St. James, Caledon East is part of the territory of the Anishinabek, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Ojibway/Chippewa peoples, and the land of the Metis. The land is part of the treaty and territorial lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
In the 1820s, settlers came to the Caledon East area and faced hardships that we can only imagine. Clearing the ancient forest, living with bitter cold and hunger, bearing and losing children to disease – this was day-to-day life for the original parishioners of St. James. To that life they brought their faith. And that faith saw them through the roughest of times.
This year marks 175 years since the inception of the parish of St. James, Albion, now St. James, Caledon East. While the current church building is “only” 121 years old, the site of the first church is preserved within the parish cemetery on Innis Lake Road.
“Celebrating 175 years of service to God, to the people of this village and to the wider global community comes hot on the heals of a global pandemic,” says the Rev. Michelle Jones, priest-in-charge. “While this new era brings new challenges to how we are to be Church, the Spirit continues to invite us to listen to the needs of our neighbors and to partner with God in acts of love and mercy.”
The parish insisted that the anniversary be about more than history. Plans are underway to build and erect a food pantry on church grounds. Maintaining and strengthening relationships with local community groups will ensure that the program is viable and sustainable.
Anniversary chair David Finch has been a parishioner since the 1980s. “This parish has for 175 years served the community in and around Caledon East, which is a joy to those of us looking back at our history. We look forward with hope and joy as we continue to help others.”
Plans for this anniversary year also include several celebratory social events. Parishioner Howard Jones has written a special anthem which will debut on June 4, coinciding with a visit by Archbishop Linda Nicholls, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. Clergy associated with the parish will be invited to attend a special anniversary service on Sept. 17.