The Former St. James Baptist Church
Celebrating 100 Years, 1910-2010
The church was first organized somewhere between 1909-1910. The founder was Rev. Mc Ryan who was the first Pastor. The Church was named for Pastor Ryan's Chapel. The church was located in Bagby, Texas on the Porter Field Place. Other pastors that served during this time were Rev. L. L. Jones and Rev. Wells and Rev. Mcquillia. The Church was also called at this time Big Wood.
In the 1920's the Church was moved closer to Honey Grove, to the Dial Community. The Sheltons donated land for the Black School and Church. Here the church was renamed to St. James Baptist Church (Big Wood).
A pastor during this period was Rev. H. R. Robertson. Deacons serving at this time were Richard Perry, Carl White, Hugh White, Curly Allen, Horace Finney Sr., Jessie Mallard, Robert Clark, and Author Lee. Church clerks were Addie Perry, Surldia White and Jessie M. Graves.
Later Rev. C. J. R. Phillips Sr. was called. Deacons serving under were A. O. Lee, Richard Perry, Carl White and Archie Farris.
The next pastor was Rev. Ed Graves, with the deacons serving David Lindsey, Dudley Johnson, Allison (Bully Boy) Nickerson and Bro. Horace Finney.
Rev. J. C. Linwood was the next pastor with deacons Horace Finney, David Lindsey, John Williams, John Williams, John Logan and Willie Finney. Church clerks were Sis. Gussie Carter and Sis. Nancy Burton.
Some of the musicians that served were Sis. Vera Kines, Sis. Oneatha Chaffin and Peggy Burton Moore.
Under Rev. Linwood's leadership, in 1972 the fellowship hall was added. Then in 1974 a parsonage was also added to the church, with remodeling of the sanctuary.
Rev. Linwood served as pastor for 33 years.
In November of 1983 Rev. David Moore was called as pastor, and was installed in March 1984. Under Rev. Moore's leadership, annual days were set and observed. The church was remodeled. A deacon was Willie Finney. Later Bro. Amiri Clark was ordained, followed by Bro. Billy Flemings. The church started to grow.
In 1994 the membership decided they wanted to build a new sanctuary and relocate to Honey Grove, Texas. We then started a financial fund for the new sanctuary. After a while a search was started for land to build the new sanctuary the church continued to grow.
In 1998 we purchased one acre of land on Scott Street from Mr. Johnny Smith.
In October of 1999 the foundation of the new church was poured. The building was built with volunteer labor from The Southern Baptist Association., with Bro.'s Hicks and Bro. McKinley doing the majority of the labor along with the St. James membership.
On the first Sunday of September 2000, the congregation gathered at the old sanctuary (Big Wood), had a song and prayer and had a motorcade to our new sanctuary where we now serve.
Our new church building was dedicated on Sunday, October 8, 2000, with Rev. Thurmond Perry as guest speaker.
Since that time two more deacons have been added: Br. Ronald Russell and Bro. Leigh Dixon, with Bro. Willie Finney as chairman of the Deacon Board and Bro. Billy Flemmings as co-chairman.
Our Trustee Board consists of Willie Finney, Billy and Della Flemings, Linda Williams, Nancy Burton, Jessie Clark, Ronald and Francis Russell, Leigh Dixon, J. W. Daniels and Mary Ann Clark. The church clerks and financial secretary: Sis. Della Flemming and Sis. Mary Clark.
Sis. Lavon Moore serves as our Minister of Music; Sis. Dorothy Sanders Choir President; Sis. Leisha Evans, Youth Dir; Sis. Melanie Daniels Assistant Youth Dir.; Sis. Francis Russell, Usher Pres.; Sis. Susie Gooden, Mission Pres.; Jessie Clark, Pastor's Aide Pres.; Sis. Nellie Brown, Chairperson of Hospitality Band.
The church continues to grow. Rev. Moore is the current pastor.