What is New St James?
New St James Presbyterian Church has been a presence for the Gospel in London since 1833, and throughout that time has always been involved in mission to the local community and the world. Through a wide range of groups and activities, we provide opportunities for worship, fellowship, spiritual growth, and Christian service. Worship in our sanctuary, which dates from 1899 and has spectacular stained glass windows, is enriched by the excellence of our choir and organ. Our Christian education and church school programme is second to none. With a congregation of all ages, drawn from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, as followers of Jesus Christ we strive to excel in all that we do in the service of our Lord and Saviour. But above all, we have fun together!
What on Earth does “Presbyterian” mean?
The word ‘Presbyterian’ comes from a Greek word that means ‘rule by elders’. It is our form of Church government that sets us apart from other denominations. We believe that Jesus Christ is the only King and Head of the church. We interpret God’s will and word in community, believing that decisions should be reached by communities, not individuals. Our church is governed by Sessions, made up of elders and ministers who are responsible for pastoral care and keeping order in the congregation; Presbyteries, groupings of congregations in a local area; Synods, groupings of Presbyteries in a region; and General Assemblies, the annual general meeting of The Presbyterian Church in Canada. Our processes mean that we don’t always make decisions quickly, but only after careful study, prayer and discussion, and seeking the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Tell me about the Presbyterian Church in Canada
The Presbyterian Church is a reformed church, which means that it developed out of the protestant reformation of the church in Europe in the 16th century. The Presbyterian Church in Canada has its roots in the Church of Scotland, which sent ministers to serve 18th and 19th century immigrants to Canada. The Presbyterian Church in Canada was formed in 1875. In 1925, a large portion of the Presbyterian Church joined with Methodists and Congregationalists to form the United Church of Canada. Today, there are almost 1000 Presbyterian congregations right across Canada, drawn from a variety of racial backgrounds and worshipping in various languages French, Hungarian, Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, and Arabic. Our reformed, protestant tradition believes:
- that God exists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
- that God loved us before we ever loved God;
- that we receive God’s grace by faith, not because of anything that we must do;
- that all people have access to God through scripture and prayer;
- that all followers of Jesus Christ are ‘ministers’ of God’s church, called to share the Good News of Jesus Christ through our action in the world;
- that Scripture is central to our life and our worship (there is almost always a sermon in a Presbyterian worship service!) Following Scripture, we celebrate two sacraments, Baptism and Communion;
- that the church must be constantly reforming under the guidance of the Holy Spirit;
- that though we are proud of our reformed, protestant heritage, with Christians of all denominations we are part of the one church that is the body of Christ in heaven and on earth;
- that we may have a variety of beliefs about many things, but the one thing that we have in common is our commitment to Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord.
Read more about what Presbyterians believe in Living Faith.
What are your church policies?
New St James subscribes to the following policies of The Presbyterian Church in Canada:
- Policy for Dealing with Sexual Abuse and/or Harassment
- Leading with Care: Policy Ensuring a Climate of Safety for Children, Youth and Vulnerable Adults
- Policy for Dealing with Racial Harassment
You will find these policies at the following link: presbyterian.ca/policies/
Leading with Care
Leading with Care: Policy for Ensuring a Climate of Safety for Children, Youth and Vulnerable Adults in The Presbyterian Church in Canada:
The Leading with Care policy is not about us as individuals. It is about us as a body of Christ—a denomination—trying to ensure the highest quality of ministry by offering our best to Christ and working to make sure that the worst does not happen. It is a time for entering the age of lost innocence, whether real or imagined.
Find out more about the Leading with Care.