About Us

We take our name from James the disciple of Jesus.  His emblem of three scallop shells is also ours.

Today, as they have for many centuries, Christians from across the world tread the popular pilgrimage to the shrine of St James, at Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Pilgrimage is also at the heart of our life at St James in Curtin:

  • above all we seek to discern and follow the ‘way’ of Jesus.
  • we are part of the Uniting Church which since inception has seen itself as a ‘pilgrim people’ looking for continuing renewal, open to change and seeking a wider unity.

You are most welcome to join us in our journey.


At St James we seek to discern and follow the way of Jesus, by:

  • welcoming all, regardless of race, gender, cultural background or sexual orientation;
  • taking a respectful but honest approach to learning from the Bible and Christian tradition, informed by contemporary biblical scholarship. We see wisdom in other traditions and believe that our faith is compatible with science;
  • providing opportunities for sharing ideas, doubts, joys and concerns in our services and in our discussion and social groups;
  • nurturing spirituality through creative liturgy, song, prayer, meditation, friendship and hospitality;
  • connecting with people of other churches and of other faiths; and engaging with those who have left the church or never known it;
  • standing alongside the marginalised and caring for the earth; and
  • helping to serve the needs of our local community.


St James Quilt 4

Our History: the first service of the then Presbyterian church of St James was held in March 1964 at the Hughes Primary School.  A history of the first 50 years of St James is provided in the accompanying document.  It was prepared for inclusion in Curtin Turns 50: the Story of a Canberra Suburb 1964-2014 which was  published as an initiative of the Curtin community in 2016, to commemorate Curtin’s 50th year.

The Story of St James Uniting Church in Curtin


Rev. Chris Lockley


Our minister Chris Lockley has a broad range of experience in the Uniting Church, having served in both small and large, city and rural congregations, as well having Presbytery Ministry (regional) positions in mission and community development in the Mid North Coast and Parramatta Nepean Presbyteries. Chris also served as the Resource Ministry Consultant for the Synod, developing educational and leadership resources and training programs for lay leaders and congregations, alongside continuing education programs for ministers.

Chris’ theology has evolved over the course of his ministry. He sees himself as a ‘gentle’ Progressive theologian. Quotes from Chris:

“After much deconstruction, progressive theology needs to be looking towards how we reconstruct a faith that interacts with ongoing scholarship, a multi-faith context, developments in scientific knowledge, social change and the very real threats to the integrity of the physical world we live in. We can be engaging with the movement of Spirit present in the world around us and within movements of goodwill. Our worship, service and community life can be inclusive rather than setting up barriers.”

“We need to be cautious of becoming fundamentalist in our progressive theology!”

“If we are serious about inclusiveness, then that includes honouring and listening to those whose theological perspectives are different to ours.”

“We engage scripture through the hermeneutical lens of Jesus’ teachings and example. It is a sad fact that much of the church’s popular emphasis has been on believing in Jesus, while neglecting his actual teachings and the practices that emerge from them.”

Last year Chris introduced a Q & A time into our services. Following his contemporary reflection on scripture and life, the congregation enters into a period of silent listening. From that, the congregation is invited to share insights and questions.  

Since coming to Canberra Chris has been involved in the Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy, the Faith Based Working Group of the Refugee Action Group, the Canberra Interfaith Forum and Love Makes a Way actions.

Chris is married to Madeleine. In his spare time he likes to look at the world through a lens.

Chris commenced ministry at St. James in January 2015.

Amelia Peisley

Amelia is our Bookings Manager and Church Administrator. She has also worked as our Community Outreach Worker for many years. Recent outreach initiatives include working with the Red Cross to obtain community donations of clothes, bedding and financial assistance for local refugee families; and holding information sessions at the church about using less plastic and making beeswax wraps. Amelia is originally from South Africa where she worked as a Youth Worker with the Christian Education and Youth Department of the Methodist Church.  She is married to Barry, a local musician, and they have two children.


A progressive spiritual community, standing up for justice, for refugees, the homeless and the environment. A safe space for people regardless of gender, race, orientation or ability. Located in Curtin, ACT.