Church Podium at St. James AME Zion Church (2021-09-24) by CyArkCyArk
St. James AME Zion Church
Established in 1833, St. James AME Zion Church is the oldest church in Ithaca, New York. St. James is part of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church denomination known as “The Freedom Church.” St. James has continued this legacy of activism throughout its history, including serving as an important transfer point for freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad. Prominent abolitionists including Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman spoke and attended service at St. James. Today, the church congregation continues to keep this history alive, and it remains an active space of worship for the Ithaca community.
Meet the Voices of St. James
Three members of St. James AME Zion Church introduce themselves and what the church means to them.
Reverend Terrance A. King
Reverend Terrance A. King was appointed his first pastorate at St. James AME Zion Church in July of 2020. Since 2005, Rev. King has been active in the ministry of AME Zion churches as a member of the choir and worship team. In addition to his ministry, Rev. King has pursued his service to others throughout his formal education with a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from Le Moyne College in Syracuse and through his current work as a PhD candidate at Syracuse University studying Special Education.
St. James Exterior Drone (2021-09-22) by CyArkCyArk
"St. James AME Zion Church is significant because it was, at the time, the foundation of the fraternity that I so love... Upon further research into the church and it's history, I really understood the magnitude and the history of the church."
Reverend Terrance A. King in St. James AME Zion Church (2021-09-22) by CyArkCyArk
"Ultimately, St. James history is American history. So if we just be stewards of that American history... I believe that St. James reach will be beyond Ithaca, New York."
Glenda Phillips-Hickman graduated from the State University College of Oneonta in 1972 with a background in Nursing and Nutrition. She spent most of her time working for not-for-profit agencies specializing in the elderly and children. She is a teacher in the Sunday School of the AME Zion Church and has taught there since 1985. Since retiring from health care, she spends most of her time making quilts, knitting, crocheting, gardening, canning, and freezing.
Piano at St. James AME Zion Church (2021-09-24) by CyArkCyArk
"I had been baptized, but I didn't have a really good relationship with the Lord. This is the church I grew in... I learned from the people who were here... they taught us so much."
Congregant Glenda Phillips-Hickman in St. James AME Zion Church (2021-09-22) by CyArkCyArk
"History is important... but the reason why the church is not closed and hasn't closed is because of our faith."
Angelo Hickman is an Oneonta State College graduate who worked for the New York State Division for Youth/Children and Family Services for twenty-four years. He also worked for sixteen years at Cayuga Medical Center. He is the Head Trustee at St. James, a position that is appointed annually by the pastor and confirmed by church members. The trustee’s duties include taking care of the physical property of the Church and leading the way in keeping harmony and peace.
Civil War Soldiers Monument, St. James AME Zion Church (2021-09-22) by CyArkCyArk
"Let it be known that St. James has been a beacon of hope, faith, and love."
Angelo Hickman in St. James AME Zion Church (2021-09-22) by CyArkCyArk
"St. James is the center of communication with the community. It's important because it's the spiritual part of the community."
To learn more about St. James AME Zion Church and the congregation today, please visit St. James AME Zion Church's website.