St. James’ Academy was founded in 1988 as a community outreach and social ministry under the auspices of St. James’ Episcopal Church by its Rector Michael B. Curry, now Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church in the United States. The program initially offered tutoring services and homework assistance to children living in the Upton, Sandtown-Winchester, and Harlem Park areas. In the more than 25 years since the program was founded, the program has evolved considerably to meet the changing needs for the community through after-school programs during the schoolyear as well as summer programs designed to promote continual learning.
St. John & St. James: An Educational Covenant
St. James’ Academy has also long benefited from — and been an outward manifestation — of the church covenant relationship between St. James’ and St. John’s Episcopal Church (Ellicott City), two pillar institutions in the Baltimore area with different, bridging disparate histories in collaboration towards a common goal of preparing the next generation with awareness of cultural similarities and differences. The collaboration of the communities bridging West Baltimore and suburbs represents a sharing of common goals and values, while learning and understanding the cultural differences that have evolved over decades and centuries of separate histories.
St. James’ Episcopal Church was organized by the Rev. William Levington as an independent parish in 1824 as the first black Episcopal church south of the Mason/Dixon line and only the third black Episcopal congregation established in the United States after congregations in Philadelphia and New York. Considering the social conditions facing people of color, the boldness and courage displayed by this thirty year-old man were remarkable. Originally meeting in an upper room at Park Avenue and Marion Street, the church grew and moved as the city changed — moving to its present location in 1932. From its inception, St. James’ Episcopal Church-Lafayette Square became and remains a guiding force in the life of the community of Baltimore.
St. John’s Episcopal Church was founded in 1822 in Ellicott City on land donated by Caleb and Elizabeth Dorsey. Today, St. John’s includes 1,800 members that include not only lifelong Episcopalians, but also those who grew up in other faiths including Catholic, Orthodox, and Jewish traditions. With a vibrant parish community of parishioners and friends who expand our ministries through prayer, pilgrimages, commitment, and in hundreds of other ways, St. John’s strives to bring everyone into a closer relationship with God and one another through Jesus Christ. St. John’s has also long had a strong commitment to lifelong education, and opened the St. John’s Parish Day School in 1965.