St James Episcopal Church celebrated her 130th anniversary in 2013. The first services began in 1871 when the Rev. Engleton Barr, a chaplain stationed at Ft. Clark, Brackettville, Texas, came to Del Rio and held services in a stone building west of San Felipe Creek. As the town of Del Rio began to grow, a schoolhouse was built and in March of 1883, the Rev. J.T. Hutchinson celebrated Holy Communion in that schoolhouse. That was the beginning of the St James mission church. The congregation, consisting of 13 members, began plans for a church building which was completed in 1884. A cyclone destroyed the new building before it could be dedicated, but the congregation held a service in the wreckage led by Bishop Robert Elliott and Rev. Hutchinson. Three persons were confirmed on that day.
Two years later a new building was dedicated by Bishop Elliott and the Rev. A.W. Burroughs, the mission church’s priest. In 1919, St James became a self-supporting parish of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. The Rev. D.T. Johnson was the Rector of the 94 members parish at that time. In 1922 a red brick building was erected on the present site. This building served as the church until 1949 when the present church building was completed. This church building is known as one of the most beautiful worship spaces in Del Rio, with gothic arches, stained glass windows, and carved woodwork.
In 1944 a parish kindergarten was established holding classes in the Parish Hall. By 1970 this had become St James Day School with grades K5-5th. A new school building was built adjacent to the church and parish hall and is still in use today. As a parish, St James members have a history as leaders in the community for many civic activities such as Meals on Wheels, United Way, Community Youth Ministries, The Bethel Center, Relay For Life, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Lions Club, Rotary, Red Cross, and Military Affairs. Our church building and grounds are used as meeting places for community organizations and support groups.