George S. Bearden, 1894
James Shealy, 1896
S. P. Schumpert, 1900
(In 1901 or 1902, Mr. A. R. Taylor, a native of Red Bank, began holding religious services
for the congregation. Later licensed by the Synod, he served until the congregation became
C. J. Sox, 1921-24
James H. Baily
J. D. Shealy
A. B. Obenschain, 1924-25
F. K. Roof, Sr., 1925-26
C. J. Derrick, 1929-30
D. M. Shull, 1930-37
L. H. Jeffcoat, 1937-42
B. S. Dasher, 1942-49
J. L. Peeler, 1950-52
C. E. Lindler, 1953-55
R. L. Fraser, 1955-57
Gordon Haigler, 1958-61
Roy W. Werner, 1962-65
H. W. Dowd, 1965-71
William R. Cobb, 1972-79
Olin W. Chassereau, 1980-87
Mark A. Coulter, 1988 - 1999
William Kyzer, Assoc., 1998-present
G. Willis Eiwen, 2000-present
James Church was organized in October, 1921, after the Rev. C. J. Sox had preached
without compensation for two years at Red Bank in a Union Church
Building, looking forward to the organization of a Lutheran Church.
As far back as 1737, there were Lutheran settlers in this area, known then as Saxe-Gotha
Township, later to become Red Bank. Some time in the early 1880s, the religious
people of Red Bank began conducting a Union Sunday School in an old school
building. It was here that the first Lutheran service was held, in 1888 , conducted by the
Rev. James H. Baily. The Methodists and Baptists were also holding services in the same
building. Together, the three groups built a Union Church in 1890, a building
which is still standing.
Under the leadership of Pastor Baily, the Union Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized
on August 10, 1890, with fewer than twenty-five members. On October 21st, the congregation
was admitted into the South Carolina Synod, and placed in the Union Parish. The Rev. J. D.
Shealy was called as pastor, to serve in this capacity for two years. He was to be the
only full-time pastor the congregation was to have for the next thirty-eight years
a fact which probably accounts for the congregations slow growth in the early years.
In 1912, the congregation became inactive. Until that time, the following had served as
pastors: George S. Bearden, 1894; James Shealy, 1896; S. P. Schumpert, 1900. In 1901 or
1902, Mr. A. R. Taylor, a native of Red Bank, began holding religious services for the
congregation. Later licensed by the Synod, he served until the congregation became
In 1921 the congregation was re-activated under the leadership of Pastor C. J. Sox, with
about thirty-eight members. On February 2, 1930, the congregation became part of the
Pelion Parish, with the Rev. D. M. Shull as pastor. It was under his leadership that the
congregation built its own church edifice.
When the Pelion Parish became vacant in 1936, a recommendation was made that the Parish be
divided, and St. James and St. Matthews, Lexington, formed the Red Bank Parish.
Sixteen years later, in 1952, the congregation became a separate parish, calling its own
pastor and becoming self-supporting. Another ten years later, in June of 1962, a new and
attractive church building was completed and dedicated at a service conducted by the Rev.
Shelton Moose, Synodical Field Worker. In 1967 a new parsonage valued at $21,000 was
The seventeen year period from 1971 to 1987 was one in which St. James engaged in making
extensive improvements to its facilities. In 1972, air conditioning was installed in the
parsonage and a basketball and tennis court was built behind the church. In addition, the
Lutheran Church Women had new carpet installed in the sanctuary. The possibility for
further improvements became more evident on November 18, 1973, when the indebtedness on
the existing church building was paid in full and the mortgage burned, four years ahead of
schedule. In 1976, the parsonage was enlarged by adding a dining room and carport and by
expanding the laundry room. A new Zimmer pipe organ was installed in the sanctuary in
1979, and the next year an outdoor ramp was installed, making the church building more
accessibly for the aged and handicapped. In 1982, a sound system was installed in the
sanctuary, and a van was purchased. A new hallway to the nursery was built in 1983, and
new carpet was installed in the educational building. During the same year new cushions
were installed in the pews, and a new kitchen was added to the activities building.
In 1979 an additional staff position was
created when Patricia Hood was hired as full-time organist/choir director. In 1985, Mr.
David Birnbaum, member of St. James, graduated from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
and was called as the pastor of Our Shepherd, Hartsville.
the population in the Red Bank/Lexington area continues to grow, St. James anticipates the
opportunity for its own growth and service to the community.