St. James A.M.E. Church in Cape Girardeau celebrates 160th anniversary

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Cape Girardeau celebrated their 160th Church Anniversary.

According to a release, in 1863, the St. James Society, or Station, was organized by Rev. Winston, Rev. Burks, Prog. Samuel Newton, and Jesse Stanton. The Society met in the building across the street from its current location on North St. in Cape Girardeau.

For the next three years, Rev. Kirkman, Rev. James Madison, and Rev. George Gains served this Station and in 1867, St. James Society became St. James A.M.E. Church.

In 1875, under the leadership of Rev. Spotswood Rice, the current facility was erected. St. James is the oldest African American church in Cape Girardeau and has served the community in numerous ways.

Minister Geneva Allen-Patterson is the 59th pastor of St. James, taking the position in January 2023. St. James was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior in 2014.

On Sunday, September 10, there were two high praise worship services as the congregants gathered to celebrate the church’s history with friends and family from the Cape Girardeau community and those returning to join in this historic event.

The morning worship began at its usual time of 11 a.m. Pastor Geneva and members of St. James invited Pastor Ben Porter of Gateway Church to be the guest speaker for a 3 p.m. worship experience.

According to the church’s website, St. James A.M.E. is the oldest African American Church in Cape Girardeau.