Chief Apostle James H. Carter

by Terry Watson | March 13th, 2014
Chief Apostle James H. Carter (Photos by Howard Gaither)

Chief Apostle James H. Carter (Photos by Howard Gaither)

Apostle James H. Carter has been preaching and teaching the Word of God for the last 45 years. He is the longest running tenured pastor in Thomasville. Many of the pastor’s and preachers he started in ministry with have transitioned unto eternity, but Carter is continuing his charge to spread the Gospel and bring about change throughout the community. Moreover, he has no intention of slowing down from all that he does.
The Caswell County native is currently the presiding prelate of United Cornerstone Churches International-an organization with over 50 churches across North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, DC, Virginia, West Indies and Africa. He works tirelessly in the organization; within his own church; and throughout the community where he serves on countless boards. Not only is Carter the founder of three churches in North and South Carolina he is also the founder and co-founder of the United Cornerstone School of Divinity, and also works with the NC Theological University with Founder Dr. Tony Horne of the UCCI Assembly. .
This year marks Carter’s 39th anniversary as the founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church of Christ. The church has literally been a “cornerstone” of the African American community in Thomasville for nearly as many years. Known for helping anyone in the community in need, Cornerstone Church of Christ has weathered many storms, trials and tribulations, but through unity, perseverance and “big” faith the ministry has prevailed. The charitable reputation of Cornerstone is simply a reflection of its leader. The very reason that the church was founded was based upon Apostle Carter’s mandate and personal desire to “help” other people and better the community. In 1970, Carter began working as a route driver for United Parcel Service (UPS). It was no small feat to even secure such a coveted position. Carter’s delivery route included the city of Thomasville. Every day he drove the same route and noticed the same people. Mainly, Carter became fixated on the massive number of young people that were simply hanging around with nothing productive to do or anything to stimulate their minds. In addition, he recognized the area was still dealing with blatant racism and prejudices. It wasn’t an ideal situation. Eventually, Carter had enough. One day, while driving his route, he stopped and asked the Lord a simple question. “Why don’t you send someone to get these kids off the street?” he says. The answer he received was just as simple. “What’s wrong with you?” was the response he says he received.
Carter wasn’t exactly thrilled with the answer. He certainly didn’t ignore it, but he wasn’t prepared for such a drastic change. “I had no thoughts of Pastoring. I was already the assistant pastor at my own church in Reidsville and I was doing evangelistic work there,” he says. The longer Carter ran his route the more he was convicted to “do something”. By April of 1975, he was fully convinced. He started Cornerstone Church Street Ministry. The ministry was literally on the street; from Hunter Street to Douglas Drive to James Avenue. Carter placed a small pulpit on the back of a truck. He played his guitar and commenced to preaching the Gospel to whoever would listen. He loves to tell the story of his first attendees. They consisted of two drunks and a dog. Eventually the drunks left. The dog stayed around for a bit longer, but grew weary as well and left too. Undaunted, Carter remained steadfast in what he was called to do. Every Saturday he made the trip from Reidsville to Thomasville making an appeal to people to receive salvation.
He knew it was the will of God even though he admits it wasn’t the easiest thing to do; yet he recognized it was necessary for him to do it. The city was constantly affected by racism, discrimination and prejudices of all kinds. The KKK marched at will and derogatory terms like the “N” word were used pervasively and freely. The streets where Carter ministered were considered to be some of the worse and most dangerous streets in the city. Two Caucasian police officers had even been killed in the area while Carter preached. The chief of police at the time questioned whether Carter was confident of his location and even offered

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