We are Episcopalians – steeped in the ancient history of our tradition while actively exploring what it means to be church today and fully engaging in local social and justice concerns.
We are a center of worship and common life, offering inspiring services, music, and education while supporting broader community uses of our space such as NA, CCM Preparatory lessons, Yoga classes, and Food ministries.
Christ’s love is visible, experienced, and shared in the beautiful simplicity of our sanctuary, in our traditional and innovative liturgies, in our celebration of musical arts, in the warmth and welcome of community, in the food we serve, and in our outreach to the broader community.
St. James is an open-minded and loving community of Christ that has been proudly serving God’s people on the Westside of Cincinnati for over 100 years.
It is our delight to welcome everyone, and we really mean everyone, into our home because we strongly believe in God’s call that “my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” (Isaiah 56:7).
Whatever your age or race, your income, your religious or spiritual background, your gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or anything else…
You are fully and completely welcome!
…no matter whether you come from a non-religious or non-Christian upbringing and have never come into a church before; no matter whether you are a lifelong Episcopalian or come from another denomination; no matter whether you have only attended church occasionally or even have scars from negative experiences at churches in the past, we sincerely hope to see you at St. James! The Episcopal Church, and particularly this Episcopal church, welcomes you!
As a Christian community, we affirm the statements of belief carried through the centuries and received by the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which St. James Episcopal Church and the worldwide Episcopal Church are a part. We believe in a Christ who is eternally loving and who calls us all to a life of service to God and one another. This, and the creeds which we believe, we unapologetically confess. At the same time we recognize that we do not have to always agree on everything in order to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
We are grateful to Charles Graves, our 2013 summer seminary student from Yale Divinity School, who offers this summary from his outside perspective of who we are as a Christian community at St. James.
“It is purposed to establish in Westwood a mission of the Protestant Episcopal Church. We have been assured of every aid by the Bishop of the Diocese and through the generosity of Mr. James. N Gamble have secured a most desirable place of worship. We there ask all those interested or who are not affiliated with any other Church to attend a meeting for the purpose of organization on Sunday, December 11, 1910 at 3 P.M. in the Westwood Tennis Club Building, S. E. corner of Montana and Cheviot Ave.”
This postcard, sent in 1910 by H.E. Hannaford and R.A. Stoehr to the residents of the 24th ward political subdivision of Cincinnati comprising Westwood, began a 100+ year journey that continue to celebrate today.
In 1916 a building fund was established, and in 1927, during preparations for beginning construction on a site selected on the corner of Epworth and Montana, the First Presbyterian Church had completed its new building on Harrison Avenue and offered to sell to our congregation the ‘little white church’ on the southwest corner of Cheviot and Montana Avenues. Comparing the cost of the current building to erecting a new church resulted in the acceptance of the offer.
The first service was a joyful thanksgiving Holy Communion held on the first Sunday of Advent, 1928. The original intended lot was sold to the Board of Library Trustees where they constructed the Westwood branch library. The original mortgage was $11,000, which was burned, with much fanfare, on December 8th, 1933.
In 1955, St. James became a full-fledged parish, having become fully self-supported. Ground was broken for a parish House on May 26, 1957 at a cost of $100,000. The addition gave our congregation multiple-use rooms and offices. Bishop Henry Hobson dedicated it in November 1958. Another addition to the property was made in June 1960, with the purchase of the house and land lying south of the rectory. It was used for classroom space on Sunday but was razed with the church and rectory to make room for the new church.
A ground-breaking service for the new Sanctuary and addition to the Parish House was held on September 9, 1962. The $300,000.00 improvement program, which also included purchase of a residence on Lischer Avenue to replace the rectory, was made possible by a gift of $100,000 to the parish by Mr. and Mrs. Ed Korten. The Rt. Rev. Roger W. Blanchard held a service of dedication on September 29, 1963.
In 1981, the church campaigned to purchase a new pipe organ, to replace an old and outworn electric organ that served the church for years. A new Möller pipe organ was installed and dedicated on Easter Sunday 1982, and has been played faithfully ever since.
Think of being invited to St. James as being invited to our home for dinner.
We’ll spend some time getting to know you better… catching up with you… offering thanks for the great things that have been happening. We’ll welcome you to share in the banquet that is communion in our house of worship. We do not believe that the sacraments are ours–they are God’s.
We believe that Jesus Christ invites everyone into a relationship with him, and that includes his neighbors. Everything we do here is based on that promise. Jesus invites his disciples to share the Good News, and for us, that’s not so much about what you believe but what you sense is true about your relationships with God, through heart, mind, body, and soul.
Our invitation to “Be Our Guest” at our table is not a commercialized sing-a-long involving dancing plates, talking bread, and singing candlesticks. Sure, we’d love you to join us for communion on Sunday mornings, but church is no longer just about Sundays. Church is every day, and there are several ways to get involved through our diverse music programs or outreach opportunities. Perhaps it’s about attending an NA or AA meeting for which we provide space each week, or perhaps it’s by clearing your mind through our physical and contemplative yoga offerings. Perhaps you just need to pray or sit in silence. Maybe you are a teenager looking to gain some community service hours or are in need of some new people to spend time with, in which case you should join one of our youth group meetings.
Being a guest may mean more to you than just observing. You may want to become involved. We are blessed here with parishioners, clergy, and staff who are willing and eager to talk with you, not to you, about the unique set of gifts and experiences you have to offer and where you might find a home at St. James. We are in search of people with purpose in soul, heart, and mind, who are willing to walk with us as we as a congregation find our path down a Christian journey within our own walls, in the broader Westwood and Cincinnati community, and beyond.
St. James Episcopal Church is located at 3207 Montana Avenue in the heart of Westwood, across from the Gamble-Nippert YMCA.
Coming from I-74 Westbound, take the Montana Ave. exit 17. Turn left on Montana Ave. Drive approximately 2.5 miles, and the church will be on your left, just past the Gamble-Nippert YMCA.
Coming from I-74 Eastbound, take the North Bend/Cheviot exit 14. Turn right on North Bend Rd. and drive approximately 1.4 miles. Turn left on Westwood-Northern Blvd. Take a slight right on Boudinot Ave. and drive 1 mile. Turn right on Montana Ave. The church will be on your left, just past the Gamble-Nippert YMCA.
Parking is available off of Cheviot Ave. behind the church building, or at the Gamble-Nippert YMCA across the street. Ample street parking is also available.
Click on the image and follow the arrow to see a 360-degree tour of our church. Click and drag your cursor left or right to turn around. Make sure to “walk” up the stairs and check out our parish hall too!
What to Expect at St. James:
A Welcoming, Caring and Imperfect Community
Vision: We seek to live into Chrit’s teachings to love God, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Path: We celebrate God’s love, as we reach out, connect, and share.
According to the Episcopal Church…
Our church exists to restore people to unity with God and each other in Christ. We carry out this mission through the ministry of all our members as we pray, worship, proclaim the Gospel, and promote justice, peace and love.
The Episcopal Church offers a thoughtful approach to religion. It believes faith involves a measure of reason as well as emotion. Its doctrine is designed to point out, not dictate, the response to God’s continuing revelation. The focus is on God’s love and the invitation to respond in mature freedom, in thanksgiving, and in loving devotion.
If you are in need of a more specific answer to any of these questions, or have a personal or spiritual matter for which you need guidance, please feel free to contact our clergy or staff. Full contact information can be found in the OUR STAFF tab under CONNECT at the top of your browser, or by calling (513) 661-1154.