St. James’ Parish can trace its roots back to 1834 when Ingersoll was known as Oxford village or Oxford-on-The-Thames. The parish’s first services were held in a local school house near the present location of St. James’. The transition from these humble worship quarters to the first wooden church built in 1840 was a challenging period.
As you read our "history" below you will recognize that the parish continues to deal with many challenges through the decades.
History of Our Parish
The parish’s story is tightly interwoven with the history of the founding family of our community. James Ingersoll, the youngest son of Oxford Village’s founding father, Thomas, deeded a parcel of land to allow the construction of this first church building. The Annual Vestry minutes of 1847 indicate that James Ingersoll was one of the church wardens. By 1864, the original structure was in poor repair and the parish was in danger of closing down completely. But one week after the Bishop’s visit, Thomas Brown, a very successful and influential member of the Ingersoll community, gathered support for a forward looking idea at such a difficult time. He proposed that a Building Committee remove the wood frame church and erect in its place “a good permanent brick building, thereby saving a large outlay in repairs on this [building] which would be necessary in order to make it comfortable”. And so, a new phase began in the life of the St. James’ parish and the existing building that many generations have grown to love and appreciate was finally put in place by 1869. Yet, it wasn’t until all construction debts had been paid, that the parish went from “missionary” status to a “full-fledged” status on November 1, 1876.
The addition of the Parish Hall in 1930 allowed the parish to open its doors wider.
Many groups were welcomed into the parish as part of St. James’ outreach initiatives. The story of St. James', similar to the histories of many small town churches, reflects the high and lows, the peaks and valleys of the many eras of local and national and international history. As Ingersoll, the town, grew so did our presence in the community. Even though we may have evolved from a “pioneer” existence to a more sophisticated 21st century state, our faith has remained solidly in place.
In 2020, our church building was sold to a private developer. After much conversation, discussion and voting by Vestry from 2016 to 2019 it was decided that the size of our buildings were too large and too costly to be maintained by the size of our congregation. The Diocese of Huron approved the sale and consequently the parish is on the move again to find a smaller more economic property.
Presently we rent two facilities - Church services are held every Sunday at 10:30 at the Masonic Hall at 190 Thames St. S.; our other location is The Annex (beside First Baptist Church) on Thames Street South and Wednesday services are held there at 10AM. This is also our office administrations space and our meeting area for church groups.
Eventually we will rebuild or renovate an existing property in Ingersoll for the parish to continue its services and outreach work in the Ingersoll community.
No matter what the financial or physical obstacles have been in the past, present or the future,
St. James’ parishioners maintain their desire to be open and inviting Christians worshiping and ministering through the Anglican values in our local community and beyond.
OUR PARISH TODAY
Please feel welcome to join us in various ministries:
Joyful worship services
Church school program once a month
Book and bible study groups
Anglican Church Women (ACW); Altar Guild
Brotherhood of Anglican Men (BAC)
Please talk with our parish priest, lay readers, wardens, or church office administrator about programs that interest you, or about where your special gifts of ministry could be used.
Ingersoll Food Bank
St. James' continues its outreach ministry through this period of Covid 19 unsettling and difficult times. We continue to contribute monetary funds to the Salvation Army who administers the Food Bank needs and services here in Ingersoll.
Thanks to all parish members and friends of the parish who have assisted with this very important and necessary ministry.
If you would like to make a contribution please contact our Church Office either by email or phone.
Ingersoll & District Inter-church
56 Thames St. S. Ingersoll, ON N5C 2S9 519-933-7730
OUTREACH PROJECTS IN THE PAST YEARS INCLUDE: