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147 Years Ago

One hundred and forty seven years ago, some dedicated Godly individuals had a great vision; to build a church - St. James Missionary Baptist Church.

To the best of our knowledge and as far back as records can be found, the history of the St. James Missionary Baptist Church is as follows.

Here at St. James, our hearts are filled with joy and we rejoice because our ancestors were Godly individuals who laid the foundation 147 years ago. Although God called two of his wonderful children home this year: Sis. Mandy Rogers Walker and Sis. Arnita Clewis, at the Saint we continue to look to the hills where our help comes only from God. We ask that you pray God will continue to bless and strengthen us to strive in his service until He says, “Well Done.” For we are great in spirit, our faith is undying, and the vision is alive in each of us.

St. James Missionary Baptist Church

The History of St. James Missionary Baptist Church

The first of this said great church was founded and organized in the year of 1867 by the late Rev. William M. Jasper, Sr. He also served as the first pastor.

The St. James Sanctuary and other church facilities are situated on a one acre lot; the first half acre being deeded to the church March 31, 1897 by Sister Harriet Jasper; and the second half acre deeded February 10, 1910 by Bro. William and Sis. Mary Ware.

Records show that the second pastor of this said church was the late Rev. R.H. Boyd, who was the great founder of the present National Baptist Publishing Board located in Nashville, TN.

Fire Destroyed the Church

n the year of our Lord 1953, on December 7th, this said church and all its possessions were destroyed by a blazing fire. At the time of this great disaster, the church was without a pastor. Shortly thereafter, Rev. C.W. Wilson of Athens, TX was elected pastor. It was a God sent blessing that he was also a carpenter. By the Power and Grace of God, with the financial assistance of the Palestine Bowen District Association and this community, the physical labor of many, Rev. Wilson helped to erect the sanctuary we are now enjoying and giving praise. This building was dedicated July 17, 1955.

Renovation & Growth

In the year of our Lord 1968, the church underwent its first major renovation in which the cafeteria was annexed. On June 6, 1982 the second major renovation took place with the installation of new pews. The pews were dedicated to God as a part of his holy temple November 7, 1982 under the leadership of the late Rev. Frank Jones.

In September in the year of our Lord 1967, Rev. Frank Jones of Lufkin, TX was elected pastor and served faithfully for 28 years until his health hindered him. He resigned his post January in the year of our Lord 1996. Although our hearts were filled with sadness, we were blessed yet again with the Rev. T.L. Walker of Jacksonville, TX who was installed on July 7, in the year of our Lord 1996. In the year of our Lord 1999, July 18, Rev. Walker resigned his post here at St. James. Our hearts were heavy, but God always knows what’s best for his people; through many prayers and our undying faith, God shined his light on us. God blessed us with an energetic and inspiring leader and a man of God that shares our vision: Rev. Michael Thompson of Palestine, TX. In the year of our Lord 2000, March 5, Rev. Thompson was installed. Pastor Thompson serves as the 26th pastor of the Saint. Under his leadership, in the year of our Lord, January 2008, St. James moved from a bi-monthly church to praising the Lord every Sunday and we have not looked back. Also under Pastor thompson’s leadership, St. James has been blessed with a growth in membership, the purchase of two church vans, the installation of a new heating and cooling system, and the enlargement of the fellowship hall. We are thankful for this man of God, who stands boldly and preaches the uncompromising gospel.