St James Episcopal Church

 "Connecting The People Of God"

110 West Green Street
Perry, Florida 32347


In 1916, the Episcopal ladies of Perry formed a Guild and met twice a month. It was during these meetings that they decided to build a Chapel. They voted to keep the Chapel seating capacity between 75 and 100 and to keep the cost under $400. Moneymaking projects were the topic of the minutes for the next nine years.

They looked at plans and photographs of a beautiful chapel at Murray Hill and even contacted them for further information. The ladies anxiously awaited a reply and were disappointed to learn that the little church had cost the people of Murray Hill $2,600, which was, of course, beyond their means.

Each Member was to raise as much as possible and the Guild also elected to visit Mr. Burton of Burton-Swartz Cypress Company the next time he was in Perry for possible assistance.

Both Mr. Burton and Mr. Swartz were Episcopalians. Mr. Burton had his headquarters in New Orleans and his nephew, Albert Rose, also an Episcopalian, was the President of the company for many years. Albert Rose's wife was an active member of the Ladies' Guild.

Later, the ladies decided to officially name their Guild "St. Margaret's Guild," and they continued to raise money for the Chapel they wanted so very much.

One project was a Silver Tea, which would include entertainment, music, and refreshments. A total of $52.50 was made. A total of $13.30 was raised by a cake sale.

The next big project was a musical. Cakes were baked and a donation of $0.75 each was donated by ladies to be put toward the purchase of ice cream from Mr. Bloodworth at the Bloodworth Drug Company. The proceeds of the musical amounted to $100.48, expenses being $15.50, leaving $84.98 in the bank.

The Guild continued to make plans and decided to once again contact Mr. Burton about the possibility of a lot for the church. He said he would investigate the situation and advised members to see how much money they could raise for the building fund.

And the so-called Guild continued through the years raising money through bake sales, rummage sales, Silver Musicals (which evolved into an annual event), and suppers at the Fair Grounds. They collected dues at each meeting, sold notepaper, guava paste, Christmas cards and candy after the picture show on Saturday. They planned fish chowder suppers, afternoon teas, kitchen bazaars and during Lent, they met every week, all day long for apron-making parties. They took orders and sold the aprons.

After 9 long years, it was well worth the wait, for such a beautiful little church they built! The cypress lumber, still in its natural state, was secured through Mr. & Mrs. Albert Rose and the Burton-Swartz Cypress Company. Burton-Swartz designed and built the church.