When we gather for worship, we connect with believers everywhere.

When we study the Bible and pray, we are drawn more deeply into God’s own saving story.

When we serve others and address social issues that affect the common good, we live out our Christian faith.


Church Services:



5:00 PM Worship Service


10:15 AM Worship Service

Upcoming Events:

Christmas Eve Service
December 24th 4:30pm

Christmas Day Service

December 25th 10:15am

More information on all of these events and more read our Church Newsletter.

St. James DVD

Church Service on DVD. If you had been listening to the radio service of St. James Lutheran Church for years, you may have noticed that we are no longer on the radio. Instead we have been making DVD's of the church services each Sunday, and copies of the services have been distributed to friends and members who would like one. We are currently only recording the Sunday worship services, but recordings can also be made of special services as well. If you would like to have a copy of the services, please let Ann in the church office know, and it can be provided.


St. James Lutheran Church


Whether you are a new member or just visiting, we want to let you know how excited we are in having you here. Our web site contains helpful information about the varied ministries and programs of St. James Lutheran Church.

St. James membership is comprised of individuals of all ages and diverse backgrounds. We faithfully preach and teach the living word of God to help you further develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Then, we nurture Christian lives by meeting spiritual needs and make disciples through our witness. We are, by the grace of God, the St. James Lutheran Church.

Please consider yourself an important part of the St. James Church family. Here you will find a church in which you will be welcomed, greeted, loved, and cared for, in the name of Jesus the Risen Savior. There is a very special place for you at St. James, and if you haven't already, we hope you will consider making St. James your church home.


Pastor's Ponderings


I am your SAM – Synodically Authorized Minister. It is the ELCA equivalent of an Ordained Deacon in the United Methodist tradition, or a Licensed Laity pastor in the United Church of Christ tradition. As such, I am required to have a formal background in theological studies and pastoral care. In addition to Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, I have a Diploma of Completion from the Yankton School of Theology. It was a four-year program of courses, each condensing an area of study required by mainline seminaries. Additionally, I am required to do continuing education annually. To those who have asked why I don’t become ordained: that requires a Master’s of Divinity Degree – roughly 3 years away from home plus nearly $100,000 of expenses. That is offered as a gentle reminder that the pastor you are seeking likely has a hefty student debt. It is also a not-so-subtle reminder that your donations to the Synod help furnish financial aid to seminarians. It is good to water the crop you hope to harvest!

My extended family includes three traditionally ordained pastors. Each has a Bachelor’s Degree from a 4 year accredited university and a Masters of Divinity Degree from a mainline seminary. Representing three denominations: the United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church USA, and American Baptist Church, they each sought to enter the parish ministry. Thus began their search for a congregation that would be a good match for their sense of calling and mission. Before they could answer Jesus’ call to “feed my lambs, shepherd my flock, feed my sheep,” (John 21:15-17, paraphrased), they needed to know about the specific flocks (parishes) they were considering. When considering the profiles (self-descriptions) of congregations seeking pastors, they paid close attention to two areas: the congregation’s demographics, and the church’s sense of mission. There are questions all congregations should consider on a regular basis.

First, what are the demographics of those who regularly attend and support our church?

  • Which age groups are represented?

  • What categories do their occupations comprise?

  • How many have children living at home?

  • What percentage live alone?

    These questions reveal who this church is currently serving. The needs of a church mainly comprised of people in the “first half of life” are different than the needs of a church of people mainly in the “second half of life.” Both ministries and sets of people are absolutely vital to a parish. Each requires a unique set of skills. Pastors are differently gifted – there needs to be a good “dominate needs/dominate skills” match. (Pray for your Call Committee Members as they wrestle with these questions and these issues.)

    The next questions regard the church’s mission.

    • What is God calling this congregation to do here in this community? (What needs do our efforts serve?)

    • What do we do that gives us joy and lets us “serve the Lord in gladness?”

    • What is God calling our larger church to do in the world? (How do we work with other congregations on the

    Synod level to meet the greater needs of a denomination, of a nation, of the world?) How would you answer those questions in words? I can see your answers in your deeds.

    You have shown me that you are called to worship the Lord and to love (show compassion for) your neighbors. Your worship services are made more beautiful through music provided by cantors, vocal and bell choirs, and by piano and organ music. Worship is made more reflective by the actions of acolytes and through silent and responsive prayers. (This pastor is working on the whole word thing. Your loving graciousness and shared laughter brings its own benediction of love! I am blessed to be here.) It is St. James Lutheran Church’s compassion for your neighbors that make me want to be a part of your efforts.

    Woodrow Wilson and Mahatma Gandhi both expressed it well. Wilson observed, “In the Lord’s Prayer, the first petition is for daily bread. No one can worship God or love his neighbor on an empty stomach.” Gandhi said, “There are people in the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”

    St. James Lutheran Church feeds people in many ways. Dinner Belle and Thanksgiving Feast meals provide free food. (In Belle Fourche, slightly over 50% of elementary students and of our senior citizens live below the poverty line.) Providing and preparing that food is only one part of your compassion for neighbors. There is a significant difference between your meals and those served by a Soup Kitchen. Both provide food that alleviates physical hunger. The distinction is this: at Dinner Belle and Thanksgiving Feast meals, those who provide the meals also share those meals, sitting at the tables and visiting with any and all who have come. This is table communion at its best. Your willingness to accept as equals all who are present builds connections and community. Notice how many come early and stay late at those events and at Sunday Fellowship.

    We live in a world where suicide rates among 8-12 year olds are soaring. Acts of fear-generated violence are increasing. We know more about sports and media stars than we do about those living next door. The sense of isolation increases as people starve for connections. It is not a new problem. In the words of Mother Teresa, “the hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” And it is precisely this hunger that you at St. James Lutheran Church address in your mission to “feed the lambs and shepherd the flock.” The Thanksgiving Feast and the Dinner Belle are extensions of the weekly fellowship hours. These table fellowships combine mission and ministry. And before anyone starts thinking, “But since I can no longer help with the food, I cannot be part of this mission,” consider this: There is a vital task for you to do: Take an active interest in those at your table. Invite the new-comer to join you. Get acquainted with those you know only by face or name. Your interest in others can warm and feed those hearts.

    St. James also warms hearts and bodies by quilting. Nearly 100 quilts were displayed last week. Some were purchased. The majority are gifts to meet a variety of needs. This church knows that hearts and stomachs both starve. You respond to those needs with joyful gladness. And that joyful combination of service and mission is precisely what will attract the attention of your new pastor. Thanks be to God for each and everyone of you! May your Christmas be blessed with joy and peace.

Pastor Jean Helmer


Church Notes:


The iPraise Christmas Program will be Saturday, December 10, during the worship service at 5 PM. All are invited to come and see the Christmas story as told by the children of our church. After the Christmas Program, there will be no iPraise until January 4 & 8.


100th Anniversary of St. James

In preparation for the 100th Anniversary of St. James Lutheran Church, please jot down your earliest memories of your time as a member of the congregation. Please also share photographs, older and current, of the church and your family. The pictures will be scanned and returned. Identify your photos with names and dates, and be sure your name is on your written memories. Leave them in the envelope in the office. They will be returned as promptly as possible. The plan is to have 4 programs throughout the year, highlighting different decades of the last one hundred years. The programs will culminate in a December celebration next year with a slide show of history and memories. Talk to Genevieve if you are interested in being on the Anniversary Committee.





first image second image third image fourth image fifth image sixth image seventh image eighth image
themed object
Bookmark and Share