My name is Charles King and I began attending Saint James Baptist Church in 2005. It was a year of many firsts. I met my wife for the first time that year. I visited Rhode Island for the first time ever and decided to stay. And I attended the friendly church on the corner for the first time.
My initial contact with Saint James was with former Pastor Sammy Vaughan. Because we had chosen the church as the venue for our wedding, Reverend Vaughan served as our pre-marital counselor. A very kind man with the experience and wisdom of a Christian who had been married for more than 52 years at the time, he gave the greatest advice a couple can get: put God first.
After our wedding, my wife and I would attend Saint James with irregularity over the following 12 years. We enjoyed sitting in the pew among friendly and welcoming folks to listen to Reverend Vaughan. We also enjoyed visiting other churches as we looked to find the right church fit for us as a family that would extend to six. After varying stints at several churches in Rhode Island - all friendly and welcoming in their own ways, we found ourselves not belonging to any particular house of worship and not consistently motivated to attend. Interestingly enough, throughout our church hopping, my wife was seemingly always up-to-date on what was going on at Saint James.
One day, she told me she had spoken with our doctor (Dr. Yearwood) who is a deacon at Saint James and he had invited us to adult Sunday School. She explained - as he had to her - that it was a class scheduled to run currently with the children's Sunday School session before the morning worship service, with teachings designed for adult learning. We attended that first Sunday and sent our two youngest children off to their class. Following the class, my wife and I discussed our experience. I had enjoyed the teaching and she liked the fact that the children could attend Sunday School at the same time.
We began to attend Sunday School regularly, often leaving immediately after to attend another church or simply return home. As the weeks of regular Sunday School attendance turned into a few months, we began to stay for Sunday Worship Service and I was reminded how much I enjoyed Reverend Vaughan's messages. We soon learned, however, that Reverend Vaughan would be retiring after serving as pastor of Saint James Baptist Church for 28 years.
My wife and I decided it was time to commit to Saint James Baptist Church. We announced our decision to Reverend Vaughan on our 12th wedding anniversary and he ceremoniously welcomed us to become members of Saint James a couple of weeks later at this final service.
Reverend Vaughan is no longer at Saint James Baptist Church. He is missed. But he is not the reason I joined the church. Saint James is truly a friendly church. The congregation remains faithfully welcoming. The trustees are visibly diligent in their service to the house of worship. The deacons and deaconesses are exemplary in their comportment and earnest in their decorum. I enjoy the music. I am inspired by the children in the church. The Lord's presence is felt at Saint James.
Our new pastor, Reverend Jeffrey C Thomas, has taken the reins with enthusiasm as he works to bring spiritual growth to the congregation and community the church serves. His theme is 'Closer and Deeper.' I look forward to his leadership. More importantly, I am looking forward to the spiritual nourishment God is providing my family through this church.
May God continue to bless and guide Saint James Baptist Church and the community that we serve.