Lutheran missionaries began their work in Lafayette in 1848. The formal organization of the church and school was on September 29, 1850. Rev. David R. French currently serves as senior pastor and Rev. Peter Heckert serves as associate pastor. St James was originally located on Ferry Street near 9th Street. Growth of the congregation led to its present location at 800 Cincinnati Street in 1884. Our school was constructed in 1914 with additions coming in 1965 (cafeteria and library), 1983 (gymnasium), and 1996 (church office and fellowship hall).
In 1887, the St. James Ladies Society undertook the project of providing a new altar for the church, and by November of that same year had gathered cash and pledges totaling $500. The new altar, including three statues, was ordered at that time.
The statues were selected (according to St. James tradition) based on how the ministry of St. James was and is still understood. Matthew (who is on the lectern side of the altar) was selected because of our commitment to minister to the children of the Lafayette community. John (who is on the pulpit side of the altar) was selected because our ministry is founded on the Word of God alone. The words seen on the book John is holding, IN PRINCIPIO ERAT VERBUM, are Latin for “In the beginning was the Word.” In the center of the altar, as well as our lives, is our Savior Jesus Christ from whom all blessings flow.
The total cost of the altar that has adorned our sanctuary for over 100 years was $494. The altar was installed in April 1898 and was most recently given a facelift during the summer of 1993.
Our logo reflects the symbol of St. James, a shield and cross.
The wooden cross which proceeds into worship each week, carried by an acolyte, is the same. A member of the congregation made this cross as a gift for St. James. The fleur-de-lis ends are evident in the architecture and altar of the sanctuary. The cross reminds us of the greatest sacrifice ever made, Jesus' death, and the assurance of forgiveness and eternal life. The shield symbolizes protection through Christ our Savior and reminds us to "put on the full armor of God" daily.
Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:13-17
St. James was an apostle, spreading the gospel throughout the world. These symbols encourage us to share the gospel with others, serving to remind us that we are chosen by God, created in His image, to be His children.