UPDATE ON PARISH HOUSE ADAPTATIONS
Action visible! Our new handicap ramp is nearly completed at the Mass Ave/Beech St. door of the church! Now we await the replacement of the two temporary non-handicap-accessible and one temporary accessible outside toilets at the west end of the church with the promised handicap-accessible toilets heated and plumbed, and the Sasaki-designed sacristy bathroom built! Rest assured that your Rector, Wardens and Vestry have your interests on the front burner!
ST. JAMES’S OFFICES HAVE MOVED TO AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE!
The St. James's staff has been ensconced in our new temporary offices at 90 Sherman St., the Brickyard Office Building, Cambridge, MA 02140. But at last we have fulfilled our original office plan: the American Friends Service Committee building has been renovated, following their electrical fire last August. St. James’s staff moved to 2161 Massachusetts Ave. on June 22nd. Please note: Our official address will remain 1991 Massachusetts Avenue and our phone is still 617.547.4070.
NEIGHBORS APPEAL CITY PERMIT FOR ST. JAMES’S/OAKTREE
Having moved the parking ramp for our proposed parish house and condominiums back to the existing curb cut, so that it slopes down under the condos and puts garden space in place of the old ramp design down the back property line by the Kingdom Hall, St. James Place has received its final Historic Commission and City Planning approvals and as soon as they have construction financing, Oaktree will be ready to move to demolition. That should also have calmed neighbor/abutter opposition, since the ramp was their expressed concern. However, six abutters have filed an appeal charging the Planning Board with misplacement of the curb cut and lack of due process. Oaktree’s and St. James’s lawyers regard this appeal as a frivolous one, since the process was especially meticulous and the curb-cut issue is already resolved. However, it is the nature of our democracy that people are permitted to file such suits, and we are hopeful that we can resolve it quickly.
Opportunities for Redeveloping Our Property
St. James's Episcopal Church is embarking on a new phase in its long, storied and vibrant history. The Vestry of the parish, a specially formed Redevelopment Committee, and paid consultants have evaluated the possibility of redeveloping the St. James's property with our neighbors to the west, the Car Wash. We have concluded and affirmatively voted as a parish that partnering with Oaktree Development, the new owners of the Car Wash property, is in the best interests of the parish.
This web page is designed to help the parish and anyone interested on the Redevelopment process. Please read through the page and click on any of the attachments. If you have any questions, please contact Senior Warden Anne Read.
A Letter from Bishop Shaw (Download pdf)
Where We've Been: A St. James's Property Timeline
1864 - Rented upstairs room in Atwill’s Hall on corner of Russell Street
1865 - Rented upper rooms of Porter’s Hotel
1866 - Rented old Bank Building
1870 - Bought plot of Beech Street
1871 - St. James chapel built and consecrated
1876 - St. James’s Chapel, Newbury Street, Somerville, started
1881 - Purchased land for Parish House
1884 - Parish House completed
1885 - “Corner Lot” purchased
- Davenport Tavern moved to 81 Eustis Street
- Mrs. Mary Greenleaf offers to pay for chancel of new St. James Church
- Ground broken for new church
1889 - New St. James’s church opened
1892 - New property purchased north of chapel
1912 - Enlargement of parish house
1915 - “Parsons Lot” purchased and old stable removed
1918 - “Knights Garden” planted following plan by Cambridge City planner Mr. John Nolan
- New heating system installed
- Chapel deconsecrated
- “The Bungalow” property purchased and later sold to current owner
1948 - Rectory purchased in Belmont
1958 - Original chapel torn down
1959 - New addition added to parish house
1980’s - Knights Garden renovated
2008 - Redevelopment opportunity with adjacent property
Where We Could Go Next: An Image of the Redeveloped Property
Development Plans: Download PDF
A Prayer for St. James's in a Season of Discernment
Tom Brackett, Program Officer for Church Planting and Redevelopment at the Episcopal Church national office, wrote this prayer for St. James's, based on Genesis 32:24-31, the story of Jacob wrestling the angel and getting his new name, "Israel," "God perseveres."
O Breath of God,
You moved on the face of the waters and created order out of chaos . . .
Calm our hearts that we may hear you!
You who spoke light into darkness and pushed the shadows aside . . .
Drive out our fears and make your face to shine upon us!
You who wrestled with Jacob and marked him as your Israel . . .
Dance with us in our clumsiness and teach us your ways!
We are only what you make of us – so we give ourselves to you.
We have only what you've given us – so we give it all back to you.
We become only what you dream for us – as we learn . . .
and over again,
to say "Yes!"
to You . . . the One
who wrestles and dances
and creates and comforts
and dreams with us –
with this world –
with all that ever has been and ever will be,
(written for The Reverend Holly Lyman Antolini and the Vestry of St. James's Episcopal Church, Cambridge during this season of discernment on October 6th, 2008)