The large sanctuary at St. James incorporates some traditional architectural elements including beautiful stained glass windows and the original pulpit from the church on Sweetwater Avenue. Calvin Durham, the designing architect, took great care to replicate the cross of Calvary as closely as possible. Figuratively and literally, the cross is the focus of the sanctuary and it is prominent even from the Narthex. This sets the tone for the traditional service which meets at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays.
The order of worship is similar to many services held in United Methodist churches all over the world. Even though it is largely considered a BLENDED service, (due in part to the music selections) the order of worship incorporates the Apostle's creed, the Lord's prayer, and traditional preludes and benedictions. The choir and praise team provide an eclectic style of special music and visitors often comment on the excellent accompaniment of the organ and piano players. (St James is blessed with musical talent!) While the pastoral prayers and messages are spoken sincerely and with emotion, there is rarely a service that could be considered "high church". However, a number of traditional special services are held seasonally including Ash Wednesday, Tenebrae, and All Saints Day. There are moments of spontaneity and levity, especially when Larry Ricketts (assistant worship leader) greets the congregation. The congregation never knows what to expect!
The children's moments, often led by Brandi Oliver, also provide serendipitous and delightful exchanges to which the congregation is privy. A much beloved "institution" is the regular meet and greet session just prior to the message. Visitors experience the warmth of a friendly and loving congregation and Patsy Killen's musical cues usually bring us all back to order. Several baptisms are held each year in the sanctuary and Holy Communion is traditionally served to all who will partake on the first Sunday of each month.
There are plenty of opportunities for laity to participate in worship throughout the year whether through serving communion, serving as usher or greeter, or assisting with music and sound. Four teams of altar guild members change the altar cloths and candles and decorate seasonally. Occasionally, the service may be led by children, youth, or other lay members and pastors may rotate between traditional and contemporary services in order to meet all of the church!