The Founding of St. James Mission in Bradley Beach

The history of Saint James Episcopal Church, in Bradley Beach, New Jersey, clearly reflects a dedication by Christians to strong religious ideals, a determination to worship and serve God, an emphasis on the importance of family, and a responsibility to reach out and care for our fellow man.  It was not a smooth path; many others might have given up, but not the early members of St. James Church.

It is generally believed that the history of St. James Parish of Bradley Beach, NJ can be traced to a May 1911 series of meetings of Episcopalians, who were both members of Trinity Church in Asbury Park and residents of the rapidly growing shore communities in the immediate area of Bradley Beach.  The meetings were held to discuss the feasibility of establishing an Episcopal Church in Bradley Beach.  There is reason to believe that the meetings were strongly encouraged, and directly supported, by the Honorable James A. Bradley, the founder of Asbury Park, who wanted to develop the communities neighboring Ocean Grove into communities having strong religious traditions.

Church records indicate that the first Episcopal Church services in Bradley Beach were held in June 1911 “under the care and direction of Trinity Church, Asbury Park.” Initially the services were held in“Hall’s Hall”.  It is believed that this hall was the property of Mr. Herbert A. Hall, of Bradley Beach, who later served as the first Secretary of the St. James Mission Advisory Committee.  Sunday Services were held until the fall of 1912 when they were discontinued due to “small attendance and the absence of a lay reader.”  (Records indicate that Mr. Joseph Coyte who had read the service for the most part during this time was going south.”)

On Sunday, October 4th 1914, a meeting of interested congregants was convened at the home of Mr. Spencer Brearley, located at 402 Central Avenue in Bradley Beach.  After an opening devotional service of prayers and hymns, the participants (approximately 20 in number) entered into a discussion of the “ways and means of starting a Mission in Bradley Beach.”  During the week following that meeting, Mrs. Brearley and Mrs. William Sherman obtained permission to use an unoccupied store on La Reine Avenue, between Main Street and the railroad.  Mr. T. Frank Appleby, who owned the store, gave the use of it without charge.”   “Mr. Charles Mueller lent a piano, Mr. James Bradley furnished all  the chairs needed, and with other additions the store took on quite a churchly appearance.”

On the following Sunday, October 11th 1914, thirty persons attended an Episcopal Service held in the La Reine Avenue store, after it had been configured for religious services.  The services were conducted by Reverend William N. Bailey, Rector of Trinity Church in Asbury Park.  A Sunday School was started at once and sessions were held each Sunday afternoon at 2:30 pm.  Initially, there were “four teachers (Miss Anna Leonard, Miss Fannie Jones, Miss Ethel Leonard, and Miss Nettie Payne) and fifteen scholars; each Sunday saw an increase in the number of scholars.”  Church records state that “through the kindness of neighboring clergy and lay readers, it was possible to have divine worship every Sunday afternoon at 3:30 pm.”

Almost immediately, the congregation had outgrown their first home.  When Mr. Appleby offered use of the adjoining store, which was twice the size and had a room in the rear, the offer was quickly accepted.  Before the next Sunday, the new quarters were ready for use.  The rental was set at a rate of $100.00 per year, “and the Women’s Guild, filled with enthusiasm, began looking about for opportunities for making money.”  One of their first activities had been to serve sandwiches and coffee to the voters at the fall election (November 3rd 1914).  The proceeds from that activity ($40.86), together with $8.05 which had remained after all bills were paid from the offerings at Hall’s Hall, became the nucleus of a fund for a new church building.  Mr. Hall and other men of the congregation took turns “opening the buildings, half-hour prior to services, and tending to the fires during the meetings and services.”  The Mission’s goal to build a new church was considerably advanced by the donation of a building site, on the corner of Fourth and Hammond Avenues, by the Honorable James A. Bradley of Asbury Park.

Through the help of Archdeacon R. Bowden Shepherd, the Head of the Diocese’s Board of Missions, the little congregation in Bradley Beach became an officially organized Mission, in the Diocese of New Jersey, on February 16th 1915.  It is generally believed that, although St. James Mission was named in honor of St. James the Apostle, the name James was also chosen to the honor the man, James Adam Bradley, who had so strongly encouraged the formation of the Mission, supported its establishment in many ways, and had so generously donated the property on which to build the Church we worship in today.

Evolution of the Mission of St. James

The first official meeting of the congregation of the St. James Mission was held on February 25th 1915, just nine days after the official establishment of the Mission.  Notice of the Meeting had been announced during the service on Sunday February 21st 1915.  The Meeting Report indicates that fourteen ladies and six gentlemen attended the meeting.  The Acting Treasurer reported that 60 pledge cards had been distributed, of which 37 had been returned pledging a total of $322.00 per year; it was also estimated that the amount expected from the remaining 23 pledge cards would probably bring the total to $500.00 per year.  The Acting Chairman, Mr. Spencer Brearley, stated that Archdeacon Shepherd had requested that the Meeting be convened to select the men, who would be recommended to Bishop Paul Matthews, the fifth Bishop of New Jersey, for appointments as Warden, Treasurer, and Secretary of the Mission’s Advisory Committee.  At the meeting, the congregation selected by ballot Mr. Jacob Doll, Jr. as Warden, Mr. Walter Panz as Treasurer, and Mr. Herbert A. Hall as Secretary.  Follow-on meetings of the Mission Advisory Committee were held regularly, on a monthly basis; minutes for those meetings exist and are recorded in hand-written form in a bound book.

The Sunday Services, on February 28th and at 10:30 am on March 7th 1915, were conducted by The Reverend Charles H. Kidder, of Asbury Park, who served as the first Missionary-in-Charge of St. James Mission. The Reverend William Worthington, from Providence Rhode Island, was appointed Missionary-in-Charge with effect from March 7th 1915.  Father Worthington conducted services, for the first time, at 3:30 pm on March 7th 1915.  He continued to serve as Missionary-in-Charge only until April 4th 1915.  Sunday Services, at that time, included Holy Communion at 8:30 am, Morning Prayer and Sermon at 10:30 am, and Evensong at 7:30 pm.

On April 11th 1915, The Reverend G.H. Houghton Butler was appointed Missionary-in-Charge, a post he held until May 31st 1915.  A special meeting of the Mission Advisory Committee was held on April 12th 1915 at which time the Secretary, Mr. Hall, reported on the transfer of records from Father Worthington; he also announced that Archdeacon Shepherd had offered an organ, which had been donated by Miss Roundy of Bound Brook, NJ.  The offer of the organ was immediately accepted by the Committee.  The organ was received later in that month, overhauled (for a cost of $5.00), and “found to be a good instrument.”  Based on a comment made many years later, by Father Hadley, then Rector of St. James Parish, most likely this was a reed type organ.

During its Meeting held on May 3rd 1915, the First “Parochial Report” for the St. James Mission was considered, reviewed, and approved by the Mission Advisory Committee, prior to its submission to The Right Reverend Paul Matthews, Bishop of the New Jersey Diocese.  That Report, covering the period of time from the establishment of the Mission on February 16th 1915 to April 30th 1915, contained the following data:

  • Missionaries-in-Charge: Rev. Charles H. Kidder, Rev. William Worthington,          Rev. G. H. Houghton Butler
  • Participation: Forty-three Families and Parts of Families
  • Baptisms: Five Adults, Two Infants
  • Communicants: Thirty
  • Marriages: One
  • Public Services: Twenty-seven (Celebrations of  Eucharist, Evensongs, and Sunday School Sessions)
  • Holy Days/Others: Seven
  • Total Number of Services: Thirty-four
  • Sunday School: Six Teachers and Officials; Forty Scholars
  • Financial:Receipts:  $173.06; Expenses:  $117.01; Balance:  $56.05

In May 1915, Archdeacon Shepherd informed the Mission Advisory Committee that The Reverend John J. Neighbor would become Priest-in-Charge of the Mission in June, and would probably remain for an indefinite time thereafter if agreeable to all concerned.

At the Advisory Committee’s meeting on June 7th 1915, the Warden announced that the Deed for the property, on which the new church building was to be constructed, would probably be executed by Mr. James A. Bradley during the following week. Bishop Matthews and Archdeacon Shepherd visited Bradley Beach on July 7th 1915 to inspect the proposed building lot; during that visit, they also left a proposed plan for a Parish House.

In mid-1915, probably shortly after his July visit, Bishop Paul Matthews sent the St. James Women’s Guild a personal check in the amount of $500.00 as a contribution for the Church Building Fund.  That donation, plus several smaller donations, brought the total for the Building Fund to a little more than $2,600.00.

On August 22nd1915, approximately six months after establishment of the St. James Mission, Bishop Paul Matthews made an official visitation to St. James, during which he “confirmed a class of twenty-two people, nearly all adults.”  When necessary during the 1915 to 1917 time period, Father Kidder conducted religious services on behalf of The Reverend John J. Neighbor.

In response to a recommendation made by Bishop Matthews and Archdeacon Shepherd, a permanent Building Committee was formed on September 27th 1915 to enable the Mission to proceed as rapidly as possible with the construction of their new church.  During that meeting, eleven people were elected to serve on the Building Committee. The Committee was chaired by The Reverend John J. Neighbor and included six men and four women from the congregation.  The Building Committee selected Mr. Herbert Hall to serve as Secretary, and Mr. Peter Johnson to serve as Treasurer.  The Building Committee met on a weekly basis from the end of September 1915 until the end of November 1915; in addition, the Committee was convened thereafter whenever required.  (The hand-written Minutes for those meetings were recorded by Mr. Hall in the back of the Book used to record the Minutes for the regular Monthly Meetings of the Mission Advisory Committee.)

The Building Committee secured the services of an architect, Mr. Elmer Benner, to draw-up the building plans and specifications for the church. Mr. Benner agreed to forego the normal fee of 2.5% for preparing that documentation, as his contribution to the building fund.  After due consideration, the Building Committee agreed that the seating capacity of the church, exclusive of the seating for the choir, should accommodate 250 people; a capacity of 300 was also considered, but ultimately was rejected.  Throughout the process of developing the plans and specifications for the church, the Building Committee worked directly with Mr. Benner, who attended all meetings of the Building Committee. In early November 1915, the completed plans were sent to Archdeacon Shepherd and Mr. James Bradley for their approval.  At the Building Committee’s meeting on November 23rd1915, the Treasurer reported that the balance of funds on hand was only $1,211.89.  Immediately after that declaration, Father Neighbor informed the Committee of a meeting that he and three other members of the Building Committee had, on the previous Thursday, with Bishop Matthews, and the very good news that the Bishop had agreed to sign the “Contract and Notes necessary for building” (construction) to commence.

Hence, on October 4th 1916, the cornerstone for St. James Church was laid by Archdeacon R. Bowden Shepherd “with fitting ceremonies.”  It was reported that one hundred people had attended the ceremony.  The religious service associated with the cornerstone ceremony was conducted by Archdeacon Shepherd, who also gave the address. Reverend Charles H. Kidder, assisted in the conduct of the service. Visiting clergy included Reverend Harris C. Rush, of Westfield; Reverend Frederick Swezey, Rector of Christ Church in Shrewsbury; Reverend Robert MacKellar, Rector of Trinity Church in Red Bank; and Reverend Charles Dunham of Orange.  Church records indicate that the cornerstone contains: “a Prayer Book; Hymnal; History of the Church; Order of Service of the cornerstone laying; copies of the Churchman, the New York Times, the Seacoast News of Bradley Beach, and the Bradley Beach Herald; and a map of the borough.”

The architect, Mr. Elmer Benner of Asbury Park, supervised all construction work.  The first shovel of dirt was turned by Jacob Doll Jr., Warden.  “The edifice was to be constructed with stone face, shingled top, and slate roof.  The building was to cost about $12,000.00, and building was to be Gothic in style.”  Only three and one half months later, on January 14th 1917, St. James Church was dedicated. The Reverend John J. Neighbor, then Priest-in-Charge of the Mission, officiated at the dedication service; he was assisted by The Reverend Charles H. Kidder.  In spite of inclement weather, a large congregation had assembled for the dedication service.  Archdeacon Shepherd again was present, and he congratulated the members of the congregation on their ability to erect such an edifice in the short space of only two years.  After construction of the church, the property was valued at $11,000.00; and, the indebtedness was only $4,500.00.       

Father Neighbor continued to serve as Priest-in-Charge of the St. James Mission until late-1918.  The Reverend Harris C. Rush became Priest-in-Charge of St. James Mission on December 2nd 1918.  The Stowe’s Clerical Directory (1920-1921) shows that Father Rush was serving at St. James on the date of that Directory.  It is therefore estimated that Father Rush probably served as Priest-in-Charge from 1918 until late 1922, at which time he was succeeded by The Reverend John O. Ferris.  It is believed that Father Ferris served as Priest-in-Charge from late 1922 until mid-1926. However, it must be noted that few records exist for the period from mid-1918 to June 30th 1926. The Record for the June 30th 1926 Meeting of the Mission Advisory Committee clearly states that The Reverend Edmund J. Walenta presided over that meeting, in his capacity as Priest-in-Charge.  From the composition of the Minutes, it appears that the Committee meeting was held shortly after Father Walenta’s arrival.

In 1924, the property (land and house) adjoining the church was purchased from the Phelps sisters, for $7,000.00, for use as a Rectory.  According to Church Records, the associated “mortgage of $4,800.00 was satisfied without any problems or stress.”

After Archdeacon Shepherd’s death, the Diocese’s very strong support for St. James Mission continued under Bishop Matthews and Archdeacon Robert B. Gribbon.  Although the desire and commitment of the congregants of St. James Mission never waned, the Mission found itself under constant pressure from a financial viewpoint.  In the early part of the Mission period, the congregation had been able to scratch together the necessary funding for survival through contributions and fund raisers.  However, the period extending from the latter part of the 1920s through the 1930s was financially very difficult.  Had it not been for the strong personal support of Bishop Matthews and later by his successor, Bishop Wallace J. Gardner, and the interventions, direct assistance, and extra-ordinary support provided by Archdeacons Shepherd and Gribbon, the St. James Mission in Bradley Beach probably would not have survived those very difficult financial times.

St James Church (August 13, 1931)
Reverend Edmund J. Walenta

Never in the history of St. James (either as a Mission or as a Parish) was the financial situation more difficult, or threatening, than it was during Father Edmund J. Walenta’s tenure as Priest-in-Charge, which occurred during the years of the Great Depression.  Although it had appeared that St. James was gaining a sound financial footing in 1928, when a decision was made by the Mission Advisory Committee that the annual diocesan grant could be reduced from $500 to $400, the financial situation deteriorated substantially in 1929 and 1930.  By 1933, St. James Mission was unable to fully pay its bills, including Father Walenta’s minimum clergyman salary established by the Diocese.  In the summer of 1935, essential emergency repairs required for the church and rectory were able to be made only through the personal contributions made by the members of the Mission Advisory Committee.  By March 1937, the indebtedness of St. James Mission had grown to nearly $1,600 – a very large amount of money in those days.

In the mid-1930s, many fund raisers (e.g., ad journals, penny banks, car raffles, and bingo games) had been pursued, but with only limited success.  In 1937, a contract (for $590) had to be awarded for re-shingling and re-siding the church; it was possible to award the contract solely because the builder agreed to accept $50 as a down payment, with the rest to be paid when the Mission was able to do so.  Unfortunately, the builder defaulted on his payments to the lumberyard, which in turn pressured the Mission for earlier payments.  In May 1938, it became clear that the future of St. James Mission was in serious jeopardy, and its very survival was in doubt.  In addition to a number of bills for repairs, utilities, and services, over $1,500 was then owed the Priest-in-Charge, Father Walenta.  Archdeacon Robert B. Gribbon, then heading the Diocesan Board of Missions, met with Father Walenta to determine how the Mission should proceed.  At the end of May 1938, Father Walenta reported to the Mission Advisory Committee that he had moved to St. Mary’s in Point Pleasant, as a Priest-in-Residence, while remaining in charge of St. James, so that the St. James Rectory could be rented out to obtain additional income for the St. James Mission.  A rental contract for the Rectory ($35 per month) was signed in June 1938.

The financial situation continued to deteriorate and in February 1939, Bishop Gardner informed the Mission Advisory Committee that arrangements had been agreed between Archdeacon Gribbon and Father Walenta for the Diocese to help St. James resolve its indebtedness to Father Walenta, and that Archdeacon Gribbon would take over supervision of St. James Mission and its financial matters, as Priest-in-Charge, effective March 1st 1939.  In his letter, Bishop Gardner expressed the “hope that the whole congregation may be brought to realize our intent and endeavor, under new leadership, to develop the giving power as well as the parochial interest, which we feel is latent there.”  A major fund raising drive was immediately initiated by Archdeacon Gribbon; the drive included visits to each member of the congregation by the Archdeacon and an assisting student minister (Mr. Bailey) who had been assigned by the Diocese to assist Archdeacon Gribbon. Mr. Bailey continued in that capacity until April 1940 when he was ordained a priest and assigned to an established Parish in the Diocese.  The underlying plan for the fund raising drive called for the congregation to raise, through pledges, fifty to sixty dollars monthly to cover debts, with the balance of expenses to be paid by the Diocese.  The plan also included generation of a funding stream to make payments to Father Walenta in order to retire that debt as well. To serve the religious needs of the congregation of St. James Mission, arrangements were made for Mr. Bailey to conduct Sunday morning prayer services and to organize monthly choir rehearsals; Archdeacon Gribbon and Father Frederic F. Snow, who had also been made available by the Diocese, each celebrated Eucharist Services on two Sundays each month.

The new pledge campaign, established by Archdeacon Gribbon, was pursued vigorously by the Mission’s Advisory Committee with substantial success in achieving its established goals.  At the October 1939 Mission Advisory Committee Meeting, Archdeacon Gribbon announced that Father Snow would like to occupy the Rectory and supply necessary pastoral services.  Archdeacon Gribbon stated that he would endeavor to complete the arrangements with Father Snow since he was universally approved and desired by the congregation.  Consequently, Father Snow conducted most of the religious services held after November 1939, including the Christmas Eve service; he also served officially as an Assistant to Archdeacon Gribbon, in his role as Priest-in-Charge of the St. James Mission.  Bishop Paul Matthews, although retired, continued his strong personal support for the St. James Mission as evidenced by his visit to St. James and his attendance at the 11:00 am Eucharist Service on December 3rd 1939.

During a meeting held with Bishop Wallace Gardner, in March 1940, Archdeacon Gribbon “reported on the splendid progress of the Church operations” at the St. James Mission. He emphasized the points that positive financial balances were realized month-by-month, and that actions had been taken to pay off the past debts of the Mission. In addition, a Nursery School had been organized and all church organizations were actively promoting social activities to encourage greater attendance at church services.  Slow but steady progress continued and in August 1940, Archdeacon Gribbon and the Mission Advisory Committee agreed that a decision needed to be made regarding the immediate future of the Mission.  It was unanimously agreed that the Mission had recovered from its past financial difficulties and that an experienced member of the clergy should be assigned to guide the Mission toward becoming a fully operational, and self-sustaining, Parish in the Diocese of New Jersey.

St. James Parish – The Renaissance Period

Hence, on January 1st 1942, The Reverend Harry L. Hadley, former Rector of St. Stephens Church, Newark NJ, was appointed Priest-in-Charge of the St. James Mission by Bishop Gardner.  Father Hadley, in addition to being a deeply religious man, fully realized that the establishment of a sound financial plan, which could be executed with a high probability of success, was essential for the continued survival of the Mission and its ultimate achievement of Parish status.  Father Hadley was also a man with great leadership abilities, and as a consequence, he quickly gained the confidence of the congregation of the St. James Mission.  It was said that the members of the Mission worked and prayed, and then worked and prayed some more.  The results were unbelievable – in a little more than four years the Mission evolved to become self-supporting and proved that it had the religious and financial management abilities needed to function as an independent Parish.  Accordingly, on May 8th1946, at the Diocesan Convention, St. James Mission was admitted to the Diocese of New Jersey as a Parish.  On the same day, a Vestry was immediately formed by the congregation, and Father Hadley was unanimously selected to serve as the first Rector of St. James Parish.

Sunday Services included Holy Eucharist at 8:00 am and Morning Prayer with Sermon at 11:00 am; on the first Sunday of each month, Holy Eucharist with Sermon was celebrated at 11:00 am.  Holy Eucharist was also celebrated at 9:00 am each Wednesday.  Church School began at 9:45 am each Sunday.

After an uncertain beginning, the congregation of St. James was able to realize their dream not only to become a Mission of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey, but also an accepted independent Parish, thanks to the steadfast commitment, guidance and direct assistance provided by the Diocesan Board of Missions and the never ending support first by the Right Reverend Paul Matthews, fifth Bishop of New Jersey (1915-1937), and later by his successor Bishop Wallace J. Gardner (1937-1954).  Archdeacon R. Bowden Shepherd, of the Diocese’s Board of Missions, played a major role in establishing the St. James Mission by working directly with the local congregation to establish a representative Committee and to prepare the required application.  In Trenton, Archdeacon Shepherd personally managed the processes to quickly gain Diocesan approval to establish the Mission and to assign clergy to serve as priests-in-charge of the Mission.  From the beginning, Bishop Matthews made it clear, by his many personal actions, that he strongly supported establishment of the St. James Mission in Bradley Beach.  Archdeacon Robert B. Gribbon, successor to Archdeacon Shepherd, even served as Priest-in-Charge of the Mission to guide St. James Mission during the difficult financial times of the Great Depression.

The first Annual Meeting of St. James Parish was held on December 6th 1946, with thirty-six people attending. The hand-written Minutes for that Annual Meeting included the following organizational reports:

  • Altar Guild (Mrs. John P. Van Kirk):  9 members; meetings held each      month; Guild receives the cash from offerings made at the early service on the first Sunday of each month, which almost covers their operating costs
  • Acolyte Guild (Daniel Fitzgerald):  9 members (plus 3 in service); monthly meetings held; children’s services served by two younger boys
  • Organ and Choirs (James Baird):  In Mr. Baird’s absence, the Secretary of the Annual Meeting noted that Mr. Baird’s outstanding results were shown each Sunday morning
  • Church School (Herbert Lemmerman and Mrs. Robert Hansen): reported enrollment of 85 students in 1945, and 95 students in 1946; offerings of $546.00 and expenditures of $535.00; cash on hand (December 1946) of $215.47
  • Girls Friendly (Lorraine Taylor):  12 members and 3 advisors
  • Card Club (Mrs. John P. Van Kirk):  “Reported usual activities”
  • BSA Troop 108 (Joe Farrell):  Troop started in March 1946 with 6 boys, now (December 1946) have 15 boys and an Assistant Scout Master
  • Junior Women’s Guild/St. James Guild (Mrs. Herman Hausotte):    10 meetings with average attendance of 18 members; December 5th 1946 meeting had 24 present plus 7 guests
  • Rector (Father Harry Hadley):  Reported that official acts in 1946 included:  12 Baptisms, 16 Confirmations, 7 Marriages, and 17 Burials; and an average of 3 private communions each month
  • Treasurer’s Report:  Cash balance of $336.00; emergency Fund of $480.00

The period from the mid-1940s through the mid-1950s, during the tenure of Father Hadley, was a renaissance period for the congregation of St. James Church.  They had endured the financial stresses of the Great Depression and the emotional stresses of a World War which claimed the lives of many friends and fellow parishioners.  Through their personal sacrifices and steadfast determination, continued commitment and support from the Episcopal Diocese of N.J., and the inspiration, religious commitment, and strong leadership of Father Hadley, the people of St. James Church were able to realize the fulfillment of their dream to have their own Episcopal Parish in the borough of Bradley Beach, New Jersey.

In 1945, an electromechanical, tone-wheel, Hammond Organ (Series D) was donated to St. James Church by many members and friends of the congregation as a tribute to the men and women from the parish who had served in the Armed Forces of the United States during the Second World War.  The same donors also gave St. James Church a set of accompanying Deagan Organ Chimes, which were donated in memory of the men from the parish who had made the supreme sacrifice for their country while serving in the Armed Forces during the War.

church 1947

From 1947 Church Bulletin

In early 1947, Father Hadley, who loved classical music and had integrated it into the Sunday Eucharist Services, and who regarded the music ministry to be an essential element of religious worship, was instrumental in the formation of a traditional Anglican Boys Choir at   St. James. In the June 26th 1949 Sunday Bulletin, Father Hadley commented that “St. James is a singing church and the congregational singing of our people is outstanding.”  In addition to supporting religious services held at St. James, the Boys Choir often performed mini-concerts which were broadcast on Sunday afternoons by Asbury Park Radio Station WJLK.  Annual trips to New York City were organized by Father Hadley to show his appreciation for the dedication and work of the Boys Choir.  Collectively, these trips covered a variety of interests.  For example, in April 1948, the trip involved a visit to witness a theatrical performance, lunch, and a follow-on museum visit.  In May 1956, the Boys Choir took a bus trip to New York where they witnessed a “no-hit” game at Ebbets Field, won by the Dodgers. For the trip, the boys were accompanied by the Rector (as normal), three men and a woman from the Parish. By March 1948, the Church Choir had grown to comprise ten boys, five women, and four men.On October 11th 1947, a “Mr. and Mrs. Club,” which normally met at 8:00 pm on the first Saturday of each month, was formed.  A Mens Club, which met bi-weekly on Friday evenings, was formed on January 23rd 1948 to provide both a forum for social fellowship and to establish a group of men, having various skills, who were able to perform repairs or small renovations for the church property, and who also could provide technical and/or manpower support for the many activities sponsored by the other organizations of the parish.

A “Young People’s Group,” which met on Thursday evenings and had a membership of approximately fifteen young adults, was organized in January of 1948.  Betty Savoth and Ann Darnell, a member of the Young People’s Group, organized a Girls Choir for the Church School on February 18th 1948.  The Girls Choir held rehearsals on Tuesday evenings, and sang during the first service held each Sunday morning.  It was reported that the Girls Choir proudly wore new vestments during their first performance.

The women of the parish, continuing their tradition of strong parish support which had actually started in 1914 during the early days of the St. James Mission (and which continues to this day), provided many essential support services, fellowship activities, and fund raising events through programs pursued by their guilds and other organizations.  In May 1948, it was reported that the St. James Card Club, under the leadership of Mrs. John P. Van Kirk, had closed a successful season of fellowship, which also enabled them to contribute $127.00 toward the parish’s Diocesan Assessment.  The Junior Women’s Guild (which later became St. Martha’s Guild) was established on March 14th 1949.  Eighty persons attended the Annual Church School Picnic that was held at Ocean County Park, Saturday June 4th 1949.

St. James Parish, and its Rector Father Hadley, also actively participated in the community activities of Bradley Beach.  Father Hadley proudly served as the Chaplain for Local 50 of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association for a number of years.  In November of each year, annual Memorial Services were held at St. James Church to honor the PBA members; these Memorial Services were attended by members of Local 50, their families, borough officials, and friends (including the parishioners of St. James).  Baskets of flowers were placed in the sanctuary, on each side of the altar, by the PBA Local in loving memory of their departed brothers.

Clearly, during this period in the life of the parish, St. James Church had become a well recognized member of the Bradley Beach community and a vibrant focal point both for religious worship in the Episcopal tradition and for Christian fellowship.

This renaissance period for the parish, also included a number of improvements and renovations to the church building, most of which were financed through memorial gifts and donations by members of St. James.  The beautiful “Christ the Comforter” stained glass window, which to this day prominently occupies the space above the main altar, was donated by Mrs. Russell Van Kirk in memory of her husband in the spring of 1948.

On June 27th 1948, it was announced that a contract for a new fuel oil based heating system for the church, to replace the previous coal burning furnaces, had been signed and that installation would begin soon thereafter.  Although the pledge drive for the furnace fund had not yet reached the desired goal (there being a shortfall of $800.00), the Vestry had determined that the necessary additional pledges would very likely be received and that action to acquire the new heating system should be started as soon as possible to ensure that the work could be completed prior to the next winter heating season.  The new oil burners were placed in the small basement rooms that previously contained the coal burning furnaces, and two 1,000 gallon fuel oil tanks were placed in the ground near the oil burners.  Installation of the new heating system began in early August 1948; by September 19th 1948, installation of the system had been successfully completed. When announcing completion of the project, Father Hadley proudly remarked that “comfort is guaranteed for the most severe winter weather.” At the time, the Church Bulletin also noted that this work required “the replacement of unsightly pipes by aluminum ducts and numerous patches made with lathe and plaster.”

In November 1948, new “Vakumatic Sponge Rubber Cushions” for the kneeling benches were acquired.  These cushions were a gift of Joan Van Kirk, and were installed by three members of the Parish’s Men’s Club.

In February 1949, a contract financed by the St. James Guild was awarded for the redecoration of the church basement, which at that time included an assembly hall, kitchen, and entrance hall.  The color scheme chosen for the walls and new curtains was primrose and burgundy.  The project was completed prior to services on February 27th 1949.  Also on that date, a project to change the appearance of the altar was completed.  The Church Bulletin stated that “today, the altar which is the focal point of our devotions is spotless white, color of purity and joy.  The symbols and lettering are in gold leaf.”  This improvement project was funded by a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Victor Sutphen; Mr. Sutphen was then serving as Senior Warden.

A painting project, for the outside of the church and the rectory, was approved by the Vestry in June 1949.  Painting of the church was completed in August 1949, and painting of the rectory was completed in September 1949.

In October 1949, the original outside entrance doors for the church were replaced, thanks to a memorial gift from Mrs. John P. Van Kirk.  The doors were described to be of “massive oak construction and of modern ecclesiastical design” and “ornamented with handsome handmade wrought iron hinges.”

On October 18th 1954, a Guild of Choir Boys Mothers was formed to provide physical support necessary for the Boys Choir.  The first president of the Guild was Mrs. Rudolph Heydt; her sons, Robert and John were members of the Boys Choir almost from its beginning.

During the renaissance period, St. James Parish continued its steady growth as evidenced by its choir, which had membership from eleven different boroughs or communities.  It soon became clear that the original church building (shown below as illustrated on the cover of the Sunday Bulletin for August 3rd 1947), that had been constructed in 1916 and maintained through minimal funding during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, would have to be modernized and expanded to accommodate the growing needs of the congregation of St. James.

Hence, in the fall of 1954, the parish decided to embark on a special Building Fund campaign to construct an addition to its church building.  On November 21st 1954, ground was broken for an extension to the rear of the building and to make various internal improvements. The Building Campaign to finance the work was formally inaugurated with a parish reception, which filled the assembly hall, on Monday November 22nd 1954 at 8:00 pm.   After inspirational addresses by Bishop Alfred Banyard and Robert Kirby (from the Kirby-Smith firm, which had been engaged to conduct the Campaign), Father Hadley and Vestryman Harold Timms (Chairman of the Campaign) outlined their plans for the Building Campaign.  Three Borough Commissioners from Bradley Beach, (Mayor Lowenstein and Commissioners Kirms and DeVito), participated in the meeting to lend their support.  The Building Campaign took the form of pastoral visitations and included not only an appeal for funds for the required improvements but also a comprehensive survey of the parish.  In accordance with the plan, the Campaign was short and was concluded on December 10th 1954.  At the December 12th 1954 Services, Father Hadley announced that the Campaign had been a complete success and that, weather permitting, the work on the church extension would commence in the very near future – but the rear wall of the church would not be removed, until much later so that all church activities could continue during the construction period.

This work, known as the First Addition, included an enlarged chancel with new choir stalls and a beautification of the altar area, a new sacristy, and a new acolyte room.  Downstairs, the new construction included a choir room, kindergarten area, kitchen, and lavatories.  The addition and associated alterations to the church building were completed in time for use during worship on April 17th 1955 (the First Sunday after Easter).  The church expansion and renovation were rededicated on December 8th 1955 by Bishop Alfred L. Banyard, the 7th Bishop of New Jersey.  As part of this service, Bishop Banyard also dedicated the many gifts and memorials, including the beautiful stained glass windows, which had been donated by the parishioners, over the years, in thanksgiving to God for the blessings that had been bestowed on the Mission and Parish. Almost all of these gifts and memorials remain in the church today.

On November 14th 1956, Father Hadley offered his resignation; this being done in accordance with Canon 45 of the Episcopal Church which, effective on January 1st 1957, required all clergymen who had attained the age of 72 years to retire from the active ministry.  So, after serving the needs of the St. James congregation for 15 years, first as Priest-in-Charge of the Mission and later as the first Rector of the Parish, Father Hadley retired and moved to Belmar, NJ.  However, as Rector Emeritus, Father Hadley continued his service to God and the people of St. James Church, and periodically celebrated the Holy Eucharist and preached to the congregation, from the time of his retirement until December 1972 when he suffered a fall and broken leg.  He then moved to The Evergreens, the Diocesan Home for the aged, founded in Bound Brook in 1919 through the efforts of Bishop Paul Matthews.

Evolution of St. James Parish During the Post-Hadley Era

Following the retirement of Father Hadley, Mr. George E. Hall, then a senior at the General Theological Seminary in New York City, was invited by Bishop Banyard and the Vestry to serve as Layman-in-Charge of the St. James Parish. Since he was not yet ordained, arrangements were made for the Reverend John Patterson to take responsibility for the celebrations of the Holy Eucharist.  Mr. Hall served as Layman-in-Charge of St. James Church until April 27th 1957 when he was ordained to the diaconate and made Deacon-in-Charge of the Parish; he continued in that role until November 2nd 1957 when he was ordained a Priest by Bishop Banyard and immediately named Rector of St. James Parish.  Throughout that transitional period, Father Hadley made himself available for assistance, guidance, and continuity.  On November 3rd 1957, Father Hall celebrated his first Holy Eucharist at St. James Church.  In the months following, a 9:30 Sunday Service was added to the normal schedule of Services.

On October 10th 1960, work started on substantial changes to the exterior of the church; these renovations included:

  • New cedar siding for the entire church (excluding the sanctuary)
  • New structure at the entrance, and an extension of the roof
  • New belfry and tower (spire constructed of fiber glass)
  • Installation of a new bell in the belfry (bell being a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Reid)

In April 1961, work began on the Sanctuary; this included lowering the altar platform by one step, acquisition of a reredos carved by the Delong Company of Philadelphia for installation behind the main altar, and installation of new altar panels.  In May 1961, the porch and side steps of the Rectory were rebuilt and the entire exterior of the Rectory was re-painted.      Father Hall continued to serve as Rector of St. James Church until October 31st 1961, when he was called to serve as Rector of Calvary Church in Flemington, NJ.

The Reverend Dale Stewart Alexy succeeded Father George Hall as Rector of St. James on December 1st 1961. The Ministry of Religious Music, which also had been so much a part of Father Hadley’s ministry, was rejuvenated and substantially expanded under the charismatic Father Alexy.  Often the musical compositions performed during religious services held at St. James Church involved hymns sung by the combined boys, girls, and adult choirs, accompanied by organ music specially arranged for the service by Father Alexy.  Lenten Cantatas, sung by the 42 voices of the combined choirs and directed personally by Father Alexy, became a tradition at St. James during the 1960s. On Passion Sunday each year, a special Lenten Cantata was presented during the 4:00 pm service, attracting attendance by many people from the surrounding area, from both inside and outside the parish.

In April 1963, in recognition of the outstanding nature of the Music Ministry of St. James Church, a special arrangement of the popular Christian Hymn “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation,” for soprano, alto, tenor and bass voices and accompanied by organ, was prepared by Mr. Paul Van Dyke and dedicated to “St. James Church, Bradley Beach, New Jersey and its Rector, The Reverend D. Stewart Alexy”.  This arrangement was copyrighted and published as part of the Harold Flammer Choral Series.  Referring to this period in the history of St. James, a long-time member of St. James Church observed that many children of St. James, including her own, had received both a basic education in music and a life-long appreciation for religious music from Father Alexy.

On the social side, annual fall dinner dances, held in the Barclay Hotel in Belmar, became a much anticipated event on the shore social calendar starting in October 1962; these dinner dances continued as annual events for a number of years. In 1971 and 1972, Barbershop Harmony Nights, featuring the Asbury Park Chapter of Barbershop Quartets and the Jersey Shore Chapter of the Sweet Adelines, were organized by St. James Church and held in the Ascension Center of the Ascension Roman Catholic Church in Bradley Beach.  In 1975, the Ascension Center was the site selected for a four act Comedy/Varieties Show, written, produced, directed and acted by the clergy and parishioners of St. James Church.  A Bicentennial Barn Dance was organized in 1976 by St. James Church and held in the Avon Municipal Building.  The program published for each of these various social events carried a banner proclaiming St. James to be “The Friendly Church” – and who could argue that was not true!

The Parish of St. James continued its strong and steady growth, both in number of religious and social activities and in size of its congregation.  By 1963, St. James had grown to serve 430 communicants and had a Church School enrollment of 140 children.   Often at the 9:00 am and 11:00 am Services, folding chairs had to be set-up to accommodate the worshipers; the Sunday School space was always severely overcrowded at that time.

Recognizing that expansion was inevitable, in the fall of 1963 the Vestry and the Rector began the process to draw-up plans for construction and to design a special program to raise the required financing.  Bob McGrath, then a new member of St. James Church, served as a special advisor to the Building Committee; he also organized the fund raising campaign due to the special expertise and experience he had in that field. The resultant building plans and financial proposals of the Vestry were presented to the congregation during its Annual Meeting on January 13th 1964.  All proposals were approved, and a Goal of $60,000.00 was established for the Building Fund.  A number of parishioners immediately volunteered to serve as canvassers to call on their fellow parishioners to explain the plans, and to obtain their pledges for the building program.  After a series of three training sessions for the canvassers, the Campaign was launched on February 23rd 1964 by a formal “Dedication and Consecration Ceremony” which was conducted by Father Alexy after the 11:00 am Service.  Reports on “calls completed” were submitted weekly by the canvassers.  Parishioners were invited to pledge an amount that they felt appropriate for their means, and to commit to a payment plan involving weekly, semi-monthly, monthly or annual payments spread over a period of 156 weeks.  On March 29th 1964, approximately 5 weeks later, Victory Day was declared by the Rector, Father Alexy, noting that the pledges then totaled $62,500.00.  It was clear that most members of the congregation had participated in the Building Fund Drive, as evidenced by the fact that the amount raised resulted from one pledge of $3,000.00 and another pledge of $2,000.00; all other pledges were for lesser amounts.  The Vestry then called a Special Meeting of the Parish, two days later, on March 31st 1964 to obtain their permission to secure a loan through the Standing Committee of the Diocese to finance the building program using the pledges of the congregation as collateral for the loan.  With the necessary financing in-hand, the Vestry moved on to the contracting phase of the program.  A ground breaking ceremony for the Second Addition/Renovation was held on May 31st 1964.

The addition and renovation were substantial, featuring an extension of the Nave and a wrap-around expansion connecting the east and west wings of the church building.  Consequently, the floor spaces in the rear area of the building, at both the main and the undercroft levels, were essentially doubled in size.  On the main level of the church, the major changes included:

  • Extension of Nave to accommodate four additional pews on each side of center aisle
  • Conversion of the previous Sanctuary to a Chancel with arched ceiling
  • Construction of a new Sanctuary duplicating the previous Sanctuary in most details
  • Construction of additional entry to the church from the driveway next to the church
  • Addition of a Working Sacristy (which could also serve as the Acolytes’ Room)
  • Provision of a Choir Room (which could also be used as a small group meeting room or class room) in the east wing through expansion of the previous Study
  • Addition of an Office/Study behind the Choir Room
  • Addition of hallway behind the Sanctuary to connect the east and west wings
  • Addition of two Classrooms behind the Sanctuary accessed via the new hallway
  • Entrance to east wing via a sidewalk extending from the Hammond Street sidewalk
  • New and wider stairway from the Narthex to the Undercroft

In the Undercroft, the major changes included:

  • Main room of the undercroft was expanded much as in case of the Nave
  • Previous Nursery Room was extended forward 22 feet for use as one large room, capable of being divided by floor-to-ceiling folding partitions
  • Kitchen was lengthened
  • Behind kitchen, a new Nursery Room was provided under the Rector’s Office/Study
  • New five zone, gas-fired, hot water, baseboard heating system was installed
  • Previous furnace rooms were repaired for use as storage rooms for church supplies
  • Closets were added, and the rest rooms relocated and enlarged

In addition, an entire new roof was installed, and all windows in the Undercroft were replaced.  This Second Addition/Renovation of St. James Church, was completed in time to enable the church to be used for Worship on December 24th 1964 (Christmas Eve Service) that same year.

To commemorate the completion of this major addition, and renovation of St. James Church, and in conjunction with the Sacrament of Confirmation, The Right Reverend Alfred L. Banyard, Bishop of New Jersey, in the presence of Father Alexy (Rector), Reverend Harry L. Hadley (Rector Emeritus), the Wardens (Scott Appleton and George Savoth) and Vestry, and the congregation of St. James Church, blessed the expanded and renovated church building, for the service of Almighty God and religious use for Episcopal services. The dedication services were held in the evening commencing at 8:00 pm on March 10th 1965.  Following the formal dedication of the church, and a prayer of commemoration before the Altar, the Bishop and clergy proceeded to the Chapel of the Holy Comforter for the consecration of the Holy Table for use in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the blessing of the furnishings of the Chapel, and a prayer of commemoration. After administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation, an informal reception, hosted by the members of St. Martha’s Guild and coordinated by Betty Savoth, was held in the undercroft auditorium, both to honor Bishop Banyard and to welcome the new brethren in Christ.

On March 16th 1966, a Special Meeting of the Vestry was convened by Senior Warden Scott Appleton to organize a search for a new Rector of St James.  In January of that year, there had been an announcement that Father Alexy would be preaching at St. Paul In-the-Desert Church located in Palm Springs, CA.  On that day, Father Hadley had celebrated the Eucharist and  Mr. John E. Bird Jr. had preached the sermons at the two Prayer Services.  On May 29th 1966, less than two months after the Vestry’s initial meeting regarding their search for a new Rector, the congregation was informed that the recently ordained Reverend Richard M. Shaw would arrive in Bradley Beach later in the summer to start his service as fourth Rector of St. James Parish.  Shortly after conducting services on June 12th 1966, and the start of the summer season, Father Alexy and family departed for California to take up his new assignment as an Assistant to the Rector of St. Paul In-the-Desert Church in Palm Springs.

On August 1st 1966, Father Shaw assumed the post of Rector of St. James.  The religious and fellowship programs of the parish were well established and active.  The congregation numbered 480 communicants; celebrations of the Eucharist were held at 8:00 and 10:45 am each Sunday.  There was also a regularly scheduled Children’s Service at 10:00 am.  However, the financial condition of the parish was under stress and considerable attention had to be devoted to various drives and initiatives targeted toward gaining increases in the pledged contributions of parishioners, not only to maintain the operations of the parish but also to respond to the continuing obligations of the previous Building Fund.  During 1967, the Parish welcomed the first child (Gilbert Shaw) to be born to a serving Rector of St James.  Gilbert and parents attended a baby shower organized by St. Martha’s Guild.

Father Shaw resigned as Rector of St. James on May 15th 1969. Shortly thereafter, he was selected to serve as Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Poughkeepsie, NY, a position he held until 1977.  Father Shaw then moved to the Baltimore area where he worked in parishes located in the Baltimore area, and later, as a computer analyst for the Federal Health Care Financing Administration.  After a lengthy illness, Father Shaw died at the Fairhaven Health Center, in Sykesville, MD, on December 21st 1997, from complications of multiple sclerosis.

Father D. Stewart Alexy, who had returned to New Jersey from Palm Springs in 1968 and was serving as Rector of the Church of the Holy Spirit located in Bellmawr, NJ accepted the Vestry’s invitation to return to St. James as its Rector, with effect from November 1st 1969.

On October 25th 1969, John E. Bird Jr., from St. James Church, was ordained a priest by Bishop Alfred L. Banyard of the Diocese of New Jersey.  John Bird, who had been mentored by Father Alexy and who had been active in the lay ministry of St. James, has the distinction of being the first parishioner of St. James to be ordained a priest.  While in the lay ministry of   St. James, John taught Sunday School classes, adult bible studies, and Lenten adult classes; he also actively participated in the Building Fund Drive for the Second Addition to the Church.  While he was a student at the Philadelphia School of Divinity, he often preached during Sunday services at St. James, and served as sub-deacon during celebrations of major feasts.

The 60th Anniversary of St. James Church was celebrated at a 6:00 pm Commemorative Dinner, held in the Belmar Elks Hall, on June 13th 1971.  The ceremonies included an Invocation by the Rector, Father Alexy; reminiscences by Father Harry Hadley, who had guided the congregation of St. James through their final years as a Diocesan Mission, their transition to Parish status, and their early years as a Parish in the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey; music by the Four-in-Hand Barbershop Quartet; and an Anniversary Address by The Right Reverend Alfred L. Banyard, Bishop of New Jersey.

In November 1971, an Allen Organ (Model TC-3S) was acquired by St. James Church to replace the Hammond Organ that had been used by the church for religious services during the previous 26 years.  This Allen analog electronic organ was purchased from three sisters (Myrtle and Mildred Weber and Edna Disbrow), who lived at 509 4th Avenue in Bradley Beach, a short distance from St. James Church.  The three sisters even loaned the parish $4,500.00, at the time, to enable the purchase to be finalized.  Mildred Weber, who joined St. James Church in the mid-1970s, forgave her portion of the loan in May 1974.  In March 1976, the Vestry approved Father Alexy’s proposal to have the organ voiced, noting that it had been moved from a house to the church.  In December 1976, thanks to a gift from St. Martha’s Guild, the remainder of the loan ($3,000.00) was settled.  In November of that year, the Weber sisters also had returned the interest payment of $120.00, with a request that the money be used to pay for the annual WJLK broadcast of the St. James Christmas service.

In 1973, The Reverend Kenneth A. Gluckow was selected to serve as a part-time Assistant to the Rector of St. James (Father Alexy).  At the time, Father Gluckow had been employed for a number of years in the New Jersey electronics industry (RCA Institute and Bell Laboratories) and therefore was available to serve only on a part-time basis.

After refurbishing the Narthex in the latter part of 1975, the Vestry agreed that the front entrance doors should be replaced with doors having a religious theme, which would also enhance the beauty of the church entrance.  To that end, on January 10th 1976, Father Alexy initiated correspondence with the renowned Baut Studies of Swoyersville, PA concerning the design, fabrication, and installation of custom aluminum, Metal Art Stained Glass Doors for the entrance to St. James Church.  Within two weeks of the announcement of the Parish’s interest to acquire the new doors, the Vestry had secured sufficient funding, in pledges and cash, to proceed.  A contract, in the sum of $2,417.00, was executed on March 6th 1976 and the doors were completed in time to be blessed during a scheduled visitation by Bishop AlbertW. Van Duzer, the eighth Bishop of New Jersey, on the Feast of Pentecost, June 6th 1976.  The pair of custom entrance doors, which feature a metal art process, developed by the Baut Studies, with mouth-blown antique stained glass inserts, depict Jesus Christ – The Alpha and Omega on the west entrance door and St. James – the Apostle, on the east entrance door (that door also includes the name “St James”).  In 1988, the doors were back-lighted to bring out their true beauty when viewed at night.

In 1975, the Vestry decided to purchase a new Rectory for use by Father Alexy and his family, and to convert the original Rectory into a Parish Office. The house selected for the Rectory, located at 217 Fourth Avenue in Bradley Beach, was in excellent condition and available for a reasonable price.  To enable purchase of the house, the Wardens and Vestry decided that the Corporation of St. James Church would issue for sale 8% bonds to supplement the funds they had available for the purchase.  The bonds sold quickly; many were purchased by parishioners of St. James Church.  Father Alexy was able to move into the house during 1975.

On April 19th 1976, the Vestry formally recorded its appreciation and admiration to Judith Menut, who had given the Parish a beautiful Chasuble, featuring symbols of Christian art, which she had designed and personally made for the Rector’s use during the Easter Services.  Judith later designed and created a number of other vestments for use by the Parish.  Her other creations also included the Church Banner and the center block of the quilt which hangs in the auditorium of the Undercroft; that center block features a beautiful rendition of the church with the expression: “The Friendly Church.”

The years of 1977 and 1978 were a time of turbulence for St. James Church due to the unexpected departures of both the Assistant to the Rector, Father Gluckow, and the Rector, Father Alexy.  In April 1977, Father Gluckow informed the Vestry that he had tendered his resignation to the Rector with effect from June 1st 1977.  He indicated that it was also his intent to resign from his secular job in June 1977 so that he could work full time in the priesthood.  A few months after Father Gluckow’s departure, Father Alexy informed the Vestry in September 1977 that he had met with Bishop Van Duzer to discuss his resignation which would be effective not later than March 1st 1978.  In February 1978, Bishop Van Duzer announced that he had appointed Reverend Canon Joseph Hall to assist St. James Parish in the interim period between Father Alexy’s departure and a new priest’s arrival.  In addition, Bishop G. P. MellickBelshaw, then Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese, would be made available to celebrate both scheduled services on Easter Sunday.

Evolution of St. James Parish During the Post-Alexy Era

After the resignation of Father Alexy, the Vestry moved quickly in their search for a new Rector, culminating in a decision on June 25th 1978 to select The Reverend Kenneth A. Gluckow to be the next Rector of St. James, with effect from September 1st 1978.  Initially, Bishop Albert Van Duzer, Bishop of the New Jersey Diocese, could not approve the selection.  However, in February 1980, Bishop Van Duzer gave his approval and asked that a Service of Institution for Father Gluckow be arranged; that Service was conducted by The Reverend George Willis of St. George’s (Rumson) on March 26th 1980.

In addition, during the 1975 to 1979 period the financial situation at St. James was difficult, and one with considerable pressures.  In addition, to satisfying the normal parish financial obligations through pledged donations by its members, St. James was being called upon to pay what many members of the Vestry considered to be more than its fair share of the Diocesan Missionary Quota.  In June of 1978, the Vestry had no alternative but to agree that a portion of the un-invested Endowment Fund would be made available to the Treasurer to alleviate the financial crisis faced by the Parish.  In the fall of 1978, the Vestry and new Rector also agreed that they had no choice but to use the annual Stewardship Drive to inform the parishioners of the magnitude of the financial situation and to establish a special funding drive to urge the parishioners to increase the size of their pledges to enable St. James to satisfy their mounting financial obligations. As had been the case throughout the history of St. James, the parishioners fully understood the situation and responded favorably to the funding drive.  As a consequence, once again a sound financial foundation was established for the Parish.

In September 1977, after Father Alexy had submitted his resignation as Rector of St. James, the Senior Warden suggested that consideration be given to selling the new Rectory and allowing the new Rector to provide his own living accommodations through a living allowance that would be stipulated in his contract.  After many discussions of other alternatives, the Vestry agreed to pursue that course of action.  On June 21st 1978, George Savoth, who had been appointed as broker for the sale, informed the Vestry that an offer with reasonable terms had been received; the contract, however, would be contingent on approval by the Standing Committee of the Diocese – which was subsequently received.  The Vestry agreed to proceed with the sale and also agreed that George Savoth would be the Broker of Record and that Irving Keith would serve as the attorney for the transaction.  The closing for the sale of the Rectory occurred in early December 1978; proceeds from the sale totaled $40,211.25.  Both George Savoth and Irving Keith waived their customary fees.  The Vestry agreed to invest the proceeds from the sale in 90 day Treasury Certificates since recall of the previously issued bonds, used to finance the purchase of that Rectory, could not occur prior to May 1st 1979.  On March 21st 1979, a letter was sent to all bondholders informing them that St. James Church would call for redemption of all bonds on May 1st 1979, and that no interest would be paid for continued holdings after that date.  The Treasurer transferred $20,925.00 to Central Jersey Bank, from the proceeds of the Rectory sale, to cover redemption of the bonds.  On December 4th 1979, the Rector informed Central Jersey Bank that all bonds had been reclaimed and that the account could be closed.  It was determined that a profit of $9,300.00 had been realized from the sale.

At the Annual Meeting in January 1979, the Treasurer specially thanked the congregation for their support which had enabled the financial condition of the Parish to return to black ink.  In other reports, it was noted that the Church School had an enrollment of 75 students, comprising 8 classes, supported by an administrative and teaching staff of 12 adults.  For the Music Ministry, the Adult Choir had 16 members, and the Youth Choir had 7 members.

In May 1980, the Vestry agreed to ask Herbert Lemmerman to perform a comprehensive review of the parish’s investments that had been made under their Endowment Fund, since there had never been such an independent review of that Fund. After completing his review, Mr. Lemmerman recommended that monies then held in a Savings Account be moved to a higher paying investment instrument, and that some stocks held in the fund should be sold and the proceeds invested in better performing stocks. The Vestry approved all recommendations and asked Mr. Lemmerman to serve as their agent for the future administration of the Endowment Fund, and to continually review the performance of the investments held in the Endowment Fund. It was also agreed that prior approval by the Vestry should be sought before executing any Endowment Fund transaction. On January 15th1985, thanks to Mr. Lemmerman’s oversight and management of the Endowment Fund, its value had grown to $40,000.00.

Also in May 1980, wishing to grow in spirituality and to increase her contributions to her fellow man, Eleanor Pierson enrolled in the National Institute for Lay Training at the recommendation of her Rector, Father Gluckow.  Eleanor completed her training in the spring of 1982 and was commissioned a member of the Institute of the Lay Ministry at a service held at St. James on May 29th 1982; on August 17th 1982, she proposed establishment of the Bradley Food Pantry.

During the summer of 1980, Mrs. Gail Bennett and Miss Dawn Wilson (now Mrs. Dawn Taylor) participated in the Diocesan Mission to the Republic of Haiti. During the period of that Mission visit, Haiti was struck by Hurricane Allen resulting in 220 deaths, and damages amounting to $400 million. Gail Bennett made three other visits to Haiti as part of the Diocesan Mission.

The Vestry approved funding for the purchase of a new piano for the Choir Rehearsal Room in January 1981.  After reviewing the available options, a Wurlitzer Piano was selected by Ruth and Dick Dodd.  It was also decided that the piano would become a memorial to the first Rector; accordingly, a bronze plate attached to the piano reads: “In Memory of Harry L Hadley, Priest; First Rector of St James; dedicated     March 15, 1981”.  Effective on May 1st 1981, Linda Shadel was appointed the new Organist/Choir Director to replace Ruth Dodd, who had retired; Linda continued to serve in that post until April 30th 2013 when she retired after 32 years.  Mark Howe, a long-time member of the congregation and an active member of the Choir, assumed the position of Organist/Choir Director on May 1st 2013.

In February 1982, Mrs. Gail Bennett, a long-time and very active parishioner of  St. James, was selected to be a member of the first Diocesan Class for the Vocational Diaconate.  After completing the three year training course, which included support work in her home parish of St. James, Gail was ordained a Deacon of the Episcopal Church on April 13th 1985 by Bishop M. P. Mellick Belshaw, then Bishop of the NJ Diocese.  After her ordination, Deacon Bennett assumed the post of Deacon-Assistant to the Rector of St. James, a position she held until 2004, when she accepted an assignment to Trinity Church in Asbury Park.

The Bradley Food Pantry began operations in the St. James Parish Office building, under the joint auspices of St. James Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church, also of Bradley Beach, on October 7th 1982.  Establishment of the Food Pantry had been proposed in August 1982 by Eleanor Pierson as a Christian Outreach response to the ever increasing number of emergency requests for food then being experienced.  During that first year of Food Pantry operation, Thanksgiving Baskets also were distributed to the needy in the area; a practice that has continued to this day.  (Today, the practice includes Christmas Baskets.)

In 1984, a brick background wall was installed behind the Pulpit and the side Chapel Altar. These walls were designed to match the brick background of the Sanctuary and considerably enhanced the beauty of the combined Sanctuary and Chancel areas.  In 1985, arrangements were made with an expert wood craftsman from Manasquan, New Jersey to construct two reredos which matched the reredos that had been installed on the brick wall behind the main altar in 1961. The contract with the Manasquan craftsman included the work necessary to install one of the new reredos on the new brick wall behind the pulpit, and the second reredos on the new brick wall behind the Christ the Comforter side altar.  The central element of the Side Altar is a modernistic statue rendition of Christ the Comforter which was donated to St. James Church by John and Marion Healey, in memory of their son Kevin; the statue is based on a drawing created by Kevin a few years prior to his death.

Christ the Comforter Side Altar

The Reverend Paul E. Meglathery joined the clergy of St. James Church, on a part-time basis, as a Priest Associate (Counseling), in April 1984.  In addition to his counseling services for members of the Parish, Father Meglathery also assisted the Rector by celebrating Sunday Eucharist Services when needed, and by preaching, teaching, and assisting in the conduct of the Christian Education Program.  While serving at St. James, he continued his secular profession as a Social Work Specialist for the Monmouth County Department of Social Services.  At the end of December 1989, Father Meglathery said goodbye to St. James Parish, in order to accept the position of Interim Rector of St. Augustine’s Church in Asbury Park.

In 1985, in addition to authorizing the work to construct the reredos for the Pulpit and Side Alter, the Vestry also approved a number of much needed improvement projects for St. James Church.  These improvements included installation of vinyl siding for the entire church building, installation of a Chair Lift to assist entry by the aged and handicapped parishioners, new stoves (ovens and grills) for the kitchen in the Undercroft, and refurbishment of the rest rooms in the Undercroft.  Due to the costs for these projects, the Vestry decided to fund those improvements through use of monies from the Endowment Fund.  That marked the first time the Endowment Fund was used for Capital Improvements.

The 75th Anniversary of St. James Church was commemorated at a 7:30 pm Dinner held at Gibbs Hall (Ft. Monmouth) on May 14th 1986.  The ceremonies included an Invocation by the Rector Father Gluckow, a community tribute by Mayor Leonard Riley of Bradley Beach, and reminiscences by Herbert Lemmerman who, at the age of 91 years, was the oldest active member of the Parish.  Honored guests included Bishop G. P. Mellick Belshaw, Bishop of New Jersey, and former Rectors Father George E. Hall and Father D. Stewart Alexy.

In 1988, the Food Pantry initiated a new program to provide weekend food packages for shut-ins who received “Meals on Wheels” during the week, but had no close family or friends to care for them on weekends.  The weekend meals, organized by the Food Pantry, were delivered by Meals on Wheels on Fridays; the program was coordinated by the Food Pantry representatives from Ascension Roman Catholic Church.

In 1988, the two newest stained glass windows were acquired and installed in the Narthex facing Fourth Avenue. These two windows, of matching design, depict the “Birth of Jesus” (donated in memory of Edith Savoth by her Loving Children) and “Jesus Caring for Children” (donated in memory of Stanley H Weaver by his Loving Family). The windows were installed by men of the Parish.  Also in 1988, the Baut Studios, repaired and refurbished the stained glass windows of the Nave.  The refurbished windows were then installed in new Baut-designed extruded aluminum frames to extend their life for many years.  The refurbishment and re-installation of the windows were paid through memorials contributed by parishioners.  (These memorials are identified by the engraved metal plates mounted below the windows.)

In September 1988, Lewis McCrum, then Deacon-in-Training at Christ Episcopal Church in Toms River, began his clinical training year at St. James.  With agreement of the Parish, the focus of his work at St. James was placed on supporting the work of the Bradley Food Pantry to enable him to study its role, methods of operation and results; to develop recommendations for potential improvement; and to assess the applicability of the Food Pantry as a possible model that could be emulated by other parishes of the Diocese.  His Report was submitted to the Diocesan Committee on the Deaconate on April 15th 1989.  Mr. McCrum was ordained a Deacon in 1990 and served in that capacity at Christ Church until his retirement in 2008.  By the late 1980s, it had become clear that additional space would be required to more adequately accommodate the needs of the Bradley Food Pantry, and that was so noted in his Report.

In August 1989, the St. James Vestry formed an Organ Search Committee, for the purpose of identifying an organ to replace the Allen TC-3S analog electronic organ.  The Search Committee was headed by Derek Adnams and included other parishioners and the church organist, Linda Shadel.  In March 1990, after in-depth study, consideration of candidate organs, and much discussion, the committee recommended, and the Vestry agreed, that St. James Church should purchase an Allen MDS-45 digital electronic organ.  In making the recommendation, the committee emphasized the point that additional circuit boards could be purchased for the organ to take advantage of future enhancements and upgrades developed by the Allen Company.  The total price reflected a trade-in credit for the church’s Allen TC-3S Organ.

On January 27th 1991, Ms. Jo Ann Ambrose addressed the Parish’s Annual Meeting and proposed the formation of the H.E.L.P. Ministry, as an outreach project designed to facilitate donations of gifts and talents to help those in need.  Approximately 50 parishioners responded immediately to that call and the H.E.L.P. Ministry was born under the leadership of Ms. Ambrose.  In that first year, 991 needs of various types were effectively and timely satisfied by the efforts of those parishioners and volunteers.  MaryAnn Brugger assumed responsibility for the management of the H.E.L.P. Ministry in September 1994; she continued to serve in that capacity until May 2015.  Mrs. Patty O’Rourke currently manages the operations of the H.E.L.P. Ministry.

After having been dormant for a number of years, the Men’s Club of St. James Church, initially formed in early 1948, was reactivated in 1991 thanks to the initiative of Ron Knust. The Club was reestablished to provide a forum for male fellowship and spiritual growth. During each monthly meeting, at least one agenda item pertained to a timely spiritual or theological subject. The Men’s Club also started the practice of preparing and serving a hot breakfast to the women of the Church on Mother’s Day.  As a combination fellowship and fund raising event, the Men’s Club organized Annual St. James Golf Outings, which were held at the Lakewood Country Club each year during the 1992 to 1998 period. Many holes of the course were sponsored by local businesses or individuals. Each Golf Outings was followed by an evening Social and Dinner, catered by Piancones, and held in the Undercroft of St. James Church. Trophies were awarded for various golfing accomplishments. Currently, the Men’s Club is once again dormant.

In 1993, a Welcoming Committee was formed under the chairmanship of Ed King.  The initial committee had nine members, all of whom served as greeters to welcome parishioners and visitors to St. James, the “Friendly Church.” During its first year, the Committee developed brochures providing information about the church and the various activities of the parish.  The Committee also organized a holiday gathering held at the end of each year.  The Welcoming Committee, currently chaired by Joan Knust, continues work today.  Friendship Sundays have been established as annual events during which parishioners are encouraged to invite a friend or family member to join them at a Sunday Eucharist and to participate in the fellowship social coffee hour, organized by the Welcoming Committee, that follows each Sunday Service.

Father Alphonse Stephenson, a well known conductor and the organizer of local boardwalk summer concerts, conducted the St. James Choir in a beautiful rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic on July 4th 1993.  The Special Events Committee of St. James Church hosted a reception for Father Stephenson in the Undercroft following that performance.

In November 1993, the Bradley Food Pantry was invited to participate in Bradley Beach’s Centennial Celebration.  Pantry exhibits were set-up in Riley Park to demonstrate the various activities of the Food Pantry.  Homemade soup was served to the visitors.  Several new volunteers signed up at the exhibit site.  Also in 1993, the Bradley Food Pantry was incorporated, and obtained a State Tax ID Number and a Federal Tax Exempt Number.  After incorporation, a Committee was established to consider means and potential plans for raising funds not connected with St. James Church.  Richard Brugger, from St. James Church, was named Director of the Bradley Food Pantry on July 1st 1994, a position he continued to hold for almost twenty (20) years.  During that same year, St. James Church was informed of a generous contribution that was included in the estate of Bea Shafer, a parishioner of St. James who had worked as a Food Pantry volunteer. Her bequest was specifically earmarked for “outreach and to feed the hungry”. This donation, supplemented by monies obtained through aspecial funding drive managed by Eleanor Pierson (which raised 40% of the total required funding), enabled St. James Church to construct the “Bea Shafer Outreach Center” to support its outreach programs and to provide a proper home for the Bradley Food Pantry.  A top-of-the-line dumb-waiter, donated by the McCrane Foundation, was included in the basic construction to facilitate movement of food products from the storage area in the basement to the distribution area on the main level – a capability very much appreciated to this day by the volunteers!  The Outreach Center located at the rear of the Church property, behind the Church Office, was constructed under the direction of Ron Humer, a Warden of St James Church and a professional in the construction business.  Building permits for the Outreach Center were obtained on October 22nd 1997; construction, which included building a handicap ramp, was completed in July 1998.

In late 1994, a Building and Grounds Project for St. James Church was initiated for the construction of a Handicap Ramp to replace the Chair Lift that had been installed at the church in 1985.  The new Handicap Ramp was completed in the spring of 1995 and found to provide a superior solution; it continues in service to this day.

In 1998, Bob McGrath, a member of the Choir since 1996 and a member of St. James Church since 1963, wrote the words and music for a hymn entitled “God’s Love,” which he dedicated in memory of his wife, Phyllis McGrath.  This copyrighted hymn, comprising four verses, is written for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass (SATB) voices with either piano or organ accompaniment. The hymn was published by Mel Bay Publications Inc. of Pacific, Missouri. Editing assistance is credited to Linda Shadel, Derek Adnams, and Martha Taylor.  Bob, now in his 100th year, Martha Taylor, and Derek Adnams are all stellar members of the current Choir; Linda Shadel served as Choir Director and Organist at St. James from May 1981 until May 2013.  The hymn was sung by the St. James Choir, at a Sunday Eucharist Service, in May 1999.

Year 1999 was another difficult year for St. James Parish.  Due to transfers and deaths of an unusually large number of parishioners, and the general decline in membership experienced by many Christian denominations, pledged income and the number of pledging units fell sharply. That trend continued in the following years as evidenced by fact that the number of pledging units fell from 138 in 1998 to 81 in 2002.  Currently, the pledging units have stabilized in the region of 70 to 75 units. This reduction in pledging units and the general decline in the national economic situation, have once again presented the Parish with financial challenges; hopefully, they will be dealt with successfully, as was the case on so many past occasions.

Nevertheless, a number of Buildings and Grounds Projects were completed during 1999, under the leadership of Bruce Weiss.  These repair and maintenance projects included a new roof, new gutters and leaders, installation of five attic fans in the church, upgrading of all exterior lights, new lighting fixtures for all classrooms, new awning over the side door of the pre-K room, painting of all classrooms and the back hallway, and correction of a number of mechanical and maintenance problems. Once again, a number of parishioners contributed their time and talent to assist in the completion of these projects.

At the end of the Year 2000, the St. James Guild, which had been in existence from the earliest days of the St. James Mission, terminated operations.  At the time, most of its members were also members of St. Martha’s Guild.  Also during the Year 2000, a new furnace and new carpeting were installed in the former Rectory, now the Church Office; costs for both improvement projects were paid by St. Martha’s Guild.

The terrorist attack against New York City and the United States on September 11th 2001, which involved two high jacked commercial aircraft being flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, resulting in over 2,750 deaths, brought the potential consequences of terrorism into sharp focus in the minds of the parishioners of St. James Church and the residents of neighboring communities. Without prior announcement, St. James Church opened its doors for a Prayer Service on that evening, and attendance exceeded the seating capacity of the church. Members of St. James distinguished themselves, and their Parish, by working at St. Paul’s Chapel as part of an extra-ordinary eight month volunteer relief effort that provided round-the-clock support for the recovery workers at the World Trade Center. Located directly across from the Trade Center site, St. Paul’s Chapel, part of the Episcopal Parish of Trinity Church, had quickly organized a very effective and visible support program. Parishioners of   St. James immediately joined the relief efforts at St. Paul’s Chapel.  Once a month, groups of 16 to 19 parishioners traveled to St. Paul’s Chapel to work a 12-hour shift. St. James Church was never short of volunteers and became recognized, by the organizers at St. Paul’s, as one of the most dependable and faithful parishes in the New York City metropolitan area.

In 2002, the church’s steeple had to be rebuilt after having been struck by lightning.  Also in 2002, an Internet Website was launched by St. James Parish to provide a modern means to publicize schedules for religious services, and to promote current and planned future events of the Parish.  After rejuvenation and expansion, the current Parish Website went on-line in the Fall of 2012.

During its 20th Anniversary in the Year 2002, the Bradley Food Pantry and its founder Eleanor Pierson, received high honors of appreciation from the local community; this included recognition that the Pantry was the oldest and largest of its kind in Monmouth County. The Pantry was also formally recognized as a Jubilee Center by the National Episcopal Church.

The Year 2003 marked the beginning of the annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony held at St. James Church on the Sunday nearest the feast day (October 4th) on which St. Francis of Assisi is honored.  Also in 2003, the Youth Group, which had gone dormant in the early 1970s after having been a very active part of the Parish organizational structure in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, was reconstituted as part of the Church School, under the leadership of Brooke and Mark Mindnich.  During that first year of its reconstitution, the Youth Group organized a Junior and Senior High School Hayride, set-up and ran a Halloween Haunted House, and baked pumpkin pies which were donated to the soup kitchen in Asbury Park.

After serving as Rector of St. James Church for over 24 years, the longest period for any Rector in the history of St. James, The Reverend Kenneth A. Gluckow retired on December 31st 2002.  The Reverend Anne McRae Wrede was selected to serve as Interim Rector during the Parish’s search for a new Rector.  The Reverend Wrede served in that capacity from January 1st 2003 until August 31st 2004.  In addition to maintaining the day-to-day operations of the Parish, and tending to the spiritual needs of the congregation, Reverend Wrede worked closely with the Wardens, Ed King and Bruce Weiss, to navigate through the formal process of calling a new Rector.  After successful completion of the established processes, The Reverend Frank M. Goss, then serving as Rector of St. Luke’s Church in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, was called to be the next Rector of St. James Church, with effect from September 1st 2004.

The Youth Group was very active during 2004, with organized activities held during 8 months of the year.  These activities included: trip to the Liberty Science Center, support for a senior high event “FED UP FAST,” Ski Trip to Mountain Creek, softball game and Parish Picnic, Youth Group Beach Day, support for the Crop Walk, organization of the Election Day Pasta Dinner, baking pies for the St. Augustine Soup Kitchen, and participating in the Church School’s Christmas Pageant.

Paul Cochran assumed responsibility for Buildings and Grounds during 2004, and once again many repair and maintenance projects were completed. These projects included new interior walls and installation of a dehumidifier in one of the Sunday School classrooms, a new set of pull down attic steps in the rear hallway, wood paneling behind the choir pews, recessed lights over the steps behind the organist’s bench, repair of the lights for the St. James sign in front of the church which had been vandalized, repairs to the roofs of the church and office buildings, new plants for the church grounds, and rekeying of all locks in the Parish’s three buildings.

During 2005, the Vestry established a Building Reserve Fund for St. James Parish.  To initiate the Reserve Fund, a $5,000.00 budget transfer from the General Fund was executed, and an additional $50.00 was received as a contribution.  Budget Transfers from the General Fund were also executed in 2006, 2007, and 2008 to build a reserve; in addition, private contributions were received during each year including a significant contribution in 2009.  The first monies were drawn from the Building Reserve Fund in 2007.

February 17th 2007 marked the addition of the Mardi Gras Dinner Dance to the social calendar of St. James Parish. This annual event, organized by Marie and Tom Madden, is not only an excellent Fund Raiser, but also a very popular Fellowship event.  In the spring of 2007, a Parish Outreach Project to send “Boxes from Home to U.S. Military Members Serving in Hostile Areas” was started at the initiative of Mrs. Allison Cioffi-Brown (now replaced by Mrs. MaryAnn Brugger) and Mrs. Jean Ridner. This program has resulted in numerous, heart-warming expressions of thanks and appreciation from numerous members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

In 2007, the Vestry also established a “Financial Development Committee with the objective to identify potential renewable income streams that do not draw monies exclusively from the pockets of the parishioners.” In that same year, the Vestry passed a resolution stating: “Be it resolved that monies accrued in the Parish Endowment Fund be dispersed for the good of St. James Parish according to a two-thirds majority vote of the Vestry.”

It is significant to note, that in addition to the two major additions made to the Church, the interior (featuring a beautiful sanctuary, wooden interior structures, and stained glass windows and entrance doors) and the exterior of the church (with its original gothic design) have been maintained over the years through the efforts of the parishioners, led by the men who have agreed to serve in the difficult and demanding position of Head of Buildings and Grounds. The physical structures of St. James Church could not have survived all these years without the care and attention given by these unsung heroes of the congregation.

From the beginning, financing for the operations and maintenance of St. James Church, and its many religious and social activities, has come primarily from the generosity and annual pledges of its members supplemented to some extent by annual fund raisers (which while contributing to fellowship, require hard work to successfully accomplish) and occasional funding drives for new renovations or expansions.  Consequently, when the national economy has been an issue, so has been the economic picture for St. James Church.  However, history is also clear that in every such case, the people of St. James have always found a way to work through those financial problems of their Parish, even during the Great Depression, clearly demonstrating the importance they have always associated with protecting the existence of an Episcopal Church in Bradley Beach as a place Christian worship, education, and fellowship.

This was once again demonstrated during 2010 when the people of the Parish worked together contributing their talents, not only financial but also labor and creativity, to achieve successful outcomes for both the Biennial Gift Auction and the Annual Country Fair during a year when the U.S. national economy was struggling.  The success of these activities and the other fund raising activities conducted during the year, such as the two Rummage Sales and Mardi Gras, together with pledged contributions which exceeded estimates, enabled the Parish to end the year with a General Fund deficit of less than $1,000.00 when at times during the year, it appeared that the deficit would be much higher.  In 2010, the Parish was also the beneficiary of an anonymous contribution of $10,000.00 given simply for “thebenefit of St James Church.” This contribution was deposited into the Endowment Fund for the Church.

St. James Parish of Bradley Beach – Renewed Commitment

In 2011, St. James Parish celebrated its Centennial with a year-long commemoration of its founding.  The Centennial Events included:

  • February 21st 2011     Parish Retreat held at St. James Church; speakers were Father John E. Bird, DD, the first parishioner from St. James to be ordained to the Priesthood, and Father Kenneth A. Gluckow who served as Rector from 1978 to 2002.  The Retreat ended with celebration of the Holy Eucharist by Father Frank M. Goss, Rector; with a sermon presented by Deacon Gail Bennett, the first member of St. James Parish to be ordained a Vocational Deacon of the Episcopal Church. Intermediate social breaks, organized by the St. Martha’s Guild, were held in the Undercroft.
  • May 15th 2011     Centennial Eucharist and Visitation by the Right Reverend George E. Councell, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey, including a Special Centennial Eucharist and the Sacrament of Confirmation for seven youth of the Parish.  The Eucharist Service and Confirmation began at 11:00 am at St. James Church.  Following the Service, a light luncheon was served in the Undercroft by the St. Martha’s Guild.
  • May 22nd 2011     Centennial Time Capsule designed and emplaced by the Youth Group of St. James, in the Hammond Avenue Memorial Garden area, of the Church.  Both the contents of the Time Capsule, and the organization of the program, were planned by the Youth Group.
  • October 16th 2011     Centennial Testimonial Brunch held at 11:30 am at the Spring Lake Manor to provide a Public Commemoration of the Centennial. The brunch and program were planned and organized by the Vestry of St. James Church.

In addition, the following Publications were prepared to commemorate the Centennial:

  • St. James Centennial Commemorative Publication providing a comprehensive historical overview pertaining to the life of St. James Mission and Parish; Foreword by Father Frank Goss, Rector; special tributes; reminiscences of Father Glukow, longest serving Rector; tour of St James Church; descriptions of current organizations and activities of the Parish; and related historical background information.
  • St. James Centennial Ad Journal featuring messages of congratulation and best wishes by local organizations, businesses, current and past parishioners of St. James Church, and residents and officials of local communities.
  • Reflections of Parish Life, St. James Episcopal Church capturing memories of     St. James Parish by current and past parishioners; words of prayer and thanksgiving; memories of past parish events; and thoughts of current or past parishioners on why they made St. James their home parish.
  • Meditations for the Centennial Year providing monthly meditations and bible readings in the context of twelve important topics; i.e., Eucharist, Prayer, Belief, Grace, Faith, Love, Charity, Hope, Trust, Help, Kindness, and Family.

The St. James Centennial was also officially recognized by the Borough of Bradley Beach and the State of New Jersey:

  • Proclamation by Borough of Bradley Beach (Presented by Mayor Julie Schreck)
  • Joint Resolution by Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey (Sponsored by Senator S. Kean, Assemblyman D. Rible, and Assemblywoman M. Angelini)

Throughout the first one hundred years in the life of St. James Episcopal Church of Bradley Beach, the parishioners have demonstrated a fervent desire and ability to accomplish their stated mission “to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in worship and ministry seeking to include all of God’s children, both those in our community of faith and those beyond our doors, while offering the love of Jesus.”  The current members of St. James Church are particularly grateful for the sacrifices, dedication, and hard work of their predecessors who were steadfast in their determination to establish a ministry of faith and the programs needed to serve the religious and social needs of both the parishioners and their neighbors.  Although at times, especially during the years of the Great Depression, it appeared that sufficient resources to succeed in their mission were not available, the parishioners of St. James Church always seemed to find ways to circumvent those obstacles.

The current parishioners of St. James Church remain fully committed to the long-term continued success of St. James Church; to that end, their basic strategy includes:

  • Selection of Clergy who have the knowledge, spirituality, understanding, and leadership ability to maintain the centrality of the Eucharist in our tradition, and to continually assess the spiritual needs of parishioners and the needs for special programs and worship activities to address the problems of the day.
  • Election of Vestries who prudently and cost-effectively manage parish finances and church property.
  • Establishment of well organized programs of Christian Education which attract active participation by a broad range of parishioners, both youth and adult.
  • Formulation of religious, social, service, fellowship, outreach and fund raising activities as necessary to fully satisfy the mission of the Parish.
  • Pursuit of a broad range of religious and worship activities, solidly based on the Holy Eucharist, that enable parishioners of all ages to have a fulfilling Christian life.
  • Organization of fellowship activities which enable parishioners to enjoy friendships with their fellow parishioners and neighbors in a wholesome Christian environment.
  • Sponsorship of Community Outreach programs that provide food, sustainment, and help for the needy among us, in a respectful manner.

From the experiences of St. James Church, it is clear that financial requirements and national economic conditions will, from time to time, lead to periods of stress.  To cope with such situations in the future, while trusting in God but also recognizing that there will be years now and then when annual operating budget deficits will occur despite careful planning and prudent spending, the Vestry, Rector and Treasurer have established a comprehensive, open, and effective financial management strategy comprising the following components:

  1. Building Reserve Fund established for repairs or maintenance of church property;
  2. Endowment Fund established to maintain a source of funding for the long term benefit of St James Church and/or the effectiveness of its programs;
  3. General Operating Fund Reserve established by carrying forward small annual balances in the General Operating Fund to cope with years when the Vestry, despite their best efforts, encounter deficits in their annual operating fund.

St. James Church began its Centennial Year (2011) with a potential budget deficit of $14,808.00 for its 2011 General Operating Fund.  The Vestry approved this budget after considerable discussion which took into account that additional pledges for 2011 were still expected, the national economy showed significant signs of improvement, and the general sense of optimism, renewal, and blessings expected to accrue from the programs and activities carried out by the Parish during its Centennial Year.  Once again, the generosity and strong commitments of the parishioners of St James came into play – when within only a few days, less than a week after the Vestry Meeting, a Parishioner, wishing to remain anonymous, made a special, and generous, donation of $5,000.00 to the Rector, asking that the money be applied for deficit reduction in the context of the 2011 General Operating Fund.

At the start of the Centennial Year, St. James Church had no debt and had moderate balances in their Reserve Funds:

  • Building Reserve Fund:    $11,887.16
  • Endowment Fund:            $76,262.31
  • General Fund Reserve:     $43,501.19

In conclusion, St. James has become one of the outstanding Christian churches in the Bradley Beach area.  As “The Friendly Church,” St. James has always been eager to welcome into its ranks anyone who shares its values and goals, and seeks a place of worship, service to the less fortunate, and Christian fellowship. Throughout its history, St. James Church has been blessed by the services of outstanding Rectors and dedicated parishioners. The Rector and current parishioners are committed to continue the vision, dedication, and traditions of their predecessors to ensure that their children and their children’s children will be able to continue a high quality of worship to God, and service to fellow man.

During the Centennial Year, the congregation of St. James renewed the strong commitment and dedication of their predecessors to:

  • Worship and serve God in the finest traditions of the Episcopal Church
  • Continue to emphasize the importance of Family
  • Provide for the Christian education of our youngsters
  • Enable Christian Fellowship for all members and friends of the Parish
  • Continue the strong heritage of St. James to be good citizens of our community and to continue caring for those less fortunate than ourselves

This renewed commitment was evidenced by the fact that the first event of the St. James Centennial Commemoration was a Parish Retreat.  After Morning Prayers, which were led by the Rector Father Goss, the attendees of the Retreat moved to the Undercroft where, after a short refreshment break, a thought provoking, opening presentation was given by Father John E. Bird, first parishioner of St. James to be ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church.  He reminded the congregation of the meaning of the Church, its focus on Jesus Christ, and God’s desire that the members of the Church, inspired by God’s spirit, should walk through life as a visible means of what God wants the members of the Church to be. The second presentation, by Father Kenneth A. Gluckow, former Rector of St. James, emphasized that the Sacrament of Christ is the Church, the community of Faith is the Light of the World, and all members of the Church should “run with God’s grace.”  After a short social break, the congregation then returned to the Nave for a Eucharist Service co-celebrated by Father Goss and Father Gluckow.  The sermon was presented by Deacon Gail Bennett, the first from St. James Parish to be ordained a Vocational Deacon of the Episcopal Church.  In her sermon, Deacon Bennett called on the members of St. James to build on the vision, work, and sacrifices made by those who worked so hard to establish St. James Church in Bradley Beach, and for all current members of St. James to be the Light ofthe World through the exercise of their baptismal covenants.

Rev. John Bird, Deacon Gail Bennett, Rev. Frank Goss,Rev. Kenneth Gluckow

10:00 am Eucharist Service (Easter 2013)

10:00 am Eucharist Service (Easter 2013)

On  April 30, 2014, after almost twenty (20) years of service (July 1, 1994 to April 30, 2014), Mr. Richard Brugger resigned from his position as Director of the Bradley Food Pantry.  During that time, Mr. Brugger gained the respect and admiration of the neighboring communities, the many clients served, and the volunteers who support the operations of the Pantry.  Rich and his wife Mary Ann, always maintained a pleasant and confident demeanor, and clearly demonstrated their firm commitment to fulfilling the Pantry’s mission: “to serve our neighbors in need, once a month, with emergency food for three days, with kindness, respect, and dignity for all clients.”  On May 1, 2014, Mrs. Linda Curtiss, a resident of Bradley Beach and a parishioner of St. James Church, was appointed Director of the Bradley Food Pantry.  Mrs. Curtiss, and husband Geoffrey, had served as volunteers at the Pantry prior to Mrs. Curtiss’ acceptance of the new responsibilities of Director.  On June 8, 2014 at the 10:00 am Eucharist, the congregation of St. James Church prayerfully thanked Rich Brugger for his nearly 20 years service as Director of the Food Pantry, and prayerfully welcomed Mrs. Linda Curtiss as the new Director of the Pantry.  Rich and Mary Ann Brugger continued their service to the Pantry by assisting Mrs. Curtiss and contributing various other volunteer services. 

Bishop William Stokes made his first visitation to St. James Church, on December 14th 2014, to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation for nine young adults of St. James Parish.  After the social period following the Confirmation ceremony, Bishop Stokes and Mrs. Stokes made a tour of the Bradley Food Pantry and were given a short briefing on its operation.

December 14th 2014 Visitation by Bishop William Stokes (Confirmation)

December 14th 2014 Visitation by Bishop William Stokes

Upon completion of 12 years service as Rector of St. James Parish, and 44 years of Christian Ministry as an ordained priest, The Reverend Frank M. Goss decided that the time to enter his retirement years had arrived.  The effective date for his retirement was defined to be September 1, 2016.  As a result of his decision, St. James Parish entered into a formal Transition Process that had been previously established by the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey.  The first phase of that process called for the employment of Diocese-approved Supply Clergy to celebrate the weekly Eucharist Services held at St. James Church, and to support the other religious needs of the members of the St. James Parish, as arranged by the Vestry of St. James.

Father Goss

The Reverend Frank M. Goss

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To honor the retirement of Father Goss, the 12 years he had served as Rector of St. James Church, and the many Christian Ministries he had successfully accomplished during the 44 years following his ordination, a Special Prayer of Thanksgiving was written and included in the Prayers of the People recited during the final Eucharist he celebrated as Rector of St. James Parish.  Following that Eucharist Service, St. Martha’s Guild organized and presented a special Coffee Hour that was held in the Parish Outreach Center to provide an opportunity for Parish Organizations to thank Father Goss for his support, and for parishioners to express their Farewell Wishes and to speak personally with Father Goss and his wife Roseann.

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After prayer, active search, and discussion with other members of the Diocesan Supply Clergy, the Senior Warden Greg Dodd approached The Reverend Canon Terrance Rosheuvel to determine his interest in serving the needs of St. James Parish during the First Phase of the Transition Process.  The Vestry was pleased to learn that Father Rosheuvel graciously agreed to serve as the Priest of our Parish until such time as an Interim Rector is selected.  Father Rosheuvel first celebrated the Eucharist at St. James Church on September 4, 2016 at which time he was warmly welcomed by the members of St. James Church; Father Rosheuvel also introduced his wife and children to the members of the Parish.  Father Rosheuvel retired in 2010 after serving as Rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in nearby Red Bank, New Jersey for 29 years.

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