65 E. Huron

Dear Friends in Christ,

It is my privilege and my joy to announce, on behalf of the Cathedral Chapter and leadership of St. James, that we have taken an important and exciting step on the path to securing our historic Cathedral, its vital ministries, and the integrity of the physical campus that has served for more than 175 years as the sacred space from which this historic congregation has lived out God's mission in the world.

This week, the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago accepted our Letter of Intent (LOI) to purchase 65 E. Huron, the modern building that adjoins St. James Cathedral, and in which our administrative offices and parish gathering spaces currently sit. Our preliminary agreement to purchase the building marks an important commitment to our parishioners, neighbors, and the wider diocesan community—affirming our physical presence in the heart of Chicago to minister to all who are need of the hope and support our faith calls us to provide.

We now enter a period of further negotiation with the hope and expectation that the transaction will reach its final form in the coming months. This agreement is also a tribute to a renewed spirit of cohesion and fellowship with Bishop Clark and other diocesan leaders with whom we have worked closely for the past two years in a commitment to mutual accommodation and stewardship of generational resources. The proceeds we raise will provide much needed support for the good work of the entire diocese.

Buoyed by this development, our capital campaign will now move into a new chapter of focused planning and expanded outreach that will support the purchase of the modern building, as well as fund the separate structural and functional restoration previously envisioned for the historic Cathedral building.

You have often heard me tell the story of St James’ founding families who stood in the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 looking on the hollow shell of the majestic church they had just weeks earlier completed and dedicated, brought to ground except for the bell tower which remained. Many of them, their homes also wiped out in the catastrophe, vowed to rebuild their church - and they did. In four short years they rebuilt what had previously taken them 20. In October 1875, the people of St. James reconsecrated the structure in which we are blessed to worship to this day.

Our buildings are their legacy, and now our founders' resolve has been reborn in all of us, with an LOI that represents a new landmark in our history as we work to pass on to future generations the gift that we have received from generations past. Facing the uncertainty that the sale of 65 E. Huron cast upon the future of the Cathedral and its ministries, our congregation and its leaders met the moment again, marshaling the will, the vision, and the initiative to chart a way forward that allows for the mutual flourishing of both cathedral and diocesan community alike, and which continues to welcome both the faithful and the seeker through open doors.

I look forward to sharing more about the path forward in the months ahead. I also ask you to join me in prayers of thanksgiving for this moment, and in ongoing prayers for our Cathedral’s faithful lay leaders, and the success of our efforts to bring our vision to life.

The Very Rev. Lisa Hackney-James,
Provost of the Cathedral