Membership at Saint James

Joining our parish community

Membership at Saint James is marked as someone who is: worshiping, serving, pledging, and engaged in the life of the faith community. All are welcome and invited to participate in the worship, mission, and ministries of the parish.

Below are some frequently asked questions about membership at Saint James.

If you are interested in formal membership or would like more information, please contact the church office.

Formal membership at Saint James typically includes attending our six week course, Exploring Saint James. Held each fall and spring, sessions are on Wednesday evenings in the seminar room beneath the Chapel and culminate in Bishop Scanlan’s visit to confirm and receive people into full membership in the Episcopal Church and Saint James.
All Christians are welcome to make their Communion with bread and wine or by bread alone. Gluten-free wafers are available. If you prefer not to receive, we invite you to come forward for a blessing or to remain in your pew as you wish.
A person is a member of the Episcopal Church if they have been baptized, whether in an Episcopal church or another Christian church, and the baptism has been recorded in the records of a particular Episcopal church. A person may also become a member of the Episcopal church if they are confirmed or received by a bishop.
If you have been confirmed in another liturgical tradition, such as
a Roman Catholic or Lutheran church, you can be received into the Episcopal church by our bishop.
An “official” member of Saint James is a baptized person who requests to be placed on the membership rolls of this parish. If you are baptized, confirmed, or received at Saint James, you automatically become a member.
Baptism is the initiation rite into the Christian Church. To be baptized as an infant, child or adult is to become a full member of the church.
Confirmation is a sacrament of the Church. It is an informed profession of the faith that may be made by teenagers or adults. To be Confirmed is to outwardly proclaim your choice of the Episcopal faith and tradition. It involves the laying on of hands upon the head of the individual confirmedd by the bishop.
A letter of transfer is used to move your membership from one Episcopal church to another.

If you are already a member of another Episcopal church, and you would like to join Saint James, please contact the church office to let us know. We have a special form we send to your former parish that “transfers” your membership to Saint James.

If you have been confirmed in another liturgical tradition, such as
a Roman Catholic or Lutheran church, you can be received into the Episcopal church by our bishop.
We believe that God speaks to people in a variety of ways and that no one particular expression of this faith is “right.” For Episcopalians, this way of relating to the divine balances scripture, tradition, and reason. The Episcopal Church is a sacramental and liturgical form of Christianity that respects the ancient nature of the church yet allows room for a prayerful discussion of theology.
We understand. We consider our church community to be a wide net of individual beliefs and situations and while we encourage people to seriously consider official membership, it is not a requirement to partake in the life of our church family.

According to the governing laws of the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, the only thing non-members may not do at the church level is serve on the vestry and serve as a chalice bearer.
No. The church directory is an unofficial list of people who attend Saint James on a regular basis. It is never fully complete or up-to-date since people join, move, or leave the parish at various times for a variety of reasons.
Our hope is that members of Saint James will endeavor to grow in their faith journey. This means sharing the joy of corporate worship as regularly as possible; recognizing that God is the source of all that we are and all that we have; being tolerant of one another and respecting the dignity of every human being; understanding that we don’t have all the answers about faith, but we’re always seeking to learn from God and one another; offering of ourselves to the church through our talents, time, and financial resources; helping to spread the message of Christ’s love in whatever way is possible for you.
Giving money is not a requirement for membership at Saint James. We firmly believe that stewardship of our financial resources is an integral part of being a Christian, and we rely on the generosity of our community to support our common ministry and pay our bills. Episcopal Churches do not receive financial assistance from the Diocese or the National Church. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: we pay a yearly apportionment to the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania to support the mission and ministry of the larger church.