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


9:00 AM Worship Service
Summer Schedule

Upcoming Events:

Vacation Bible School
July 24-28th


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


She was among the early morning swimmers. Ann's strokes were strong and efficient. Mine weren't. She introduced herself one morning, said she had taught swimming and said, “Let me show you how to swim more easily.” Thus began our water talks. On mornings when Ann wanted to chat, she would pause mid-pool, and wait for me. Her words always contained wisdom. “Mother said, 'life is a trip,'” she said one morning. “Just as we pack a bag for a trip, we need to pack a spiritual suitcase for life's journey.” Ann explained that she had made it a habit to memorize Bible verses, prayers, and poems, for her spiritual suitcase. “That way, if a time comes when I can no longer see to read, my spiritual suitcase will already be packed with what I need for the journey.”

One day, Ann paused, but when I reached her, she looked suddenly uncomfortable, said, “in just a bit,” and swam away. The third time this happened, I asked, “Is everything OK?” “I'm not sure.” She paused, took a deep breath and asked, “Are you familiar with Palmer's Prayer? I have a strong feeling that I'm supposed to tell you about that prayer.”

“Trust the feeling,” I said.

She shared a war time story credited to a Reverend Palmer. A physical disability left a young man ineligible for duty. His friends were sent to battlefields. He was left behind working in a box factory. Daily he folded heavy boxes for shipping bullets to the front lines. As weeks passed, deep depression set in. One day he realized there was something more that he could do. He could pray. As he folded each box he prayed a seven-word prayer: “Holy, eternal God, have mercy on” . . . and inserted the name of a friend. Each box became another prayer. When he exhausted friends' names, he prayed for his coworkers, then for his neighbors. By shift's, he had prayed for hundreds. His depression decreased.

I thanked Ann, and on my way to shower, wondered if this conversation was typical for chaplains. It wasn't for teachers, my previous career. As I exited the building through the lobby, I found people standing frozen. The manager explained, “A plane hit a building in New York City.” She held up her hand and ducked around a corner to a television. “There has just been a second plane crash,” she reported back.

“I've got to get to campus,” I said. At the bottom of Red Water Hill, the radio reported a plane crashing into the Pentagon. When I got to BHSU, I went directly to the Student Union. People of all faiths and ages were crowded around televisions in stunned horror. I was asked to lead them in prayer. The ancient, seven-word prayer, common to three of the world's great religions provided common ground. Obviously it was God prompting Ann on that eleventh day of September 2001. I was thankful her spiritual suitcase contained that story.

I was reminded of Ann's suitcase when visiting Marilyn. This excellent surgical nurse began developing Alzheimer’s several months ago. The parish nurse and I were making visits. Marilyn greeted us with what has become her scripted conversation. “They've done a lovely job decorating this room.” The nurses and aides: “just wonderful, you know.” When asked about her children who had come for a Mother's Day visit, she tried to answer, then wilted. “I'm just having a dickens of a time,” she said. It's these, oh, what do you call them . . . I can't find . . .” Her thoughts were halting. She was troubled. “Words?” I guessed. She nodded. After a brief struggle to visit, I asked if she would like to pray. She nodded and we joined hands. When we began the Lord's Prayer, she prayed the words with us. By “Amen,” she had brightened considerably. “Could we do that again?” she asked. “I just really need to do that again, if it's appropriate.” Her words now flowed readily. She was beaming. We did as she requested. We again joined hands and prayed. Again, she prayed with us. “That's marvelous,” she said. “It really is! It's sort of a miracle. It's given my words back to me! I just really needed that.” The words packed in her spiritual suitcase had restored her thoughts. She found peace.

Marilyn's experience is not an isolated one. Often I witness the connective power of memorized words. People in a light coma rouse to whisper the Lord's Prayer with their gathered family. Others mouth the words of a treasured hymn as it is being sung to them. Such is the power of memorized passages to build bridges across memory gaps and to make connections. There is much wisdom in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” In the process of memorizing things for our spiritual suitcases, we think on them. These prayers and verses provide sustenance for those days to come. What words and thoughts have you chosen to carry with you? Pack wisely

Pastor Jean Helmer/SAM


Church Notes:

High School Rodeo Finals

Belle Fourche is once again hosting the South Dakota High School Rodeo Finals from June 13-17. Our church has been asked to clean up trash at the Roundup Grounds, and we need a number of people, both youth and adults, to volunteer. Tuesday & Wednesday the only area we will need to clean is the area around the cutting pens. Notice from the schedule below that we will not try to clean after the final performance on Saturday evening as that can run late; we will do the final cleaning on Sunday morning after church.

The following shows the times crews are needed each day:

Tuesday June 13: 8:30 PM

Wednesday June 14: 11:30 AM & 8:00 PM

Thursday June 15: 12:30 PM & 8:00 PM

Friday June 16: 12:30 PM & 8:00 PM

Sunday June 18: AFTER CHURCH

In the past we have received $1,000.00 to clean the rodeo grounds, so this is an easy and fun way for our church to make some money during our summer months when attendance is lower.


Vacation Bible School

Mark your calendars, parents, because Vacation Bible School will be held July 24-28 and will again be led by the Outlaw Ranch counselors. Remember there is no cost to the children attending VBS. Register as soon as possible so we can give Outlaw Ranch a fairly accurate count of participants. Anyone interested in housing the counselors or providing snacks and/or meals during the week of VBS, please speak to Tara Knapp, Vanesa Kudlock, or Mavis Ude.




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