THE CHURCH FINDS A HOME
Records show that in 1878, this group, the Bethel A.M.E. Church, was located on Baltic Avenue near Maryland on land given them by Mrs. Louvenia Showell, daughter of Ryan Adams, one of the early settlers. The Pastor was the Rev. George Jones, and the membership was twenty-five. They worshipped at this location until 1884 and had the following Pastors: Revs. Amos Brown, William Taylor and William Watson. In 1884, the Rev. James T. Rex was appointed Pastor and served three years, during which time, the church building, a one-story structure, was moved to its present location, the corner of New York and Arctic Avenues. The membership had increased to one hundred twenty-five. The name was changed from Bethel to St. James A.M.E. Church. One should not believe that this name referred to Rev. James T. Rex, for the Annual Conference had earlier passed a ruling that no church should be named after a living person.
In 1884, the Trustees had the church incorporated. The incorporation papers are on file at the County Court House in Mays Landing. They carry the signatures of the first Trustee Board, namely, Lewis H. Thomas, Benjamin Shorter, John Romer, George Tillman and William Mott.