About St. James UCC
No matter who you are
or where you are on life's journey,
you're welcome here.
We welcome you!
Have you been hurt by religion in the past?
Haven't been to church in many years?
Don't like going to church?
Are you skeptical?
At St. James United Church of Christ, we explore the questions of our faith by taking the Bible seriously, but not literally.
As a congregation of the United Church of Christ, we celebrate our diversity! We are proud of being a church that is radically inclusive, extravagantly welcoming, and evangelically courageous.
Together, we are:
Young and old
LGBT and straight
Many cultures and abilities
People who grew up in the UCC and people who are new to it
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Where do I park?
We are conveniently located right in the middle of the Village of Hamburg. Enter the church's driveway on Main Street, and you will see our spacious parking lot behind the main church building. Once you enter the door by the parking lot, you may take the stairs to the first floor to enter the sanctuary, or you can take the elevator to the first floor.
What is St. James UCC?
St. James UCC is a vibrant community of faith in the heart of Hamburg, a friendly suburb on the south side of Buffalo, New York. We are a supportive, welcoming, and loving church.
Drawn together by the Holy Spirit, we are a diverse community of Christians that come together as one church, joining faith and action. In covenant with the church, we serve God in the co-creation of a just and sustainable world as made manifest in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We are a Just Peace congregation of the United Church of Christ. We promote peace with justice (a just peace) as an expression of God's love. We support peaceful opposition to intolerance, injustice, discrimination, and war, and we seek the ways of justice and peace in order to make a difference in our lives and the lives of all who experience injustice and violence.
We are an Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ. We covenant to welcome and celebrate people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Likewise, we welcome and celebrate people of every faith experience, race, ethnicity, culture, ability, age, background, viewpoint, and life experience. If you struggle with addiction, are recovering from trauma, or have ever faith the pain of exclusion, you are embraced here.
What do you believe?
We believe that faith is a matter of heart and mind.
We believe that taking the Bible seriously does not mean taking it literally.
We believe that God embraces all people equally.
We believe that we are called to be nothing less than global citizens.
We believe that the social expression of love is justice.
We believe that every generation is called to discover new faith traditions.
We believe that God continues to speak through the actions and words of people today, just as in times of old.
Would I be welcome at St. James UCC?
Have you ever wondered whether you would be welcome at a particular church? You're not alone. Many of us didn't know what to expect when we walked through the doors of our church for the first time. But what we found kept us coming back.
You may be wondering, "Would I be welcome at St. James UCC?" We want to answer some of the questions you may have:
Am I welcome if I've never been to church before? YES!
If I'm a single parent? YES!
If I don't believe the earth was created in six days? YES!
If I'm divorced? If I’m divorced and remarried? YES! YES!
If I didn't grow up in the United Church of Christ? YES!
If I believe there is truth in science? YES!
If English isn't my first language? YES!
If I'm lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender? If I love someone who is? YES! YES!
If I'm in recovery from addiction? YES!
If my spouse/partner is of a different faith? YES!
If I've never been baptized? YES!
If I bring my small children? YES!
If I have to work most Sunday mornings? YES!
If I'm more comfortable wearing shorts to church? YES!
If I take the Bible seriously, but not literally? YES!
If I have a disability? YES!
If I believe all people are created equal? YES!
If I'm a teenager or young adult? YES!
If I drink alcohol? YES!
If it has been a while since I’ve been to church? YES!
If I prefer classic rock to Christian rock? YES!
If I'm a seasonal resident and not here all year? YES!
If I vote for Democrats? Or Republicans? Or any other political party? YES! YES! YES!
If I've made some big mistakes in my life? YES!
If I can't afford to put anything in the offering plate? YES!
If I have doubts? YES!
Our church and its facilities are accessible to all, regardless of physical abilities or disabilities.
What can I expect on Sunday?
We know that visiting a church for the first time can feel a bit awkward, so we want you to be comfortable and encouraged from the moment you arrive. Here's what you can expect on Sunday mornings:
Gathering of 60-75 minutes
Uplifting and relaxed worship
Practical and relevant messages
Progressive and inclusive community
Monthly communion (all are welcome)
Commitment to sacred space and liturgy
What should I wear to church?
Wear whatever you'd like! Wear a T-shirt and shorts, wear jeans, or wear your Sunday best. Be comfortable and be yourself!
Tell me more...
God calls us to create positive and peaceful change and to work for social justice. Our progressive, open-minded, and welcoming environment attracts members from not only Hamburg, but members and friends from throughout the Southtowns and the greater Buffalo area. Plus, our online presence on Facebook Live allows our unique message to welcome and include members and friends from outside the local area.
We celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion the first Sunday of every month, and we practice open communion. This means that all who are present are welcome to partake and participate, including people of all faiths and all ages. No one is ever turned away from God's Table. A gluten-free option is made available for those who require it. In addition, our custom is to utilize grape juice instead of wine, because we are mindful of those who abstain from alcohol.
You belong here.
St. James United Church of Christ was founded in 1853 as St. Jacob’s German Evangelical Church. Worship and all study happened in German until about 1920, when the transition was made to English.
As the congregation grew, a new building was built and dedicated as St. James Church.
In 1957, when the Evangelical and Reformed Churches, which merged in 1934, and the Congregational and Christian Churches, which came together in 1931, joined to form the United Church of Christ, the church transitioned from being an Evangelical and Reformed Church and became St. James United Church of Christ.
A Christian Education Building was added in 1958 to accommodate a growing Christian Education program.
Preparing for our future
The current sanctuary was renovated in 1970, yielding a reinforced balcony in the rear of the sanctuary and the installation of the current 21-rank Schlicker Organ. The new entryway, lifts, and elevator were added in 1998 in order to make the church more accessible to all.
In December 2021, we called Rev. Paul to be our Pastor, and he began his pastorate among us in January 2022. We have ushered in a new era of energy and excitement! As we continue to imagine the future, we remain committed to honoring our traditions while being open to the amazingly new possibilities God has in store for us as the alternative Christian voice for the area.