Why an Order?

Why 'an Order' and not 'a Church'?

We don't need another 'church'.  

The world is full of both old and new churches all saying that they are the real thing and the only true way to find God. 

The only true way to find God is through personal encounter, and no one 'church' has the sole rights on that, as much as they may wish to think so.

Churches may provide good teaching and provide a safe environment to meet like minded people, but their strength is also their weakness.  The ritual, tradition and canons put in place over the centuries can actually get in the way and become overly restrictive, particularly regarding ministry.

Instead of enabling ministry, it ends up disabling it. It finishes up in the hands of a few professional Christians and excludes everyone else. That situation is not acceptable.

We want to enable.  We want to set free.  We want ministry to be placed back into the hands of the people rather than it remain within the prerogative of a chosen few.

We also want people to stay where they are so they can do the most good in communities they are familiar with and amongst people they know. 

Being an Order rather than 'a church' means that our members can do just that and make changes from within what already exists.  They can belong to both.

It means they can have support and encouragement where perhaps none was offered or indeed existed, to do what God is calling them to do but under OSJ authority and jurisdiction once any training requirements have been met and safeguarding compliant procedures have be put in place.

For OSJ, the huge advantage of being an Order rather than 'a church' is that we are able to work outside of traditional denominational boundaries, simply because we are not tied to them or their traditions.

It also means that we can reach out to those who have been missed, overlooked, ignored or have been rejected by 'the church' as we do not represent any particular denominations.  

We are just 'Christian', Christ is our head, we serve God and community, and that is all that matters.

Building Centred or Community Centred?

Being an Order means that we don't have to focus on funding and maintaining buildings that are empty most of the week but can focus on building up the community instead.

Having said that, we do have some need to use buildings for holding services, especially where people don't have any attachments to local churches. 

We use whatever is available for as long as our presence is needed and that has included private or friendly churches and chapels, hotel rooms, upper rooms in pubs, converted barns, monastic ruins, school rooms, village halls, working men's clubs, gardens, parks, as well as people's own homes.

These are our Mission Churches.  We take our altars with us and place them wherever they are needed.

It means we are not tied down with endless building and maintenance committees or fundraising. 

Quite simply, people matter more than buildings, and that is where our focus lies.  

That is why we often refer to our priests as 'Community Priests' because that is where they are based.

Members provide everything they need for their own ministries.  This vehicle contains everything required to set up a mission church.

The Order's 'Rule of Simplicity'.

This is the basic handbook for all members of the Order of St James, and it can be downloaded by clicking this link  > 'Rule of Simplicity'  <  and it will open in a new web page so you don't lose this one.

It is not complicated.  It's about faith, encouragement and support with the minimum of interference.

We do have our own liturgies (see 'printable services' page) but we are not tied to them.  We use what is appropriate in the circumstances.  

We expect all our members, whether priests or laity, to be flexible in their ministries and meet need rather than canonical requirement.