father didn’t have to pull his limp body from the rubble. Perhaps the heroin needle that held the fatal injection was put down unused. For that one moment, perhaps there was a perfect harmony between God and man; perhaps there was eternity.

Perhaps. But I certainly haven’t felt it lately. For weeks I’ve been drifting in a stupor through winter. I, once a lover of the cold and the darkness, must be getting old, for how I dread the grey buildings, dirty snow and salty streets, the sea of black coats, and the wind whipping down the avenues. The sun burns my eyes without offering any warmth. And it is endless! There is nothing like February to strip me of glamour and bring home the fact that I am but a housewife: enslaved to the endless dishwasher, the piles of laundry, homework, school buses, runny noses and one million untied shoelaces.

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But wait, I’m not all gone yet. Even the most cynical and depleted of us still reach for moments of eternity. Just the other day a red-tail hawk perched on a ledge outside my Manhattan window with a pigeon flapping in his claws, then flapping less, and less, and then resigned. And that was a sort of eternity.

And a few weeks ago, 129 musicians from around the world gathered to play Shostakovich’s Leningrad symphony at Carnegie Hall and as the audience stood cheering and weeping at the end of the symphony, I saw the conductor stagger, ever-so-slightly, as he stepped off the stage in exhaustion, victorious.

There is surprising beauty in ice forming inside the bedroom windows and there’s joy in later finding the children’s handprints imprinted in the ice. This is a kind of eternity.

You know the day when John the Baptist stopped his ranting and raving and stood waist high in a river in his crazy raiment of camel’s hair and leathern girdle, manic and wiry and thin from his diet of locusts and wild honey. After all his baptizing and wilderness and confidence, he looked out, confused, and asked Jesus: Comest thou to me?

I have felt that wonder too, when I see you sometimes and the world’s scheming and regret fall away, and there is no fear or ambition in the world, no pain. For one moment, I am protected by your force and by this faith that I cannot comprehend. For one moment -- and for once -- I resign myself to love. I am weightless, free from judgment, free from burden -- that is eternity, that is home.

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