Bishop Frederick C. James, World’s Senior Methodist Leader, Dies in South Carolina at 102

Bishop Frederick C. James, World’s Senior Methodist Leader, Dies in South Carolina at 102

South Carolina (WCIV) — South Carolina native Frederick Calhoun James, the world’s oldest Methodist bishop, died at the age of 102. The Seventh Episcopal District of the AME Church reported James’ death on April 24. According to the district, James was born on April 7, 1922, in Prosperity. He was chosen director of Social Action for the AME Church in 1960 and had a close relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

According to the district, James was elected as the AME Church’s 93rd bishop in 1972 and assigned to Southern Africa, where he created schools, a publishing business, churches, and economic development centers. James was sent to Arkansas and Oklahoma in 1976 and is renowned for advocating youth development, restoring Shorter College’s accreditation, and leading urban housing initiatives. He also formed a good relationship with former President Bill Clinton.

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James returned to South Carolina in 1984 to serve as presiding bishop and chair of the board of trustees of Allen University, his alma school. According to the district, he assisted Allen in obtaining accreditation and facilitated the acquisition of the James Shopping Center.

According to the district, James was appointed as an ecumenical official, representing the AME Church globally and overseeing the Second Episcopal District, which includes North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. He also represented the United States as a member of the official delegation that witnessed Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as South African President in 1994.

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“Bishop Frederick C. James has left an indelible mark on the AME Church in South Carolina and beyond,” Bishop Samuel L. Green Sr. stated in his statement. “As a committed prophetic voice, community builder, and advocate for education, Bishop James embodied true servant leadership that will serve as a model for generations to come.” A celebration of James’ life will be held on April 27 at 12:01 p.m. at Bethel AME Church, 819 Woodrow St., Columbia. In place of flowers, please consider donating to Allen University’s Bishop Frederick C. James Scholarship Fund.

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