The Reverend Doctor Philip Karl James was born and reared in Jamaica, New York. He is married and he and his wife have two children. Rev. James was educated in New York City’s public school system. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He studied economics at the master level for one year. His post college career began in the banking industry as a Management Information Analyst and later as an Accountant for Bankers Trust Company in New York City. He also worked as a financial planner at New York Life Insurance Company.In 1985, Rev. James responded to God’s call to ministry, and entered seminary. He graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Methodist Theological School, Delaware, Ohio in 1988. That same year, Rev. James was ordained by both the American Baptist Churches of Metro, New York and the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Rev. James earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio in 1993, with an emphasis on healthcare disparities among the indigent and the African American populations. His dissertation is entitled, The Education, Management, and Distribution of Preventive Health Care.
He served as pastor of churches in Ohio and New York prior to the call to serve the historic Mount Zion Baptist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana as its 20th pastor. He is currently in his 18th year of service as Senior Pastor. Many initiatives and accomplishments at Mt. Zion have resulted through the leadership of Dr. James. Some of these include: Archive development and DVD of the history of Mount Zion Baptist Church from 1869 to 2004; church web site and social media ministry; Creating the Mt. Zion Renaissance Center of Hope and Learning – where church and community meet; Volunteers in Income Tax Assistance Program; Building People Building Community non-profit entity that extends the reach of the congregation to help improve the quality of life for Indianapolis citizens through a food pantry, the Renaissance Wellness Services for screening and preventive healthcare education, and Health and Hoops: Youth fun & Health Education Project. Dr. James serves as: Vice Chair of the American Baptist Biennial committee; Lecture (Adjunct) Professor at Christian Theological Seminary (CTS); In May 2012, he was the baccalaureate commencement speaker at Franklin College of Franklin, Indiana where the President and Board of Trustees of the college recognized his life work and commitment of service with an honorary doctorate degree.
Pastor James has served: the most recent past President of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Baptist State Convention of Progressive National Baptist; the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee Board of Directors (GIPC); the General Board of Directors of American Baptist Churches, USA; Council on Ordained Ministry – Metro NY Region of ABC USA, the board of American Baptist Churches of Greater Indianapolis Region of ABC USA; and the Progressive National Baptist Mission Advisory Council; Richard Pettigrew Seminar Committee member at CTS that offers seminars on Religion and the Corporate Market Place; a founding board member of the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition; Member of Broome County Council of Churches.