Small country churches do not survive without a lot of work! – and opportunities to serve at St. James’ are numerous. Members contribute their time and talent in a variety of ways, cleaning and caring for the church inside and out, mowing the grass in the cemetery, tending the flowers and keeping the parking lot ploughed in the winter, and the list goes on – we do it all on a volunteer basis. The St. James’ Congregational Council (which, to minimize bureaucracy, meets no more often than necessary!) coordinates these efforts, as well as our participation in and financial support for mission and outreach beyond our own church.
For many years the St. James’ Guild has gathered the women of the congregation together for service which is at the heart of our life together at St. James’. It is our chancel guild, organizing the rotation for altar duty and maintaining the vessels and hangings (completing and refurbishing our hangings, in all the liturgical colours of the church calendar, has been a special project of one of our members, a talented needlewoman and fabric artist, in the last couple of years). The Guild manages the kitchen and parish hall, coordinates the coffee hours which follow our Sunday services, and puts on lunches and parties for special celebrations. We coordinate St. James’ card ministry within our congregation and beyond, for illness or bereavement, baptisms, children’s birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. Funds raised by the Guild through catering and the occasional sale help to support St. James’ two World Vision foster children; to help send our children to Huron Church Camp; to pay for extras such as Santa’s presents for the children at Christmas; and to support St. Monica House for single mothers in Waterloo, the local radio station’s Christmas Fund appeal for local charities, and the Grey-Bruce Women’s Shelter. Apart from the work, our Guild meetings are happy social occasions for all our members, including those now retired from “active service”.
The other organized group at St. James’ is the Cemetery Board, which fulfills our responsibilities under provincial legislation for the operation of our cemetery, under the direction of Congregational Council. This group meets as required to oversee maintenance of the cemetery, its monuments, and its plot records for historical and genealogical reference.