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a special place to worship

St James Church
The beautiful East window

ST JAMES  is situated on the Stone Store Hill overlooking the Stone Store Basin. It is a kauri board and batten church and is the third church on the site. The church is named after St James the Great of Compostella and the symbol of the scallop shell features in the stained glass windows. There are beautiful stained glass windows in the East and West windows as well as a window commemorating the world wars.

Mission Statement
The mission of St James Church is to proclaim the love of God, and so nurture, love, and care for all people.

The present church is "staffed" by a ministry team of three sacramental ministers, plus two in training, a vocational deacon, a liturgist, a music liturgist, an administrator, an educator, a pastor and a preacher. Many members of the congregation take part in the worship services and in pastoral care. This model is called Local Shared Ministry and replaces a stipendiary Vicar. St James is still allied with the churches at Paihia, Russell, Whangaroa and Kaeo, within the Parish of the Bay of Islands. Paihia and Russell are also Shared Ministry Units.

Usual Church Services


8.00 am Said Communion

9.00 am Sung Communion


7.15 p.m.  Holy Communion, Music

Bible Study and Discussion


10.30 am Communion from Book of Common Prayer.

 Church History

There is a booklet on sale in the church, called Chapel to Church, which has an account of the setting up of the Mission Station at Kerikeri in 1819 and of the events that followed during the years 1824 - 1997.

Excerpts from Chapel to Church.

"This brief history reaches back to the time when Samuel Marsden first became interested in "benefiting the New Zealanders".  It tells of the daunting problems that faced the Missionaries in the formative years of the Stations, and attempts to clarify some of the obscurities as to the location of the two early chapels.

Reaching into more modern times the story touches on the emergence of the present St. James Church, the extensions that became necessary in the 1960's, and even pushes the building back on to its foundations after the buffetings of an unchristian tornado that visited it in 1968."


The American sailing vessel, "General Gates" arrived at the Bay of Islands on August 12, 1819. Among the 22 passengers were Marsden, the Rev. John Gare Butler, Mrs Butler and son; Francis Hall, schoolmaster and missionary; James Kemp, blacksmith and catechist, and Mrs Kemp."

The following extract is from the Church Gazette:-

"A remarkably neat little church was opened at Kerikeri on December 5, 1878. The services were conducted by Archdeacon Clarke (Ven. E B. Clarke, Archdeacon of Waimate, 1870-1901.) and Rev. H P Taua, the first being in Maori..."

The new church stood close beside the ruins of the previous chapel.

The entire cost of the building was two hundred and thirty five pounds; a small debt of ten pounds, ten shillings was all that was owing.

The new church and the chapel it replaced were almost identical in size; the same width of eighteen feet with the church three feet longer.

It is generally believed that some of the materials from the 1829 chapel were incorporated in the new building; for example the bearers.

When the church was consecrated it was given the name of St. James, and dedicated to St. James the Great of Compostella. (Tradition has it that after his martyrdom in AD 42, his body was placed in a boat without sail or rudder which drifted on to the Spanish coast. His shrine at Compostella became a famous place of Pilgrimage.)

The church measured 41 feet by 18 feet with 8 inch kauri weather boards (boards and battens), shingle roof, and foundations of puriri piles on stone blocks. William Cook and son of Waimate North, who had built the church of St. John the Baptist there in 1871, were also the builders of St. James."

Church office: ph 09 407 1486

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