St. James’ Church is a welcoming and inclusive Eucharistic community that actively shares the love of Jesus Christ with each other, our city, and the world. We invite all inquirers and seekers to spiritual transformation and work to empower them for meaningful service.
Established over 200 years ago as a summer parish on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, St. James’ is a neighborhood church whose parishioners come and go to daily meetings, Bible study, worship services, and quiet prayer. We passionately engage in mission and have done so since our earliest days. We love fine music to enhance worship, warm fellowship to bring people together, and the transformational power of stewardship to help us discern what God is calling us to give.
New York City brings complexity to our front doors. We live side by side: rich and poor, loud and quiet, crowded and lonely. The city is bustling with a range of ethnicities, faiths, noises, traffic, and an electricity that sometimes overwhelms us but also exhilarates us. Our call nevertheless remains to share Christ with all who walk through our doors. The young and the old from all backgrounds participate in our shared life together as cherished children of Christ. Whenever we can, we gather more brothers and sisters in Christ to work together to build God’s kingdom. Everyone is welcome to contribute.
St. James’ has not only served our immediate surroundings, but also has extended its reach far beyond. Our church is known nationally and internationally for its commitment to serve those in need and for its courageous voice against injustice, racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of hatred and bigotry. In the ‘70s, our parish boldly helped to establish the Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, the Nehemiah Housing Project, and Episcopal Charities. We stood in solidarity with Desmond Tutu and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa in the ‘80s and ‘90s. In 2019, we publicly acknowledged the enslaved persons whose labor created wealth that made possible the founding of our church.
St. James’ also has been supportive of the gay rights movement. LGBTQ+ parishioners have long been active leaders in our congregation. With the endorsement of the Vestry, our Rector has hired several openly gay clergy and welcomed their families, celebrated same-sex unions, and performed same-sex marriages, including for clergy on staff as well as lay staff.
Our clergy, staff, and lay volunteers work side by side as a collaborative team in the pursuit of excellence in Christian ministries. We are proud of who we are and what we have done, but we also are humbled knowing there is so much more to do: to grow ever more in faith; to respond to the world’s needs; and to steward our building and our finances, which support so many of our ministries.
In short, we seek to be transformed by the Gospel so that we, in turn, can join in God’s work to transform the world. We invite you to learn more about us and to help us discern a call that would lead St. James’ forward.