St. James celebrates century

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Rev. Benjamin Wright looks through scrapbooks made by Cindy Lakin to commemorate the church’s first 100 years.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

By Liliana Castillo


When Cindy Lakin finished the daunting task of making scrapbooks to commemorate St. James’ Episcopal Church’s first 100 years, she learned about the rich history of the church.

But Lakin said what makes St. James’ the church home for her isn’t its past, but its present and future.

“There are so many good things about us now,” Lakin said. “I feel like we’re filled with the Holy Spirit. Our history is wonderful, rich and full. But the neat thing is, we’re not just cobwebs here. We are an active, vibrant church and we have an active ministry.”

Lakin began attending St. James’ with her family in 1968. The church began in 1909 as a mission made up of nine families. Efforts of the Women’s Guild and donations from parishioners resulted in a mortgage-free church when most of the building at 12th and Mitchell Streets was built in 1949.

Parishioner Hilda Sanders, 89, was present at the new building’s ground breaking in 1949. After attending the church for 65 years, Sanders calls it home.

“I walk in to this church and I feel at peace. I’ve tried other churches but nothing feels like this,” Sanders said.

Rev. Benjamin Wright has led the church for three years. He said he was honored to be with the church during its centennial.

“It’s an accomplishment when a church has sustained a life of ministry of the life of Jesus for 100 years,” Wright said.

Wright said St. James’ focus is on outreach programs to the surrounding community and beyond.

“We are what the Bible says we should be. This church is a base camp to do ministries in the community,” he said.

The church sponsors an orphanage called The Blessed Mustard Seed Home in Hoima, Uganda and has sent several missions to the home. Last year, a mission trip went to Juarez, Mexico to build homes.

St. James’ Episcopal Church is also one of the founding churches of Clovis Christian School and Wright is also the president of the school’s board.

The church has an active healing mission.

“It’s so important for Christians to see that healings happen even now,” Lakin said.

The church’s next healing mission will be held in November led by Rev. Mark A. Pearson.