In the late 1800's, having attended church in "the old Malachi Mitchell house" two miles from our present church, a small group conceived the idea of a permanent place of worship.  With an average attendance of ten, a typical offering of fifteen cents, and a devout faith in God, on October 9, 1902, those present decided to purchase one acre of land for five dollars from Luke Jacobs and built St. James Baptist Church, so named for its principal founder.  Founding fathers included James Melvin Spaulding, David Mitchell, and Neil Mitchell.  As the church progressed and became the nucleus of this family-related and spiritual-valued people and area, the community, too, acquired the name of St. James.


Located six miles north of Lake Waccamaw at the intersection of Old Northeast Road and Chauncey Town Road, St. James Baptist Church is the last of three structures bearing its name.  Its primary builders have included James"Jim" Graham and George Mitchell, carpenters by trade; Everett Mitchell, a blacksmith, and Willie Graham, a farmer.  Other charter members were local ministers, Abram Blanks and Jonie Mitchell; the first secretary, Callie Freeman Mitchell, first treasurer, Martha Jane Melvin Spaulding, and first clerk, Henry Freeman.  All officials, excluding deacons, were elected annually.


The first church facility, collectively built by its members with contributed material and labor, was a one-room, 16' x 12' building with hand-hewn timbers and shingles.  Inside were two sets of pews constructed with wooden pegs.  Generally, the men sat on the left and the women sat on the right.  A fireplace made of clay and sticks provided warmth.


In the 1920's, a second 20' x 30' one-room sanctuary with a coal heater was constructed of vertical "tongue-and-groove" lumber similar to weatherboard.  In 1934, church growth dictated a need for a more modern, spacious building, thus, the third existing 40' x 75' one-room sanctuary with a pulpit area and eight-paned steeple and bell tower, was constructed alongside the second church and became the landmark and focal point of the community.  Ben Spaulding, who allowed the use of his nearby millpond for church baptisms, (currently held in the Lake Waccamaw waters), purchased and moved the second sanctuary for forty dollars.  In 1939, George Mitchell donated one acre of land nearby for a church cemetery.  The first piano was purchased from Sears and Roebuck in 1940 for $79.83.  In the 1950's, two 24' x 30' classrooms were attached to the present church.


Since 1902, the church has been blessed with part-time ministers as follows with dates their services began:


Andrew Bell (1912), Honie Mitchell (1914), Floyd Jones (1925), Joseph Brewington (1930), Buries Jacobs (1926), Percell Locklear (1946), David Brewington ( 1960), James Ellis Oxendine (1953), Delton Morgan (1955), Rufus Burns (1954), Isaiah Locklear (1960), Joe Oxendine (1962), Douglas Mitchell (1962-64), Rev. Percell Locklear (1964-66) and no pastor until Rev. Winfred Locklear (November 12, 1967- April 24, 1984) whose diligent, service spanned seventeen years.  It was during his pastorship that on October 26, 1968 that the church with 140 members joined the Burnt Swamp Baptist Association.  It was also that year that the church adopted a constitution.  The church first appeared in the minutes of the Ninety-Second Annual Session held at Mount Moriah and Reedy Branch Baptist churches.


In 1967, the sanctuary was completely renovated and enlarged, carpet and new church furniture were installed, church ceilings were lowered, two 30 x 50 classrooms, and brick veneer were added at an estimated cost of $12,000.  In 1972, the church purchased three acres of land for $300 from Eliza Jacobs Pigford, the daughter of Luke Jacobs, from whom the church received its initial acreage.  It was through the combined efforts of church members and a church-appointed building committee that a fellowship hall, with a seating capacity of 150, was constructed and in use by March 25, 1974 for $13,500.  The new facility replaced the serving of all meals on make-shift tables beneath the oak trees and open sky.  By 1976, a fully-equipped kitchen and rest rooms were completed.  Dedication services for the fellowship hall were held on April 13, 1978.


From 1977-1982, assuming a dual purpose, the fellowship hall accommodated a day-care facility for the community and her working parents.  In 1981, another renovation of the church included conversion to central hearing and air, new carpet, new church furniture including padded pews, paved walkways, and a church beautification project including landscaping.


In 1982, the six point system of record keeping was first implemented; thereby, resulting in the appointment of the first financial secretary.  An usher board was formed on April 26, 1982.


The church elected James Mitchell Locklear as its first full-time pastor (October 10, 1984 - April 17, 1994).  He and his wife, the former Katy Hammonds settled into the community and began an invaluable ten-year ministerial service to the church and community.  During the last two years of his pastorate, he served as moderator of the Burnt Swamp Baptist Association (October 16, 1992- October 18, 1994).


In 1986, at a cost of $6,000, a three-bedroom mobile home was purchased for use as a church parsonage.  On July 25, 1987, groundbreaking for a 45' x 92' five - classroom brick educational building was held.  By September 4, 1988, classes were occupying this $70,000 structure having a nursery, library, an office, a pastor's study, a church record's room, a utility/storage room, and restroom facilities.  On February 19, 1989, a dedication service was held. 


A Youth-sponsored activity bus was purchased in December 1989 at a cost of $700.  A digital organ was purchased at cost of $2800, and its dedication was held on July 22, 1990.  To make programs/bulletins etc. more affordable and efficient, a copier was purchased for $2300 on November 1990.  On March 22, 1994, Haynes A. Graham and his wife, the former Mary A. Mitchell donated an additional adjoining acre of land to the church.


Having been called to the ministry and licensed by the church on August 6, 1989, and having served as interim pastor from April 24, 1994 to February 12, 1995, Arthur Smith was ordained by the church and the Burnt Swamp Baptist Association.  He and his wife, the former Patricia Young, who became the Young People's Choir assistant (September 16, 1994), were the church's second full-time pastorate (February 12, 1995 - December 31, 1998).  Both were instrumental in the spiritual enrichment and growth of the church and community.


In September 1994, the Brotherhood sponsored the purchase of a 15-passenger van at a cost of $700.  On July 10, 1995, a complete renovation of the entire sanctuary began while worship services were conducted in the fellowship hall.  By Homecoming Day,  September 10, 1995, he project was completed at a cost of $55,000.  Occupancy of the 9 room building began on March 23, 1997.  In the same year, land was cleared to increase the size of the parking lot.   In July 1997, the original steeple was removed and replaced with a new one.


Following is a list of ministers who have been licensed by St. James Baptist Church, and the dates of their service

Napoleon Webb: (1972),

William P. Strickland:( 1979),

Arthur Smith Jr.,( August 6, 1989),

James Norman Spaulding: (August 27, 1989),

Charles Graham: ( May 8, 1990). 

Those ordained were

Honie Mitchell: (1914)

Arthur Smith:( August 28, 1994).


The following officers and the dated of their service are listed as follows:

Sunday School Directors or Superintendents: James Melvin Spaulding (1920), Abram Blanks: (1937-39), Samuel L. Mitchell: (1942), Henry D. Mitchell: (1943), Leroy Webb: (1949), Dawson Graham: (1951), Aaron Edward Jacobs: (1952), Russell Graham: (1953), Joseph Mitchell: (1963), Walter Moore: (1964), Homer L. Spaulding: (1966), Haynes A. Graham: (1983-1988), James Edward Strickland:`(1990-1995), Van Jacobs: (1996), Ronnie Mitchell: (1997), and Terry Mitchell: (1998-present).  


Church Clerks

Henry Freeman: (1982), Cary Mitchell: (1936), Dawson Graham: (1949), George Graham: (1958), John W. Webb: (1969-1990), Luticia Jacobs: (1990-1991),  Haynes A. Graham: (1992-1994), and Jimmy Webb: (1995-present).


Church Treasurers

Martha Jane Spaulding: (1902), Lula Graham: (1920), Dorothy Spaulding: (1952), Melton Young: (1953-1963), and James R. Mitchell: (1964-present).


Church Deacons 

James Melvin Spaulding: (1902), Neil Michell: (1902), Henry A. Freeman: (1902), David Mitchell: (1912), Dawson Graham: (1944), George Mitchell: (1910), Junious B. Webb: (1944), Samuel L. Mitchell: (1942-1978), Currie Spaulding: (1942), Henry D. Mitchell: (1940), Joe Green: (1950), Wesley Spaulding: (1954),  Oliver Young: (1982), Jervey Mitchell: (1968), Homer L. Spaulding: (1968), George Graham: (1968), Henry A. Spaulding: (1982), Eddie Mitchell: (1987-present), Haynes A. Graham: (1987-present), Arthur Smith: (1987), Carthel Moore: (1987-present), James E. Strickland: (1991-present), John H. Campbell: (1991), John Uber: (1992), Van D. Jacobs: (1996-present), Ronnie Mitchell: (1996), and Cornell Green: (1996-present).



Saint James Baptist Church

2245 Old Northeast Rd.

Lake Waccamaw, NC 28450

Rev. Kevin Locklear

Sunday School 9:45am / Worship 11:00am

Phone: 910-646-4195