What we do, how we do it.
An overview of the Order of St James (UK) and its ministry.
What we do.
OSJ (UK) is an independent dispersed Christian Order that works with and supports individuals, families, businesses and other groups in the local community, on a non-denominational and purely Christian basis.
All members, whether ordained or not, are self-funded volunteers whose role is to support people in their times of spiritual need and offer whatever practical and/or professional help they can.
We know that sometimes all people need is a listening ear, that often it is just enough to hear the words, 'God loves you very much and you're not on your own', to be offered a little reassurance and advice, to know what the options are, and to receive as much 'no strings attached' support and encouragement as needed.
Whether you 'go to church' or not is not an issue, we will do our best to help you - no further expectation on our part, no conditions or hidden agendas.
Our help and support is offered unconditionally and only for as long as needed.
Our mission and ministry is simply to be available when and where needed, wherever we possibly can, and importantly, to encourage, enable and help others to do the same.
If you are looking for a personalised service to mark a key moment in life, we also offer a wide range of Christian celebrations and services that are more than flexible enough to meet most individual needs, including marriage services***, baptisms and Christenings, confirmations, renewal of vows, funerals, celebrations of life, house blessings, business blessings, 'new beginnings/fresh start celebrations', services of reconciliation and so on.
We are not generally looking for 'converts' or new members as we feel the ministry we offer is a natural progression and consequence of a life of faith, but if people like what we do and the way we do things, they are always welcome to make enquires.
Religion and organizations versus faith.
What we are about is 'people', not maintaining 'organizations'. 'People' have to come first.
'Organizations' (including 'churches') have their place, but they also have their limitations. They fail when they think their rules or traditions or practices are more important than the people they were meant to be serving. (See Mark 7, v 1-12, key verses 8-9.)
The bible clearly states that it is 'people' that really matter, and when an organization places itself of more value than the individual it seeks to serve, it has ceased to be of any value or relevance. (See Luke 15 v3-7)
How we do it.
OSJ (UK) does do things a little differently because we are not 'a church' but a Christian Order.
Although we are Christ centred and are bible based, we encourage people to do what is prayerfully right and rely on the Holy Spirit rather than the compliant observance (however well intended) of religious rules and behaviour patterns. That doesn't always sit well with some 'churches'.
'Going to church' and following its rules, canons and regulations is no substitute for faith, or for doing what God asks of us. Faith and religion are not the same.
We don't do 'denominations' either - we are simply 'Christian', and whilst we appreciate the value of ritual, tradition, liturgy and canon, they are not set in stone. People matter much more. We can be flexible according to need but we always seek to work in harmony with the teachings of the bible and we won't work against its principles.
Whilst we have adopted some familiar church traditions for convenience, we are not restricted by them or our responses dictated by them.
We do have a number of churches but all of our priests, ministry team and lay members continue to work in and as part of the local community, both offering and encouraging all forms of open ministry.
Not only that but all or members cover their own costs so we are not a burden to the communities we serve.
Lastly, all our members are volunteers who come from many different denominational backgrounds.
In spite of their differences, they all have one shared, underlying, common and unifying vision, to simply serve Christ and community, and it works perfectly.
The gifts of God for the people of God.
The 'communion of saints' redefined, 'for all, by all'.
*** Under the provisions of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, OSJ (UK) members are exempted from conducting same sex marriages/wedding blessings as OSJ (UK) holds the biblically founded and traditional view that marriage is between one man and one woman (gender as defined physically at birth and remaining), is intended to be for life and is intended to be for
(1) mutual comfort and
(2) the procreation of children.
This is a protected characteristic of the Christian faith and it is protected under Article 9 of the Human Rights Act,1998.
For further information, please click this link 'Same Sex Marriage'
A hand made altar set gifted to OSJ (UK) by Hannah and Joseph Spencer on the day of their wedding.
a beautiful example of Joseph's professional skill and craftsmanship in working with stainless steel
St Leonard's Chapel, Hazelwood Castle, Tadcaster: OSJ (UK)'s spiritual home.
OSJ (UK): Essentials.
OSJ (UK) is about responding to need. Responding is something we all can do and be a part of. It's all part of 'loving God' and 'loving one's neighbour', something we want to encourage, not limit or control like some believe.
OSJ (UK) is not about rules or regulations, denominations, liturgies, titles, dressing up in vestments or maintaining buildings. People matter much more than all those things. We are more interested in 'faith' rather than 'religion', and how that faith translates into a bible based, open and inclusive ministry everyone can be involved in.
OSJ (UK) is not 'a church' as traditionally understood but an inclusive Christian community (an Order) that looks beyond the boundaries and limitations of denominationalism, to a faith that really does bind all Christians as one in and under Christ in both principle and practice.
OSJ (UK) is simply about serving both God and community, as primarily taught and exemplified in the Epistle of St James, and within the general principles and teachings of the bible. In this respect its focus is missionary in Christian rather than denominational terms.
In OSJ (UK), every person (whether a person of self declared faith or not) matters, is valued and has their part to play in the health and welfare of the whole community.
OSJ (UK) is about helping individuals discover the person God created them to be, and helping them employ the gifts, talents and skills they have been uniquely entrusted with by God on behalf of the community.
OSJ (UK) is about recognising and enabling people's ministries rather than disabling them.
OSJ (UK) is about encouraging the embracing and accepting of personal spiritual responsibility and authority.
OSJ (UK) is 'orthodox' and take its inspiration and lead from the bible. It will not work against holy scripture.
Authenticity of faith: bible basics are our foundation and are non-negotiable.
Where it comes to matters of 'faith' over 'religion', OSJ (UK) can respond to need very flexibly in terms of ministry, sacrament and liturgy, but will not work against bible principles and teachings, and in this respect we remain both orthodox and conservative. Bible truths and principles are absolute and unchangeable for us. This position can put us in conflict with society and even with some of the more liberal Christian denominations.
OSJ (UK) does not accept, for example, the sacramental/theological validity of abortion or euthanasia, 'same sex marriage' or the general principles of 'gender fluidity' on scriptural grounds, and we continues to oppose those practices within the Christian church on those terms.
OSJ (UK) does promote traditional, biblically based and orthodox Christian values instead.
We distance ourselves (see 2 Corinthians 6 v17) from all those groups who have corporately chosen to abandon their scripturally and spiritually based responsibilities and obligations in supporting, promoting, condoning and permitting those things disallowed by Holy Scripture. We believe that the worldwide church should set the exemplar standard for society rather than society set the standards for the church.
This position does not affect the open ministry and support we still offer to individuals, whatever the life choices they have made, even if we disagree with them - whoever we are, we are all God's children and as an Order we will do our very best to help wherever, whenever and in whatever way we can providing we stay within biblical limitations.
Membership and other enquiries:
Please use the 'Contact' page regarding any enquiries. We especially welcome enquiries from those who give of their time to voluntary ministry (including prayer support and 'enabling' roles) who wish to offer service beyond the restrictions and limitations of traditional denominational boundaries. Spiritual intuition and a willing and practical faith that reaches out to all people are just the kind of things we are looking for in new members.
We respectfully advise that no response will be given to any enquiries which are considered to be aggressive, prejudiced or agenda driven.
OSJ (UK) Ministry Team Identity Cards:
As part of our safeguarding practice, all members of the OSJ (UK) Ministry Team should carry and show their ID cards when asked. They are proof of authorised ministry and identity.
A new style of I.D. card is being issued to all OSJ (UK) members - a tamperproof holographic and/or indelibly printed ID number or barcode should be visible on the issued card if it is genuine and this can be quickly verified against our members database if there is any doubt.
The protection of our members carries equal weight to those we serve,.
OSJ (UK) Chaplaincy:
OSJ (UK) is an Independent Christian Chaplaincy Service Provider (ICCSP) and provides Christian chaplains (non-denominational) in the community. ICCSP is not linked to 'Churches Together' and is wholly independent and much more representative of the genuine worldwide Christian Community.
Sign up for our regular newsletters:
If you would like to receive our free monthly newsletter via e-mail, you can quickly and easily sign up on our 'Contact' page. Originally written for members by members and guest contributors but now freely available, they cover a wide range of theological subjects, practical guides, studies and other materials*.
For current 2022 issues, click the 'Newsletters' page.
Positions available OSJ (Worldwide):
Every thing you need to know about OSJ (Worldwide) on one page.
Please visit OSJ (Worldwide) for further information on position availability, application requirements, new appointments and mission summary.
*Warning: contains biblically based orthodox Christian teaching and exposition which may cause offence to some.
St Leonard's and Hazlewood Castle, Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, spiritual; home of OSJ (UK). Click image to link.