Our Church

Humble Beginnings


On May 22, 1949, eight people (Samuel and Ceola Alexander, Herman and Ruth Cunningham, Bertha Jackson, Janie Murphy, Marie Pina and Reverend Clayton P. Powell) gathered together in the Cunningham home at 33 Kearney Avenue, New Britain, Connecticut for the express purpose of organizing a Baptist church to serve the needs of the minority community in the city of New Britain.  After reading scripture, singing hymns, and a lengthy discussion, officers were elected and the name Saint James Baptist Church was selected, as suggested by Sis. Bertha Jackson.

The first pastor of Saint James Baptist Church was the Reverend Clayton P. Powell; the first Chairman of the Deacon Ministry was Mr. Samuel Alexander and the first Chairman of the Trustee Ministry was Mr. Herman Cunningham.  Worship services began Sunday, June 03, 1949 at one o’clock p.m. in the chapel of the First Baptist Church of New Britain.

In September 1949, services were moved to the Memorial Baptist Church on Elm Street.  Shortly thereafter, through strenuous and consistent work, the Saint James Baptist Church family became the owners of the church edifice on Elm Street.   However, due to a community redevelopment plan a new location was sought.  Under the leadership of our second Pastor, the late Reverend Fletcher Starling, in January 1965 this church family found its new home at 20 Dix Avenue, New Britain, Connecticut.

The Saint James Baptist Church remained a mission until 1952 when it was accepted and recognized as a Baptist church by the Connecticut Baptist Missionary Convention.  Moreover, the church was incorporated under the laws of the State of Connecticut on June 06, 1959.  Other affiliated bodies to which this church belongs are: the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., the American Baptist Church of Connecticut, the American Baptist Church USA, Inc. and the New Britain Area Conference of Churches.

Growing Through Change

The pastoral leadership of this church has been dynamic as has been the development and growth of the church body.  The Reverend Clayton P. Powell served from May 1949 until his retirement in 1955. The Reverend Fletcher Starling was called to become the pastor in 1955.  Under his leadership we were blessed with the building of our church and the purchase of a three-family house on East Street. This house also served as a parish home for the church. We were blessed with thirteen years of Christian leadership under Reverend Starling until his retirement in 1968.

 In 1969 the Reverend Herbert Smith was called to be the Pastor of Saint James.  Reverend Smith was an energetic Christian leader who brought our congregation to great numbers. He served for ten years, resigning in 1979.  The Reverend Roberto Babcock served as interim Pastor until the call of the Reverend Ronald B. Packnett in February 1980.

The Reverend Ronald B. Packnett served as pastor from 1980 until his resignation in 1985.  Under his leadership the church was blessed with the purchase of a new parish home, and the ordination of four of our own soldiers.  Reverends Marie Nash Pina, Gervais Barger, Sadie Pearson and William Richardson became Associate Ministers of Saint James Baptist Church.                                                        

During the interim, Deacon Olgene Hughes, Chairman of the Deacon Ministry, was our spiritual leader and guided us until the call of the Reverend Michael A Noble, on January 13, 1986.  Under the leadership of Reverend Noble the Saint James Baptist Church was blessed spiritually by his commitment to the teaching of God’s Word.

 We were blessed with a Radio Ministry, which aired twice daily, Monday through Friday, and a Sunday morning broadcast that aired in Omaha, Nebraska.  Due to increased membership and attendance at discipleship classes, a Saturday Church School was implemented to meet the needs of our membership. The Saturday Church School taught six different classes from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.  Our Youth Ministry was revived with the establishment of Scouting Programs for boys and girls.

Three of our own were ordained under Pastor Noble’s leadership; the Reverends Alfred L. Smith, Jr., William Blocker, and Eric Smith.  Our church’s physical properties were blessed as well with the purchased of a new church van.  The purchase of land adjacent to the Church on the right created more parking spaces, and the property on the left, a six room house, used as an Administration Building.  The Reverend Dr. Michael A. Noble Sr. resigned on January 12, 1992 after six years of fruitful ministry at Saint James.

The Reverend Alfred L. Smith, Jr. was unanimously voted as Pastor in January, 1992.  Reverend Smith was officially installed as pastor on March 22, 1992.  Saint James continued to be blessed under the leadership of Reverend Smith.  The Spiritual Support Network, the Mothers Of Preschool International, (MOPS) Program, College and Career Workshops, Ladies Choice, Women’s Prayer Fellowship,  Men’s Fellowship and Television Ministry were all new Ministries initiated under Pastor Smith’s leadership.  We were blessed with the purchase of a New Parsonage in 1997.  In 2004 we were blessed to purchase a new worship facility, located on 45 Daly Avenue, New Britain, CT.  On Sunday April 18, 2004, we celebrated our First Worship Service in our sanctuary.  The new acquisition allowed us to establish a Food Pantry, Soup Kitchen and a Clothing Ministry.  Our growth continued with ordination of Reverend John A. Walker, and Deacons Nicolas Jones and Alfred Black. The Reverend Alfred A. Smith resigned on December 02, 2007 after 15 years of service.

Looking to the Future

After a period of being the Interim Pastor, the Reverend John W. Walker was installed as our pastor in June, 2008.  Under the leadership of Pastor Walker we have been blessed to see the ordination of Hassan Edwards, Bryan Sweeney and John Hair as Deacons.  Saint James also witnessed the licensing of Deacon Nicolas Jones, Deaconess Virginia Brown and our very own Leading Lady Margaret W. Walker as associate ministers.  This addition to the preaching ministry brings a unique presentation of the gospel message to God’s people.    

We have also been blessed to continue to enhance the ministry of the church with the addition of a new Hammond B-3 organ which complements an anointed music ministry.  The ministry has also been blessed as we move forward in the age of technology with a fully furnished computer lab.  In April 2013 Minister Nicolas Jones, Jr. was ordained into the gospel ministry.  We have been blessed to have the Rev. Cassimer G. and Sis. Janet McDonald join the ministry of Saint James.  Their gifts and talents have been truly welcome.  On Sunday, March 2, 2014 Min. Margaret W. Walker was ordained into the gospel ministry.  On Saturday, May 9, 2015 Pastor Walker was blessed to receive his doctorate in ministry from Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, New York. November 2015 brought another milestone in the life of Saint James.  After nearly three years of praying, planning, financial giving and major hard work, God blessed us to install two new bathrooms in our front vestibule. In January 2017 Saint James was blessed again with the addition of Elder Kenric Prescott and Elder Deborah Prescott to the ministerial staff. Most recently Saint James established our youth church under the direction of Reverend Nicolas Jones, Jr.   We serve an awesome God.  Praise Him for the increase.




To Know Christ

And Make

Him Known