Our parish history is a God-centered foundation of sharing the Good News. Saint James’ has a history of calling priest that break boundaries in order to share God’s love and the hope of Jesus Christ with all of God’s children. Our rectors and assistant rectors have been male and female, black and white, straight and gay, married and single, younger and older. What the rectors of St. James’ share in common with one another and with the people of Saint James’ is a passion for sharing God’s love and serving God in our church and our community.
The importance of Christian education lead to the establishment of Epiphany Chapel Church School in 1906 and Wooster School founded by Reverend Aaron Coburn in 1926, which still thrives today for grades K-12.
In the 1930s, St. James’ supported the community of Danbury by ministering to residents exposed to mercury poisoning from the city’s hat factories. More recently, St. James’ has sponsored refugee families and Boy Scout Troop 24.
As an Episcopal Church rooted in tradition, St. James’ strives to discern God’s will for the future. In recognition of the equality of women in priesthood, St. James’ proudly ordained a married couple, The Reverends Ann and Michael Coburn in 1977. The Coburns were instrumental in raising up many outreach ministries in Danbury, including the Daily Bread Food Pantry, which continues to operate in the rear of the church.
Under the spiritual guidance of The Reverend Dr. Laura Ahrens, called as Rector in 2000, St. James’ continued its outreach to the local community. A new area of outreach involved preparing and serving meals at the Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen, and supporting the overflow shelter during the winter months. Recognizing the necessity to assist in God’s work on a global level, a global outreach program was established in 2004. The Diocese of Connecticut elected The Rev. Dr. Laura Ahrens as Bishop Suffragan of Connecticut in 2007.
Called in 2010, the Parish of St. James’ welcomed the Reverend Dr. Joseph Krasinski and his husband with open arms. During his tenure, St. James’ began a relationship with El Hogar, a school established by Episcopal parishioners in Honduras, and accomplished several building renovations, including a kitchen and new floors in the sanctuary.
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.
Historical Timeline of Saint James’ Clergy -1900-present
Rev. George Davenport 1902-12 Elected Bishop of Maryland
Rev. Aaron Coburn 1913-28 Served as Headmaster of Wooster School
Rev. Hamilton Kellogg 1929-41 Elected Bishop of Minnesota
Rev. G. Richard Millard 1941-51 Elected Bishop Suffragan of California
Rev. Paul W. Wilbur 1952-57 Relocated to New London, CT
Rev. Dr. F. Graham Luckenbill 1958-81 Retired
Revs. Michael C. and Ann S. Coburn Relocated to Providence, RI - Curates 1977-79, Rectors 1982-98*
Rev. Dr. Laura J. Ahrens 2000-2007 Elected Bishop Suffragan of Connecticut
Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Krasinski 2010-2018 Relocated to North Haven, CT
* Rev. Michael Coburn is the grandson of Rev. Aaron Coburn
Selected Historical Milestones
Early 1700s Anglicans worshipped at the Congregational Church.
1762: Church of England agreed to the incorporation of an Anglican Church
1763: Church opened for services on South Street.
1810: First Episcopal Church became Saint James’ Episcopal Church
1844: Post fire, Church rebuilt at 25 West Street
1876: Cornerstone for the Gray, Gothic Revival Church was laid at its present West Street location
1922: Banks Memorial Chapel constructed
1928: Carillon bells installed in bell tower
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