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The following is a brief history of our accomplishments. The Church was founded in 1884 under Rev. James A. Madison.


In 1890, Reverend C. N. Douglas was appointed as pastor of St. James by the Right Reverend T. M.D. Ward, Presiding Bishop of the Fifth Episcopal District. This was a memorable year because St. James threw off the protection of the mother church and became an independent unit.

In 1893, the Reverend J. R. Hopkins was appointed. Rev. Hopkins realized that the congregation needed a larger building. There was a Methodist congregation located at Taylor and Maffit Avenue. The Trustees and pastor negotiated with the officials and succeeded in purchasing the church building which later had to be moved to the St. Ferdinand site.

St. James was firmly established in Elleardsvills (Ville) in 1894 when another lot was added to the church property. It was one of the few buildings in the area and shared this honor with Simmons Elementary School and Antioch Baptist Church.

The Reverend C.N. Douglas was again appointed in 1900, and served two (2) years. It was during this administration that the church building collapsed and left the congregation without a place in which to worship.


The sixteenth (16th) pastor of St. James was the Reverend W.C. Williams, who was appointed in October, 1902.  

First, the worship service was moved to the small parsonage and then to Kickers Hall at Newstead and North Market. Then, for a brief time, the building process was halted and the church used the new basement as its new home. Shortly thereafter, the structure was completed, but once again the wind was destructive. Seventeen (17) months later, the church paid for its first unit (the basement), paid the old mortgage debt of $1,400.00, which had stood for twenty (20) years and burned the mortgage. During the third (3rd) year of Rev. Williams' administration, he erected and furnished the new auditorium at a cost of $15,000.00 and paid all of about $7,000.00 of this debt.

Reverend A.A. Gilbert, who was appointed in 1907, inherited an indebtedness of $7,000.00. He paid all but $300.00 of the debt.


At this crucial moment, Bishop H. B. Parks, understanding the magnitude of the situation, appointed Reverend William H. Peck as the pastor in 1915.

In October 1924, Reverend Carl F. Flipper was appointed as pastor of St. James. During the three years of his pastorate, the interior of the church was finished and decorated, the office furnished and the filing system installed.

Under Rev. Dames' administration, a payment of $3,500.00 was made on the bonded indebtedness, property valued at $3,500.00 was deeded to the church in 1930 by Mrs. Annie M. Malone, and property valued at $2,500 was deeded to the church by Marie Gaines. Dames served as pastor for ten (10) years and at the end of this pastorate, the mortgage indebtedness of the church had been reduced from an estimated $22,000.00 to $8,000.00.

In November 1944, the Reverend C. Wayne Love came to St. James. Under his guidance, the membership engaged in a huge building drive for the completion of our church building. At the end of his pastorate of five (5) years, the balance in the building fund was $44,667.69 cash, and a bond valued at $500.00 at maturity.

Dr. Fred E. Stephens came to St. James in October, 1949. Under his guidance, the work on the superstructure of the new church began. The completion of the superstructure under Rev. Stephens marked the end of another period in the history of the church.

Bishop Frank Madison Reid, Jr. was assigned to Pastor St. James AME Church in November of 1956.  A strong advocate of the power  of prayer, Bishop Reid completed and dedicated the Shepherd's Chapel or Prayer Room on Delcember 29, 1959.  The Church Reading Room where the Sunday School Class meets, was designed, contructed, and dedicated during Bishop Reid's administration.  The lower level of the church was redecorated and the new air conditioning unit was installed. 

Reverend James Haskell Mayo's tenure at St. James began in 1964. The building of the James House at St. Ferdinand and Pendleton and the rebuilding of the parsonage in Windermere Place after a fire are two (2) of his major legacies to St. James.

Reverend Cecil Whitney Howard was appointed as the thirtieth (30th) pastor of St. James in 1971. His accomplishments include the renovation of the Fellowship Hall and the men's and women's restrooms, the purchase of a van, the installation of a chairlift, refurbishing of the pews, the replacement of carpet in the sanctuary, development of two (2) parking lots, and the organization of the Class Leader's Council.

In 1988, the youthful and aspiring pastor, Reverend Leslie R. White, was appointed to St. James. The highlight of activities under his administration included dedication of the newly renovated sanctuary.

Reverend Simon A. Perkins, Jr., was appointed the thirty-second (32nd). Under his administration the kitchen was remodeled.

Reverend Joseph Carlos Robinson was appointed the thirty-third (33rd) pastor of St. James in 1999 and served for four (4) years. During his administration, the Fellowship Hall was totally renovated.


In May of 2004, Reverend Noella Austin Buchanan was appointed as the thirty-fourth (34th) pastor of St. James. Rev. Buchanan came to St. James when we were experiencing a tremendous debt. In two (2) years, she has brought the debt under control and a healing to St. James that is evident in all that we do and say. She is a financial wizard and under her administration, she has restored the congregations' faith. In her second month we held a Roof Rally, where we replaced the entire roof for $20,000.00 with donations and pledges from our members.

She developed the St. James Army, which is a financial program where the members had made pledges to the church that will be repaid to them in a two (2) years time period. They are presently earning interest on their pledges. Under her leadership, St. James has become involved with the community not only in the Ville, but also throughout the St. Louis Community. Under her administration, we have established our first 501-C3 Program, partnered with Missouri Great Hires and started a GED Program.

Rev. Buchanan established our Children's Church and "A Teen Rap Session", where our youth and young adults are flourishing. Our 2nd Annual Church in the Community is held each august. We invite the entire community and feed them for free. We also give away 30-50 fully equipped school backpacks.

In  October 2012, Reverend Edmund E. Lowe, Sr. was appointed the thirthy-fifth (35th) pastor of St. James AME Church.   During the time that Rev. Lowe was Pastor of St. James, he was able to begin work on a brand new heating and cooling unit which will be completed February 2014 and incorporated a Summer Feeding and Enrichment Program from June - August of 2013 for children in the neighborhood.    Rev. Lowe became Presiding Elder of the St. Louis-Cape Girardeau District in November 2013.  

In November 2013, The Reverend W. E. Marshall was appointed the thirthy-sixth (36th) pastor of St. James AME Church.  

St. James
African Methodist Episcopal