St James’ Anglican Church, Morpeth
We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which this community of faith meet, the Gringai clan of the Wonnarua people. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present, and emerging. We acknowledge the deep spiritual connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to this country and commit ourselves to the ongoing journey of reconciliation.
Our Missions and Values
We warmly welcome you to the Anglican Parish of St James’ Morpeth in the Diocese of Newcastle, NSW. At St James’ we believe the mission of the Church is to bring people into communion with God and with one another. We place Christ’s all-embracing love and justice at the centre of flourishing human life. Together we share our celebrations, our thanksgivings, our sorrows, our healing. We belong to a wider community and we are called to reach out, showing forth God’s love and care, the good stewardship of our natural environment, and connecting with people in their real experience.
St James’ Anglican Church Morpeth has been a site of Christian worship for almost two hundred years.
The church building is said to represent the fulfilment of a vow made by Lieutenant Edward Close at the Battle of Albuera in 1811, during the Peninsular War, that he would build a house of worship if his life were spared. The foundation stone was laid in 1837 and the church was built to Close’s design. It was consecrated in 1840. Only the tower remains of the original building. There is a memorial window to Close in the eastern wing, commissioned and funded in 1872 by the community in recognition of his services and generosity.
Noted architect Edmund Blacket was employed in 1862 to extend the east end by the addition of a chancel and sanctuary. He inserted new cedar pews which still remain and he designed both a distinguished font and a stone pulpit. The latter, beautifully carved by D. Yeates of Maitland, is an exact replica of a pulpit built in 1280 for a Cistercian Abbey which had since become Beaulieu Parish Church where Bishop Tyrrell, who funded the extensions, had been rector.
In 1874 J. Horbury Hunt, noted colonial architect, was commissioned to rebuild the nave after a fire. Under instructions to alter the character of the building as little as possible his major contribution is a fine and beautifully crafted hammer beam roof. Thus the tower was designed by Close, the chancel by Blacket and the nave by Hunt. And yet the building has a unified feel. The organ inside was built in 1877. Edward Close and John Howe, the leader of the first overland expedition into the Hunter, are buried in Morpeth cemetery.
St James’ Morpeth celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2015. Since those early days, the people of St James’ have continued to serve God, the parish and the diocese faithfully.
Morpeth is an historic inland port on the southern banks of the Hunter River. It is a town of surpassing loveliness with a beautiful riverside setting and an authentic historic ambience produced by the honey-coloured stonework of its many old buildings and the genuine charm of its main street, Swan Street. It is easy to spend a day in historic Morpeth browsing the eclectic range of shops and galleries, dining at the many cafes and restaurants, or just soaking up the local atmosphere.
At St. James we are take seriously the fifth Mark of Mission of the Anglican Communion – To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth. We understand that caring for our environment, locally and globally, is fundamental to our commitment to love our neighbours as ourselves. We actively encourage parish organisations and members of the congregation to minimise their environmental impact, and are progressively modifying parish buildings to reduce our ecological footprint. We support timely, effective, and equitable climate action and are a member of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (https://www.arrcc.org.au).
St James’ Morpeth