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.

ATTENTION: Walk 20 more steps! We will now be holding our Sunday 9:30am worship service at Sixth Church (the building next door to St. James.) This is due to the exciting renovation of our historic church building for the next few months. Our ushers will greet you at the sidewalk and direct you. Elevator and accessibility entrance available.

Every Sunday at 9:30am — next door during construction — at:
Sixth Church of Christ, Scientist
1331 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

NOTE:  On August 15th, 2021 at 5:00pm — we began to resume live performances of our Jazz Vespers series here at St. James (NOTE: During construction we are holding our services at Sixth Church of Christ, Scientist, right next door to St. James). Please join us in-person for our next Jazz Vespers performance — scheduled for Sunday, June 19th, 2022 at 5:00pm.

You may choose to listen below to the most recent recording of our Jazz Vespers Service from Sunday, May 15th, 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 look forward to reinvigorating the St. James Vespers tradition with a service on Sunday, October 23rd, 2022 at 5:00pm. This Vespers service will highlight and celebrate the Reformation with instrumental, vocal, and organ music. Mark your calendars and join us!

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 in its 14th season and drawing over 200 persons to each evening service. 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: St. James Choir Returns …
All interested church choir singers are invited to get acquainted with our new Director, Colin Stave. Come to the Choir Kick-Off first rehearsal and potluck on Thursday evening, September 9th to prepare to sing in worship on Sunday, September 12th, 2021. Please contact our new Director of Music Ministry, Colin Stave, if you are interested in participating.

As we approach a new season, we anticipate a new beginning in musical worship at St. James. While we won’t simply flip a switch and go back to “normal” right out of the gate, we are still very excited to reclaim choral singing as a part of our worship. Two things we know for certain at this time is that all singers will be vaccinated and will continue to wear masks while singing. We are currently exploring ways to bring singers into the service safely. I am confident that there is an abundance of the holy spirit to reinforce our efforts, and ample grace to help us make these adjustments with flexibility and patience.
-Colin Stave, Director of Music Ministry
We have much to look forward to as we continue to bring musical elements back into our services. This month we will explore themes of healing, good works, taking up our crosses, and honoring the 20th anniversary of 9/11 by renewing our commitment to bring peace to the world and our lives. May God watch over us and work through our hands and voices as we sing His praises!
Soli deo gloria.

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 7:30-9:15pm 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.