Where We Pray: St. James Episcopal Church welcomes the chance to extend a hand in Westwood

CINCINNATI - The Tri-State is rich in the number and variety of houses of worship. In our weekly feature, WCPO shines the spotlight on where we pray.

St. James Episcopal Church

  • Address: 3207 Montana Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211
  • Denomination: Episcopal
  • Top Clergy: The Rev. Jim Strader, Rector; The Rev. Joyce Keeshin, Priest Resident; Alex Gartner, Director of Music
  • Size of Congregation: Average Sunday attendance is ­70-80 people.
  • Affiliations: The Episcopal Church  and the Diocese of Southern Ohio

Core Beliefs: "It’s our connection to God and each other that gives meaning to our lives," said The Rt. Rev. Thomas E. Breidenthal, Bishop of The Diocese of Southern Ohio

We believe God’s love is for everyone – no exceptions.
We believe in a God of creation, redemption, constant presence and love.
We believe that in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, God's love for the whole human race has been declared.

St. James Episcopal Church worshipers practice their faith in a broad and inclusive manner. For a church its size, St. James has a vibrant music program that focuses on engaging neighborhood children and teenagers. The church collaborates with community groups in Westwood on projects such as the Pop-Up Beer Garden with Westwood Works and Westwood’s local farm stand initiative with Findlay Market.

WATCH: Dixeland music at St. James

"Christ's mission begins and continues in worship, but is lived out in the world. We experience God’s creative love in all aspects of life,"  said Rev. Strader. "We're willing to take risks and dream dreams in the assurance of Christ’s compassion and Gospel. We prayerfully and sacramentally live our faith on Sundays and in the world as God’s Holy Spirit invites us to do with the hopes of loving God and our neighbors more and more each day."

Parishioner Garyne Evans, 44, grew up going to church at St. James, but stopped attending regularly when he went away to college.

"Like many young adults, I drifted away from attending church until my wife and I had our first child and decided it was time to start going again," he said. "Our first attempt was to go back to St. James, and we never looked anywhere else. Everyone welcomed me back like the prodigal son. They embraced my wife like she was family and had gone there for years. Six years and another child later, we indeed are blessed with our extended family at St. James."

St. James Episcopal Church originated in 1910, and the congregation initially met at the Westwood Tennis Club. In 1927, the mission purchased property at the corner of Cheviot Road and Montana Avenue. The church has been in different buildings at that location since 1928. The mission became a parish in the Diocese of Southern Ohio in 1955. 

A sense of welcome has always characterized this congregation. Its community outreach reflects the church's approach to the role of religion in daily life. Programs include:

  • Community Supper fourth Thursday of each month, 5 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Financial support for Westwood’s three food bank programs: Manna House, Westfed, and My Neighbor's Place
  • Narcotics Anonymous volunteer childcare program ­Wednesday evenings, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
"The thing I love most about attending St. James Episcopal Church in Westwood is the warm and accepting hospitality of the members," said Evans, an engineer who lives in Miami Township. "We all have different stories with our own unique blessings and trials in life. But as we share those stories, in the love of God and one another, we find common ground and a place we can all belong."  
 
Church Activities:
 
  • Westwood Farm Stand: Wednesdays, 4-7 p.m.
  • Next Westwood Pop-Up Beer Garden, Aug. 2, ­4-8 p.m.
  • St. James Music Camp for children and youth, July 21-25
  • Cincinnati Conservatory of Music Preparatory Department Stage West
  • Camp and production of "Godspell Junior," July 28-Aug. 10

Connect with St. James Episcopal Church: Telephone: (513) 661-1154, Website,  Facebook Page  & Twitter .

Services: Sundays  at 10 a.m.

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