St. James Episcopal Church, 200 years of service


PIQUA — Having watched the Rev. Alvah Guion, 1832-1841, use his agreed upon 50 percent of time as a priest doing missionary work in the surrounding area, it now shows how he used his considerable organizational skills to put this first St. James on a solid foundation.

Agreeable to the Articles of Incorporation, the Annual Meeting was held on Easter Monday in the church. Vestry meetings were held in the Parsonage, chaired by the Rector.

At the Annual meeting April 1, 1839, the Wardens and Vestry were elected as usual by the parishioners, to serve for one year.

At the following Vestry meeting, April 15, it was agreed between Rector and Vestry that in the future, the Wardens should be appointed at the Annual Meeting from those elected to the Vestry. The Rector was to nominate one and the Vestry the other. The person nominated by the Rector should be Senior Warden and the vestry nominee would be Junior Warden. This was the first time there had been both a Senior and Junior Warden.

In order to pay the Rectors salary, $375 per annum, the Bishops assessment of $50 and to cover Church expenses of $50, Guion suggested that pews be rented. This should raise $532. Monday, October 31 ,1839 was to be the beginning of the letting of the pews.

In 1840, Guion encouraged the formation of the first women’s group, The Episcopal Female Benevolent Society, whose purpose was to help alleviate the wants of those in need. It is nice to know that if the by laws change over the years, the desire to help does not.

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