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Livingston, Alabama

SAINT JAMES' HAS AN OPENING FOR A PART-TIME RECTOR. This is offered as a part-time position, and is ideal for a retired but still active priest, or for one who wants the time to write, teach, or study. We are located in a small, peaceful and loving university community in western Alabama. For more information contact Hiram Patrenos at 205-499-0506,


Livingston, Alabama


Fr. Richard R. Losch, Acting Priest-in-Charge

Hiram Patrenos, Senior Warden
P.O. Box 446
Livingston, AL 35470

SAINT JAMES' EPISCOPAL CHURCH is a lovely early 19th century church in Livingston, the County Seat of rural Sumter County, Alabama. Livingston is the home of the University of West Alabama, and its social and cultural opportunities belie its simple agrarian origins in the famous Black Belt farming region (the "Black Belt" is a belt of black alluvial soil stretching from Georgia to Mississippi -- the name has no racial implications). The town was formed in 1832, when the Choctaw Nation signed the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, ceding ownership of a large tract of land to the settlers. Saint James' was founded in 1836, and its present building completed in 1842. Its Parish Hall was built in the mid-1950s, and was enlarged and refurbished in 1972. It burned (but was not destroyed) in 2004. It has been completely restored and improved, and is now a beautiful and active center of parish activity. The Rectory was renovated in 2004. A more detailed history of the parish can be seen here.

Livingston is a very ecumenically oriented town. For many years it has been the custom that on the fifth Sunday of the month, when there is one, the Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches unite for an Interfaith service, rotating its location between these churches. The un-designated offering from this service is donated to a fund to contribute to the relief of distressed travelers in the area.

Saint James' is a parish of about 30 communicants, primarily from Livingston and York. The church has recently been renovated and has installed a beautiful rebuilt Moeller organ to replace the mixed pipe and electronic organ that served it for many years. A previously used handsome 19th century free-standing organ graces the nave, and is still used on special occasions. It was built by Alexander Mills of New York City around 1870.

​Saint James' is an Altar-centered congregation, believing that our spiritual strength comes to us from God through the sacramental life of the church. The Holy Eucharist is celebrated every Sunday at 11:00 a.m., alternating between Rites I and II.

St. James' has had a long-standing relationship with several small parishes in the region that do not have weekly services. The strongest bond is with St. Alban's, Gainesville. Gainesville is a town of about 300 people. It was founded in  the early 1830s by a Connecticut businessman, Moses Lewis, who recognized the potential of its location. (To this day State Street, the street on which Lewis and his Connecticut business associates lived, is known as "Yankee Street.") Gainesville grew rapidly,  and before the  Civil War  it had become the third 

largest city in Alabama when Birmingham was little more than a village. Located on the banks of the Tombigbee River, it was the hub of river transportation from Tennessee to the Gulf of Mexico, and was a bustling center of the cotton trade. The advent of railroads, the demise of cotton farming, and the loss of most of her young men in the war marked the death of this great commercial center. Some of the grand old houses still stand on the banks of the river, but most are in need of repair.​

St. Alban's was founded in 1879, when the town, although in decline, still had dreams of rising to its former glory. Today there are four churches in Gainesville—St. Alban's, and the Methodist, the Presbyterian, and the Baptist Churches. Services are rotated, with a different church holding services for the whole community each Sunday. (On each third Sunday the service is at St. Alban's). Many people in the community describe themselves as "Metho-bapti-presby-palians." The rector of St. James' is the ex officio priest-in-charge of St. Alban's. The other churches are served by retired clergy or clergy rotated from other churches in the region.
                                                                                                                                —Richard R. Losch+

Saint James' Rectory

The old freestanding organ

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