Tower and Building Restoration
"As those who came before us beautified this Church, we step forward to assume our place."
Who we are at Saint James’ Church
Our doors to worship opened in 1830 in a wooden building at Monroe and Division Streets in Watkins Glen. That wooden structure is still standing. Our present brick structure on Decatur Street was constructed in 1863-1864 with the first service being conducted there on Christmas 1864 … nearly 150 years ago! A community treasure! Some say, the bell tower was an addition to the original church and its construction is presumed to be around 1866; others say it was part of the original brick structure but may have been completed a year or so after the brick church was erected. In any event its bell has beckoned the faithful, and perhaps the not-so-faithful to enter for well over a Century!
The church building and the bell tower have developed significant structural deficiencies. A professional engineering assessment has recommended several steps that will be needed to restore the building to a safe condition and to preserve it for future generations. The project has been broken into phases with the final stage being the replacement of the bell tower, with the new tower reconstructed to architecturally match the existing tower, supported by a renovated foundation.
We are called to follow the tradition of generations who went before us. As a congregation we can keep the doors of Saint James’ Church open and safe for generations to come. And we can do that together.
Saint James’ Church is the oldest brick church in Schuyler County. Since 1864 families have gathered together to worship within our walls. Generations have knelt in the pews, baptized their babies, exchanged marriage vows, buried their loved ones, exchanged the Peace, loved, laughed, cried, and prayed together. The early pioneers built our Church, and were confident that their commitment and faith would continue for generations to come.
Now it is our responsibility to embrace the commitment of that earlier generation to maintain the house of worship that they built those many years ago.
Let it be bright!
Let it be possible!
Let it happen!
If future generations are to worship in Saint James’ Church, now is the time for us to assume our place. Those generations will come together in Saint James’ Church to share their love of Christ and his Church and will offer fellowship, comfort and peace for all who come – if we assume our place.
The future of Saint James’ Church lies in our hands. Stewardship is a responsibility of every parishioner and our place of worship must be a safe environment for everyone who enters through our doors. Our predecessors struggled to raise the funds to construct Saint James’ Church. Surely they did not expect that future generations of the community would simply allow the building to decay.
The future must be bright;
the light must shine;
and we must save our church building.
The immediate challenge is to raise $150,000 to fund the first phase of the restoration. Ultimately, our challenge is to raise $500,000 for the entire Restoration Project. It will cover the cost of the structural work to preserve the tower, and stabilize and repair the edifice that supports it. Our fund-raising efforts, which began in 2011, have paid for the engineering assessment and safety essentials. And now the challenge begins.
Funding sources could ultimately include assistance from the Diocese, the State and the Federal Government. But most importantly it will come from individuals like YOU who will take ownership and assume responsibility for continuing the care of Saint James’ Church as has been done for almost two centuries.
Saint James' Church and the Community
We are a spiritual home in times of need. And we support and host many mission and outreach efforts in the community. Among them are:
It is all about Stewardship
The dictionary defines stewardship as the management of another’s property, finances or other affairs. In the spiritual sense, stewardship can be defined as using the gifts God has given us, and to do the work God is calling us to do. This involves the use of our time, our talents, and our treasure. In the book of Genesis, God entrusts us to use and care for all creation.
We are invited to be stewards in all aspects of our lives by caring for the environment, addressing the needs of the poor, and by giving freely of our resources to support the work of Christ. When we give our time, our talents and our treasure in support of the work of Christ at Saint James’ Church, we are being stewards of God’s creation and giving back to God a portion of what he has given to us.
If you would be so willing to support us in our restoration efforts, in any amount, please fill out this pledge card:
And send to:
Saint James’ Episcopal Church
Church & Tower Restoration Fund
112 Sixth Street
Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Or click the "Donate" button. It will take you to our PayPal page.
Church & Tower Restoration Committee
Kate LaMoreaux, Chair – (607) 546-6477
George Mahler – (607) 535-6536
Patty Kehe – (864) 404-6688