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St. James, Wichita turns 100

Rev. Dawn Frankfurt made sure that the 100th Anniversary of St. James Church received prayer and contemplation several years before the planning began. Thus, the beginnings of the celebration started with the copious notes she kept of all that she felt was necessary for a reverent and proper celebration. As 2020 neared, the first order of business was to seek out co-chairs and establish a steering committee to head-up the coordination of this momentous event. 

With in-depth dialogue, the committee decided to take a survey of the congregation.  The results served as a guide and were invaluable in making many decisions. The steering committee set a calendar of activities and felt our tribute to 100 years of St. James Church had definition and balance.  

A Capital Campaign was initiated and Junior Warden, Woody Swain, identified 11 capital improvement projects that would greatly benefit the physical plant of the church and secure its future.    

A logo and theme were created giving identity and purpose to our materials.  Rev. Dawn drafted a Centennial Prayer which was immediately printed on bookmarks for dispersal. The Steering Committee commissioned an oil painting of the Te Deum window and gave it as a gift to the church at the Christmas Eve service in 2019.  Prints and note cards of the painting were made available for purchase.  

Anne Clark created a “coffee table” type book to memorialize the 100 years of St. James Church.  The book recognized our history, our church building, our priests, and our many traditions. The book was also available to purchase. Jay Price, church member, and professor of History at Wichita State University, completed the process of getting the church on the National Register of Historic Places.

It was decided that the commemoration would be a year long progression, from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.  January 2020, Rev. Gray Sunday was celebrated as our first event, in honor of our first rector.  In March, we honored our second rector, Rev. Sam West.  

The pandemic interrupted our plans, and we wound up canceling anniversary activities for the rest of 2020 and early 2021. We were disappointed but also knew how important it was to keep our parishioners and community safe. We kept a positive attitude and looked ahead.

St. James parishioners celebrate the church’s 100th anniversary at a reception held on November 14.

This fall our church leaders announced that our 100th Celebration Service would be Sunday, November 14, which corresponded with the date set by Bishop Cathleen Bascom for her annual visit to St. James, making it the perfect Sunday to dedicate the centennial. A champagne reception was held in the Guild Hall following the Eucharist.

We all are grateful for this church and the many saints that have contributed to its creation and success over the years. We hope the Lord will grant us another 100 years and more. A request has been made to the Vestry to allow $1,000 be set aside each year to guarantee funds for future celebrations.

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