The Reverend James A. Keeton, Jr., a native of Cairo, Georgia, is the Senior Pastor of Morris Brown African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. In addition to serving in the Palmetto State, he has served congregations in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and New Jersey. As a child, one of Pastor Keeton’s favorite activities was “playing church.” Using the large space heater in the living room as his podium, he would often put on his house robe and “re-preach” the sermons his father preached the previous Sunday. His younger sister, Melody, was his musician, and he even served Holy Communion that consisted of sweet tea and saltine crackers. God was preparing him even then for a life of ministry.
Pastor Keeton is an Itinerant Elder in the Palmetto Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the Seventh Episcopal District. He is a graduate of Albany State University, Albany, Georgia (B.A., History); the National University of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland (M.A., Political Science); Duke University Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina (Master of Divinity); currently, he is pursuing his Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.) degree at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Pastor Keeton understands the intricate connection between the Church and community that is expressed in God’s command to the Prophet Jeremiah “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7, NRSV).Pastor Keeton is married to the former Leslie Gooch of Thomaston, Georgia, and they share two sons, Tyson and Jeston. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Forsyth Lodge #425 (PHA), and Pride of Forsyth Chapter #144 (OES). In his leisure, Pastor Keeton enjoys listening to jazz, reading and writing, and traveling to new and exciting places.