St. James Episcopal Church           








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St. James Mission Statement:
We at St. James Parish believe that we are Christ's own, and that our reason for existence is to follow his commandments to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
​203 E. Glendale St. 
  P.O. Box 1374  
Dillon, MT 59725  
406-683-2735  (Cell) 406-925-3290  
The Rev. E. Gregory Prout
The Rev. A. G. Drummond
Can you hear those bells?
The Rev. Sidney Hooker & Mrs. Hooker
St. James 1884
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” – Psalm 122:1”
 A Brief History of Saint James Episcopal Church in Dillon
In April 1883 fifteen ladies of Saint James Mission organized the Saint James Guild under the direction of The Reverend Drummond, who came from Virginia City twice a month.  The Guild’s purpose was “to assist Saint James in activities and projects, spiritually and materially; to be a fellowship of women dedicated to Christ and the extension of his Kingdom; to keep the women of Saint James informed of women’s activities on both the diocesan and national levels.”
The Reverend E. Gregory Prout was a skilled carpenter and architect, as well as a printer and editor.  The church built under his direction is of post and beam construction, with board-and-batten siding.  The soaring wood ceiling is supported by large beams.  It is furnished in traditional style with wooden pews on either side of a central aisle.
July 2, 1882, less than a year after the city of Dillon was founded, the cornerstone of Saint James Episcopal church was laid at the northeast corner of Idaho and Bannack Streets, about a block from its current location.  The first clergy assigned to the Saint James mission from Virginia City were The Reverend E. Gregory Prout and The Reverend A.G. Drummond.
In 1885, The Reverend Sidney Douglas Hooker arrived, replacing The Reverend Drummond, who resigned his missionary position due to ill health.  In January 1887 The Reverend Hooker married Mary Russell Perkins of Hartford, Connecticut, a niece of abolitionist and author Harriet Beecher Stowe.  For the next 24 years, the Hookers would be formative leaders in the young community of Dillon.
   The first Clergy of   St. James

The next 24 years
On August 31, 1887, the Saint James church bell cast by the McShane bell foundry was first rung, celebrating the consecration of the church.  The church was “separated henceforth from all unhallowed, worldly, and common use, and dedicated to the Worship and Service of Almighty God.”  In 2013 the bell passed 126 years in service, ringing on at least 6,552 Sundays, and for hundreds of weddings, funerals, and special services. Saint James Episcopal Church circa 1889-1890 at its original location in Dillon, on the northeast corner of Idaho and Bannack Streets.  The church was built in 1882 under the direction of The Reverend E. Gregory Prout, a skilled carpenter, architect, printer, and editor.  The cottage to the left is the home and dispensary of Dr. H. D. Pickman.  To the right along Bannack Street is the Methodist church.  Beyond is the County Courthouse, which was built in 1889.  In 1890, the church was jacked up and moved to its current location, about a block away.
Growth & a move
The first large stained glass window was installed in north end of Saint James Episcopal Church above the altar, depicting Jesus in the garden at Gethsemane.  This five-part window was placed in memory of Hersey Derby Pickman and his wife Virginia by Dr. Pickman’s sister, Philomela.  Dr. Pickman established the first hospital in Dillon, and served as Montana’s Surgeon General.  The Sanctuary of Saint James today is graced by eight more large stained glass windows and numerous smaller windows added over the years.
In 1901 the church building was enlarged with plans from a Butte architectural firm.  The project added the transept, chancel, and a choir room, and enlarged the Sacristy.
The first Stained Glass windows
The church enlarged
In 1911 the Guild Hall was built, made possible by a gift by Mrs. Ellen McGowen Lovell in memory of her husband Philip Lovell.  Mr. Lovell was a native of Yorkshire, England, who arrived at Bannack in 1863.  He married Ellen McGowen in 1875, and died in 1907.  In a time before woman suffrage, and nearly a century before the Episcopal Church would ordain female clergy, women brought many benefits to their communities through organizations like the Saint James Guild.  The Guild Hall was a great gift to the church, and important to the whole community.  The large common room and central location of the hall has served in many capacities through the years.  It once contained a stage, and hosted many banquets, bazaars, funeral and wedding receptions, as well as basketball, bowling and roller-skating.  The former hardwood floor was the scene for countless dances.
The Guild Hall built
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