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Our History

History of St. James

As early as 1912, St. James began as a Sunday School and prayer group. Under the leadership of Rev. James Mitcham, they joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1914. The church was built at 9230 South State Street in 1915. 

As membership increased, the church moved to its present location at 9256 South Lafayette Avenue in 1933. Over the course of its 107 year history, St. James has been led by stellar ministers of the gospel who have grown the membership, created engaging programs and impacted the South Side of Chicago.

Rev. Craig T. Robinson, Jr. was appointed to the pastorate of St. James in September 2019. He and his wife, the Reverend Dr. Shakira Sanchez-Collins come with many gifts for ministry and a vision for St. James' future. 

History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church

The AMEC grew out of the Free African Society (FAS), which Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, and others established in Philadelphia in 1787. When officials at St. George's MEC pulled blacks off their knees while praying, FAS members discovered just how American Methodists would go to enforce racial discrimination against African Americans. Hence, these members of St. George's made plans to transform their mutual aid society into an African congregation. Although most wanted to affiliate with the Protestant Episcopal Church, Allen led a small group who resolved to remain Methodists. In 1794, Bethel AME was dedicated with Allen as pastor. Because black Methodists in other middle Atlantic communities encountered racism and desired religious autonomy, Allen called them to meet in Philadelphia to form a new Wesleyan denomination, the AME.

Today, the African Methodist Episcopal Church has membership in twenty Episcopal Districts in thirty-nine countries on five continents. The work of the Church is administered by twenty-one active bishops, and nine General Officers who manage the departments of the Church.

Dennis Dickerson, Retired General Officer

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