II. Saint James' Church, Danbury, Connecticut The Episcopal Church was organized and incorporated in Danbury, Connecticut, in 1762, and known as the First Episcopal Church. The initial church building was erected on South Street near where the South Street School now stands. It was completed in 1767 and was large enough to accommodate four to five hundred people. During the Revolutionary War, Saint James was used as a warehouse for Yankee military stores. The church was spared by the British during the burning of Danbury in April of 1777, because it was an Anglican Church. A second church was built on the same spot in the early 1800's after the original one had fallen into decay. It was consecrated in 1802 and officially named Saint James' in 1810.
In 1844 a new church was erected on the present West Street site. During that year, the first organist was hired and a choir formed. New organs were dedicated at the 150th anniversary in 1912 and at the 200th anniversary in 1962. The congregation outgrew the church, and in 1867, a new building was erected which incorporated parts of the old church. The Gregory House, next door, became the rectory. In the early 1900's, it was remodeled as a parish house and a new rectory was built on Terrace Place. In 1920 a new parish house was erected (Luckenbill Hall?) and the Banks Memorial Chapel was constructed. In 1928 the Bulkley Memorial Carillon was installed in the tower. It was judged to be the finest tuned and tone-tempered set of bells ever made. The carillon consists of 25 bells. The bells and the tower were refurbished and rebuilt by Olympic Carillon Engineering of Seattle, Washington, (date?) and continue to bring the joy of beautiful music to Saint James and the City of Danbury.
Much of the parish house, gymnasium and church itself were renovated in the 1950's. In 1962 Saint James' celebrated its 200th anniversary. In 1967 a new rectory was built on Cannondale Drive.
Throughout its history in Danbury, Saint James' has had concern for three aspects of Christian life: Christian education, the needs of the Danbury community and meaningful worship for its congregation. These concerns bore fruit in such things as the founding of Wooster School in the 1920's as a preparatory school devoted to religion, work, self-help and simplicity. Saint James' also sponsors active and growing K-12 Church School and Youth programs. For many years Saint James has been a supporter of community groups that give aid to those in need such as the Food Pantry, the Dorothy Day Homeless Shelter and Covenant to Care Social Workers. We Crown them All William E. Devlin c. 1984
In 2012 Saint James' celebrated their 250th anniversary with the then Presiding Bishop, The Most Reverend Katherine Jefferts Schori. Saint James' continues to spread the Good News of God in Danbury and throughout the greater world. Her sermon can be found here. www.episcopalchurch.org/fr/node/128171
More information about the history, beliefs and practices of the Episcopal Church may be found by going to its web site at: www.episcopalchurch.org