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Church History

In the year 1904 a group of believers gathered in faith and organized St. James Missionary Baptist Church, under the pastorate of Reverend H. Brewer. The first edifice was later built under the guidance of Rev. J. S. Gilbert. The Pastoral days by 1914 were First and Third Sundays. During the next seventeen years the choir and ushers were organized. Three services were held on second Sundays, and conference was held on Saturday. In the year 1926 the pastoral days changed back to First and Third Sundays and Conference was held on the Thursday night before the first Sunday.

In the year 1928 the following auxiliaries were named and adopted: Deaconess, Mother's Board, Home Mission, Young Girl's Circle, Usher Board, Choir and Program Committee. The following year the Junior Choir was organized. Senior Choir 41 was organized under the pastorate of Rev. James Massey whom served faithfully for 30 years until his health failed. Rev. Massey was the Moderator of the Florida East Coast District Association for several years. He was a great leader, preacher, organizer and planner. Under his leadership the membership received much exposure, training and involvement. Senior Choir #1 had the opportunity to render song services locally and at District/State conventions. Members served as officers in the District, received training in District, State and National Conventions. St. James has a youth center in Lake Helen, Florida today named Massey-James Youth Center. The center's name was based on Rev. Massey being the Moderator and Mrs. Josie Q. James as the President of the Women's Department, both of whom now are deceased. The first Women's Day program was, also, held under the pastorate of the late Rev. Massey.

The demolition of the old edifice was in 1968. The mortgage burning was scheduled for July 13, 1969, and all pastors of the District were invited. Moderator J. T. Tanner was the speaker. In the year 1969 the deacons, at that time, assisted the Steering Committee in formulating plans for a building fund for the Annex. In the early 1970's the Matrons were reorganized and the weekly meetings were held from house to house. The Red Circles were, also, reorganized and in their previous organization they were privileged to serve in conventions and associations. In 1974 a Pulpit Aid Committee was organized. A Day Care Center was permitted to use the Annex area. The name of the church was changed from St. James Missionary Baptist to Greater St. James Missionary Baptist at the July 13,1974 business meeting. A youth choir was organized in 1976. the Youth Group sang at the convalescent home and Miracle City Mall during the Christmas season. In 1978 the membership accepted their first budget, Christian Education Council, Nominating Committee and By-Laws Committee.

In the early 1980's the Mass Choir was organized and remained active for two years. The mass choir sang at the nursing homes and choir fellowships. During the pastorate of Pastor Davis in the 1980's he recommended that Auxiliaries be called Ministries. He also mandated that the pastor be present at all meetings to make sure all things are descent and in order. A transportation committee was appointed in 1984. The Missionary Society began the first Black History Program in 1986 where exhibits were set up to see all the old antiques and items used inside the home, as well as outside the home. The exhibits were so good that it was shared with one of our local schools for educational purposes. The Matrons/Y.W.A. served dinners to the senior citizens monthly. The nursery was refurbished and set up under the leadership of the Matrons Y.W.A for children 3 months to 3 years, monitored by two adults. The church was loaded with different auxiliaries and committees to handle various duties in the church. The auxiliaries and committees were the Ushers, Matrons, Senior Choir, Youth Choir, Missionary Society, Sunshine Band, Red Circles, Male Chorus, Deaconess/Mothers, Sunday School Superintendent and Assistant, Sunday School Teachers, Finance, Hospitality, Trustees, and Deacons, Brotherhood, B .T.U. Committee, Children's Ministry, Ministries Committee, Program Committee, Ways & Means Committee, Historian Committee, Parliamentarian Committee, Community Outreach and Nurses Guild. Matrons/YWA's sponsored the first mother's prayer and first fathers prayer breakfast in 1991. An adult mass choir was formed, also in the same year. New carpet, pew cushions baptism pool drapes were purchased and the colors changed from red to blue in the same year. The Gospel Ensemble, a group of dedicated, strong, and willing men and women was organized in 1992.

The youth enjoyed their first trip to Washington, D.C. in 1992 and in 1993 the Youth took a trip to the mountains in Helen, GA. The church made many trips to South Carolina in fellowship with area churches in St. George, SC, Summerville, SC and Columbia, SC.

Minister Rick Harris was licensed at Greater St. James and is, currently, the pastor of Greater New Mount Zion, Merritt Island, FL. Minister Robert Lewis was, also, licensed at St. James in 1994 and later became the pastor at Mount Mission Baptist Church, Daytona, FL. In the early to mid 90's the church purchased a van. Sis. Leola Lewis organized the van ministry fund and stood proudly every Sunday with a basket collecting quarters in order to pay off the note earlier which, in fact, the debt.

Pastors Since

• Rev. H. Brewer
• Rev. H.B. Shaw
• Rev. E. Thompson
• Rev. H.J. McDonald
• Rev. William Tate
• Rev. H.B. Williams
• Rev. E. Thompson
• Rev. Freeman
• Rev. S. Sipplin
• Rev. B.J. Bozmon
• Rev. W.M. Burney
• Rev. James Massey
• Rev. Peterson
• Rev. Jess Buggs
• Rev. Charles Graham
• Rev. Clarence Taylor
• Rev. Donald Horne
• Rev. Henry Davis
• Rev. Joseph T. Wright
• Rev. Cornelius Scott Golden
• Rev. Keith L. Buckner - Present

After serving as interim Pastor, in December of 1996 Rev. Keith L. Buckner accepted the pastorate at Greater St. James Missionary Baptist Church. Under his visionary leadership many ministries have been restructured and implemented. Minister Ruben Mack was licensed on November 16, 1997, and is, currently, the pastor of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Sharpes, FL. Minister Raymond Ross was licensed to preach the Gospel in 2003 and Minister Terrell Torres Plummer was licensed to preach the Gospel in 2004.

Following the leadership of their Pastor, the Greater St. James Missionary Baptist Church has subscribed to the biblical concept of being both a tithing and debt free ministry. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” Malachi 3:10. It is through that window that the Lord has poured out several ministry achievements, to include acquiring 5+ acres of land, a new van purchase, extensive remodel of the church internal and external facilities just to name a few; while remaining debt free.

Having her greatest achievements to be the many souls won to the Kingdom and the many lives that are being changed all to the glory of God. It is the vision of Pastor Buckner and Greater St. James MBC to continue to evolve as a ministry that addresses the changing times in which we live in. Therefore ministries are continuously being birthed and implemented to address the souls of the people, believing that the best is yet to come.

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