St. James A.M.E. Church was organized on May 1, 1876 by Rev. J. R. Carson, the first pastor, in the home of Mrs. Hattie Green. The first church building was located on the corner of Young and Abbott Streets in downtown Dallas. On the same site in 1881, Dr. R. S. Jenkins erected the first brick building in the North Texas Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Thirty years later under the leadership of Rev. J. E. Edwards, St. James was chartered, bearing the number 27321. Trustees responsible for this action were H. E. Everett, L. R. Robinson, R.D. King, J.D. Idlett, William Terrell, T. J. Baggby, B. J. Byrd, P. F. Frazier, and John Adams.
Rev. J. E. Williams and members purchased land with a small church on it at 620 Good and Latimer Street for $10,000.00 (Ten Thousand Dollars). The edifice, which now stands at 624 North Good Latimer Expressway, was erected in 1919 during the pastorate of Rev. Charles Wesley Abington, who with his devoted wife, Mrs. Estelle Jane Abington, served St. James and the A.M.E. Connectional Church for many rewarding years. When the Department of Christian Education was established in 1936, he was appointed Editor-In-Chief of the Religious Literature of the A.M.E. Church. Rev. Abington was sent to St. James from the Territory of Oklahoma. The name was changed to St. James Temple A.M.E. Church during the late 1940’s.
The church was sold in 1983 to the Embassy Court Joint Venture (H.M. Hargrove, Managing Partner). In early 1999, the old church facility was purchased by the Meadows Foundation, who renovated it and restored it, and on June 15, 1999, the Meadows Foundation dedicated that building as a part of Wilson Historic District, a non-profit community established in 1981. It now houses the Dallas Council of Churches Administrative Offices and it is a historical marker. The architect, William Sidney Pittman, was a black man whose wife, Portia, was the daughter of Booker T. Washington. The building is a replica of one of the buildings on the palace grounds at Versailles in France built by Louis XIV.
Rev. Joseph R. McGee burned the first mortgage in 1946 and Rev. Christopher C. Davis renovated the church and burned the subsequent mortgage in 1950.
The following ministers served as pastors of St. James: Reverends James A. Jackson, P.C. Hunt, H. E. Holmes, J. W. Laws, H.L. Trapp, M. A. Wright, A. Gorgon, J. E. Williams, James H. Smith (publisher of Vital Facts Concerning the A.M.E. Church in 1939), E. W. Morgan, Joseph R. McGee, Christopher C. Davis, Prince F. Jackson (served twice as pastor), Edward C. Gibson (longest serving pastor-15 years), Willie L. Davis, O. Thomas Austin (purchased the church and gymnasium at present location, 200 North Jim Miller Road, Dallas, Texas in 1983), Isaac B. Wells (purchased parsonage located at 926 Wolf Creek Circle in 1986), M. C. Cooper, Willie L. Brown, James J. McLaughlin (purchased vacant lot next door to the church), John J. April (native of Capetown, South Africa, came to us in 1997), Elliott C. Lambert (came to church in 2001, burned the last mortgage of the church and church property on July 18, 2004), Michael K. King (present pastor who came to the church on March 1, 2009). Under his leadership, we have accomplished many things. The vestibule of the church has been remodeled with the A.M.E. logo embedded in tile on the floor. Both of the men’s restrooms have been remodeled. We have also remodeled the women’s restroom in the vestibule, and we have replaced the hallway floorings. The parking lot was resurfaced and a security gate, new drainage system and new guttering has been installed. The south back wall of the church has been repaired. We purchased a new computer with Wi-Fi and internet access. Much needed handrails have been installed on the steps leading from the floor of the sanctuary into the pulpit area. Rev. King helped the workers with many of the repairs. He also organized a Junior Steward Board, dug the ditch and helped with other repairs, and some he did with his own hands! As a man of many talents, he is a carpenter, a baseball umpire and a Worshipful Master in his lodge.
Our pastor, Rev. Michael K. King, was elected as a delegate to the 2016 General Conference, where he will also serve on the Commission for Annual Conference Boundaries.
Of the many illustrious pastors who served well, two were elected Bishops: Rev. George B. Young (1928) and Rev. Edward J. Howard (1936).
At the 1999 North Texas Annual Conference held in Fort Worth, Texas, the name of the church was changed from St. James Temple A.M.E. Church to Greater St. James Temple A.M.E. Church.
This history of Greater St. James Temple A.M.E. Church was compiled in part by Linda J. Bolding.