We're delighted to welcome Sarah Howard-Jones, an Ordinand in her first year training at Ripon College Cuddesdon. The College has recently developed a different way of training priests. Ordinands spend two years embedded in a parish, alongside being at college. Sarah will be with us at St James's for two days a week (Sundays and Thursdays) for two years. Sarah writes:..."I am delighted to be joining the congregation and wider community of St James's. As a lifelong Londoner, I feel a connection with St James's through playing in chamber music concerts here, being inspired by the visible and generous missional activity of the church, and knowing the church itself as a place in W1 to step into to sit and pray. I look forward to many conversations with you all over time and hearing about things that are part of God's witness here, both seen and less seen. For the past 18 years I've worked 20 minutes walk down the road, as a civil servant in central government in quite a number of social policy areas. I've lived and worshipped across London over time, at Southwark Cathedral and at All Saints Fulham. I now live in zone 4 of west London, with my two children and overseen by our cat."
Church Warden and Sustainability Champion Deborah Colvin appears in the Salvation Army's War Cry to spread the word. Whatever next? Download the page here
We are only the fourth recipient in the country of a gold Eco Church Award
Andy Atkins, the CEO of A Rocha UK, a Christian conservation charity, presented us with a plaque on 14 October in recognition of our "care for God’s earth in their everyday work and witness” across five categories: worship and teaching; buildings; land; community and global; and lifestyle.
St James’s won the award for initiatives that included attempting “to use renewable energy, reduce their carbon footprint, create wildlife-friendly areas such as a pond and wetland habitat on their land, and encourage outdoor worship and teaching”.
As an inner-city church in the heart of London, we hope that it will encourage other urban churches to realise how much they can care for nature and our environment regardless of their location. The three previous winners of a gold award are Hilfield Friary, Dorset; St Catherine’s, Burbage, in Leicester diocese; and St John’s, Leven, in Scotland. Open flyer for more information
Read about our journey towards being a eco-church
Video of the recent Iftar, by Ali Oudjana
Deborah Colvin writes: "Stand with thousands of others fasting for action on climate change. A growing movement of youth, environmentalists and people of faith are showing their strength of commitment by going without food once a month to call for world leaders to do more to solve the climate crisis" More
The Green Flag Award scheme recognises and rewards well managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world. St James's is one of the 2017-2018 winners.
The memorial garden and former churchyard is among a record-breaking 1,797 UK parks and green spaces that will today receive a prestigious Green Flag – the mark of a quality park or green space. The Revd Lucy Winkett said: “We are delighted that The Southwood Garden, here at St James’s Church has received its first Green Flag Award. In the heart of the West End, our garden provides a much-loved green space offering peace and tranquillity that is greatly appreciated by churchgoers and visitors alike. Catherine Tidman works extremely hard to maintain our garden and it’s a vital part of our commitment to being an Eco-Church. It’s terrific to see Catherine’s commitment acknowledged in this way.”
Away Giving Report 2016/2017
Raks Patel writes: Away Giving is an opportunity to support projects that are aligned with St James's vision, within and beyond the UK.
SUMMARY: 13 applications received funding, £12,000 awarded
(click read more)
"I wonder what you think when you hear words like ‘sustainability’ and ‘environment’? I wonder if you think you are going to be told how to live, that it will be difficult and make life miserable, that we will all have to wear hair shirts, maybe even that it’s not very relevant to church life. After all, we are all very busy already in response to the gospel call to love our neighbours." Read Deborah Colvin's sermon given at St Paul's Rossmore Road". Read Deborah Colvin's sermon given at St Paul's Rossmore Road
Carolyn Davies writes: Evelyn Namutebi who is a member of our congregation and who's tribunal for asylum is taking place soon performed recently in this choir to raise funds and awareness for Refugees. They sing "We Shall Overcome" and she first appears in close up at 1.53.
Catherine, our intrepid gardener at St James's, reports good news about the bird boxes we installed. When cleaning them yesterday she found evidence of occupation at some point this year - see photo. And a nest was found in the wisteria on the Rectory. We continue to reduce our carbon foorprint as a church and to make our outdoor spaces hospitable to wildlife, right in the heart of london's West End.
The Key 2016 CARAVAN Exhibition of ART ran here at St James Church from June to August 2016. Find out more, or watch the video below.
A service for cyclists, to bless people and their bikes and celebrate the gift of cycling. The Revd Ivan Khovacs said that many church members are daily cycle commuters, one of whom, midwife Mary Stewart, came up with the idea. He said: “The service is a way to give a blessing and an affirmation of the joy of cycling but acknowledging that cycling in London can be a little bit hairy and frightening at times”
The service began with songs, accompanied by a ukulele orchestra and a trio of banjo, accordion and trumpet. St James’s is part of an association of Eco Churches aiming to reduce their carbon footprints and to protect the environment, and cycling is one way the church contributes to that ethos.
We are currently hosting the temporary installation of a triptych of icons in the side chapel, painted by Regan O’Callaghan.
On Sunday 20 December 2015 we were able to say a heartfelt thank you and farewell to our very own Lil, who has been Cantor and Director of Congregational Music since 1999. She and her family have moved to St Andrews in Fife where her husband Alasdair has been appointed rector of All Saints Church. We shall miss Lil, and her children Beth and Edward, enormously. She's made a fantastic contribution to our life at St James's.
Deborah Colvin writes: Here we are on the millennium bridge with our LED wind up torches, lighting the way for the UN in setting their global goals.
Wild West End will link parks with green stepping stones to draw wildlife to built-up streets, with beehives, bird and bat boxes being installed. Read more, from The Guardian
We have been privileged to host one of Issam Kourbaj's Another Day Lost installation. Follow 'read more'
Another Day Lost is a series of installations across five sites, inspired by and based on the Syrian refugee crisis, by Syrian-born, UK-based artist, Issam Kourbaj.
These installations resemble ‘camps’ constructed out of waste materials, such as medicine packaging and discarded books. The ‘tents’ are marked with Kourbaj’s distinctive black lines, based on Arabic calligraphy and traditional mourning ribbons, and encircled with a ‘fence’ of used matches. On the first day of the festival, there will be 1,579 matches in every ‘fence’, and another match will be added for every day of the exhibition, resulting in a total of 1593 matches by the end of two weeks on display. Each match represents a day lost since the beginning of the Syrian uprising.
The sites are scattered around London, mapping out and loosely reflecting the geographic pattern of refugee presence outside the borders of Syria. The installations at Goethe-Institut London and St. James’s Church, Piccadilly, roughly relate to the locations of camps along Syria’s southern border; Central Books in East London correlates to the cities of northern Iraq; 10 Golborne Road represents Lebanon; and Heath Street Church, Hampstead, approximates the location of camps in Turkey.
See BBC interview with the artist.