Celebrating the Episcopal Church of Saint James’ 125Th Anniversaryby Representative Rodney P. Frelinghuysen
Posted on 2013-12-12
of new jersey
in the house of representatives
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the Episcopal
Church of Saint James, located in Essex County, New Jersey, as it
celebrates its 125th anniversary.
The Episcopal Church of St. James began as a small, sixteen person group in 1887 lead by Reverend P.M. Bleecker. As the group grew, a Missionary Committee was established and, at the suggestion of the Bishop, the name ``St. James Church, Upper Montclair'' was adopted. Within that year, the congregation would grow to consist of 45 people. On December 12, 1888, the Bishop gave canonical permission to form a Parish in the Diocese of Newark. On December 27 of that same year, the Articles of Association were signed. The next day the articles were filed and the church became official.
Around the same time, the church purchased the ``Cliffside Chapel'' from a nearby Presbyterian Church, which now serves as the cornerstone of the current church.
In 1892, an Alter Guild was formed to attend to the clerical vestments and appointments of the alter. That same year, the Rood Screen was added to the Chancel, and gas was introduced for lighting. The first Vested Choir began in 1898, two members of which continued to sing for the church for over forty years.
In 1902, the church organ was not functioning properly because the building lacked electricity. Later that year, a pipe organ was anonymously donated to replace it. Ten years later, the church ordered a new organ, which was so large they had to modify the roof to fit it.
In 1941, the Willet Studios of Philadelphia began to commission the stained glass windows for the church. That same year, the church installed the Hildreth Meiere painting of James and John fishing over the alter. By 1956, the ``Windows of St. James'' were completed.
Since the church was built, the congregation has significantly grown. So, the church has developed many programs and groups to help its members. These programs include Youth Groups, Bible Studies, Adult Education, as well as a pre-school.
The church also participates in community service and outreach locally, nationally, and internationally. They work with many organizations to send their congregation, along with others who are interested, on missionary trips to various places in need of aid. Previous trips have been to Appalachia and New Orleans.
[[Page E1866]] The most recent trip was to the Jersey Shore to assist in the clean-up from Superstorm Sandy.
Mr. Speaker, I ask you and my colleagues to join me in congratulating the Episcopal Church of St. James in celebrating its 125th anniversary.