About St. James

June 2017

Message from The Rev. Kit Lonergan

Dear friends,

I have a confession. In seminary, I went to Morning Prayer once. In an entire year. And it was because they had scheduled me for a morning that there was no replacement available.

At the seminary, we celebrated daily (or 5-6 times a week) Morning Prayer, Noon Eucharist, Evening Prayer and occasionally Compline services. Everyone went to Morning Prayer. The bells would ring 10 minutes beforehand, calling the community to worship together. I enjoyed Morning Prayer, but it wasn't my time of the day. More often as those bells would ring, I would be drinking my second coffee at a coffee shop half a block away, reading.

However, I never missed Evening Prayer. After a long day of classes, studying and doing my internship at a hospital at the other end of Manhattan, I sought something that would bring the day to a close-something more than the kick-off-shoes-sit-on-couch finale; something more than an 'It's 5 o'clock Somewhere' moment; something more than relief that another day was finished. I entered into our seminary sanctuary, and only a handful of students would be there. And we would quietly chant the prayers and antiphons together, as outside the dark descended earlier and earlier each day until it changed its course towards light.

Church on weekdays, in the evenings, without the pomp of Sunday holy chaos was new to me. And I loved it. I found that I desired a community more in those evenings, in those precious hours between 5pm when things supposedly finished, and 8am when they would start again the next day. I loved that the service was simple and elegant. Informal and yet totally traditional. Sometimes we would find ourselves, random peers and colleagues, eating together following the prayers, finding comfort and Good News in each other's company.

This July, we will offer a bit of an experiment. It's meant to be for all those folks who find themselves traveling or busy or deeply called by the beauty of the beach or hills or brunch on Sunday mornings in the summer. We will offer a Pizza and Prayer service on Wednesdays at 5:30pm in July. It will be simple. But it will be a way to pray for those who are busy-or for those who need a reminder of grace in the middle of the week, as opposed to waiting for it until Sunday morning. You can attend both! (It's more than okay to take communion and say your prayers as often as you wish!) It will be for all ages. It will be for those who are hungry, physically and spiritually.

So if you are feeling the hunger in the week, or you know someone who works on Sunday mornings, or has other responsibilities, bring them to the table. God calls us to come and worship, to receive assurance of grace, to celebrate and eat bread and wine together. And pizza. Can't forget the pizza.

Peace to you, friends.


Church School

Who We Are

God loves you! 

We love you!

Welcome to Saint James!


"I am the church. You are the church.
We are the church together…
The church is not a bulding
The church is not a steeple.
The church is not a resting place…
The church is the people!"
"I am the church. You are the church.
We are the church together…
The church is not a bulding
The church is not a steeple.
The church is not a resting place…
The church is the people!"

Our young Church Schoolers often sing this short song with us on Sunday mornings celebrating who we are at St. James Groveland:  The People are St. James!  We truly enjoy each other, love each other, and are committed to each other.  We rejoice in our faith, and we are blessed by our differences.
Hospitality and welcome are a way of life at St. James.  No matter who you are, how old or young you are, where you are in your life, or where you are on your faith journey, we are glad you’re exploring St. James Groveland’s website!  At St. James, people come from all walks of life: single or in a traditional or not-traditional family, gay or straight, experienced church-goer or not, you are welcome to celebrate God’s love in our community.  We Believe Out Loud that everyone is welcome at our table and that God loves us all.
The people of the Church are also the leaders of the church.  Our Priest in Charge supports us, loves us, and shares leadership in worship and everywhere.  Our Vestry is elected each year on a rotating basis to represent the congregation to administer the church’s needs.  Our Ministry Teams and small groups tap into the unique gifts of the people in our congregation.  Our Church School team is specially gifted to teach.  Our small Choir sings along with a priceless organ in joyous harmony.  We are the Church.
The most important thing we do together each week is to worship God and be fed on the journey in the Eucharist.  Everyone is welcome at our table.
You are invited to explore how St. James may serve you as well as how you can serve others on your Christian journey.   Welcome!  We hope you enjoy our new website.
 Our Mission
The mission of St. James Episcopal Church, Groveland, is to invite and welcome people to the abundant Way of Jesus Christ, through a journey, both inward and outward.  We believe everybody has a place at God’s table, and we strive to be an inclusive community of every race, ethnicity, national origin, physical or mental ability, gender, family status, sexual identity and orientation, age, theology, and economic circumstances.  We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth. (Adopted by SJ in 2011)

St. James’ History

St. James Episcopal Church was consecrated in 1873 in Groveland, Massachusetts.  At that time, Groveland was a small village with three mills owned principally by Ezekiel James Madison Hale.  Since Mr. Hale felt the workers in his mills should have places of worship, he provided the land and built and furnished the Episcopal Church.  Ground was broken in 1872 for the church as well as a nearby rectory which is still in use today.
Rev. I. M. Beard was the first Rector of St. James. Twenty-seven rectors and vicars have served St. James in its 141 year history.  They have generally fallen into 3 groups; students who stayed from 1 to 3 years, older men who were retired or nearing retirement, and several who stayed for an average of three and a half years before moving on.  Our last priest, Marya DeCarlen served St. James for 11 years and was our first female priest. The current priest, Kit Lonergan, has served Saint James since 2014.
All Saints Episcopal Church was established in Georgetown, Massachusetts in 1916 and closed in 1967. For twenty years prior to the closing of the Georgetown church, the clergy of St. James sometimes served both parishes.  We continue to serve both communities today as well as those in the larger Groveland area.
St. James was established as a parish in 1873. In 1952 its status was changed to a mission due to its need for financial support from the Diocese.  By 1992, the Church's situation had substantially improved and it again became an official parish.
There were peaks and valleys in attendance and fortunes. For most of our history, the congregation has been made up of working class people of modest means.  It has had only a small endowment and therefore has not had a financial cushion to fall back on in lean times.  
Much of this history is attributed to A History of St. James compiled by the Rev. Dr. Charles D. H. Barton for the occasion of the church's 125th anniversary.

Who Was Saint James?

St. James was the son of Zebedee, elder brother of St. John, and with St. Peter and St. John he belonged to the privileged group of disciples who were present at the Transfiguration and the Agony in Gethsemane.  Because of their ardent zeal, James and John were named Boanerges, or "sons of thunder," by the Lord (Mark 3:17).  St. James was the first of the twelve disciples to suffer martyrdom in A.D. 44 (Acts 12:2).
There is a feast day dedicated to St. James on July 25 celebrated with this collect:  "O gracious God, we remember before you today your servant the apostle James, the first among the Twelve to suffer martyrdom for the Name of Jesus Christ; and we pray that you will pour out upon the leaders of your Church that spirit of self-denying service by which alone they may have true authority among your people; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."  BCP

About the Episcopal Church

Episcopalians have long stood for service to the wider community, and we express our faith in outreach and social concern; we attempt to "walk the talk" of Jesus' teachings. We are known for asking good, even tough questions, rather than necessarily providing pat answers or dogma for complex issues.  And we are known for our inclusiveness, recognizing that Christ's banquet is large enough to include every person.
The Episcopal Church offers a thoughtful approach to religion. It believes faith involves a measure of reason as well as emotion. Its doctrine is designed to point out, not dictate, the response to God's continuing revelation. The focus is on God's love and the invitation to respond in mature freedom, in thanksgiving, and in loving devotion. Basic beliefs are expressed in the Book of Common Prayer and especially in the Catechism.
The Episcopal Church teaches that morality is positive, rather than negative. It is rooted in Jesus' summary of the law: 'to love God with heart, mind and soul and to love one's neighbor as oneself." The focus of Christian morality is not on laws and restrictions but on free and mature response to God's love and in responsibility to our neighbors.
Episcopalians believe in One God,
• the Creator who makes us and things,
• Jesus who redeems us from sin and death
• the Holy Spirit who renews us as the Children of God.
Episcopalians believe that Holy Scripture is the ground of our faith.  Scripture is read in public worship services and daily devotions. We are not biblical "literalists." That is, we study scripture in the context of history and seek to interpret God's word in scripture for our own day. We have a willingness to live with diverse and changing interpretations of scripture, rather than attributing scripture with infallible certainty and binding prescriptions for all time and circumstance. We believe God inspired human authors and continues to speak to us through the Bible.
Episcopalians affirm that salvation is the end of our separation from God and the beginning of a new relationship with God and one another. The Apostles' and Nicene Creeds are basic statements of our beliefs in God.
The Episcopal Church has more than 2.4 million members in 7,679 congregations in 110 dioceses situated in 16 countries. It is a member of the world-wide Anglican Communion, with 77 million members in 166 countries.
To learn more about The Episcopal Church, visit its Web site, especially its newspaper and Visitors’ Center; watch a film about several Episcopalians in the Diocese of Washington, or read the brochures produced by the Diocese of Texas, especially the one on the "three-legged stool" of Scripture, Tradition and Reason.
(Some of this information is taken from an article by Presiding Bishop Katharine Schori:  Why Should I be an Episcopalian? (www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQSWporCpfY&feature=email)