By Kaitlyn Brown
St. James Lutheran Church, located in the Northwood section of Northeast Philadelphia, has been the spiritual home to thousands of Christians since it was founded in 1929. I know, because I’m one of them.
St. James was the first church my family belonged to. It’s where my brother and sister and I made our confirmations. It’s where my stepfather was saved 20 years ago and where he and my mother were married.
This is the place where my siblings and I –- and hundreds of other kids — participated in countless traditions like the Live Nativity, our annual production of “A Christmas Carol,” our Haunted Church in the fall, and ongoing Bible studies and coffee houses that brought the Word, wrapped so beautifully in music, to life.
Our beloved pastor, Paul Andell, lead the church for decades. He retired and moved away a few years ago. Unfortunately, the church was unable to survive his departure for a number of reasons, and the doors were closed last year.
Now, Pastor Paul is back. His love for St. James and his call to service were strong and deep enough to lure him out of retirement and back to Philadelphia. He’s ready to reboot St. James and is working with the church council to open the doors of this special place back up to the community that it had served with such love, acceptance and compassion for so many years.
On Jan. 26, Pastor Paul and the church band put together a service in the theater section of the church. The building has no heat or running water, but as you can see from the picture above, devoted members of the congregation bundled up in coats and wrapped themselves in blankets to attend.
St. James is a truly special place. Its spirit has stayed open even when its doors were closed.
But now St. James and Pastor Paul are back. But help is needed as they work their way through this transitional phase.
If you have ever been any part of St. James — whether you worshiped with us on Sunday mornings, or shared coffee and fellowship at our coffee houses, or went on mission trips with the Youth Ministry, or even just passed by and felt the community warmth and love of the Lord emanating from within… please consider making a contribution so that St. James can get back to being the faithful servant community that it once was.
Even if you can’t contribute, please share this with anyone you know who holds St James in their hearts.
Gofundme at this link: https://tinyurl.com/rht996d