DSC00228                     Saint James 50_SM

In the Town of Bovina where the Andes-Delhi Road (Rt. 28) crosses the Little Delaware River, Saint James Church stands on one side of the bridge, and a cluster of houses known locally as “The Hook” stands on the other.

According to one tradition the area is called “The Hook” due to the sharp curves of the old highway as it approached the bridge over the river. Another tradition claims “The Hook” received its name from the short drink the coachmen had at the tavern while their horses were being changed.

A third local tradition holds that the present Saint James Church stands at the entrance of the Gerry family’s Lake Delaware Farm because of some tardy children. One summer morning, after a late start, the Gerry family was hurrying to get to Saint John’s Church, Delhi in time for Sunday School. Commodore Gerry was exasperated at the delay and as the family reached the foot of the Lake Road, pointing to where Saint James would one day stand said, “I wish there were a Church here, then perhaps your children would get to Sunday School on time.”

Years later, during the summer of 1913, Miss Mabel Gerry began a series of missionary meetings in “The Hook,” held in the homes of Earl and Amy Fisk and of Roscoe Brown. During the summer, Miss Mabel became a familiar figure in “The Hook” and the surrounding countryside as she went about with her large notebook giving instructions and laying plans for the establishment of a mission congregation.

In the spring of 1914, a small house in “The Hook” was leased and prepared for use as a house of worship. Partitions were removed, a stove was installed for heating, and an Altar made of hard yellow pine helped convert the house into a chapel. The first service was held in the chapel on Palm Sunday, April 5, 1914, by the Rev. William A. Long who had been engaged to serve as a priest for the mission congregation. The second Bishop of Albany, the Rt. Rev. Richard Nelson, was present for the first Confirmation Service on Sunday, November 3, 1914.

In the early 1920s, Miss Angelica Gerry, sister of Miss Mabel, secured the services of the eminent and prolific American church architect, Ralph Adams Cram of Boston, to design the group of buildings of the present Saint James Church. Work was begun in spring of 1922. On Saint James’ Day, July 25th, 1922, the Bishop Coadjutor-elect, George Ashton Oldham, laid the corner stone.

CORNERSTONE SERVICE

The first services were held in the new Church building by the Rev. Octavius Edgelow during October 1923. The Bishop of Albany, the Rt. Rev. Richard Nelson and his Coadjutor, the Rt. Rev. George Oldham were present on Saint James Day, 1924, for the Consecration of the Church building.

While stones and mortar alone do not make a Church, the buildings of Saint James stand as a witness in the faith of its founders and to the devotion of its members.

Constructed of Catskill bluestone taken from local fences, and of Indiana limestone, and boasting a slate roof, Saint James Church is a Cram design influenced by the 12th Century Saint Mary’s Church, Iffley, Oxford, England. This transitional period incorporated late Romanesque as well as early Gothic themes as is obvious when one considers the eastern and western windows in Saint James. The interior walls are of white plaster, applied with a mason’s trowel giving it a wavy surface but a smooth texture. The broach roof spire was added to the massive central tower upon the insistence of Miss Angelica Gerry.