African American News and Genealogy

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Monday, February 21, 2005

Pastor aims to put church, community "on the map"

Published in the Asbury Park Press, 02/21/05


With the high-speed pace of modern suburban life, most of the residents living in the quiet and almost rustic southwest corner of the township, near the Millstone boundary never stop to consider the unassuming white building on the edge of Woodville Road they drive by every day.The Rev. Raymond E. Thompson Sr. wants to change that. But he is the first to admit it will not be an easy task.The one-room white building is the still-active St. James African Methodist Episcopal church, built by freed slaves in the 1830s. In Manalapan, only the Old Tennent Church is older. But St. James A.M.E. receives much less attention, as its congregation consists of about 50 people in the entirely black community of Woodville, once nicknamed "Little Africa."

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