Our History

Perry's first Episcopalian, Mrs. Arthur Hampton Seibert located here in 1903, and was the sole communicant until Major George Porter and his family moved from Live Oak later the same year. They met in homes to receive communion offered by the Venerable Curtis Grubb from Live Oak. In 1914, St. Paul's Mission was organized and services continued to meet in homes for five years. Then in 1919, the bishop called a congregational meeting in the local Methodist Church, and the name of the mission was changed to St. James. Over the next four years, services were held in various locations including the Masonic Temple, the Presbyterian Church, and occasionally the Methodist Church.

In 1921 land was acquired from the Burton-Schwartz Cypress Company, and the present church building was erected during Reverend Douglas Hobbs' tenure. In May 1925, The Right Reverend Frank A. Juhan, in his first official act following consecration, dedicated the church building.

St. James achieved parish status in 1956. The Rectory and the education building, George Porter Hall, were built in 1960. St. James paid off its indebtedness in 1980.

The house across the street was leased in 1987 for youth activities, then purchased in 1989, with monthly payments made through the generous gift of an anonymous donor. The house was used for office space and meeting rooms which freed up space in George Porter Hall for additional Sunday School rooms under the leadership of the former rector the Rev. Dr. Linda Lowry.

Throughout our history, the church has grown and prospered through the efforts of dedicated individuals who invested their time, faith, and money in building the church. It is a history rich in commitment and faith as demonstrated by those first few Episcopal women in 1916. These women formed St. Margaret's Guild and conducted fund raising projects for nine years in order to contract Burton-Schwartz to build the beautiful cypress church. Their legacy lived on through the years as the church grew and members consistently worked to furnish, equip, supply, and update church facilities. It has always been through these labors of love and faith that St. James has grown and survived since 1903.

Much of St. James' history reflects dedication, pride, tradition, and thanksgiving. In the older records this is best stated: "Thanks be to God that we have the little cypress church, St. James, in which we worship today."