welcome to st. james united church

st. james family

serving since 1953 to the present

history of st. james

St. James United Church started in the boom years following the end of World War II. The Toronto Home Missions Council hired Rev. Dr. Meyers and Mrs. Mercer to visit people in the area. Soon a group of young families were gathering at Wedgewood Drive Public School in 1951, using the auditorium and a portion of the hallway for worship and Sunday School. On May 1, 1952 St. James Islington United Church was born with 218 members on the Charter roll. In later years “Islington” was dropped from the church name. 

At the time of purchase, our present church site was 2.6 acres of market garden complete with a frame house and various out buildings. Construction began on the first phase of the building on April 1, 1954 and continued on and off until the final dedication service on November 30, 1969. By 1963, there were 900 children in Sunday School, along with women’s groups, a men’s club, couples’ club and study groups.  

serving the community

Over the years St. James United Church has made significant contributions to the wider community. Some of the highlights include a pre-school daycare program in the 1960’s for children and special needs. The massive volunteer effort was the foreunner to the development of Seneca School located at 580 Rathburn road. 

Since the inception, we have sponsored Scouting to
provide children with leadership training, social skills, camping experiences, opportunities to serve and role models.

Meals on Wheels was another program supported by St. James for over 20 years until the Red Cross took over the project in 1994.

At present, we serve our community by providing food and essential toiletries through our Food Basket program on Wednesday afternoons. We continue to house the Scouts, as well as a Russian language Saturday school. 

Mission and service

The Mission & Service Fund is where all members and friends of the United Church of Canada pool their givings to live out God’s call to discipleship within Canada and around the World. 

St. James’ members and adherents are also encouraged to support organizations outside of the United Church and contribute to a discretionary fund through special Outreach Offerings. We are always looking for additional committee members with new ideas to select recipients and to keep our congregation informed.

we are the people of St. James!

meet the team

Rev Richard C. Choe
Intentional Interim Minister

I am grateful for the opportunity to minister with you as an Intentional Interim Minister. I look forward to the next few years with you as a time of reviewing, reflecting, and discerning St. James’ mission and ministry so that you can continue to move forward together as acommunity of Jesus.

I understand my primary role as an Intentional Interim Minister as a facilitator of restorative conversations – conversations that honour your faithful history and identify the “elephants in the room” and “sacred cows” . These conversations will help the St. James faith community to discern and make decisions to choose pathways forward as a renewed faithful community of Jesus and to continue to serve your neighbours near and far. I firmly believe that the “answers” are within the St. James community. My role as an “outsider-insider” is to help you to identify, discern, decide, and follow through the decisions you make as a community. Faithful discipleship, I believe, can only be practiced and enlivened in ministry together.

These are some of skills and experiences I bring to you:

–   facilitating conflict through restorative listening circle practice

–   mutually   building an intercultural        community      to find ways to experience

God’s compassion and justice within and around one another

–   designing creative and meaningful worship celebrations through words and


–   creating and sharing beauty as a spiritual practice through visual media and


–   and     creating          healthy           administrative         church          organization         in  order          to

effectively serve our local and global communities.

I have already experienced the passion and dedication of some of your lay leaders through the interview processes. Finding ways to utilise my skills and experiences with those of the St. James community will be how we will be working together for the next few years.

j.-c. coolen
music minister

A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, J.-C. grew up surrounded by the music of the Church. Music in worship has always had a special meaning for him, and childhood piano lessons quickly provided him with skills to take a leadership role in worship music. He studied music (piano) at the university level in Massachusetts, and has taken further studies in organ, voice, choral conducting, handbells, percussion and music in worship, all of which inform his music ministry.

J.-C. is a free-lance church musician, conductor and accompanist active in the eastern Greater Toronto Area. In addition to his role as Music Minister at St. James United Church, he also serves as organist and occasional cantor for the Sunday 5 p.m. mass at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Pickering. He directs the Durham Community Choir and Espressivo Singers in Oshawa. He is also extensively involved in English handbell ringing in Ontario. He conducts Bells of Bowmanville at the Bowmanville Seventh-day Adventist Church; The Bronze Foundation, Toronto’s auditioned community handbell ensemble, and Bronze Foundation Academy, a new intermediate-level community handbell choir. Naturally inquisitive, in his free time J.-C. likes to travel, read, think, and satisfy his curiosity.

Matty DeCarolis

Office Administrator

Matty is probably the voice you will hear when you phone our office. She will also be the first person you see. She is always smiling and delighted to help with any inquiries you may have!

Worku Gebrekidan


Worku assists in keeping our facility safe and clean. He has been with us for over 5 years. He is happy to meet any visitors to the building. Please be sure to say, “Hello!”

st. james united

Our vision at St. James United Church is to be a Spirit-filled, connected, transformational church that challenges the status quo and provokes interaction on our journey of faith. 


400 Burnhamthorpe Road, Etobicoke, ON  M9B 2A8
(two blocks east of Hwy 427)

Telephone 416-622-4113

Email: stjames_uc@rogers.com

Copyright © 2021, St. James United Church

Website designed by Mohak Kapoor