In a joyful celebration, St. Jude’s in the Mountains Anglican Church began ministry anew at their former campus on 1200 S. Curry St. Almost 40 years ago, the members of the church built the building themselves, but three years ago, they had to surrender the entire campus to an Episcopalian diocese that prevailed against the Anglican diocese in a lawsuit. Now with a new owner, the property became available once again to St. Jude’s Church and they celebrated their first Sunday “back home” Nov. 3.
This is really a miracle of God’s provision. For three years, the property had been in steady decay, with St. Jude’s Church unable to buy it. During that time, the congregation had rented worship and office space from Mountain Bible Church. Members of St. Jude’s Church credit Mountain Bible Church for saving their congregation from dissolution by making that space available and for their gracious support. During that time, it looked like the old campus would remain out of reach and St. Jude’s would have to look elsewhere for their future. Then a miracle happened.
I got a call from a kind investor, Rudy Ramirez, who bought the Curry Street property last winter. He had been approached by two other congregations and some businesses, all of whom wanted to lease the old church, but he decided to give St. Jude’s Church the chance they needed. Thousands of dollars were spent to bring the old church back to usable condition. A lease agreement was drawn up, giving St. Jude’s Church three years to raise funds and buy the campus themselves. It all came together just in time for our bishop’s annual visit.
After many hours of cleaning, repairing the inside and grounds and working with city officials, the homecoming day arrived. The Rt. Rev. Eric Menees, bishop of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, knocked on the door of the church building with his shepherd’s staff, blessed the building and worship once again resumed at the church, followed by a lavish potluck.
Every church has their niche and ours is the ancient style of worship we have, as well as a life-skills ministry we offer for those who are chronically needy to become more independent. Our church practices time travel, with ancient prayers, recognizing the holiness and compassion of Jesus.
St. Jude’s in the Mountains Anglican Church, now located at 1200 S. Curry St., holds evening prayer every Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Holy Eucharist (Communion) every Sunday at 10 a.m. The church also welcomes parents of Tompkins Elementary to use their parking lot as they drop off and pick up their children for school. Whenever I am in, I welcome parents and other visitors to join me for a cup of coffee or refreshment, as well as prayer if desired.
Father Wes Clare is the rector at St. Jude's in the Mountains Anglican Church.