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Pastor: Elder Robert S. Conward

Sunday Attendance: about 20

Service Length: 2 hours

Sample Worshipper Dress: gray suit, gray turtleneck

Proportion of Congregation in Church Band: 25 percent

Ram’s Horns on Wall: 1


At St. James, the word of God can be heard loud and clear. Or it could just be the ringing in your ears. The sound barrier placed strategically in front of the band’s drummer does little to shield the congregation from his powerful Keith Moon–style chops. As an accompanying organ player vamped a groove strongly reminiscent of the James Bond theme on a recent Sunday, the drummer whacked a golf-ball-sized chunk of bronze off of his cymbal. “This is the power of God you’re experiencing here,” said one deacon.

Food for the Soul

Mother Helen James was scheduled to preach the sermon, but a well-dressed young man unexpectedly commandeered the mike in order to give his own testimony. “I have escaped my fear,” he said, brimming with confidence. “You all can just sit there and look at me like Alice in Wonderland, because I’m just going to get under it.” After at least 20 minutes of praise, forgiveness, and tales of his personal communication with God, he vanished out the door. Afterward, James said, “I don’t think I need to read anything today because God is already here.”

Food for the Body

Although St. James may fill you up with prayer, it won’t fill you up with coffee or donuts. No food or beverages were served.

Overall Worship Power

The church’s mission statement reads, “St. James Restoration has been commissioned by God to enlist and equip soldiers of the cross to engage in spiritual warfare.” While that might make Homeland Security honchos a little nervous, there is little call for concern. Congregation members are exceedingly welcoming to visitors; one even handed a newcomer a handful of bills to place in the collection tray.

—Aaron Leitko