Welcome to the Church of St. James the Apostle located in the heart of Kemptville. St James is an active parish with roots going back to 1826. Although the Church is the community, rather than the stone and mortar, the fabric of the Church is important. It reminds us of the continuity of the membership, the legacy of previous communities, and the responsibility that we bear to hand down that legacy.
St. James started as a mission parish in the Rideau townships in 1826. It quickly evolved into an Anglican parish, first as a frame building in 1827 and then in the current structure in 1878. In 1837 Governor Colborne declared it a crown rectory, ensuring that it would take its place as a full-fledged Anglican church in perpetuity.
The Reverend John Stannage solicited the moneys required for constructing the church and equipping it. In addition to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and other benefactors in England, local residents contributed handsomely. Among the donated equipment from 1877 and still in use, are the large candlesticks on the altar – from St. Paul’s Cathedral, London – and the font urn, from St. Martin’s Canterbury – the oldest church in Kent, England.
The interior of the building is lath and plaster. Stencils in the ceiling of the nave represent the twelve apostles. One large stencil serves as the backdrop to the font. The alpha and omega stencils repeat the theme of the triptych window above the altar. During the repairs following the fire on October 31, 2002, several stencils in the chancel were beyond repair. Fortunately, the fire did not damage the blue limestone exterior walls.
The stained-glass windows in the church are memorials to past members, early and late. They tell the history of the church. Each speaks of the mystery and joy of Christ and of our commissioning to be Christ’s ministers and disciples. The oldest is the Stannage triptych, a memorial to the rector who died in 1880. On the west wall is the rose window, which was a gift from the children and teachers of the Sunday School in 1882.
St. James Memorial is not a static building. Throughout the past 125 years the building has undergone many enhancements, some scheduled and some unscheduled as in the case of the fire. In both cases, parishioners have donated all the equipment and through proper stewardship, the moneys for the repairs. From St. Luke’s chapel in 1959, the baptistery in 1962, the accessibility ramp in 1990, new exterior doors in 2000, and the granite sign on the front lawn in 2002, members of St. James have ensured that the church will meet the needs of parishioners in Kemptville for years to come.
The organ bought in 1929 has its own unique history. Anecdotal evidence describes a 1946 innovation of the late Gil Hopson, owner of Kemptville pharmacy and St. James parishioner: enema tubing to serve as pipes for the then pneumatic organ. Conversion of the organ to electro-pneumatic occurred in 1956, losing those tubes.
By 2002, however, the organ was badly in need of restorative work. The congregation agreed do this at the same time as the repairs to the church following the fire. Once again, a gift from a parishioner made this possible. During the re-voicing of the pipes, the organ gave up one of its secrets: a pipe bearing the stamp of the manufacturer of the original organ.
The tower bell from the 1826 church, though cracked since 1878, calls Anglicans to worship on Sundays, and tolls for members’ weddings and funerals.
Please remember that you are in a house of prayer. It is a house of prayer and a house filled with activity. We believe that we are called by God to serve Christ through both work and prayer. You stand in the midst of a community dedicated to God and to one another, in service and in fellowship in and through Jesus.
Incumbents of the Parish of St. James, Kemptville
Rev. Henry Patton 1827-1845
Rev. Harvey McAlpine 1845-1851
Rev. F. Tremayne (Assistant) 1850-1851
Rev. Henry Plees 1851-1856
Rev. Richard Lewis 1856-1858
Rev. James Harris 1858-1866
Rev. John Stannage 1866-1880
Rev. Albert Spencer (Curate) 1855-1880
Rev. Thomas Parnell 1880-1881
Rev. Charles P. Emery 1881-1907
Rev. W. P. Reeve 1907-1908
Rev. Rupert J. Dumbrille 1908-1927
Rev. Canon John Depencier Wright 1927-1937
Rev. Canon A. G. Wakelin 1937-1950
Rev. Canon Stanley Kerrison 1950-1971
Rev. John Hart 1971-1976
Rev. Canon Cyril Betts 1976-1985
Rev. Canon Allan Lauder 1985-1997
Rev. Dr. Ray Porth 1997-2004
Rev. Canon David A. P. Smith 2004-2005
Rev. Canon Peggy Hudson 2005-2011
Rev. Andrew Chisholm 2011-2015
Rev Matthew Kydd(Area Ministry) 2011-2013
Rev. Robert Porter (2013- current with
Rev. Andrew Wilson (2016 – current
For a historical perspective, see – Strike, Gwyn. “The History of the Parish of St. James Kemptville. 1827-1978.“