logoSt James on the Lake
Episcopal Church



St. James on the Lake is a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas.  We are a part of the Episcopal Church of the USA, which is a member of the Anglican Communion worldwide.

Parishioners of St. James are believers engaged in worship, fellowship, outreach, Christian education and evangelism.  We share a passion and commitment for using our gifts and talents to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

St. James has a congregation of roughly 110.  Our diverse membership spans generations, encompassing toddlers, tweens and teens, middle-agers and retirees.

St. James members include “cradle” Episcopalians, individuals who were raised and remain within the church, as well as people with prior affiliations to other denominations.  What draws us together at St. James, and sustains us as a family of faith, is the assurance that as sinners saved by grace we are heirs to God’s kingdom.  We are passionate about outreach to our community and the concerns of our fellow man.

St. James Church has gained a reputation within the community as a church that cares about people.



Sunday Services			Holy Communion 9:00 a.m.
						followed by Coffee Time and Adult Education
Men’s Reunion Group		Tuesday 7:00 a.m.
Bible Study				Tuesday 2:00 p.m. 
Prayers & Meditations		Tuesday 4:00 p.m.
Women’s Reunion Group	Thursday 8:00 a.m.
Praise and Worship Service	Last Sunday of the month 6:00 p.m.


Fr. Morriss teaches an Inquirers’ Class each Sunday evening in October.  These classes deal with the history and teachings of the Episcopal Church.  They are designed to teach what it is that we, as Episcopalians, believe and prepares those who might choose to be confirmed in the church.  It also gives anyone who wants to refresh their knowledge about the traditions and sacraments of the church an opportunity to do so.

We are part of the Protestant Episcopal Church, U.S.A., and members of the Anglican Communion Network and the American Anglican Council.  We are called "Protestant" because we broke away from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th Century. We are called "Episcopal" because we have bishops, and maintain the "Historic Episcopate", which refers to our tradition that the office of Bishop provides continuity from age to age in the church. We are derived from the Church of England, which was founded in the 1530s during the reign of Henry VIII. Between 1547 and 1553 the Church of England produced both the English language Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. Our prayer tradition and celebrations are based on those taught by Jesus, as recorded in the Bible.

The Book of Common Prayer makes it possible for us to understand our identity through participation in corporate worship. The first Book of Common Prayer was produced by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1549. Each church in the Anglican Communion has its own adaptation of the Book of Common Prayer. The first Prayer Book for the American Episcopal Church was approved in 1789. The 1979 revision of the Prayer Book is currently being used. The Book of Common Prayer is essential to the character of the Episcopal Church because its use holds together congregations with very different styles of worship and emphasis within the broader traditions of Christian belief and practice.

The worship liturgy in the Book of Common Prayer is derived from the Bible. "Liturgy" means "work of the people" and it is the public prayer and worship of the people of God gathered in community.

Our services are meant to worship God. They are divided into distinct parts. The Liturgy of the Word is the part of the service during which Biblical passages are read and a sermon, based on the Bible readings of the day, is delivered. It is also the time when we say the Nicene Creed, make our confession and share the Peace of God with our neighbors. The Liturgy of the Eucharist is the time when we celebrate Holy Communion, or the Lord's Supper. We have Communion during most of our services, and always on Sunday morning. We do this because Jesus told us to, when he instituted the practice during The Last Supper. All baptized persons are invited and encouraged to receive Communion in the Episcopal Church. If you do not wish to receive Holy Communion, please come to the altar, cross your arms across your chest, and the Celebrant will give you a blessing.



St. James on the Lake was formed in the spring of 1971 under the leadership of Fr. Fred Thompson, who served the congregation for nearly 14 years.  The first services were held in the home of the Tuggle’s and later moved to the Langeloh’s where weekly services were held until 1975 when a small house was acquired and renovated.

In March of 1985, Fr. G. C. McElyea, who like Fr. Thompson, had retired from Our Merciful Savior in Kaufman, took over the leadership of the small congregation.  Fr. McElyea served until the spring of 1996 when Fr. Robert Ahlenius became the Priest in Charge.

In 1999 the congregation purchased land on CR 4022 near the entrance of the Cedar Creek Country Club and plans began for the construction of a new worship space.  The ground breaking service was held on June 17th of that year.  Prior to this time, and for the previous 28 years, the average Sunday attendance had never exceeded 20 people.  The average age of the congregation at that time was over 65 years of age.

Just over a dozen members committed to build a new building that would consist of worship space, an office and a parish hall with a kitchen.  The people pledged to support this effort and stepped out in faith believing that God was directing them to build and grow.  After an interim period when the congregation met at the local library, the first service in their new building was held on November 7, 1999 with 36 people in attendance.  The original nave would seat 50 people and adequate paved parking was made available.  The Episcopal Diocese of Dallas loaned the church $75,000 and the new church was dedicated on March 12, 2000 by Bishop Bruce McPherson.  Our average Sunday attendance in 2000 was 34.

In 2003 our original note was paid off, and a new building program was under way.  The size of the nave and the parish hall were doubled as seating was increased to 100.  Our average Sunday attendance at that time had grown to 45, but we felt strongly that we were still led to build and grow.  Our second building project was paid for and we purchased the land adjacent to our current property. It too is paid for. 

For the past several years the congregation has continued to grow.  We began looking at our future needs as we continue to follow God’s guidance to build and grow. In early 2010  we felt the time was right to move forward.  The Building Committee developed a plan, presented it to the Vestry, and the Vestry recommended that we begin our third building program in the very near future. 

New Construction

We had the official ground breaking on May 23, 2010, and began construction on a new sanctuary which is located on the property to the west of the current building. The construction was completed in late October 2010 and we held our first service in the new sanctuary on October 31, 2010. Remodeling of the old facility began in March of 2011 and was completed in early April of 2011.  The remodeling included a larger Parish hall, new kitchen, a nursery and  a childrens room, library, class rooms and an office.





Canon David Petrash is the Interim Priest during the current search to replace long-time rector and pastor, Canon Jerry Morriss. Fr. Petrash is Canon Pastor for the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, and has been a familiar face at St. James for a number of years. Earning a Doctor of Music Arts from the University of North Texas, he was a music teacher, Fine Arts Director, and Associate Vice President at Grayson County College for 34 years. He served previously at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Denison and Our Merciful Saviour Episcopal Church in Kaufman, and was Chaplain for Home Hospice of Grayson, Cooke, and Fannin Counties. He and his wife, Laura, have four children and five grandchildren.

Bishop Stanton & Fr Morriss



The Vestry is the legal governing and decision-making group in the church.  There are currently eight vestry members at St. James; the congregation elects vestry members during the annual meeting in January each year.  Each year members are elected for a three-year term.

The Rector chooses the Senior Warden of the Vestry.  He or she is considered the lay leader of the church.  The Vestry elects a Junior Warden from its membership.  The Junior Warden is responsible for buildings and grounds.

It is the Vestry’s responsibility to be the final decision-making body, which hires the rector, approves the budget, makes policy decisions and spends the church money.  Each vestry member has a central area of responsibility, and they each act as liaison between the church committees and the Vestry  

2011 Vestry

Retiring with the Annual Meeting 2018
Tina Wage
Terry Dahlman

Paul Lasiter

Bill Shehee

Retiring with the Annual Meeting 2019
DeLois Bomberger
Phil McGlothlin Senior Warden

Marian Flowers, Secretary