Saint James the Great Anglican Church Welcomes You
We at St. James the Great are proud of our heritage as High Churchmen and as heirs of the Oxford Movement and we welcome you to join us on our Christian pilgrimage. We planted this new mission of the Anglican Province of America out of a burning desire to remain orthodox, faithful to Scripture, Tradition, and Reason. We believe fellow Anglicans like Augustine of Canterbury, Julian of Norwich, Matthew Parker, William Laud, Thomas Ken, John Keble, Dorothy Sayers, T.S. Eliot, C.S. Lewis, and Michael Ramsey would all feel at home here. Named for, and under the patronage of Saint James the Apostle, first of the Twelve to be martyred, naturally his lore and traditions are very important to us.
Worship in the beauty of holiness is paramount to us. A typical Sunday morning at 11:00 AM (EST) finds us worshipping with the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, the Hymnal 1940, and singing Healey Willan’s magnificent Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena. A coffee-hour-class follow Mass. We are presently reading Rod Dreher’s book: The Benedict Option. Wednesday evenings at 6:00 we celebrate the Eucharist, have a simple supper, followed by Bible Study. We are currently studying Saint John’s Gospel: “Signs and Sayings in the Fourth Gospel.”
A commitment to the Way, the Truth, and the Life is paramount. We simply reject modern innovations that depart from that Faith once delivered to the saints. We believe in the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church, the three Creeds: Apostle’s, Nicene, and Athanasian, the Seven Sacraments, and the essential deposit of faith as partially summarized in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. The Church is divinely instituted and we believe in the Apostolic Succession. We believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. We are devoted to the saints, ask their invocation, and commemorate a large number of those in the Calendar at our Daily Mass. The Society of Mary meets on the First Saturday for the Angelus, Meditation, Rosary and continental breakfast. And, our priest is a member of the Society of the Holy Cross, (SSC, Latin: Societas Sanctae Crucis) an international Anglo-Catholic society of male priests with members in the Anglican Communion and the Continuing Anglican Movement, founded in London 28 February 1855, who live under a common rule of life that informs their priestly ministry and charism.
Working with our hands to build this new mission church is very important as is prayer to us. With Saint Benedict we believe a balance of prayer and work – Ora et Labora – is key to our mission. We have built everything: altar, communion rail, hand-carved wooden tabernacle, our Easter frontal, beautiful kneeling cushions, linens for the altar, kitchen cabinets, our church-sign, the vesting table and many other things. We are blessed with ownership of a nineteenth-century wooden house which will eventually have the ceiling removed to open up an expansive twenty-six foot vault and gallery loft.
Working outside in our newly recreated garden is an outward and visible sign to the community. Linda, the vicar’s wife – soon to be assisted by high school scholar Catherine Thornburg – is growing a small flower garden any English church would be proud of. It gets rave reviews from the residents of Smiths Station who pass by it in the hundreds of cars daily. We are reminded all of this began with the creation of a garden and we were re-created in a garden as well.
We also have a small choir now working on numerous anthems for the Church Year including: Ave Verum Corpus by Mozart; “O Rest in the Lord” from Felix Mendelssohn’s The Elijah; “Oh, How Amiable are thy Dwellings” by Ralph Vaughan Williams [1870-1958]; “I Vow to thee My Country” lyrics by Sir Cecil Spring Rice and music of Gustav Theodore Holst [1874-1934]; Panis Angelicus by Marc-Antoine Charpentier; “Christians to the Paschal Victim” Victimae Paschali, plainsong sequence for Easter Day; Te Deum Laudamus Anglican Chant by William Henry Monk and William Croft; “O Food of Men Wayfaring,” Latin 1661; “God be in my head, And in mine understanding” from the Sarum Primer, 1558; “Day by Day,” Saint Richard of Chichester’s [1197-1253] prayer set to the music by Stephen Schwartz for the musical Godspell; Psalm 121 Levavi oculos to the beautiful Anglican Chant by Sir Henry Walford Davies; and a Taize song “Bless the Lord.” Our choristers are led by Alexey Trushechkin from Moscow, an accomplished concert pianist currently studying at Columbus State University. He is assisted by Nikita Krylov also Russian, Wei Liu from China, and violinist Natalya Klenovskaya. Natalya played the violin on Christmas.
We are incredibly blessed with sacred treasures for our mission. We have an eighteenth-century French processional cross, our altar cross is a memorial to one of the Nineteenth Century’s great Anglo-Catholic priests. And, we have been given by one of our parishioners, Elsa Bisset, a magnificent French chalice from Lyons, France by Charles-Frédéric BERGER & Henri NESME. They practiced from 1889 till 1924 in Lyon. This magnificent eight and one half inch antique chalice [c. 1890] from Lyon, France is quite simply an art treasure. We are blessed beyond all measure to have it for the Eucharist. Just imagine being on the Altar Guild and handling this sacred vessel; just imagine the priest consecrating the Holy Mysteries in it. Plus, the truly exquisite paten, previously given to our church by Colonel and Mrs. Bowman, Don and Cynthia, match it perfectly. This is pretty close to miraculous!
Seasonal traditions are being formed even as this is written. We have rose vestments on the Fourth Sunday in Lent and in English-fashion observe Mothering Sunday with letter-prayers of thanksgiving to our “Mums.” An English simnel cake contest is the highpoint of that day for many. Our yard sale led by Jessica Hughes Hill is not just a money-maker, we call it a “Jumble Sale” and as good Christian stewards we see it as recycling some of God’s creation.
St. James’ Day on July 25th will be observed with a grand summer fête and picnic this summer. All of our parishioners are remembered on their Saint’s Name Day. All Saint’s Day is always observed and All Souls’ Day includes the remembrance of those who have died. At Saint James’ we have a sense of the Communion of Saints.
Renewal is important at St. James. Every Advent and Lent include programs. This year past we have had Evening Prayer, a simple supper, followed by important Christian films including: Mary of Nazareth, The Letters: The Untold Story of Mother Teresa, and Ignatius Loyola: Soldier, Sinner, Saint. We are also planning a Saturday Teaching Mission featuring a learned catholic-minded priest. Our women also attend the diocesan women’s retreat this year led by our Suffragan Bishop. And, Fr. Klein is taking a pilgrimage to the Holy Land next winter. Teaching is paramount and the Bible is indispensable.
St. James’ is a wonderful, caring fellowship of Christians. We love each other. We simply do not debate eternal truths and thus avoid a lot of fruitless, destructive arguments. We are orthodox, traditional, Bible-believing, and Catholic. We do not recognize women in the priesthood, do not practice homosexual marriage, and do not knowingly administer Holy Communion to anyone unbaptized or unbelieving in the Real Presence. This parish is not lukewarm in its Faith or Practice. We are also having a lot of fun in this beautiful new church-plant. If you would like to practice Christianity in the tradition of Anglo-Catholicism or would like to become an Anglican you are welcomed here. This is a happy church with an eternal mission. God bless you in your Christian pilgrimage at St. James’ Anglican Church in Smiths Station, Alabama.
Fr. John William Klein, SSC