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St. James Episcopal Church to Reopen on James Island on Sunday



Press Release

St. James, Charleston, located at 1872 Camp Road on James Island, a parish with roots in The Episcopal Church dating back more than 200 years, returned to the Diocese of South Carolina and The Episcopal Church on Thursday, December 1, 2022, as a result of the South Carolina Supreme Court’s August ruling. In that decision, the Court determined that St. James, Charleston, and seven other churches that left The Episcopal Church in 2012 and later joined the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), did not have proper ownership based on state trust law. The Right Reverend Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, has called the Rev. Taylor Smith to lead the church as priest-in-charge, and he will lead the service of Holy Eucharist to reopen St. James Episcopal Church on Sunday, December 4, at 10 am. Going forward, services of Holy Eucharist will be held each Sunday at 8 am and 10 am.

Bishop Woodliff-Stanley is hopeful for the future of St. James, and for the pastoral skills and experience The Rev. Smith will bring to the congregation.

“I am thrilled to call the Rev. Taylor Smith to serve as priest-in-charge of St. James as we welcome this historic church back to the diocese,” said Bishop Woodliff-Stanley. “Taylor is a seasoned priest with a heart for outreach and a keen pastoral intuition; his easy manner and gracious spirit will be great gifts in helping us reestablish St. James as a strong presence in our diocese.”

A lifelong Episcopalian, the Rev. Smith has roots in Buffalo, NY, and spent his high school years in New Jersey before moving to North Carolina to attend Duke University as an undergraduate. Upon graduation, he began a career as a commercial loan officer near Charlotte for about six years prior to discerning a call to the priesthood. He graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1996 and was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Western North Carolina where he continued to serve in diocesan and parish ministry for four years. In 2000, he was called to the Diocese of Maryland, where he served at Grace Church, Elkridge for 12 years and then St. Mark’s Church in Highland, MD for nine years. In January, Father Taylor moved to Charleston with his wife, Kathy, after she accepted a new job.

Since moving here earlier this year, the Rev. Smith has spent time visiting a number of Episcopal churches in the Lowcountry as he discerned his next call. He shares Bishop Woodliff-Stanley’s vision for the future of St. James Episcopal Church on James Island. “I am equally honored and excited to be called by Bishop Woodliff-Stanley to serve St. James,” said the Rev. Smith. “I look forward to living into the call and living up to the challenge.  As with everywhere else in the world, there’s great opportunity in James Island to spread Good News of God’s inclusive love and we will do that through worship and by serving Christ by serving the world around us.”

​After nearly 10 years of litigation instigated by the churches that wanted to leave The Episcopal Church, the South Carolina Supreme Court determined that eight of at least 36 churches which had claimed possession of their properties and left The Episcopal Church, including St. James in Charleston, had created an irrevocable trust in favor of The Episcopal Church and its associated diocese, The (Episcopal) Diocese of South Carolina. St. James, Charleston, located on James Island, is the sixth church to be returned to the historic diocese since the Court published decisions in April and August of this year.

St. James Church originated from the Saint Andrew’s Parish that was created when the South Carolina General Assembly passed the Church Act of 1706, and by 1720, St. James Church was active on James Island.  The Diocese of South Carolina was one of the nine original dioceses that formed The Episcopal Church after the American Revolution, and St. James, Charleston, was a part of the diocese for centuries prior to the diocesan schism in 2012. The church is located on James Island at 1872 Camp Road.

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