St. James Anglican Church finds a new home — in an actual church

The congregation of St. James Anglican Church, now in Tumwater, appear to be settling nicely into their new church after a third service at its new location Sunday.

Except it isn’t just “nice,” said church member, Trevor Elliot, it’s “great.”

“This is a church,” he said. “I feel like I’m home.”

That wasn’t always the case for the local St. James Anglican Church, which was founded about 10 years ago and got its start at the Salvation Army in Olympia, said co-founder, subdeacon and resident historian Steve Carmick. The church grew a little and then moved to an office location on Stoll Road in Olympia, where, from the sound of it, it struggled to grow in a hard-to-find location.

A church deacon later discovered that a picture-perfect church building at 219 B St. SW was for sale. About six months later, the church was theirs, continuing a long tradition as a house of worship. The white church on that site was built in 1869, according to county records. Since then, it has been home to Methodists, Unitarians and Quakers — the group that St. James Anglican bought if from.

The congregation is small, averaging about 15 people, said the Rev. Gary Graveline Sr., who has been leading the church since September 2013. But the new location gives them room to grow. It’s in a residential setting, so he hopes they can double the congregation, including those with children or teenagers for future church programs.

“It’s the best environment to grow,” he said.

Church member Mary Lou Longworth said the new church is the whole package — a beautiful church and building.

“I love it,” she said. “What’s not to love?”

Every church service in the United States on Sunday likely touched on the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. So, too, did Graveline, who asked the congregation to “pray for the state of Florida.”