Center for Spiritual Formation


The Center's logo incorporates the St. James Church symbolic cross and chalice with a shell in the center.

The shell is a symbol for the Apostle James, a symbol for baptism, and for the Center's mission to stimulate a new birth in Christian faith.

Whatever your faith tradition, we welcome you to participate in our programs.


The St. James Center for Spiritual Formation offers programs to help us pray and put our prayers into action. In both Hebrew and Greek the word "spirit" means "breath." As we speak of spirituality we speak of the breath of God that fills us with life, literally "inspires" us, and that leads us on our spiritual journey.

While our programs come from the perspective of the Christian faith as expressed in the Episcopal tradition, we offer food for the spiritual journey of people of all faith traditions and for those who do not come from a faith tradition. All are invited to participate in our programs designed to cultivate our spiritual growth and our awareness of God's presence in our life and in the lives of those we encounter daily.

Spiritual practices that enrich us come in various forms -- prayer, study, body movement, music and art. We encounter God in many places - in nature, in worship, in scripture. It is the Holy Spirit who meets us in these places and in these activities and leads us from there into a deeper relationship with God. The Center offers programs of prayer, study, reflection and action that support us in meeting the Holy Spirit and deepening our relationship with God.

Adult Programs 2013-2014 information is here.


Trinity Institute Conference 2013 Information is here!

Save the date: Thursday evening, November 21 through Saturday, November 23.

Recommended Readings:


CSF Current Programs

Altar of Repose

In creating the meditative garden ambience, the Altar of Repose provides the opportunity to be still, reflect, and be awake to the meanings of Holy Week in preparation for the Resurrection.

The Labyrinth

Walking the labyrinth offers a creative space to pray.

Some walk the labyrinth in prayerful silence; others quietly repeat a mantra or meaningful phrase. Some simply reflect on feelings or questions, while others may focus on the music or an image.

Simply enter the labyrinth and put one foot in front of the other and walk this holy path of God. The labyrinth is not a maze. There are no dead ends or roadblocks. Instead, it is a curving path to the center that returns us back to the place we start, renewed by our prayerful walk.

Our labyrinth is often set up for the monthly Recovery (Twelve-step) Eucharist (generally, on the second Saturday, but please check our calendar to confirm the date), and on other dates as announced.

Meditative Yoga

Meditative Yoga uses comfortable, propped poses with limited movement and is suitable for almost everyone. The class, led by St. James parishioner Margaret Culbertson, meets on the second and fourth Mondays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the CSF Atrium on the third floor of the Ministries Center.

Spiritual Direction

Spiritual Direction has been described as a joining of persons in listening for and discerning the movements of the Spirit. This involves creating a safe place for persons to explore their thoughts, feeling and values in their relationships with humans and the divine. This includes sometimes questioning and challenging; always encouraging. It may involve suggesting scripture texts, prayer methods, journaling techniques, exploration of dreams, spiritual reading material, etc.

Radical Christian Life: Equipping Ourselves for Social Change

Trinity Institute’s 42nd National Theological Conference, Radical Christian Life: Equipping Ourselves for Social Change, will be held November 9-10, 2012 and simultaneously webcast at St. James by the Center for Spiritual Formation. 

Joan Chittister, OSB returns to Trinity Institute for a local and webcast conference that will offer tools for making the vital connection between contemplation and social action. She will be supported by workshop leaders including theologians, spiritual directors, and activists. Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, author, teacher, and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation, will preach at the conference Eucharist.

Read more here.

More . . .

Chapel of the Holy Presence

On Wednesday, December 5, 2012, the Rt. Rev. Morris K. Thompson, Jr., led St. James clergy and thirty parishioners into the Chapel of the Holy Presence for the consecration of the Chapel, part of the Center for Spiritual Formation suite on the ...


Barbara Sims will lead a series on Journaling on three Sunday evenings in October from 6:00-7:15 p.m. in the Parish Hall Parlor. Each session will include 20-30 minutes of method explanation, 20 minutes of writing, and some time for feedback. ...


  Classes are in the CSF Atrium on the third floor of the Ministries Center (across Fourth St. from the church), beginning by 10:10 a.m. (except "Sacred Images," see below.) The Atrium is handicapped accessible via elevators in south lobby and nor...

History of The Center


The initial work of The Center was made possible by a grant from Trinity Church, Wall Street, in 1997. This grant was awarded based on the application developed by the Rev. George D. Kontos, then-Associate Rector at St. James; and, Edward H. Henderson, Ph.D., parishioner, Professor of Philosophy, and then-chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Louisiana State University.

The concept for The Center for Spiritual Formation was unique in that was, to our knowledge, the first such center operating as a program of a parish church.

The Center is now fully funded by St. James Episcopal Church and continues to offer programs of spiritual deepening to enrich the lives of our parishioners and the larger community. Funding from the church allows us to offer programs at little to moderate cost to participants.

Summer Sounds

  Summer Sounds at St. James Returns for Fifth Season!An Evening of Music each Wednesday in July at 7:00 p.m.The St. James Center for Spiritual Formation is pleased to announce this year's schedule for the popular Summer Sounds at St. J...

Rod Kennedy Classes

  The Center is delighted to host a June series of classes, led by Dr. Rodney W. Kennedy, a fully-affiliated professor of preaching at United Theological Seminary. He has authored several books on preaching and worship, and is a dynamic prese...

Trinity Institute

Trinity Institute’s 43rd National Theological Conference Presents The Good News Now: Evolving with the Gospel of Jesus November 21-23, 2013 St. James Center for Spiritual Formation is a participating partner webcast site ...

2014 Celtic Pilgrimage

Visit Celtic high crosses at Monasterboice; the Hill of Slane, where St Patrick is said to have kindled the Paschal Fire; Saul Church, where St Patrick founded his first church in Ireland in 432 CE; St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, founded by St. ...