St. John St. James Church, Roxbury

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History Articles - Children's Educational Programs at SJSJ

Interwoven among the stories of civil rights activism in the history of St. James and St. John's is our strong history of children's educational ministries that started when Fr. Hastie was priest at St. James, and later found a home base at St. John St. James. During some years, the center was based at other churches (such as at St. Cyprians in 1968) but retained the "St. James" name from the early 1960s through the early 2000's.

When Rev. Hastie started as as a seminarian in the 1950s and as a priest at St. James in the early 1960s, he launched the St. James Educational Center, an after-school tutorial program, which later evolved into a Headstart program. The educational program started as a volunteer-run tutoring program, later gaining funding and paid professional staffing. The center evolved into a Headstart program.

Current members of the St. John St. James remember going to pre-school in the church or participating in the classroom aide training program and working in the center.

There was always a synergy between the ministry of the church and the ministry of the educational center. Fr. Hastie saw the importance of the educational center in providing opportunities for single mothers in the neighborhood to gain job training and move into professional positions, to provide childcare to support working families and to support children's development, and to support literacy. Throughout this work, church-based programs, such as Bible study and Vacation Bible School, ran side-by-side alongside formal educational programs, creating an environment that nurtured and encouraged children and their families.

Sources / Resources

Profile from: The black educational movement in Boston : a sequence of historical events : a chronology.
Batson, Ruth (Author)
Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). School of Education FROM NORTHEASTERN UNIV. ARCHIVES:

Paragraph about the educational ministry from the church bulletin from a visit from St. John St. James at Church of the Messiah on Cape Cod.


Father Hastie Obituary, With a summary of his ministry - Hastie_Obit_Aug_7_2016_BostonGlobe.pdf

A 1968 article about church-run educational programs - 1968_Boston_Globe_Tutorials_Aid_Disadvantaged.png

A miscellaneous volunteer event mentioning St. James Educational Center in the year 2000 - SJ_Playground_article_2000.png

July 31, 2020