About St. James
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What We Believe (Nicene Creed, Apostles' Creed)


St. James' Church History

1825- First Episcopal Worship Service by a regular clergyman in this area, the result of efforts by Mrs. Elizabeth Hull Townsend, held in Bath, the Rev. William Bostwick officiating. Rev. Bostwick was busy organizing new parishes including Bath, Penn Yan and Hammondsport.

1829- St. James' Parish, Hammondsport, officially organized. First Rector: Rev. William Bostwick. He perceived that this region would be ideal for the cultivation of grapes, brought in and planted the first vines, and so began the story of Wine Country, USA.

1833- First of three church buildings consecrated by Bishop Onderdonk- a graceful wooden structure of medium size.

1877- First church building de-consecrated and moved across Main Street. It became the Masonic Temple and still stands as a handsome reminder of our past. (see picture1)

1877- Second of three church buildings consecrated by Bishop Coxe- a large wooden structure. (see picture 2)

1894- Second building burned to the ground, its spire having been struck by lightning late one night and the local fire engine having failed at a critical moment. The Rector, the Rev. Thomas Duck, rescued the brass communion desk, the communion vessels, some altar vases, and the wooden hymn board, all of which are still in use today in the present building.

1895- Third and present church building, a large stone structure (see picture 3 and picture 4) completed and consecrated by the same Bishop Coxe. The architect, W. H. Archer of Buffalo, NY, combined materials and design to produce a building that most of us would recognize at once as Episcopal, especially with the main doors painted Episcopal red. The cornerstone contains documents formerly in the cornerstone of the second building plus an 1886 Prayer Book, an 1874 Hymnal, numerous photographs, and the names of the Rector (Rev Duck), Wardens, Vestry members and Building Committee members.

1950's-1980's - Complete renovation of the Undercroft- dining room, kitchen, office and restrooms. Also a new Sunday School room, as a memorial to Dean Frey. Renovation of the Sacristy as a memorial to Louise Hunn, with a new free-standing altar built as a gift of time and talent by parishioner Ed Tyler.

1990's- Church building made handicapped-accessible after a successful fundraising drive. The side steps into the tower were removed, an elevator was installed, and a new tower entrance with tower staircase were created. Sound equipment was added for the hearing-impaired. A new arched stained-glass window was created and installed in the tower above the side entrance. The window, presented to the church as a memorial to Gladys Champlin Doherty, is graced by symbols of local significance, including Keuka Lake, native grapes, and a vintage Glenn Curtiss aeroplane piloted by Mrs. Doherty's husband, a pioneer aviator. A "new" church organ (actually a grand 1890's Hook & Hastings in fine condition), was found by parishioner Gregg Learned and installed by Peckham & Son of Breesport, NY.

2003 - Major renovation to interior of sanctuary with much hand-crafted woodwork by parishioner Ed Tyler.

2008 - parishioner Gerald Lange published a book of photographs called The Windows and Sanctuary of St. James' Episcopal Church .

2009 - Complete renovation of the undercroft, including Fellowship Hall, kitchen, multi-purpose room, church office, heating and AC utilities. See more pictures here.

More information about the village of Hammondsport, NY

 

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