Sermon Excerpt: Mary’s Song and Black Lives Matter

Katerina Friesen

A reflection on  Luke 1:39-56

Katerina Friesen
Intern, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
Sunday, December 14, 2014

Mary’s song says that God brings salvation in the lowest places, where we say there can be no hope. In the midst of barrenness, God brings hope to Elizabeth. Even though Mary is an unmarried virgin, a nobody in the eyes of those around her, God brings hope and declares that Mary is a somebody.

God says, “Mary, your life matters! Jewish people, too long in bondage – your lives matter!” God says to those who have been too long oppressed, “Your lives matter! God says to Ferguson, “Black lives matter.”

Continue reading

Second Candy Cane Ball: Fun and Spirit-Filled

Rev. Jennifer Tinsley,Lady Chantella Newsome and Rev. Edwin A. Newsome at the 2014 St. James AME Church Candy Cane Ball.

St. James’s second annual ball was a great success filled with song, dance, praise and worship.

Rev. Edwin A. Newsome of Kingdom Impact Christian Cultural Church was an excellent master of ceremonies who kept the program flowing and added a few unexpected twists. In addition to leading all the guests in Christmas hymns, he also invited some of the powerful voices in the room to sing solos during an impromptu rendition of “I Love the Lord.” In addition to the contributions from the crowd, the St. James praise dance ministry Adoration danced to Whitney Houston’s take on “Joy to the World.” Music was also provided by St. James Inspirational Choir who sang “Jesus, What a Wonderful Child” and The Men of Faith quintet who offered two songs, including their taken on the Temptations’ “Silent Night.”

Continue reading

Christmas Worship and Sunday School Program

Christmas Program Banner

2014 Sunday School Program and Christmas WorshipSt. James invites friends, family and community members to join us on Sunday, December 21 for our 2014 Sunday School Program and Christmas themed worship.

  • At 9:30 a.m. the children and youth will share their gifts. Parents are especially welcome to see their kids in action.
  • The spirit of the season will continue in our regular 11 a.m. worship with special selections from the St. James Inspirational Choir and our youth choir, praise dance from the intergenerational Adoration Praise Team and more.

We hope you will join us for this wonderful celebration of the reason for the season: Immanuel, Christ With Us!

Black Lives Matter – Special Worship

Black Lives Matter banner

Black Lives Still MatterOn Sunday, December 14, churches of all denominations are invited to honor the struggle to eradicate police brutality in light of the tragic and unjust killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and other Black men and women, and subsequent jury decisions legitimating the violence against them.

Worshipers are invited to:

  • Wear “ALL BLACK” to church for worship services on December 14th.
  • Encourage your members to dialogue and participate in conversations about police brutality, violence and race.
  • Include liturgy that describes God’s desire for love, justice and mercy.
  • B for all communities where violence has occurred in the recent months. (New York, Ferguson, Cleveland, and beyond)
  • Engage critical and relevant Bible Study to address how we can be more active in issues around violence, economics, and justice.

St. James extends a special welcome to Black men, 25 and under, to join us as we mark Black Lives Matter Sunday. We hope you will join us to say that OUR lives matter!

Dec. 6: Second Annual Candy Cane Ball

2nd Annual Candy Cane Ball

Candy Cane Ball flierOn Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 6 p.m., St. James AME Church will host a festive celebration of the coming Christmas season.

The evening will include a buffet-style banquet (veg options available), a short program featuring the St. James Inspirational Choir and Adoration Praise Dancers, and dancing to music provided by a local DJ. Come and experience a fun, elegant and worshipful night out on the Gateway Mile.


Tickets to attend are $25 per person. Call (574) 294-4950 or email us to get yours.


Download a PDF announcement about the ball to share with others.

Youth Harvest Festival 2014

Youth Harvest Festival 2014

Saturday, November 1, 2014 • 12:30–2:30 PM

The St. James Youth Ministry Team is hosting a Youth Harvest Festival, featuring a pizza party and booths with games and activities. There will also be a hip hop show (artist to be announced soon) to close the event. The event is free but tickets are required. To get your ticket, email the church or call (574) 294-4950.

Event attendees are invited to bring a canned good or nonperishable food items for the St. James pantry. The Lord’s Cupboard supports neighbors who struggle to have regular access to food. Please consider bringing healthy and nourishing options.

Welcome to our New Intern

Katerina Friesen

“We ask, O God, your blessing upon Katerina Marie Friesen and her internship at St. James this year. Empower and guide us as we walk with her during this phase of her ministry journey.”

Glenda Jackson and Katerina Friesen at St. James' 2014 Big Hat Brunch.

Glenda Jackson and Katerina Friesen at St. James’ 2014 Big Hat Brunch.

The above words were a part of the litany the congregation used to bless Katerina Friesen at the start of her internship at St. James. She is an Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) student who will work with the church for the 2014-15 school year.

Katerina came to St. James during her first year at seminary after hearing Rev. Jennifer Tinsley speak t AMBS, and sensed the Spirit call her to make St. James her church home. She hails from central California, and is currently pursuing her M.Div. degree in Peace and Theology studies that will prepare her for pastoral ministry.

Katerina comes to Elkhart with experience working on affordable housing and food security issues, and spent several years coordinating community gardens in “food deserts.” Her calling is to build Beloved Community and join God’s healing work to repair “the breach” (Isaiah 58:12) caused by injustice and violence. She looks forward to seeing how God will use her gifts and teach her through the St. James community, and says, “Here I am, Lord!” to this new opportunity for growth and service.

The St. James family thanks God for Katerina’s presence in our faith community and we are grateful to be a partner with her as she explores God’s call on her life.

Introducing Youth Sunday

First Youth Sunday - August 24, 2014

Caleb Owens - First Youth SundaySunday, August, 24, 2014 was the first ever Youth Sunday at St. James. The morning worship was led from start to finish by the children and youth of the church.

Each young person took turns carrying out each part of the order of worship, including reading Scripture, leading the abridged Decalogue, greeting visitors and offering the invocation. The effort was coordinated by Caleb Owens, director of the youth and adult choirs, and the guest preacher for the service.

Youth Sundays continue on September 28 and  every fourth Sunday of each month following. All are welcome to join–no matter what age you may be.

Continue reading

Rev. Tinsley: Annual Conference Preacher


On Wednesday, September 17, Rev. Jennifer Tinsley was the preacher for the opening night worship service at the 2014 Indiana Annual Conference. She was introduced by Bishop John R. Bryant and spoke on the topic “Scandalous Love” with John 13:34-35 as the primary text. She reminded her listeners that, “Scandalous love is full of grace and mercy,” saying:

Jesus knows that Judas will betray him, Peter will deny him and all of them with the exception of John and the women, will leave him to face the horrors of the cross alone. Yet he washes their feet, to confirm his love for them and in verses 34 and 35 of this chapter and he commands that they give each other the same kind of radical, scandalous love that he has given. We are all connected to perfection, Jesus in imperfect, fallible, tenuous ways.  But, blessed be the ties that bind our hearts in Christian love!

Continue reading

St. James youth in local production of Hairspray

Alberta, Antoine and Rev. Tinsley at Hairspray

Alberta and Antoine after their performance in the all-youth production of Hairspray at the Lerner.Congratulations to Alberta and Antwon for their outstanding performances in the all-youth production of Hairspray! The play took place on July 18 at the Lerner Theatre and was attended by several members of the congregation.

St. James AME Church is blessed to have wonderfully gifted young people in our congregation. We are especially glad that several of them also lend their talents to our various ministries, including our youth choir, young women’s dance team and our occasional drama productions.

We are proud of Alberta and Antwon’s accomplishment and thank God for all the young people that are part of our faith community.