History of Saint James
Church had its beginnings in the Sault area in 1832 when a mission was established. A few years later all missions were discontinued
and there was no Episcopal service in the area for about forty years.
1880 the Rt. Rev. S. S. Harris, Bishop of Michigan, visited the Sault area and arranged for the first service to be held in
the schoolrooms at Fort Brady.
Later that summer a permanent mission was
organized. A new building opened on Christmas Day in 1881. It was the barest of structures and was built on property near
the present location of War Memorial Hospital.
By 1885, St. James’
Church became a self-supporting congregation and was incorporated as a Parish of the Episcopal Church late that year.
The congregation soon outgrew its original church building and the construction of the present building
was begun. Stone from the power canal excavation was donated for the construction of this church building. Rough lumber and
timber were also donated, as were the memorial stained glass windows.
first service was held in the new church on April 12, 1903. 1906 chimes, consisting of eleven bells, were given to the city
by Chase A. Osborn. These bells are located in the tower of St. James’ because it was the only place in the city large
enough to hold them. They are still in use today and can be heard each Sunday morning.
the mid 1920’s, it became evident that the organ purchased in 1886 for the old church would have to be replaced. The
316 pipes of the old organ were cleaned and revoiced to become a part of the echo division of the new organ. The new organ,
built by the Wicks Pipe Organ Company, has 2,000 pipes, was installed in 1927 and is in use today.
In 1919, after much effort by its members and with great help from the community, the remaining debt
of St. James’ Church was paid off and the building was consecrated in April of that year.
At the time of its 50th anniversary in 1952, an extensive remodeling, relighting and redecorating
program was undertaken. Many memorials were given toward the refurbishing of St. James’ Church, including the cathedral
Episcopalians and many other residents of Sault Ste. Marie
are proud of this beautiful church building.
The Building is of Gothic
Revival design patterned after English parish churches of the late medieval period. The typically Gothic hammer beam ceilings
and the Tiffany stained windows are some of the notable features of the interior. The Resurrection window over the High Altar
and the beautifully hand carved figures of the four Evangelists on the rerodos are of special interest. The spectacular west
window is the third largest stained glass window in the state. The window in the south chapel depicts the Ascension, and the
one in the north chapel depicts the Nativity.
The needlepoint kneelers
for the communion rail and Acolytes, plus the wedding kneeler and kneeler for the Litany Desk were designed and fashioned
by church members. In each kneeler there are approximately 240,000 stitches.