About Us

Are you looking for something a little different?

St James is a progressive Christian community searching out new ways to express our deep commitment to the earth, the world we live in and our spiritual life together.

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 explores under­standing beyond our faith traditions and welcomes people looking for an open, welcoming experience. The St James community and services may be the refresh­ing well you have been seeking.

St James Quilt 4


A bit different

St James tries to seek out new and more relevant ways of being ‘church’.

We are an inclusive church that:

Welcomes strangers

Encourages inclusive language

Sandra group (2)

Explores spirituality

Questions traditional interpretations

Eschews dogma

Celebrates holy communion in a variety ways

Welcomes everyone to the table including children.

We are interested in listening to new ideas and learning about the changing needs of the community.


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.

Chairperson, Church Council: Janet Kay 

Chairperson, Congregation: Kate McLoughlin

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Kate McLoughlin, co-convenor of the Evening Services, sometimes turns her hand to presiding at Morning Services. Kate values community, social justice and thoughtful approaches to the Jesus’ stories.


Aaron Harper      Aaron is currently an advisor to the Defence Minister and has been involved in Defence budgeting for 20 years.He enjoys playing piano, writing contemporary progressive Christian songs, and composing music.He regularly speaks at St James Uniting Church, Canberra, and is interested in creating new forms of liturgies and prayer.

Aaron has a love of all things to do with wine but most of all drinking it, and made his first shiraz last year with a friend. He also enjoys reading both fiction and non-fiction and regularly going to the cinemas.

Mrs Jenny Jarvis    

My path to Progressive Theology began back in the 1970s when, as a devoted feminist, I kept saying to myself and anyone else who would listen, “The Christian Church should be in the forefront of this movement, not two thousand years behind.”

Then along came women feminist theologians and a whole new world opened up. I have been very fortunate to have a number of women friends with whom I have spent many hours in discussion on the significance of Progressive Theology and its impact on women.

Piers Booth A retired medical practitioner, who in later life completed a degree in theology. His main interest at present is the development of worship liturgies, relevant to today’s world, and the continuing exploration of a progressive theology, understandable to all. How does the church reach out to the non-church population, to show it is relevant to all?


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.