Pastor James Robinson was born raised in North Central Ohio. He grew up living in Mansfield and Shelby Ohio. “The Church has always been in my blood. I can remember as a young child always looking forward to Sunday mornings. When I was at home with my mother on the weekend, a sweet little neighbor lady would pick me up and we would go to Shiloh Full Gospel Baptist Church in Mansfield, Ohio, (A predominantly African- American congregation). When I was with my grandparents on the weekends we would attend Maranatha Bible Baptist Church in Shelby, Ohio. I was about 12 years old when I first felt a desire in my heart for the ministry. It was then that I began teaching Sunday school to the younger children, and was allowed to preach from time to time in my grandparents church. At about the age of 15, I was introduced to Pentecostalism. I immediately feel in love with the tradition. Having family that were both Baptist and Pentecostal was great for me. It meant I could go to both churches! I could have the best of both worlds.”
After graduating from Shelby High School in 2009, Pastor James began studying at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. He graduated from Ashland in 2013 Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Religion. “While studying at Ashland, my ideas about faith were greatly challenged. New ideas, new theologies, and new perspectives were introduced to me. I went to University with a very segregated view of Christianity. I came out of University with an open view of the faith, and a heart to serve and bring ALL of God’s children together. My time at Ashland allowed me to open my mind and my heart. I realized that church was not just for those whom society had deemed ‘righteous,’ but that the church was for ALL peoples. I began to read about the United Church of Christ. I loved the broad message of love for all people, grace for all people, and inclusiveness that the church proclaimed. It was time for a change. I went into University knowing that God loves me... and I came out of University realizing that God loves everyone else too."
Pastor James’ journey with First Church began when he came on as our Youth Pastor in October of 2013. In late 2014, he became our Associate Pastor, but still continued serving in the capacity of youth ministry. In August of 2015, the congregation voted to extend the call of Lead Pastor to Rev. James Robinson, and he was installed by Rev. Daniel Busch of the North West Ohio Association of the United Church of Christ in October of 2015. Pastor James is a licensed minister with the United Church of Christ, and plans to continue his education in order to seek full ordination with the UCC. Pastor James and his wife Catharine (Katie), reside in Shelby with their two sons Aiden and Carson.
Reverend James and family