With the appointment of Reverend Peter Lawson, in 1984, a new contemporary era at St. James begins. Rev. Lawson’s progressive approach to theology causes church membership to swell and attracts numerous community groups and non-profits to use the church facilities. During his tenure, two successful capital campaigns help the physical church to modernize alongside the parish through retrofits, renovations of the parish hall and sanctuary, and improvements to the exterior grounds.
Reverend Mary Moore Gaines starts as a Deacon in 1989, becomes Assistant Rector in 1990, Co-Rector with Peter Lawson in 1993, and full Rector in 1997. Like Reverend Lawson, she espouses a passion for social justice, reflected in the new spirit of the church. In December of 2000 the Vestry draws up a Statement of Inclusivity and St. James declares itself an Oasis Congregation.
After nearly 20 years of service, Reverend Gaines retires in 2009. The Reverend Won-Jae Hur capably serves the church as interim priest until Reverend John Kirkley became the seventh Rector of St. James, assuming his responsibilities in November of 2010.