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St. James' Episcopal Church

September 2, 2010 - 1:12pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, religion, Churches, St. James' Episcopal Church.

Some of our readers had questions about the Bell Tower Restoration project at St. James Episcopal Church.

After the Aug. 25 article, church officials and committee members were kind enough to answer some additional questions about the nature of the tower's condition, the cost of the project, and other issues addressed by our readers.

They submitted the following information via e-mail:

The deterioration that we’re trying to address is structural in nature. This stems from water infiltration and the use of an overly hard mortar when the Church was re-pointed in the 1950s-1960s. As you can see if you look at the Bell Tower façade, some sections of the stonework have actually fallen off and we have had to rope off the front of the building.

We believe that the first phase of the Bell Tower reconstruction project, which includes rebuilding the top 10 feet of the tower and the roof, will cost no more than $500,000.

After completion of this first phase, we will attempt to address the additional issues relating to the stonework façade of the Bell Tower and the remainder of the Church in a multi-phase process. While the additional costs relating to the façade repair may run twice the cost of the original phase, the additional phases will no doubt take many years to complete.

The reason the cost is so high is that the project is very labor intensive, involves heavy materials and the work involving the first phase must be done at a height of 70 to 80 feet above the ground.

Neither the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, nor the Episcopal Church of the United States are directly involved in the project. Nor under our form of church governance would we expect them to be directly involved.

Even though the building is a source of concern, it does not diminish our desire to reach out to the community to fulfill our missions. St. James’ outreach to the community comes in many forms:

- George Rupprecht Fund: This summer, over 150 girls from 84 families have received school clothing, footwear and school supplies. At Christmas, we will again help the same number of girls with Christmas gifts. Year round, we help pay for extra-curricular activities and work to assure that each girl has a comfortable bed in which to sleep at night. This year, our budget is $72,000.

- Thrift Shop: St. James expanded its shop hours in 2010 to serve the community. Apart from clothing, we sell household items, books, toys, small furniture and lots of bric-a-brac. Persons coming to the George Rupprecht Fund are often given bags of clothing and household items for free. Four times a year, we host clothing giveaways.

- Episcopal Community Services: Serves the underprivileged in the Diocese of WNY.

- Bishop Masereka Christian Foundation: Sponsors children in Uganda to assist with schooling and medical needs.

- Comfort Food Dinners: Two dinners were held at St. James this past winter. All proceeds went to local charities.

- St. James is the local meeting place for other churches in the Deanery.

- St. James donates to the local food pantry, collects school supplies for children and, each Christmas, selects a local charity to support.

- We host many programs in the church so that the community can enjoy the ambience and the musical acoustics of the building, such as the Genesee Symphony, Genesee Chorale, Go-Art! and Crossroads House.

We have made the hard decision to stay at this location because of its viability to the community. St. James would exist and function without the building, but the building needs a caretaker and we have chosen to take on that role.

The alternative would be to leave a large untended building on Main Street. If we did not try to take care of the building, we would not be very good stewards of the building or good members of the community.

For more information, please call the church at 343-6802 or visit its website.

August 25, 2010 - 1:52pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, religion, Churches, St. James' Episcopal Church.

"Save the clock tower! Save the clock tower!"

Some of our readers will remember that line from the 1985 movie, "Back to the Future." Well, Batavia's St. James Episcopal Church has its own version of that plea:

"Save the bell tower! Save the bell tower!"

The tower, pictured above, was built in 1908 and has been showing signs of wear in the last 10 years.

"Especially in the last couple of years, we've noticed deterioration," said Cathy Judkins, a member of St. James who is also on the committee for the tower's restoration.

St. James Vicar Steven Metcalfe said there has been a "real push" since 2008 toward preserving the tower, which is very important to the religious heritage of St. James Church -- not only because of its historical significance (St. James is one of the oldest religious communities in Batavia and makes use of the old, awe-inspiring cathedral architecture -- see the April 12 article on the stained-glass tour), but also because of what it means to St. James as a family in faith.

"We have a very vibrant, caring and faithful worship community," Metcalfe said. "We want our building to reflect that."

To that end, he also offered this defense of the importance of restoration: "It's like what they say about a house turning into a home: it becomes more than just a building when it's been lived in."

The church and the various fundraising committees dedicated to preserving and restoring the tower have worked hard over the last couple of years. They have hired architects and consulted stonemasons; they have organized fundraising events -- including concerts, a calendar sale during the Christmas season, and fish fries every Friday during Lent; they are starting a Captial Campaign next month, and have applied for four grants -- three from private organizations and one from New York State.

According to Judkins, they have divided the overall project into six phases in order to make it more "financially manageable."

"The first phase is the most expensive," she said. "We're trying to raise about $500,000. We hope to have at least a fail-safe project by fall, something that can hold us together until we've reached our goal."

The church will accept monetary donations from anyone who would like to help out. People can also assist their efforts by supporting and/or attending their fundraisers, which are well-publicized.

Upcoming fundraisers include the second annual "Pedal to Save the Church", which starts at the church -- at 405 E. Main St. in Batavia -- around 8 a.m. (check-in) on Sept. 11, and a theatrical performance of "Tuesdays with Morrie," starring Batavia Players' Norm Argulsky as Morrie, on Oct. 16-17. All are invited to attend.

Additionally, Metcalfe invited anyone interested in lending a hand to come to the congregation and "get to know us." 

Marcia Gann, another member of St. James and the preservation committee, said that this project has garnered "great community support." She gratefully cited the support of the churches involved in the stained-glass tour, Adam Miller's Toys & Bicycles, and Present Tense Books as examples.

For more information on the bell tower restoration project and related fundraisers, please call the church at 343-6802 or visit their website.

April 12, 2010 - 10:49am

tour_stmarys04a.jpg

It's a little hard to imagine stained-glass art still having a place in American churches, with modern renovations such as movie theater set-ups, overhead projectors contemporary band music taking over the worship scene. But on Sunday, a tour sponsored by the Landmark Society of Genesee County took Batavia residents to five local churches where stained glass windows still have an important place.

The "Stained Glass Window Tour" was created in 1990. According to Landmark Society President Laurie Oltremari, this is the first time the tour has been revived in almost 20 years. This time around, it was done in order to raise money for the restoration efforts of St. James Episcopal Church.

"We thought it would be good exposure for the churches and their artwork," Oltremari said. "We hope we can make it an annual event."

The tour started at 1 p.m. and ended at 4 p.m., and tourists could visit the churches in any order they wanted. The five churches spanned several denominations, and the quantity and style of stained-glass art in each location reflected that.

The different sites were as follows:

January 20, 2010 - 9:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Churches, St. James' Episcopal Church.

haiti_service.jpg

Members of the St. James Episcopal Church in Batavia along with other community members gathered this evening in a special prayer service for victims of the earthquake in Haiti.  Above, the congregation opens the service by singing "Amazing Grace."

September 25, 2009 - 2:29pm
Event Date and Time: 
September 26, 2009 - 9:00am to 1:00pm

St. James’ Episcopal Church and the Landmark Society of Genesee County are hosting a bike rally from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26.

The event will raise money for renovations to the 100-year-old stone church located at 405 E. Main St., Batavia. (The rain date is scheduled for Oct. 3.)

Adam Miller Toys & Bikes will be at the church and will check over bikes beginning at 8 a.m.. There will be refreshments, prizes and tours of the church.

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