Through many dangers, toils and snares, we have already come; twas grace that brought us safe thus far, and grace will lead us on.

In October 1953, God touched the hearts of Deacon Percell Bell and his wife, Sister Bell to have Sunday School in a barn in their backyard. The Sunday School teachings were later moved into the Bell’s home.  The number of believers attending Sunday School grew so large that Deacon Bell invited Rev. William Handy Yelverton (assistant pastor of St. Mark Church in Faro), to preach on the 4th Sunday evenings.

As the number of believers continued to increase, worship services were held in the Knights of Gideon Hall in Fremont, NC.  The first members were Larry Edmundson, his mother and his 2 sisters.  Other families were the Holmes and Best families.

Bishop J. L. Melvin of Goldsboro and Sister Hattie Lee Smith ran revivals.  Transportation was limited, so Bishop Melvin and Rev. Yelverton took turns picking up members and taking them back home.

Hurricane Hazel destroyed the building that had been rented to them by Mr. Babe Lee.  Other churches willingly opened their doors so that our services could continue.  Some of those churches were:  Morning Star Holiness Church and Bethel Church both in Fremont.  We will never forget their kindness and generosity.

God continued to bless us and the church continued to grow.  God touched the heart of Mr. Moe Shingleton of Stantonsburg, NC who donated a house to Rev. Yelverton.  The house was torn down and moved from the lot to 502 W. Main Street, Fremont (current name is “Old Trash Pile Road”).  This was an awesome move of God.  With faithful hearts and many friends, we were able to use the lumber and Mr. Willie (Babe) Hagans built the church.  That building still stands today as Rhodes Funeral Home, down the street from our present location. Rev. Yelverton’s wife, Sis. Ethel Yelverton, named the church “St. James”.  Thus, was the beginning of a new walk with God.  Sis. Yelverton organized the Choir, Usher board and the Mother board.  She and Rev. Yelverton organized the Deacon board.  The first ministers added to the church by God were Rev. Ed Holmes and his wife, the late Minister Minnie Ruth Holmes.  The Jr. Choir was organized in 1972 under the leadership of the late Luther and Elgia Best, the late Magdalene Fleming, and Mother Mary Jane Newsome. Mary Holmes Johnson was elected as the first president of the Jr. Choir.

After about 23 years of worshipping God in that building, God revealed to Rev. Yelverton in a vision, a big white building south of the old building.  Jesse Gray Barnes took Rev. Yelverton to see Leroy Johnson who was a contractor in Fremont at the time.  The search began for a lot.  Mr. Johnson told them about a building they might like.  It was the Old Friendship School.  After discussing this and having faith in God, the members decided to purchase the building.  Head and Heart Construction of Eureka renovated the inside of the building.

The church continued to grow and souls of all ages were added to the church along with 2 more ministers, current Pastor Dianne Sutton Cooper and the late Evangelist Brenda Holt Brinson.  We thank God for all the ministers God blessed us to have in our church family. Although some have gone from labor to reward, others to various parts of the vineyard, they are still part of our family.

Realizing the time of his departure was at hand, Rev. Yelverton redeemed the time by completing his work for God by setting the house in order.  He told us it was time to seek yet another larger place of worship.  He left us a legacy of sermons that allowed us to keep our heads lifted up and continue to walk by faith, with “Do You Know God’s Hand?”, “The Handwriting on the Wall”; “A Nail in a Sure Place,” “The God that Answers by Fire, Let Him Be God,” “Keep Your Eyes on Jesus,” and “Use What You Got”, to name a few.  He was a pastor of wisdom and knowledge, fluent in the word of God.

For many years we had the privilege and pleasure of introducing him as the pastor and founder of our church; but God in his infinite wisdom, called him from labor to reward on May 24, 2000.   Although he is absent from the body and present with the Lord, his teachings and preaching of the gospel still lingers in our hearts and minds.  He was a strong shepherd for 47 years.  He trained us in the way we should go that as time moved; we would not part from it.  We will always remember his wife, the late Ethel Sauls Yelverton, and their son, the late Alton M. Yelverton for their dedicated service towards the establishment of the church.  Their daughters, Sister Evonne Yelverton and Sister Queen Simmons remain faithful members of the church.

For 8 months we were without an earthly shepherd, yet God was still with us.  The unity was stronger than ever, and even more souls of all ages were added to the church.  God allowed us to be blessed with the gospel preaching by the anointed pastors:  Pastor Tyrone Haney ofSt. Peters, Kinston, Pastor James Brown of St. Luke, Tarboro, and Pastor Anthony Terrell of Promise Land, Jamesville, NC.

On January 1, 2001, Rev. James O. Williams, Sr. became the earthly shepherd of St. James.  Through his leadership, the vision for a larger place of worship became reality.  Rev. Williams introduced a theme which we adopted, “Pray First, Aim High, and Keep Focused”.  Rev. Williams loved unity, strong family values and most of all had a great love for the children.  November of 2002, the first minister answered the call to preach the gospel, Minister Mark A. (Tony) Sutton.  He was the last new minister to preach at St. James prior to our move into a new edifice.

Our building process began in September 2002.  On December 14, 2002, what we thought was sad news, was yet another awesome move of God.  Our church was condemned, and we were forbidden to enter for worship.

The word of God is true; to have friends, one must first show himself friendly.  Without hesitation, Morning Star Holy Church, Union GroveM.B. Church, and Bethel F.W. B. Churches opened the doors of their churches so our services could continue.  They made us feel welcomed and at home.  We will never cease to praise God for doors he opened and ways he made for our church family.

On September 14, 2002, we celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony for our new church edifice.  With joy and great anticipation, we watched the construction of our new home, and on September 14, 2003, Pastor J. O. Williams, Sr. and the entire church family dedicated our new edifice to the Lord.  After entering our new edifice with Rev. Williams preaching the first sermon, another member answered the call to the gospel, and was the first new minister to preach on September 29, 2003, Minister Verna Banks Daye.  Following her call to the ministry, 4 more ministers were added to the church under the leadership of Pastor Williams; Minister Mary Royal, Minister Sharon Green, Minister James Bunch, and Minister Marilyn Williams.

Rev. Williams served our church as pastor for 5 years and 8 months.  We bid him Godspeed as he ventures into other walks of life.  We will always remember his encouragement to stay together and to love one another.

Once again we were without an earthly shepherd.  For 16 months our associate ministers; Min. Mark A. (Tony) Sutton, Min. Verna B. Daye, and Min. James Bunch filled in the gap with the help of the Lord and carried us through by fervently preaching the gospel.  God reassured us that our church was planted by his hand.  Once again, more souls were added as members of the church.  It was during this time that an elected Search and Call Committee was entrusted to pursue and ultimately recommend to the church family a candidate to extend the call to pastor St. James.  After a diligent and prayerful search, the committee conceded to the will of God and the call was extended to a minister within our own congregation.

On January 1, 2009, Rev. Mark A. (Tony) Sutton became the earthly shepherd of St. James.  Since his first year in leadership, Pastor Sutton’s main focus has been in strengthening and growing the church on a sure foundation and that is the word of God.  He is a firm believer that God’s word will direct you, feed you spiritually, and keep you.  Pastor Sutton continues to promote unity and encourages us that “We can do it better, together!”

As a church family, we continue to fast and pray, our aim is high as we keep focused on Jesus because we realize that it’s not about us, it’s about Jesus.