St. James Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in the year 1946 by Rev. Minnie Reed of Pontiac, Michigan and a small group of interested Inkster Methodists.
The services were first held in a church building on Springhill Avenue between Carlysle and Andover Streets. Later the services moved to the home of Mrs. Jane Vance (better known as Mother Vance), at 3596 Irene Street. Her son in-law, Mr. E. Swinton, made a pulpit for the services.
In 1947 the group moved to a building on Isabelle Avenue and secured its first minister, Rev. Ernest Monamus. He and his wife were a devoted and dedicated couple working in the interest of the church. Some of the pioneer members and officers were Mr. James Hulin, the first Lay Leader and his wife, Mrs. Jane Hulin; Mrs. Annie Reid (mother of Mrs. Ruth Redmond), Mother Jane Vance and her son James Vance and daughter Mrs. Cladye M. Swinton, stewardess and first secretary of the Official Board; Mr. Ernest Bryant, the first Treasurer and his wife, Mrs. Annie Bryant; Mr. John Acklin, the second Lay Leader, Mrs. Acklin and their children. Mrs. Lela Green was the first pianist; Mrs. Georgia Cunningham, Miss Frances Cunningham, Mr. Bernard Orr, Superintendent of the Church School; Mr. And Mrs. John Clark, Mr. And Mrs. John Starks, who also worked with the Church School; the Joseph McLamore family, who worked with the Church School and the Choir; the Charles Redmond family, Mrs. Evelyn Johnson, Mrs. Weslyn Bennett and family, Miss Hattie Fay Young, the first chairman of Commission on Education; Mrs. Doris Chapman and Mrs. Elizabeth Hester.
Rev. Monamus served faithfully for five years. Rev. and Mrs. Chester Trammell followed and the church continued to grow with the following members: Mrs. Sallye Mae Myles, who became the second secretary of the Official Board, Mrs. Hazel Simpson Coleman, Mr. Charles Walker and the Jonas Crudup family.
Some of the Methodist Youth Fellowship members at that time were Frances Cunningham, Bernard Orr, John and Freddie Acklin.
Under the leadership of Rev. George B. Smith and his sister, Mrs. Cornelia Miller (of Scott Methodist Church) the attendance of the Women's Society of Christian Service increased and they exchanged programs with Mt. Olivet Methodist Church in Dearborn, whose minister was Rev. Edgar Wahlberg. Rev. Esaias F. Lee and his wife, Mrs. Corlottie Lee were active in many activities during those years. Mrs. Mary Haugabook and Mrs. Elsie Robinson joined our membership during this period.
In 1955 the Methodist Union purchased a building at 2632 S. Inkster Road formerly used by the Christ Community Church. Mr. And Mrs. Willie Hanson who had worked faithfully at our location on Isabelle Street with Mrs. Hanson's parents (the Cunning hams) became the first new members to join in the new building. Mr. Hanson was appointed Lay Leader by Rev. George Smith and Mr. John Acklin became the first Lay Speaker and later became a United Methodist minister.
The membership continued to increase with many loyal and dedicated families joining hands and working together to make our church a "house of worship" for our children and community.
Rev. Luther Flannagan and family who served for two years; appointed Mrs. Lorraine J. Patterson as full-time Financial Secretary of the church. He was instrumental in bringing more youth into the church and presented a youth program to the City of Inkster.
Rev. George Smith returned and served until Rev. Archie Alexander was encouraged by his uncle, Rev. Fletcher Walker, to come to St. James as minister. Rev. Alexander's wife, Marie, was very active in the Women's Society of Christian Service, Christian Education and the Methodist Youth Fellowship.
The growth of the church continued. The Methodist Men working with the Detroit Sub-District of the Lexington Conference formed the Male Chorus under the direction of Mrs. Clara Walker.
The Women's Society of Christian Service was active in all programs of the Detroit Sub-District and sent delegates annually to the Lexington Conference School of Missions.
When notified by the City of Inkster that the Urban Renewal Program would utilize the land occupied by our church on Inkster Road; plans were made to relocate. Dr. Jesse DeWitt was instrumental in planning committees, interviewing architects and contractors for the building of the church. During the time the new church was being planned and erected; services were held at Lincoln Elementary School on Ash Street. The Cornerstone Laying Service was held in November 1966 under the leadership of Mrs. Thelma Sims, Chairman of Commission of Worship with District Superintendent Dr. Joseph Edwards presiding. Under the direction of Rev. Archie Alexander, St. James moved to its present site in Westland on the first Sunday in February 1967.
Many changes were made in the legislation of the church. The Lexington Conference was abolished and we became members of the North Central Jurisdiction. Our churches are educational institutions with Schools of Missions, leadership and laboratory workshops conducted at Adrian College. The General Conference convened and the word "Episcopal” was eliminated and we became known as the United Methodist Church.
Rev. Archie Alexander was succeeded by Rev. David T. Jordan, a retired minister, who served until the arrival of Rev. David Speiler, a Michigan University student and his wife. Rev. James Porter served until the appointment of our first full-time minister, Rev. Bradley Watkins. The first parsonage was purchased on Lovett Street in Inkster, Michigan for the family of our minister in 1968. Rev. Watkins left the Detroit Conference and later became a District Superintendent in the Illinois Central Conference. In the years to follow, St. James was served by Rev. Clarence Acklin, Rev. Charles Talbert, Rev. Sylvester Miller, Rev. Earl Grice, Rev. Janet Petty and Rev. Theodore Whitely, Sr.
Under the leadership of Rev. Robert G. Williams, a new sanctuary and an addition to the parsonage were completed. Following Rev. Williams, Rev. Elias Mumbiro arrived and during his service to St. James, a second parsonage was purchased in Wayne, Michigan and the church celebrated its Golden Jubilee Anniversary. Rev. Phillip Burks was appointed to St. James effective January 2000 but died prior to filling the appointment. Rev. Cheryl Myhand served as Interim Pastor for six months.
In May 2000 we welcomed Rev. Hydrian Elliott who ministered at St. James for three years and four months. Rev. Carter Grimmett was appointed July 1, 2003 to St. James United Methodist Church and we officially welcomed him and his family on September the 7, 2003 to our church family and the community.
Throughout the years St. James has always enjoyed a close relationship between its members; always remembering the heritage given us by our departed members and the loyalty of our present members. The church has shown an active interest and participation in community activities.
We thank God for His blessings and for making this history possible. We anticipate being a greater church guided by the spirit of Peace and Love as we move forward in this Twenty-first Century.....
"Witnessing for Jesus Christ and Celebrating God's Grace."