Rector: the Rev. Richard E. Downing
Membership: about 200
Sunday attendance: 45
Service length: 75 minutes
Worst worshipper dress: an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt, basketball shorts, and Adidas running shoes
Crying toddlers: 1
Annual giving: $200,000
PayPal accepted? Yes
Guests are quickly handed visitor’s cards and hymnals upon entering. Says Senior Warden Janet Smalley, “Some people like to go to church and be anonymous. You can’t go to this church and be anonymous.” During sermons, parishioners speak out with questions and comments. Though the two-person choir was shorthanded due to
summer vacations, several parishioners pitched in on such hymns as “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come” and “O Christ, the Word Incarnate.”
Food for the soul
On a recent Sunday, the Rev. Ronald Conner, filling in for Downing, gave a scholarly 10-minute sermon about the misconceptions of the Lord’s Prayer and its use as a catch-all, universal prayer. His discourse was devoid of feel-good yarns: “Read my lips. We are not God’s children. God is not our father. We are God’s creatures.” Extra credit for enthusiastic body language.
Food for the body
If the chewy communion wafer and tangy sacramental wine don’t tame your hunger, the post-service reception offers plenty of snacks: “everything” bagels and cream cheese, wheat crackers, cookies, and green salad. Drinks available include coffee, ginger ale, orange juice, and cranberry juice.
Worship power rating
One of five Episcopal churches on the Hill, St. James’ has nurtured a community filled with social butterflies: Be prepared to meet everyone at the coffee hour, from staffers to parishioners. Not recommended for those with social-anxiety disorder or a fear of strangers.
Art accompanying story in the printed newspaper is not available in this archive: Photograph by Darrow Montgomery.