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.

St James acts out its vision in many ways:

  • welcoming and nurturing
  • offering a variety of worship styles
  • nurturing spirituality
    • providing a mixture of participation opportunities
    • exploring progressive religious thinking
    • promoting learning and study options that are expanding, fun and interesting
    • connecting with people, especially the ‘exiled’
    • standing alongside the marginalised
    • caring for the environment
    • and where possible, actively serving these needs

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.

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A new exploration

St James is a safe and wel­coming community that of­fers a unique opportunity to explore progressive Christianity in practice.

It is a place for all people to worship regardless of race, gender, cultural background or sexual orientation .

It is a place that gathers those from many backgrounds who want to discover and cele­brate God’s transforming presence in the world and our lives. St James accepts that we each might carry a different view of who and how that might be and yet responds to our dis­covery through worship, mis­sion, hospitality, conversation and care.

St James acts out its vision in many ways:

  • welcoming and nurturing
  • offering a variety of worship styles
  • nurturing spirituality
    • providing a mixture of participation opportunities
    • exploring progressive religious thinking
    • promoting learning and study options that are expanding, fun and interesting
    • connecting with people, especially the ‘exiled’
    • standing alongside the marginalised
    • caring for the environment
    • and where possible, actively serving these needs

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 languageSandra group (2)

Explores spirituality,

Questions traditional interpretations

Eschews dogma and promotes under­standing

Celebrates holy communion frequently; In a variety ways;

Welcoming everyone to the table including children

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

People:

Rev. Chris Lockley

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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.”

This year Chris has 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 – Secretary

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.

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Jean Shannon – Pastor, Volunteer worship leader

Jean Shannon, Pastor, is the Uniting Church Chaplaincy leader for the Canberra hospitals. She had a long career in international consulting and teaching before ‘retiring’ into the chaplaincy. The source of Jean’s spiritual passion is seeing the church in the world – or perhaps, you could say, seeing the world as a church.

mMerilyn Tandukar                      Editor of Red Wings and member of the Social Justice and Inclusiveness committee, she is also the Presbytery Representative for St James. She co-presides at Morning Service and writes occasional poems and prayers for the liturgy. That’s when she’s not singing, painting and playing Scrabble with friends at U3A. She has been a member of St James for the past 11 years and regards the community as a welcoming, caring and loving community whose members strive to think and act in the way of Jesus.

Rev. Ken JarvisSAMSUNG

After twenty-two years service as a full time Military Chaplain in the Australian Regular Army and the Royal Australian Navy and service as Minister of two different congregations following retirement from the Navy, I now find myself a member of the Uniting Church of St. James.

In recent years I have been strongly influenced by the Progressive Theological movement and so find myself a happy member of the St. James family.

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 has made his first shiraz this 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 1970’s 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 todays 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.