About us

St. James A.M.E. Zion Church was organized in San Mateo in 1919. It was about this time that the Rev. J.B. Holmes, Pastor of Greater Cooper A.M.E. Zion Church in Oakland, CA persuaded the Rev. Bond, a young University of California student, to come with him to San Mateo to begin a new work. Very little is known of the early days of struggle except that services were held from house to house and at the Congregational Church located at Tilton and San Mateo Drive in San Mateo.

The steady progress of St. James is directly related to the succession of capable ministers assigned to the work. Each played an important role in maintaining the integrity of the church, expanding its facilities and enlarging its influence in the community. One such notable pastor was the Rev. Rufus A. Cooper who served St. James from 1936 – 1941 and again from 1966 to 1971. Under his inspired leadership Christian concern and goodwill for all people was promoted. During his tenure, Chaplain Cooper and the membership faced the tragedy of a burned out church – the result of arson. Pastor and members, with many interested citizens in the community set about to restore the church to its present beauty and today, it stands as a testament to the enduring love of God for His people and His people for Him.

As history has recorded, St. James continues in the tradition of extending a warm welcome to all people who choose to join us in worship and in service to this community.