Historical Information on our Church

First House of Worship - 517 River Street - November 1953 - January 1955 Saint James
Baptist Church was founded on or about November 25, 1953, under the leadership of Rev.
James Wesley Hinson. Rev. Hinson met at the home of Mrs. Henrietta Collins Johnson to
discuss the possibility of organizing another Baptist Church in the city of  Woonsocket. A short
time later, Rev. Hinson met at the home of Mr. Henry Spearman at 153 River Street. There final
plans were put into action to organize and build a little church in Woonsocket so we could
worship God in any manner the spirit directed us.Our first service was held at 517 River Street,
a rented union hall. To accommodate the congregation, 25 chairs were borrowed from a local
funeral parlor. Nineteen persons stepped out on faith and joined the newly formed Church. At
this location the Sunday School, a choir, the Deacon Board, the Deaconess Board, the
Pastors Aid Society, a Men's Club, a Womens club and the BYF were organized. Chairs were
purchased and the little union hall was renovated to better fit our needs. This was a small
building rented from Mr. & Mrs. Albert Perrico for the sum of $15.00 per month. We worshipped
there until 1955 and began our search for a larger place of worship to accomodate our
growing congregation, which had grown to about 56 members.

Second House of Worship - 368 Prospect Street -February 1955 - January 1957
Meanwhile the people of the community took notice in our pursuant . A Mr. Matthew Koly, one of
Woonsocket's most prominent lawyers, heard of our work. Mr Koly called Rev. Hinson and told
him of a large house, the Baker Estate, owned by him. That house located at 368 Prospect
Street became our second house of worship. It was purchased from Mr. Koly for a sum of $19,
000. 00 and our worship service was held there on the first Sunday in February of 1955. This
location also served as a Parsonage. Our congregation continued to grow to over 75
members. In the latter part of 1956, Saint James started to experience growing pains and
once again set forth on a mission to seek another house of worship to fulfill the needs of a
steadily growing congregation.

Third House of Worship - 267 Blackstone Street January 13, 1957 On January 19, 1957, the
membership of Saint James Baptist Church purchased the Presbyterian Church located at
267 Blackstone Street. On May 23, 1960 our hearts were saddened by the death of our founder
and pastor Rev. J. W. Hinson. At this time, Rev. Louis Williams was called to lead us. The
senior and junior choirs were formed under the direction of his wife, Mrs Leona Williams. Rev
Donald Walker was called to serve from 1966 until 1968. Under his leadership we installed
our first pool and our first in house baptism was performed. Rev. Henry Tilley pastored Saint
James from January 1, 1970 until November 11, 1970. Under Rev. Tilley's guidance, the
sanctuary was renovated. At intevals in our history, we were blessed with Rev. Roscoe Nelson
and Rev. Richard Dudley, Interim Pastors. In Feburary of 1971,

Rev. Hugh A. McGhee was called as our Interim Pastor and in March 1973, he became our
fifth Pastor.Fourth House of Worship - 340 South Main Street - Rev. Hugh A. McGhee Rev.
McGhee served Saint James for almost eighteen years. Our accomplishments under Rev.
McGhee are numerous: 1972 purchased parsonage at 528 Fairmount Street, 1974 purchased
fourth house of worship at 340 South Main Street, 1975 Elected 1st Vice President, UBC of MA,
RI & NH, 1979 Installation of Baptismal pool, 1981 adoption of new Constitution & By-Laws,
1984 purchased new Church Van, 1986 purchased new organ and in 1988 the Church
mortgage was burned. Rev. McGhee retired in 1989. Rev. McGhee was named Honorary
Pastor Emeritus of Saint James Baptist Church prior to his death.

Rev. Dr. Sammy C. Vaughan In 1989, Rev Sammy C. Vaughan was called to serve as Interim
Pastor. He was elected Pastor on February 23, 1991 and duly installed on June 30, 1991. Our
accomplishments under Rev. Vaughan are: Reinstitution of the Bible Study Program, an
increase in the membership rolls, the development of a Church outreach brochure,
modernization of the Parsonage. We established a finance committee, updated the financial
reporting system, renovated the parking lot entrance and installed a new parking lot. We
performed major renovations to the church building (inside and out) to include the installation
of a new roof. We are the recipients of new hymnals dedicated by our church members. We
recently installed central air conditioning in our sanctuary. We purchased two vans to provide
transportation in our mission to spread the Gospel. We have acquired the National Guard
Armory adjoining our property from The State of Rhode Island and the plan, funds permitting is
to create a Non-Profit Community Outreach and Resource Center. We are incorporated under
the name of "Human Development Center of Greater Woonsocket." We have acquired our
501(c)3 tax exemption status. In addition to nourishment for our souls, to feed our minds, we
purchased the building adjoining us on the opposite side of the Church and created an
Educational Center. We installed handicap ramps on the Church and Education Building. To
stay abreast with the new technology, we have purchased computers for the use of the church
as well as to teach new technologies to our youth and other interested members. "Sister's
in-Christ" was founded under the leadership of First Lady Gwendolyn E. Vaughan. With God's
help we are continuing to help build his Kingdom on earth.