The History of St. James
St. James was founded in 1907 by a handful of parishioners under the guidance of the Rev. Armand deRossett Meares. In May of 1911, the Missionary Committee of the Asheville District approved the organization of St. James Mission at its Annual Convention. By the following summer, on July 25, 1912, St. James' Day, the cornerstone was laid for the new church. The first service of Holy Eucharist was held in the unfinished church on September 23, 1917, by the Rev. William F. Rice. It was through his efforts that the small mission grew to a reported 34 members in 1918. Also during this time the new rectory was built.In November 1939, the mission committee of the 37 year old mission set regular monthly meetings. Thirteen years later, on January 2, 1952, the mission committee voted to set the Annual Congregational Meeting for the second Sunday of January. Two weeks later, groundbreaking began again, but this time it was for the new parish hall.
On March 10, 1956, under the guidance of the Rev. Wm. Scott Root, St. James was given permission by Bishop Henry to apply for parish status. Two months later, on May 9, 1956, at the Annual Convention, St. James was admitted as a parish to the Diocese
of Western North Carolina.
By the early 1990's, parishioners had determined that a new location and building were needed to meet the parish's needs. The congregation gathered on March 22, 1993 to break ground for the current building. On St. James' Day, July 25, 1994, the parishioners processed from the old Vance Avenue building to the new church. Bishop Robert H. Johnson celebrated the Holy Eucharist and blessed the new church's altar and baptismal font. In its new location the parish has experienced a dynamic new life characterized by spiritual and numerical growth and a renewed emphasis on ministries and programs.
The Memorial Windows of St. James
The first of the numerous stained glass windows was installed over the altar in 1921. It is a representation of the Good Shephard. Twenty years passed before
the St. John the Baptist and Jesus at the age of Twelve were added to the wall behind the altar in 1941. Four more windows were added in the 1940's,
including two attributed to Tiffany and Company (although unsigned). With these gifts a tradition of memorial windows was established at St. James.
Another 30 years would pass, but beginning in 1975 the church saw a steady addition of memorial windows until in 1990 a grand total of sixteen windows
had been given to beautify the church for the glory of God.
When St. James moved to its current location in 1994, the sixteen old windows were moved as well, and thirteen new windows were added. The window of
the Risen Christ that surmounts the altar is lit from inside the church so that in the evening it is a striking witness to people driving into town. St. James is
affectionately known as the church of the "Jesus window" and we have been told wonderful stories of people receiving comfort and strength from the sight of
St. Mary Magdalene (1944) is attributed to Tiffany & Co., Pentecost was installed in 1975, and to the right is a detail of The Risen Christ (1994).
Original church located on Vance Avenue
1914 - 1994
St. James today
The Good Shepherd (1921) and Jesus At The Age of Twelve (1941)
The Risen Christ (1994) stands 29 feet tall. It depicts the glorious rising of Christ from the dead. An interesting feature of this window is the use of lead cames near the base. These curving lines follow the contours of the Swannanoa Mountain range across the valley.