Cathedral of St. James
In October of 1834, a community of Episcopalians was gathered in Chicago. St. James was a congregation before there was an incorporated city or a mayor, before there was a diocese or a bishop.
They are, in fact, a congregation with a founding Mother, Juliette Augusta Magill Kinzie. Connecticut born, a gently raised middle-class educated lady, a life-long Episcopalian, who married a dashing trader, entrepreneur, Indian agent named John Harris Kinzie (son of John Kinzie). The adventures that brought her to a Chicago in its own infancy in 1834 are chilling - both figuratively and literally - following sojourns with her spouse through Wisconsin in the dead of winter.
The Indian wars of the 19th century have yielded to gang wars of the 21st. The massacre of Fort Dearborn is bloody piece of our history. The massacre of young people on our city streets is a bloody fact of life now. Like Juliette Kinzie, we live in a place continually being reshaped by the forces of history, now more than an emerging national economy, rather a global one.
The entrepreneurial spirit that settled this city is alive and well with the same unbridled greed and capacity to exploit resources, natural and human.
In 1955, Bishop Burrill asked St. James to become the Cathedral for the Diocese of Chicago -- a Cathedral for the third largest city in the country. The oldest continuing Episcopal congregation in Chicago would now become the Mother Church of the diocese, the seat of the Bishop, with a peculiar ministry and mission of service and outreach on behalf of our bishop.