Worship and Music

Worship is the central gathering point for life and work at St. James.  As we gather we recall the classic elements of Christian gathering since the earliest times of the Church:

● Confession and Absolution 

● Praise 

● Reading of Sacred Texts from Hebrew and Christian Scripture 

● Confession of Faith

● Prayers of the Community

● Sharing of Christ’s Peace 

● The Holy Meal (Communion) 

● Sending into the World

The two great “peaks” of the worship experience are Word and Sacrament.  The Sunday preaching texts are part of a three-year cycle of readings.  Sermon, hymnody, choral and instrumental music reflect the thematic of these texts; Music Ministry is a vital part of worship and life at St. James.

Familiarity with worship forms comes from regular participation in the Sunday Assembly – it is, we are NOT ashamed to say, acquired behavior!!!  Worship bulletins with texts, hymn and psalm notes, the “new” red hymnal (Evangelical Lutheran Worship) — and  friendly help from your neighbor in the pew and the ushers will help you if you are a newcomer.  Be patient – you may help us to discover elements of music and text we hadn’t noticed!

The Sunday liturgy is an opportunity not only to gather together as a community of faith, but to open our doors to everyone, sharing God’s love with all. We hope you will join us for worship, sing with us in the choir, or join our handbell choir!

Contact the Church Office at 503-227-2439, for more information.

Find Driving and Parking Directions here.

Worship Service Schedule





Sunday Morning Worship with Holy Communion

NOTE: The Oregon mask mandate has ended. Although not required, you are encouraged to continue wearing a mask at St. James events for a while longer. As always, we encourage you to vaccinate.

On Sunday, October 23rd, 2022, we returned again to worship in our newly renovated St. James sanctuary. Join us for worship and fellowship on Sundays at 9:30am.

Every Sunday at 9:30am at:
St. James Lutheran Church
1315 SW Park Ave., Portland, OR 97201

Holy Communion is celebrated at each Sunday liturgy.  Refreshments and community time follow the worship service.  Childcare available from 9:00am-12:00pm.

Midweek Eucharist

NOTE: Midweek Eucharist is postponed indefinitely.

Every Wednesday at 12:00 Noon.

A thirty-minute liturgy of Holy Communion takes place in the intimate setting of the Pioneer Chapel. This service provides an opportunity for communal prayer, a brief sermon and reflection. Scriptures may be used from the Daily Lectionary or may reflect the Calendar of Saints and Commemorations available to the wider Christian community.

Jazz Vespers

On August 15th, 2021 at 5:00pm — we began to resume live performances of our Jazz Vespers series here at St. James (NOTE: Since the completion of construction — we will be holding our services back in our newly renovated St. James Lutheran Church building). Please join us in-person for our next Jazz Vespers performance — in our St. James building — scheduled for Sunday, December 18th, 2022 at 5:00pm.

You may choose to listen below to the most recent recording of our Jazz Vespers Service from Sunday, November 20th, 2022. You may also check out other earlier recordings from our Jazz Vespers series — which are archived under “Communications > Music” here on our St. James website.

This 45 minute jazz musical setting of the Evening Prayer liturgy is held on the third Sunday of each month at 5:00pm. Professional jazz musicians and vocalists lead this reflective service with scriptural reading, psalms, hymns, and prayer. Preludes and postludes from the broad jazz repertoire precede and follow the service.

Click below to listen to the latest recording of Jazz Vespers.

Bach Cantata Vespers

NOTE: Fall Vespers at St. James
This fall we have begun to reinvigorate the St. James Vespers tradition with a service in our newly renovated St. James Lutheran Church building on Sunday, November 13th, 2022 at 5:00pm. This Vespers service highlights and celebrates the Reformation with instrumental, vocal, and organ music.

Join us for a Bach Vespers Service on Sunday, November 13th at 5:00pm.
“We are excited to return to our Vespers Ministry on the second Sunday of November. As we prepare to resume this beautiful tradition, we are looking at refreshing and reimagining it as well. For me, this means we must start with the foundation: the Vespers liturgy itself. This service will focus on highlighting the structural components of the liturgy, where and when they come from, and how they came to be a part of this centuries-old tradition. The ancient roots of this service will be evident in the 3rd Century Hymn Joyous Light of Glory, and a choral realization of a chant setting of the canticle, Magnificat by Charles Wood. Tying into our fall Stewardship theme, the service will feature Paul Bouman’s beautiful anthem, It Is a Good Thing to Give Thanks. Please join us!”
–Colin Stave, Director of Music Ministry

You may choose to listen below to the most recent recording of our Evening Prayer Vespers Service from Sunday, November 13th, 2022. Click below to listen to this latest recording of our Bach Cantata Vespers.

The Bach Cantata Vespers Services at St. James are unique to Portland as they present Bach’s cantatas in the historical context for which they were created. Presented with the same readings and spiritual milieu that inspired Bach to compose his cantatas, listeners are enriched in hearing Bach’s works in their sacred context. Portland’s finest instrumentalists, vocal soloists, and organists join with the St. James Bach Choir in the Vespers now being reinvigorated under the direction of our Director of Music Ministry, Colin Stave, after a hiatus. Newly commissioned motets by contemporary American composers are another feature of the event, bridging the old and the new.


Music Ministry

St. James Choir

NOTE: Beginning September 8th, 2022, the Choir resumed regular rehearsals from 7:15 to 8:45pm. Their voices returned to the service on Sunday, September 11th, 2022. Our thanks to Director of Music Ministry Colin Stave and to each choir member.

The St. James Choir continues a long and distinguished congregational tradition of liturgical and concert singing. Their repertoire includes a wide range of music from composers of the Renaissance and Reformation periods to contemporary works by local and nationally-known composers, such as Timothy Nickel, Frank Ferko, and others. Members rehearse every Thursday evening from 7:15-8:45pm during the program year (September through early June). Most choir members also participate in the Bach Cantata Vespers Services. People of all ages are invited to sing with us!

St. James Handbell Choir

NOTE: The St. James Handbell Choir is currently on hiatus. Please contact our permanent Director of Music Ministry, Colin Stave, if you are interested in participating in the future.


The St. James Handbell Choir contributes to Sunday morning and occasional liturgies throughout the year. Music will be selected based on the number of ringers who volunteer! No prior experience with bells is required; just a willingness to learn and make music in a team setting!

St. James Pipe Organ

St. James Pipe Organ
The three manual Pipe Organ incorporates some of the ranks from the original 1908 Estey tracker pipe organ. Originally only 9 ranks, this instrument was electrified and reconditioned in 1949, then re-built and expanded in 1989 by Portland organ builder Richard Bond to include 32 ranks with three manuals and pedal. Five original Estey ranks were retained in the Antiphonal division in its former chamber on the main floor. The new Great and Swell were installed in the rear balcony gallery. Read about the Architectural History of St. James.