St. James Missionary Baptist Church is nestled in the heart of Fayetteville, AR. St. James has been telling its story for over 148 years. Its story began with Squire Jehagen. After he was freed from slavery, Jehagen became a Baptist preacher and later organized a church for Negroes. The name of the church comes from a man named James who gave the land on which the historic church sits today.
God anointed and sent strong leadership to lead, guide and direct St. James and without this leadership; we would not be celebrating 148 years. Over the course of the years we have been led by: Rev. Mahan, Rev. Wilson, Rev. Tugle and Rev. C.L. Netherland, Rev. J.W. Webb, Rev. Thomas, Rev. G.E. Wright, Rev. M.G. Edmondson, Rev. W.M. Murry, Rev. Chester A. Woods, Rev. Jeremiah L. Thompson, Rev. Tommy Moton, Rev. J.A. Hawkins Sr. and our current shepherd Pastor Curtiss P. Smith installed on April 28, 2007.
These men ordained ministers, deacons and appointed trustees. Baptist Training Union (BTU), Ushers (BTU) started with Rev. M.G. Edmondson through Rev. J.L. Thompson (Ushers started with Rev. W.M. Murray. They also listened to the virtuous women in the church who led Sunday School and Mission. The pastors, along with the leadership and St. James family, started spirit filled programs in order to ensure not only church growth but also the growth of the community. Programs consisted of Baptist Training Union, Ushers, Vacation Bible School, Mission, choirs for all ages, deaconess, Youth Programs and instituted scholarships to educate our youth such as the J Aaron Hawkins Memorial Assistance Fund. They established the Brotherhood Club to draw more men to Christ, the Emergency Outreach Program, Deacon's Family Ministry and Senior's Day.
In 1920 St. James' membership was 40. Today there is a membership of over 1100. God has truly blessed St. James. Our church history is also built on the spiritual disciplines of prayer, worship, individual and corporate fasting, reading the Word daily, silence and solitude but most of all doing the will of God.