About St. James.
In 1863, the year of the Emancipation Proclamation, the founding of St. James African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church was born as an outgrowth of house to house prayer meetings among the free men and women of African descent residing in the city known then as St. Anthony Falls. St. James AME became the first African American Church in the State of Minnesota.
The congregation’s first house of worship was a church at 6th Ave. S.E. and 2nd St. under the leadership of Rev. W. Hedgeman as its first pastor. A storefront location was followed, with a new church erected at 1st Ave. S.E. and 2nd St. which stood as a landmark in the community. By the 1880s, St. Anthony Falls had been changed to the City of Minneapolis, and had expanded to include both sides of the Mississippi River. The congregation next moved across the river to a storefront location in Minneapolis at 411 5th Ave. following a shift in the cities’ main business activities. In 1892 the congregation built a beautiful red brick structure at 8th Ave. S. and 4th St. However, the property was bordered by Rock Island Railroad, and was crowded out by rail expansion. During the next decades, the congregation moved through a succession of rented properties. In 1918 they purchased a building at 314 15th Ave. S. This would be the home of “Mother St. James until the expansion of the Interstate highway system which forced another relocation. The church was sold in 1956 and the congregation subsequently occupied space at the Pillsbury Settlement House. In 1958, the current structure was built at 3600 Snelling Avenue South.
In October 2023, The Rev. Chad Edwards was appointed to St. James. Pastor Edwards is the youngest pastor in our church's history. Under his leadership our church has embarked on the calling of "serving the present age". After the COVID Pandemic, we made the decision to become more innovative in our methods while keeping the Message the same. We are excited about Heaven crowded Our church is "history in the making". We thank God for our history, yet we are marching toward our destiny. Stay tuned for what God is going to do through us!