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Church History

Reverend Robert Burkett was assigned to begin a work in the Fairbanks community by the Late Bishop Herman L. Anderson . Reverend Burkett transferred to the Alaska Conference from the Oregon-Washington Conference. He organized a mission work in the Fairbanks Community and filed for its Incorporation on November 1, 1980 under the name of St. James Temple African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Those listed as Incorporates were: Rev. Robert Burkett, Robert Frost and Gloria Thompson.

Bishop Herman L. Anderson and Presiding Elder Moore traveled to Fairbanks in August of 1981 to the dedication service of St, James Temple A.M.E. Zion Church then meeting on 23rd St. in South Fairbanks. After two years Rev. Burkett relocated from the Fairbanks community.

Rev. Charles I. Brown and his family were faithful members of Leake Temple A.M. E. Zion Church in Anchorage, Ak. where he served as Church Treasurer, Steward, Trustee, Sunday School teacher and Mid Week Bible Study Teacher. Rev. Brown answered his call to the Ministry and successfully completed the four year A.M. E. Zion Study Program. He was ordained by Bishop Herman L. Anderson in August, 1982.. In August 1983, Bishop Herman L. Anderson, assigned Rev. Charles I. Brown, to reorganize St. James Temple AME Zion Church in Fairbanks.

On the morning of October 11th, 1983, Rev. Charles I. Brown left his wife and two children in Anchorage and drove his truck and camper to Fairbanks, Alaska. He did not know anyone in this community but had been given the address of Mrs. Emma Greene as contact person where he might possibly find lodging.

Arriving in Fairbanks, that afternoon, he was greeted by Mrs. Greene who said A Reverend where have you been? We have been looking for you. Rev. Brown roomed with Mrs Greene at 516 9th Ave. for several weeks before renting an apartment from her at 1556 Eielson Street.

After several days in Fairbanks, Rev. Brown discovered that there were no members to be found that were associated with the work begun in 1980 by Rev. Burkett.. Led by the spirit , he began a door to door evangelism outreach, in the South Fairbanks Community, presenting the Gospel to all who would hear. It was clear that it was necessary to reorganize the work begun in Fairbanks.

St. James Temple AME Zion Church moved into the Culinary Union Hall and held its first service. Dec. 4th, 1983. Rev. Brown and Shellie set up and opened Sunday School at 9:15. Sunday School Lesson A A New Day For God's People. They were the only ones in attendance.

Worship Service began at 10:15 . Mrs. Greene, Mrs. Catherine White, Mr. & Mrs. Rodgers and Mrs. Lucille Chenault attended the Service.

On Monday, Aug 23rd Rev. Brown was contacted by Rachel Liber-Simeon, District Superintendent for the Alaska Missionary Conference of the United Methodist Church who was seeking to determine if St. James Temple would be interested in occupying property owned by the United Methodist Church located on Farmer's Loop Road in Fairbanks. The Superintendent explained that litigation the UMC entered into was near completion and that the UMC really wanted someone to occupy the premises before the winter set in. The property is said to be approximately 3 acres with a two story building that was used as a church. Rev Brown arranged for St. James Trustee/Stewards to view the property and they unanimously agreed to pursue occupying the property and entering into what ever deal the UMC felt comfortable in offering. The next step was to present the issue to the church and let the Trustees make a recommendation to the church who then will hopefully vote to authorize the Trustees to negotiate whatever deal can be made. The Trustees then can designate who they wish to act on their behalf. A resolution was adopted to authorize the Pastor, Rev. Charles I. Brown and Trustee Board Chairman, Brother Peter Byrd; to negotiate and broker a deal.

Wednesday September 8, the congregation met in a church meeting and voted in favor of authorizing the Trustees to pursue leasing the property in the short term and purchase of the property in the long term.

Wednesday the 15th of September; the Trustees of St. James met with Rachel Liber-Simeon, District Superintendent Alaska Missionary Conference and Lonnie Brooks; Alaska Missionary Conference Trustee. St. James agreed to occupy the building and made arrangements to transfer utility accounts. St. James conducted its first worship service in the Farmer's Loop facility on 26 September.

Learn more on the church web site.