St. James United Church has grown from the beginnings of English settlement in what was once the township of Innisfil. A little crossroads Methodist Chapel in the days when the settlement here was called Victoria served the needs of English pioneers. Despite hardship and a succession of fires, this little community continued to rise from the ashes to worship God and discern God’s will. Today, St. James is a red brick testimony to the tenacity of our pioneer ancestors. The present building was raised in 1907, and has continued to grow and change to reflect the growth and changes of its history. We are still a little crossroads church in the community now known as Stroud, in the heart of the Town of Innisfil. But we are not small.
However, we acknowledge the Ojibwa, Wendat and Pottawatomi peoples, upon whose land we settled, and for whom this land was and is sacred. We acknowledge with regret that we have not always exercised fair stewardship of this sacred trust, or of our relationships with the first peoples who lived in this area. And we are walking a pathway of hope for healing and reconciliation with them.
We gather in seekers and seasoned United Church folk from South Barrie to Alcona, and from the shores of Lake Simcoe almost all the way to the Fifth Sideroad. Historically a farming community, our church community is comprised of a mixture of people whose backgrounds embrace a broad range of occupations. We have a small but vibrant Sunday School program, where the children are given a lot of attention. According to church growth strategists, we are considered a "family" church, and we try to live this reality. However, we have some of the depth and enthusiasm of bigger churches, and try to make the best use possible of our resources to offer diverse ministries.
The faith expressed among the members is diverse as well, but mostly we tend to line up with progressive Christian theology. Faith and reason coexist at St. James.
We are very connected to the identity of our denomination as a justice-seeking, justice-making community. We raise money for causes, and we raise consciousnesses for transformation and social action. We think globally, and are learning how to act locally.
Our various ministries are carried out by a great team, who are named below:
LIVING WATERS PRESBYTERY: Reps: Pat Edmonds & Linda Winson