Receiving the Word
5 February 2014
It seems in today’s world you can find a church on just about every corner in the African American community. With so many choices and options how do you know which one is for you? What about the church speaks to you? As I explore the one of the pillars within the community I hope to uncover why this church has lasted so long, and how the membership continues to grow.
In the heart of the city on 55th and Wayne sits St. James United Methodist Church. St. James has been a pillar in the community for over 57 years, 32 of which at its current location of 5540 Wayne Ave. Originally established in 1956 under the name Cleveland Avenue Methodist Church located at 26th and Cleveland, the church made its first move in 1958 due to “Urban Renewal Clearance” to 26th and Spruce and took on the name of St, James United Methodist Church. After two subsequent moves in 1973 and 1981, St. James United Methodist Church took up residence at 55th and Wayne (Postal Address) with the original entrance on 55th and Paseo BLVD. Part of the Christian Community, the congregation and leaders believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They also believe (as many Protestants do) that there are two sacraments that Jesus Christ participated in: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The Church’s mission (as stated at the beginning of service), is “To make disciples for Jesus Christ”.
Walking into the main entrance it is extremely difficult to miss all of the warm, inviting, and smiling faces of the members, and ushers alike. There is an extremely inviting spirit that consumes you as you are being seated. Looking around it isn’t surprising to see so many faces and from so many different backgrounds, poverty stricken to upper class all together in one sanctuary (that seats over 1000 at any one service comfortably). A multitude of members greeting each other as well as the guests that have decided to join the service for the day. As everyone...