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Father Darryl F. James

Father Darryl F. James was born on July 3, 1954 in Bridgeport, Connecticut to Laurayne Farrar James and Anthony James, Sr. His family grew up in both Richmond, Virginia and Spring Valley, New York. He earned his B.A. degree from Howard University in 1975, and his M.Div. degree from Yale University in 1979.

Upon graduation from Yale Divinity School, James was assigned to Trinity Cathedral in Newark, New Jersey, where he worked under the tutelage of Dean Dillard Robinson. He was then ordained as a deacon in 1984 at St. Matthew’s and St. Joseph’s Church, where he was also appointed Assistant for Youth and Young Adult Ministries. In 1985, James was ordained to the priesthood by the Reverend John M. Burgess in Detroit, Michigan. Later that year, James became the rector of the Messiah-St. Bartholomew Church in Chicago, Illinois, where he remained for twenty-one years. James was subsequently named to the Chicago School Board, serving from 1990 to 1995. Also in 1990, he was named the National President of the Union of Black Episcopalians. James then moved to leadership of the historic Grace Episcopal Church in Jamaica, Queens as Priest-in-Charge in 2007. Three years later, he assumed the role as church rector. A member of the Diocese of Long Island and the Queens community, James also joined the Investment Committee and the Episcopal Health Service Board of Managers, and co-founded the Downtown Jamaica Clergy. He later served as president of the Queens Federation of Churches.

James launched several initiatives at Grace Episcopal Church, including the Bishop Thompson, Jr. Summer Music and Arts Workshop, the annual Father’s Day Men of Valor Luncheon, and the Volunteers Appreciation Dinner, among others. In 2005, James, in partnership with St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, assisted Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans, Louisiana, providing aid and performing mission work in the region. He also participated in a pilgrimage to Northern India, visiting the Diocese of Mumbai and North India in Delhi. James also sponsored college tours for prospective college students throughout the United States.

Father Darryl F. James was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 13, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.125

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/13/2016

Last Name

James

Maker Category
Middle Name

Farrar

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Howard University

Albert V. Norrell Elementary School

J. E. B. Stuart Elementary School

J. A. C. Chandler Junior High School

Armstrong High School

Absalom Jones Theological Institute

Yale Divinity School

Ramapo High School

First Name

Darryl

Birth City, State, Country

Bridgeport

HM ID

JAM08

Favorite Season

Late Spring, Early Summer

State

Connecticut

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Africa, Barbados

Favorite Quote

Grace Is The Place Where All God’s People Are Welcome To Participate In Ministry.$

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

7/3/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pound Cake, Bread Pudding, Ice Cream

Short Description

Father Darryl F. James (1954 - ) was the rector of the Messiah-St. Bartholomew Church in Chicago, Illinois for twenty-one years, before becoming the rector of the historic Grace Episcopal Church in Jamaica, Queens.

Employment

Messiah St. Bartholomew Church

Grace Episcopal Church

Favorite Color

Blue, Earth Tones

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Father Darryl F. James' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Father Darryl F. James lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Father Darryl F. James describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Father Darryl F. James talks about his father's education and occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Father Darryl F. James remembers Camp Atwater in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Father Darryl F. James remembers Camp Atwater in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Father Darryl F. James describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Father Darryl F. James describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Father Darryl F. James recalls how his parents met and married

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Father Darryl F. James describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Father Darryl F. James describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his parents' involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Father Darryl F. James describes his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Father Darryl F. James talks about the history of the Episcopal church

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his early experiences in the Episcopal church

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Father Darryl F. James remembers moving to Spring Valley, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Father Darryl F. James remembers his social life in Westchester County, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his time at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Father Darryl F. James remembers his activities at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his training to join the ministry

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his experiences at the Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his mentors at the Yale Divinity School

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Father Darryl F. James remembers the women's liberation movement

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Father Darryl F. James recalls the development of his ideology at Yale Divinity School

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Father Darryl F. James remembers his lay assistantships

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Father Darryl F. James remembers Orris G. Walker, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Father Darryl F. James describes the spiritual foundation of his priesthood

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Father Darryl F. James talks about the ordination process

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Father Darryl F. James describes his ministry in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his challenges in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his challenges in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his decision to leave his congregation in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Father Darryl F. James recall joining the Grace Episcopal Church in Queens, New York, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Father Darryl F. James recall joining the Grace Episcopal Church in Queens, New York, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Father Darryl F. James talks about his duties at the Grace Episcopal Church in Queens, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Father Darryl F. James talks about the need for youth in the ministry

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Father Darryl F. James talks about his activism through the church, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Father Darryl F. James talks about his activism through the church, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Father Darryl F. James reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Father Darryl F. James reflects upon life

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Father Darryl F. James shares his advice for aspiring African American ministers

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Father Darryl F. James narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

5$4

DATitle
Father Darryl F. James recalls his experiences at the Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut
Father Darryl F. James talks about his activism through the church, pt. 2
Transcript
So what's going on in our country at the time that you are at Yale [Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut]? You know, what's happening socially that is informing your study?$$It's kind of hard to say because I was so busy in my studies (laughter) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) So much so that you weren't paying attention to what's going on outside--$$No, not that I wasn't paying attention, but, 'cause let me see, '77 [1977] to '79 [1979], I was, I was really involved with what was called the black church at Yale. And so there was, you know, there was still that black consciousness for me. And I don't know, I mean I felt like I was in a cocoon again, you know, that, you know, because you're, you're in an environment where you're not dealing with, you know, mostly racial issues and that kind of thing, except when I was in the--it was in one class called the, called the, oh, Dr. Allen [David F. Allen]. He was a, he was a psychiatrist. It was called the social something for ministry. It was, it was like a, it was like a psychology, a psychology of ministry. It was like that. And I remember in one class--you know, you never know what people are thinking. But there was one girl in the class who said--and we were talking about race, or something (unclear) on nature. And she said, so anyway, it came up that, you know, well, "What do you think about black people?" She says, "Well, my experience has been that when they were in school, they would always cheat and steal." She said this.$$Did she know that you were black?$$There were, there were like four or five of us in the class who were black. (Laughter) And, man, before we--well, we let her have it. We, we gave her, we gave her--we talked to her from like from 'Amazing Grace' to a floating opportunity (laughter), and she--I think she'll never forget that conversation. We said, "You know what? Just look at all the, the, you know, the people who are in, in these positions of leadership who are lying and cheating and stealing in politics," (laughter). "They're not black," (laughter). So, you know, we, we had that conversation. So that was an eye opening experience, you know, at that time.$$That she said this--$$She said it.$$--in front of (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) She said it in front of us.$$--multiple black people--$$People, yes, she did.$$--who she knew were black.$$Yeah, she did. She said it.$$Unconscionable.$$Yeah.$$So what--did you sway her, I mean in your--in all of you spoke to her, but--$$We all spoke to her.$$--what happened through that conversation? Did, did you open her eyes to what she was saying?$$I don't know if we opened her eyes or not, but I think she was, she went away really thinking, you know, differently about the situation. I, I believe she did. She was like a little puppy dog with, you know, her tail between her legs when she was leaving. But, I mean, but, but this is the--I think the media has, you know, has done disservice to people of color in that--$$In what particular way did you mean?$$Well, like, you know, for example, you know, always showing, you know, like whenever there's an issue of, of someone doing something, you know, which is, you know, of a criminal act or something of that nature in the community, you know, they always seem to showcase someone of color, you know. It seems to be that way. So, just trying to show that, you know, people are people. There're good people and (laughter) there're bad people.$And then I wanna address the political for, for a moment. While churches are not supposed to be directly involved in politics, the, the congregations are dealing with whatever is coming up, and so we've had this election in 2016. How--what has been the interaction with your congregation [at Grace Episcopal Church, Queens, New York] and you as clergy during this time?$$Well, pre-election, one of the things I did was, I, I spoke to my congregation about the importance of their civic responsibility and duty of voting. And I spoke to them from a historic perspective, as people of color in this country. And I think that it really worked because I had a few people come up to me and said, "Father, I've never voted," and these are people from the Caribbean, you know, mostly. She said, "I've never voted before." She said, "But father," she said, "I'm going to register." And I--so if one person, if it made a difference for one person, I'm sure somebody thought about it. The other thing was that I invited one of the organizations here to do a voter--I was gonna do it with my group, but since other people were doing voter registration. So I had them here, and, and I just, and I just told people, I said, "Listen," I said, "you know, you have a responsibility to get to your--to get to the people in your family, you know, to make your, your vote known and, and to be counted." Now, post-election, would you like to know what I had to say about that?$$Yes.$$Post-election, some of my members were, you know, they were angry. Some were really despondent, and, you know, saddened and the kind of thing like that. My sermon that Sunday was, we have been here before. And I said to my congregation, and I raised my hand, I said, "On this day, just remember Father James [HistoryMaker Father Darryl F. James] told you, God is in charge. God is in charge. So there's a reason why everything happens. We've been here before. We've been here for Reaganomics, we've been here historically, you know." So I've just--I just mentioned all the things--I gave them the road of all the things that have happened. I said, "And we will survive because we're a people of hope." I went to Micah, I think it's Micah 6:8 [sic.], that we are people who live as though--we, we do not live as though we do not have hope. We hope for the future.