Saint James’ Episcopal Church: Who We Are
Saint James’ Episcopal Church is a caring, committed congregation of believers in Jesus Christ that faithfully upholds a tradition that dates back to 1830. Our love of God inspires us to warmly receive all His people at our sacred place of worship and to reach out into our beautiful Finger Lakes community.
Our Seneca Lake community is showing fresh signs of promise. Watkins Glen has long-established tourist draws of Seneca Lake, the dramatic gorge at Watkins Glen State Park and a world renown auto-racing program. Furthermore, in recent years, the spectacular growth of the local wine industry has driven a new spike in tourism.
Our Parish Personality
We are an authentic, warm, friendly group without significant division or tensions. We are close-knit.
We openly welcome visitors, whether they be tourists likely to be one-time guests or prospective new members. We are particularly eager to invite and encourage families with children to join us. We invite all who attend our regular 10:45 Sunday service to join us for coffee and snacks in the adjoining parish hall, and many visitors take us up on it.
We are a generous group — generous of treasure, time and talents. We pitch in for various church projects, ranging from fund-raising dinners to group cleanups to church bazaars. Also, we actively support each other outside the church.
We are closely affiliated with two other Schuyler County organizations: St. John’s Episcopal Church in Catharine, about 7.5 miles to the southeast of St. James’, and to St. Paul’s Episcopal Mission in Montour Falls, about 4 miles to the south. St. John’s conducts regular Sunday worship services, while St. Paul’s does not.
Other Details about St. James’
- History. Our congregation first gathered in Watkins Glen in 1830. As the Erie Canal opened up and linked to several of the Finger Lakes, new boat traffic on Seneca Lake spurred growth in Watkins Glen. St. James’ Episcopal built its existing sanctuary during the Civil War. It was the town’s first brick church. Its early leaders had ties to the Schuylers, a politically connected family in Albany during the American Revolutionary War. For details, see here.
- Leadership, Programs, Organization. Father Abidhananthar now serves both St. James' Episcopal Church in Watkins Glen and St. John's Episcopal Church in Catherine.
- Financials. For details about giving and expenses for St. James’, St. John’s and St. Paul’s, see here.
- Community and Diocese. Schuyler County’s economy is driven largely by tourism. The gorge at Watkins Glen State Park attracted some 800,000 visitors in 2015. Seneca Lake attracts boaters, swimmers and fishermen. The race track, Watkins Glen International, was voted best NASCAR track in the country last year by USA Today readers. This year, in addition to a major NASCAR race, Formula I racing is returning after an absence of many years. For details on the local attractions and county demographic data, see here.