The Reverend Dr. James A. Keeton, Jr.
The Reverend Dr. James A. Keeton, Jr., a native of Cairo, Georgia, is the Senior Pastor of Morris Brown African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, South Carolina. In addition to serving in the Palmetto State, he has served congregations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Georgia. As a child, one of Dr. Keeton’s favorite activities was “playing church.” Using the giant space heater in the living room as his podium, he would often put on his house robe and "re-preach" his father's sermons from the previous Sunday. His younger sister, Melody, was his musician, and he even served Holy Communion, which consisted of sweet tea and saltine crackers. God was preparing Dr. Keeton even then for a life of ministry.
Dr. Keeton is an Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. As a member of the Palmetto South Carolina Annual Conference in the Seventh Episcopal District, he is the Dean of the Board of Examiners and the Chairperson of the Committee on Presiding Elder Salary and Upkeep. Additionally, Dr. Keeton is a member of the Conference Board of Trustees. He is a member of the executive board of the Emanuel-Morris Brown-Ebenezer (EME) Apartments, Inc. He serves as a board member and the chaplain for the Iva M. Lester Memorial Scholarship Committee.
Dr. Keeton earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Albany State University, Albany, Georgia, a Master of Arts degree in politics from the National University of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland, a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Transformational Leadership from Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Keeton has also done further study at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Dr. 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). Dr. Keeton is married to the former Leslie Gooch of Thomaston, Georgia, and they share two sons: Tyson and Jeston. He is a member of the Beta Kappa Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Prince Hall Lodge #46 (PHA), and the George Washington Carver Consistory #162 (PHA). In his leisure, Dr. Keeton enjoys listening to jazz, reading, writing, and traveling to new and exciting places.