Rev. Joseph James was born in Marion, SC, and moved to Hemingway, SC, in the second grade. Joseph is the son of Ralph James and the late Ann S. James.  After graduating from Hemingway High School, Joseph attended Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC, where he received a B.A. in history.  From there, Joseph went to Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, LA, where he obtained a M.A in history.  

After graduating from LSU, Joseph returned to South Carolina, where he worked as an insurance agent for Horry County Farm Bureau. It was at this time that he answered the call to ordained ministry while attending Wesley Chapel UMC in Lydia, SC.  After completing the discernment process, Joseph enrolled at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.  While in seminary the first year, he worked as a youth minister at Flippen UMC in McDonough, GA.  Joseph met and married the former Katherine Lewis while at Candler.

Prior to receiving his current appointment as the Senior Pastor for Trinity UMC Sumter in 2017, Rev. James served the Lowndesville UMC Charge (Smyrna and Gilgal), Ocean Grove UMC, Goose Creek UMC, Asbury-St. James UMC, India Hook UMC, Buford Street UMC, and Cayce UMC. Joseph and Kathy, who is herself an ordained United Methodist Minister, currently share their Sumter home with Joseph’s father, Ralph James. Kathy and Joseph have three adult sons: Aaron, Joe, and Lewis.

You can contact Rev. James at