Dr. James H. Evans, Jr., the Founding Pastor of the St. Luke Tabernacle Community Church in Rochester, New York, established in 2000, and St. Luke Tabernacle Community Church of Detroit, Michigan in 2006, is also an educator and scholar. Son of a Baptist minister, Dr. Evans is a native of Detroit, Michigan, and a graduate of the Cranbrook School and the University of Michigan. He.is Past President and Professor Emeritus of the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. Dr. Evans also teaches at St. John Fisher College in the Executive Leadership Program.
Following college, he received a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University Divinity School and completed his Doctorate at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. In the city, he served as associate pastor of the Chambers Memorial Baptist Church. Following his tenure there he was appointed to the position of Instructor of Theology and Black Church Studies at Colgate Rochester Divinity Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York.
A year later, he accepted the position as a full-time professor at the Divinity School. He was named Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies and, was made Dean of the Program of Black Church Studies. In August of 1990, he became President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. He holds an honorary doctorate from Colgate University. In 2016 Dr. Evans was consecrated as a Bishop in The Kingdom Council of Interdependent Christian Churches and Ministries by Dr. David C. Copeland, Presiding Prelate. Dr. Evans also serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Education and Publications for the Progressive National Baptist Convention, USA. He is also President Elect of the American Theological Society, one of the oldest academic organizations in the nation.
Dr. Evans is the author of numerous articles and five books: Playing, Fortress Press; We Shall All Be Changed: Social Problems and Theological Renewal; We Have Been Believers: An African American Systematic Theology; Black Theology: A Critical Assessment and Annotated Bibliography; and Spiritual Empowerment in Afro-American Literature. He is the co-editor of Modern Christian Thought, Volume II, Second Edition. He is also the author of an acclaimed play Swamp Angel (2011). He is the author of two forthcoming volumes: The Ambivalent Gospel of Motown: Religion, Music and Cultural Politics in Detroit: 1959-1971, and Going Home: Back to Africa Motifs in African American Literature.
Dr. Evans was laid to rest in August 2022 and leaves behind his wife Rev. Dr. Linda Hickmon Evans, his three children: James, Jamila, and Jumaane, his four grandchildren, Christian James, Jayla Symone, Jayden Valentina, and Josiah Beau, his congregation at St. Luke Tabernacle Community Church and a host of friends and family.