St. James Lutheran Church
1358 South Lake Drive - Lexington, South Carolina 29073
Telephone (803)359-2122 or 359-7803;  Fax (803)808-5029
Church e-mail address: office@stjameslex.com


St. James is a congregation of the South Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America .

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of Bill Barley & Associates

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History of St. James Lutheran Church
(Excerpted from the History of the Lutheran Church in South Carolina, Vols. I and II)

Pastors: History:

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 inactive.)

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

St. 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 1880’s, 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 congregation’s 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 inactive.


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. Matthew’s, 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 constructed.


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.

As 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.