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The History of St. James Anglican Church


Bishop Frank H. BenningSt. James Anglican Church was established in 1967 by Bishop Frank H. Benning. With a tiny congregation services were held at Bishop (then Rev. Father) Benning's home. A short time later as the congregation grew services were held in the conference hall of Atlanta Federal Savings & Loan at the corner of Peachtree and Piedmont Roads in Buckhead.

St. James November 1974 in Sandy SpringsFrom its founding in 1967 through 1974 the congregation of St. James grew and members were successful in raising money to purchase the property at 5975 Mitchell Road in (what was then) a rural area in the distant northern suburbs of Atlanta known as Sandy Springs. It is at the Mitchell Road location (as seen to the left in 1974) that St. James continues faithfully over 50 years later.

From her founding in 1967 through 1979, St. James was aligned with the traditional Episcopal Church. However as the Episcopal Church moved farther away from the orthodox Anglican faith, Bishop Benning among many other Bishops began to consider disconnecting from the Episcopal Church.

Upon the direct cancellation of use of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer by the Episcopal Church, replacing it with the modernized and reworded 1979 version the tough decision was finalized. It was also at this time that all use of the 1940 Hymnal Standard Harmony Edition was cancelled. Bishop Benning withdrew St. James from the Episcopal Church and countless other churches left as well.

From there on through the 1980's St. James grew to become one of the most well known traditional Anglican Churches in the South East. In the late 1980's Bishop Benning founded the Anglican Episcopal Diocese South as a means to help provide oversight and guidance to the various Episcopal parishes and missions across the world who had also withdrawn from the now "modern" Episcopal Church. During this time Bishop Benning served as the endorsing Bishop for The Department of Defense for all enlisting Anglican clergy and chaplains. Traveling across the world as well as hosting various Anglican clergy from across the world at St. James.

In the mid 1990's St. James expanded it's public service into the education of children when it opened St. James Anglican Church Montessori Pre-School, the first ever Anglican Montessori Pre-School. With plans to grow further both Bishop Benning and St. James eagerly looked towards the millennium with high hopes. However in May of 2000 St. James, her pre-school and congregation suffered a crippling loss as Bishop Benning died suddenly from complications brought on by a heart attack.

Since the passing of Bishop Benning, St. James has faithfully continued following the Anglican tradition in this ever increasing modern era. In 2012, during the celebration of our 45th anniversary, Bishop Benning's grandson William began holding all services. With direct guidance from Bishop Larry Johnson of the Anglican Church of Virginia and the Anglican Church in the United States of America (ACUSA), St. James continues on. Our services continue to come from the traditional 1928 Book of Common Prayer catering to those who seek a traditional worship service based in the solemn beauty and dignity of the Anglican Faith.

As the city of Sandy Springs continues to develop, St. James remains as one of the last remaining properties in Sandy Springs that has remained untouched by the continual development. As vowed by Bishop Benning and affirmed by the church Vestry Board, St. James Anglican Church will remain in Sandy Springs until Christ returns in the cloud.

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