St. James Episcopal Church, serving Piqua for 200 years


PIQUA — In 1841, when the Rev. Richard Killen was called to be the Rector of St. James, Piqua was beginning to thrive. It envisioned itself as a “future metropolis.”

Many of the church members were merchants, industrialist or members of the professions. Even so the church always lacked funds and pew rents were hardly paid. In preparation for the new Rector, the vestry rented a brick house on Water Street to be the Rectory. They paid Mr. Sawyer $10 a month for its use.

When Killen came to town, he was offered $400 per annum for 3/4 of his time. He did not accept the offer. At a closed meeting, vestry members gathered another $100 through private donations, so they could offer Killen $500. This he accepted.

There is no further mention of Killen by name in the vestry minutes, just notices of vestry members being elected to office.

In 1843 , Mrs. Killen together with Rachel Johnston, formed The Female Sewing Society. Killen attended and led devotions. In January, 1844 The Rev. Killen resigned, stating he had been called to a wider and more arduous field of labor.

Even though leaving “many precious souls without a Pastor,” for whom he expressed a “deep and unaffected love,” he felt compelled to go. He expressed his gratitude for all the kindness shown to him. Killen was pleased he had maintained faithfulness to his calling, in spite of opposition “which he knew he must expect.”

The Vestry replied with a set of resolutions stating they must accept the resignation as Killen had departed. They expressed their gratitude for his leadership in building up the church, and his faithfulness to God’s word. The Vestry felt they could not let it pass, that the Rector had made these plans without any indication to or discussion with the Vestry, the governing body of the church.

The resolutions closed with a message of heartfelt gratitude and wishes that Killen may long be spared and the cause of Christ be honored by his preaching. Killen resigned and departed Jan. 27, 1844. On Feb. 13, a letter was dispatched to Bishop McIvane, explaining the situation and notifying him that the Church was without a Rector and was asking for a replacement.

As submitted by Vi Das.

No posts to display