Rev. Dr. Kenneth Q James
A Gift of purpose and promise, Kenneth Quinton James was born the second of three
children to the Late Joan E and Earl M. James, Sr. in New York City on November 2,
1958. A qualified life and race well run, He exchanged time for eternity on April 1,
2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina to be home with The Lord.
He is a product of The New York City Public Schools graduating from John F. Kennedy
High School of the Bronx, NY. Under the tutelage of his Pastor at the Mother A.M.E.
Zion Church, Dr. George W. McMurray he pursued further studies at Clinton College of
Rock Hill, SC where he received his A.A. in 1978; continuing on to Livingstone College
of Salisbury, NC receiving his B.A. with Highest Honors in English in 1980. Having
entered the Christian Ministry in 1975, he then attended Hood Theological Seminary of
Salisbury, NC receiving his M.Div in 1984 and returned for the terminal degree, Doctor
of Ministry, received in 2006. His gifts were then used to impact the world through Six
books he authored; The First Yes, Strength For The Journey, Will You Maintain
Quietness?: The Extraordinary Vow of an Ordained Elder in Ordinary Life, Go Crazy-Just Don't Expect Me To Go With You, A Principle Within, and Sermons of Kenneth Q.
James: Not Many Wise, Not Many Powerful, Not Many Noble.
A Student Par-Excellent, he pressed in ministry in like mindset. Ordained Deacon in
1978 by the Late Bishop Herbert Bell Shaw and Ordained Elder in 1982 by The Late
Bishop Ruben L. Speaks, he was committed to ministry through it all. The challenge set
by Mentors as Rev. (now Bishop) S. Chuka Ekemam and The Late Dabney
Montgomery who taught him (as a celebrated Tuskegee Airman) that if he prepared and
believed in himself trusting God, “The sky was the limit.” He left New York a humble son
of Zion's Mother Church to conquer the World for Christ, praising Him each step of the
way. He served as Pastor of Pierces Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church of Clarkton, NC
(1982-1985), Blackwell A.M.E. Zion Church of Jamestown, NY (1985-1987), then
Organized the Bailey Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church in Buffalo, NY (1987-1994), Duryee
Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church of Schenectady, NY (1994-2005), the historic Memorial
A.M.E. Zion Church of Rochester, NY (2005- 2016), and currently shepherding the
Walls Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church of Charlotte, North Carolina. He has served in dual
capacity also as Editor of Church School Literature for the A.M.E. Zion Church and
made great strides with its Sunday School materials and had begun a new press into a
new and relevant reach for new efforts of discipleship with a national diverse corps of
writers and staff from the A.M.E. Zion Corporate Headquarters.
His life and ministry were diverse, fashionable, sometimes trendy, but never lost touch
with his calling and purpose in his home community, he sang with the Mt. Vernon
Community Choir and was feature soloist on their First recorded Album, “Heaven
Belongs To Me.” In College, he sang with and recorded with The Livingstone College
Prayer Meeting Choir. An active member of the Pre-Theological Union, he was also
Inducted into Alpha Kappa Mu National Honor Society. With hobbies of reading,
writing, and baseball, he sought balance and reflection to a fault, with excellence.
Summers were sure to find him with purposed time to support His Team, “The New
York Mets!” That love followed them wherever he may be and could share a game. He
then set desire to visit every Stadium of Major League Baseball in the nation. Yes, that
too he accomplished. Yet never missed a beat on his assignment. Teacher, Pastor,
Shepherd, Father, Friend, he mentored and taught multitudes with the spirit at times of
Don Quixote as described in "The Impossible Dream," the hit song from the Musical,
'Man of La Mancha,' for he proved willing (fashionably dressed), to March into Hell for
some heavenly causes. Active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Served on
the Faith and Order Commission for National Council of Churches of Christ-USA, Board
of Trustees at Clinton College, and the Uniform Series of Church School Literature
Preceded in death to eternal life by his Parents, Maternal Grandparents, Brunhilda M.
and Roy A. Simmons, Sr.; Paternal Grandparents, Carol L. Niles and Edward James,
and Great-Grandfather of great influence, Paul " Daddy Paul" Kenney. He leaves to
cherish his memory and breathe life eternally into the legacy his Son, Francisco
(Frankie) Guzman of Schenectady, New York; Brother, Earl M. James, Jr of Horsham,
Pennsylvania; Sister, Sunjlee D. James of Columbus Ohio; Niece, Janelle
Thomas, Nephew, Earl M. James, III; Grandchildren; Ajaya Nevaeh, Ajanae Kouture,
and Nehemiah Quinton Guzman; Uncle, Harry Drayton James; Special Cousin Ernest
T. Gardner, Jr.; Devoted Friend Dr. Reginald D. Broadnax; the Members of Walls
Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church; Mentors, Friends, Students, Proteges, and Faithful
Servants he served on each assignment. Our lives the better, stronger, wiser for this
Gift God sent our way. To God Be The Glory.
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