St James is a vibrant Church of Scotland in the heart of the town of Lossiemouth.
We have many opportunities for people of all ages.
When is there a worship service each week?
Our regular church service times are: every Sunday at 10:00 am. Unfortunately, there are no services at present due to the social distancing restrictions which are in force. We are publishing weekly ‘virtual’ services on the website.
At certain times of the year, there are extra services (e.g. Christmas and Easter) and there will usually be specific announcements on this website about any alterations to “normal service”.
St James is linked with St Gerardine’s High Church. We share our minister – Rev. Geoff McKee.
Some services – e.g. the annual Remembrance Sunday service – are either at St Gerardine’s or St James’. On these Sundays, there may be no service at St James’ at all. Again, such occasions are generally advertised in advance via this website.
Who are the easiest points of contact within the church?
Probably those listed here (which includes contact details): i.e. our Minister, Session Clerk, Treasurer, and Clerk to the Congregational Board.
There is also a specific page on the website via which you can send us an enquiry.
Coming to St James’ as a visitor
Christianity is about spreading the Good News of Jesus and so, as a visitor, you are always welcome to join us, whatever the stage of your spiritual journey. If you’re looking out for a church to attend regularly, it should be possible to “try us out” in a low-key way. (You won’t be asked to do anything like introduce yourself to a room full of strangers, for example).
We try to be as family-friendly as possible and this is still a church which has a few children and young people who attend regularly – something which shapes our worship to a significant degree.
Where are we located?
You’ll find full details on the Find Us page of this website. We’re on Prospect Terrace, Lossiemouth, Moray – tall, pointy spire – hard to miss, really. On-street parking is usually readily available in the vicinity.
What do we believe?
We’re part of the Church of Scotland. Here’s what it says on the Church of Scotland website regarding our faith.
In common with all mainstream churches, the Church of Scotland accepts the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. In other words, that God is experienced as Father, Son (in the form of Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit. It sees Jesus Christ as the only head of the church and regards the church as his “body”.
There’s more general information below about St James’ Church, Lossiemouth.
Who are we? – Part of the worldwide church
St. James’ Church in Lossiemouth is a very small part of a very much larger body and that is the universal or worldwide church, which confesses Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
However, down through the centuries, there have been disagreements on doctrine and practice that have led to many divisions in the church.
This led to the Orthodox churches of the East such, as the Coptic church, and the Eastern Orthodox church, and the Roman Catholic Church in the West.
Later, in the 16th century there was further division in the Roman Catholic Church which led to the Lutheran, Presbyterian and Anabaptist churches.
The Episcopal church broke away more for political rather than theological reasons.
The Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland developed as a result of the Presbyterian church reaching these shores through John Knox and others.
The Church of Scotland, however, has not been without controversy in its 500 year history.
It has gone through many splits and reunifications over the years, more often over issues of governance than pure theology.
It was one of these breakaway groups, the United Secessionist church, which was invited, by the people of Lossiemouth to organise a church in this town.
There was no church within the town at that time as the Church of Scotland parish church was in Drainie, now under one of the runways of the RAF base at Lossiemouth.
History of St James’ Church, Lossiemouth
At the United Associate Synod of May 1842 it is recorded that, on 22 September 1841, Elgin Presbytery ordained Mr Andrew Reid to the new charge of Lossiemouth and the church was opened in what is now the drill hall on Church Street.
The Manse, at that time, was right behind the church in what is now called Aidendurnie.
In 1847, the United Secessionist Church and the Relief church reunited to form the United Presbyterian Church and in 1881 the UP congregation moved to the new development known as Branderburgh, having been given land on the south side of James Square on which to build a church.
In 1900, the UP Church and Free Church combined and the church became known as St. James’ United Free Church, in order to distinguish it from the High Free Church on Prospect Terrace.
In 1921, the Church purchased the current Manse, on Prospect Terrace.
In the reunification of 1929, St. James became part of the Church of Scotland.
In 1946, it officially became a Parish Church.
Due to structural problems with the church building on James Square, the vacant High Free Church building on Prospect Terrace was purchased and it was dedicated on 17 April 1966.
The church has enjoyed a very stable ministry for the most part.
The average ministerial tenure has been an unusually-high 17 years.
St James’ Church today
The current minister, Geoff McKee, was inducted on 26 February 2016 (his predecessor, Graham Crawford, was inducted on 11 April 2003).
The church has never been a wealthy church, traditionally being the spiritual home of many of the fishing families, but it has always been faithful and outward looking.
As a Church of Scotland congregation from the United Presbyterian tradition, we have two governing bodies in the church.
The Session meets about 6 times a year. It is made up of ordained Elders and the minister.
They are responsible for the time and place of worship and the spiritual well-being of the congregation. New elders were ordained in March 2019.
The congregational board is made up of the Elders, the minister and managers.
Managers are elected for three-year terms of office.
The Board meets four times a year to look after property and finance issues.
Two elders and the Minister also serve on the Presbytery.
The Presbytery is a higher court of the church and in our case takes in the whole of Moray.
We can also be elected to serve on the General Assembly which meets for one week every year in Edinburgh during the month of May.
This is the highest court of the church.