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Mt. Zion Baptist Church
Pastor and Teacher 

Reverend Doctor Philip Karl James -
Pastor, Teacher

The Reverend Doctor Philip Karl James, the son of a Gospel Preacher, was born and reared in Jamaica, New York.  He is one of eight children.  He is married to the former Jameel Marketta Kee (an Evangelist) of Columbus, Ohio.  He and Jameel have been blessed with a beautiful daughter, Joyreece and a handsome son, Joseph.  See photo of Pastor James and family below.

Reverend James was educated in New York City's Public School System.  He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.  He studied Economics at the master level for one year.  Following college, he worked as a Management Information Analyst and Accountant for Bankers Trust Company in New York City.  He also worked as a Financial Planner at New York  Life Insurance Company.

In 1985, Reverend James responded to God's call to ministry and left his job, family and friends to enter the Seminary.  He graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Methodist Theological School, Delaware, Ohio in 1988.  That same year, Reverend James was ordained by the American Baptist Churches of Metro, New York and the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.  Rev. James earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio in 1993, where he was a Samuel D. Proctor - Otis Moss Jr. Fellow.  He served as Pastor of churches in Ohio and New York prior to the call to Mount Zion Baptist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Pastor James was or is currently in service with the following organizations:  American Baptist Churches, USA - General Board of Directors; American Baptist Churches of Greater Indianapolis Region - Representative; Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition - Board of Directors and Treasurer; Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) - Field Education Supervisor and Richard Pettigrew Seminar Committee; Black American Baptist Caucus - Executive Committee; Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee (GIPC) - Board of Directors, an appointment by Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson.

Listed in Who's Who in Black Indianapolis (4th Edition, 2007).

In May 2012, Pastor James was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Divinity by the Board of Trustees, Faculty and Staff of Franklin College of Franklin, Indiana.

Dr. James is the most recent past President of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial State Convention of Indiana, affiliated with the Progressive National Baptist Convention.

Dr. James was named Affiliate Professor at Christian Theological Seminary, November 2017; Chair of the American Baptist Biennial Mission Summit Plannning Committee for the 2019 National gathering.

Pastor's Assistants in Ministry 

Minister LeWana Britt
- Director of Christian Education

Ordained into Ministry at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in May 2006.  Responsible for Spiritual Development of Children/Youth/Adults. Min. Britt assists with Grant Writing and Project Management needs of Mount Zion. She is mission focused to help others with the Food Pantry and Clothes Giveaway. Min. Britt serves in various Administrative areas to assist with Communication needs within the Church and to others.

Minister Douglas Hairston
- Assistant to the Pastor

Minister Doug Hairston and his family (wife, Jocelyn and children, Yara and Nile) are active members of Mount Zion Baptist Church. Since being licensed in July 1999, he has focused his ministry on "Building Bridges In and To Our Community."

He is currently Director of the Front Porch Alliance for the City of Indianapolis.  Minister Hairston also is active in many community organizations: Marion Country Commission on Youth - Board of Directors; Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition - Active Partner: Peace Makers of Indianapolis - Lead Facilitator. He has also led the men of Mt. Zion into the neighborhoods for Street Outreach.

Joyce E. Johnson

Coordinator and Teacher for Discipleship and Spiritual Formation Ministry and leader of the Biblical Storytelling Scripture-by-Heart Ministry

Sister Johnson is a retired elementary school teacher. She holds a Master's Degree in Christian Education and a DM in in Biblical Storytelling. She is also a Master Certified Biblical Storyteller and workshop presenter, active in women’s prison ministry as a member of the Network of Biblical Storytellers, International.

Minister Geoffrey L. Kelsaw
- Minister of Worship and Creative Arts

A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Kelsaw has taught in the Music Departments of Purdue University, Taylor University and Christian Theological Seminary with a focus on Gospel Music.  The Music Department of Pilgrim Baptist Church (Fort Wayne) performed with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra four times under his leadership as Music Director. His other involvements have included: directing a community choir that participated in concert with Larnelle Harris, providing private instrumental and vocal lessons, conducting subject lectures for Church Music Workshops/Conventions and orchestrating score notation for all choral and instrument arrangements.

Minister Kelsaw is a licensed preacher and full time Minister of Music at Mount Zion. He is the Choral Director of the Gospel Choir at University of Indianapolis and teaches a music class at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.

Ministry Support Staff 

Pamela Tate Baird

Administrative Assistant to the Pastor

Contributions Coordinator



Eddie Cox


Kathryn Woodard

Financial Secretary and Trustee

Elder Levon Sanders

Pianist, Organist  and Director of Male Chorus

Church Leadership 

Diaconate Ministry - Hershell Baird, Sr., Chairman

John Conner-1st Vice-President


Lawrence Hooks, Chair Emeritus

Carl Tate, Emeritus

Sharon Hooks, Secretary

Ivan Baird, Sr.

Cherrie Barbour

Marcelia Duvall

Natalie Clay

Carl Horton

Gloria Kidd

Lenora Hooks

Anthony DeForest

Theresia Wynns

Charles Price

Lois O'Banion

Joseph Wynns

Philip Duvall

Donald Bradley
Loston Perry Fred McKinney


Trustee Board - Joseph Wynns, Chairman

Ebenezer Smith

Kathryn Woodard, Financial  Secretary

Dorothy Crenshaw

Grace Dowe

Malcolm Orton

Lorenza Davis

Ruth Baird-Holloway

The Proclamation of the Word

Dr. Philip K. James 

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Meeting ID: 317 924 4748

Passcode: 3500

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Click this link to go to our Online Giving  page. 

This Week at Mount Zion

2022 Church Theme:


“More Jesus in you in 2022!!”

Spiritually: Being Christlike

Wisdom: Studying the Word of God

Family: Maintaining Family Devotion Time

Benevolence: Giving of Time, Talent and Resources

Click this link to view the:  Mount Zion COVID-19 Relief

Our Vision:

To become a nurturing community of believers; where persons and families feel love; participate in worship; develope their God-given gifts in ministry and committed discipleship, in order to meet the spiritual, physical and social needs of the congregation and community, to the glory of God. 

Because He lives, we can face tomorrow!  May God Bless your week in a Supernatural Way! 

May Jesus be the Center of your Joy!

You are in our prayers. 

3500 Graceland Avenue | Indianapolis, IN 46208  | PH: (317) 923-4010