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The St. James Property

St. James Presbyterian Church sits on a 10-acre property on Orr’s Bridge Road one of the major local roads traversing Hampton Township. The church is the main structure. The St James Preschool is integral to St. James Church.  A portion of the church has been used to teach preschoolers since 1993.  There is also a picnic Pavilion with a storage shed. The Boy Scouts have added a storage shed behind the Pavilion. Boy Scout Eagle projects on the property include a Memorial Garden, a labyrinth and a fire pit with benches.

The original building was built in 1989 with a worship space, a small kitchen, several classrooms and offices. The building was expanded in 2000 – 2002 to add a multi-purpose room/gym, a new kitchen, five additional classroom space, a library and restrooms. The original classrooms and offices were reconfigured to serve as a music room, a meeting room, a Church office, a Christian education office and the pastor’s office. While the original Church planning envisioned that the second building phase would include a traditional Sanctuary, at the time of the expansion it was determined that the church could gain more space by adding classrooms and the multi-purpose room. Therefore, the original worship space continues to serve that purpose. it is furnished with padded wooden chairs that can be rearranged as desired. A projector and Screen have been added to the sanctuary for multi Media Services. A sound system has been added that allows audio access to the Sunday service from most areas of the church.  A large cross has been added to the central wall for reflection and worship purposes. A platform has been added to the right side of the sanctuary where the worship band now plays.  In the narthex a storage area has been refitted to become a coffee room.

The building expansion created more room and expanded our mission and community outreach, but it also created a large debt with which the congregation has struggled ever since. Mortgage obligations coupled with operating expenses have outpaced Revenue. Any savings generated by the church have been depleted to cover this obligation. The session through the congregation has reached an agreement with a buyer to sell approximately 4 Acres of the land in order to reduce our debt load. This agreement should substantially reduce our financial obligations and the sale should be concluded by the fall of 2019.  Finances still pose a challenge because our congregation membership is not large.  Greater financial transparency has evolved over the past years, as has the session’s understanding of the financial issues.

Session recognizes that the property has potential use and value beyond what has been utilized to date. The multi-purpose room is used by Boy Scouts for their regular meetings, as a local polling place and is rented for other events. The grounds are currently used for dog walking, overflow parking, and an occasional picnic.  The Labyrinth is used as a meditation/relaxation area for members and neighbors.  The remaining area is sufficient for additional purposed uses.