The Jones History

Serving San Francisco since 1943

Jones Methodist Church was organized in February 1943. The Reverend T. J. Bridgette of the Louisiana United Methodist Conference and a group of approximately forty Methodists came together in dedicated fellowship to create a Methodist Church in San Francisco’s then largely African-American Fillmore district. With the cooperation of Bishop Edgar Love, who presided over the Central Conference (a national conference of Methodist with Black congregations) a Storefront Church was organized at 1901 Bush Street. Reverend Bridgette and the forty members named the church in honor of Bishop Robert E. Jones, the first Black Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who was appointed in the United States in 1920. Reverend and Mrs. Ernest P. Clark came to Jones from John Wesley Methodist Church in Montgomery, West Virginia in December 1943. On November 3, 1944, Articles of Incorporation of the Jones Methodist Church were filed in the office of the California Secretary of State. Membership grew to over 300 members, and on May 27, 1945 the congregation moved to 1975 Post Street, where it remains to this day.

The resident Bishop of the California Nevada Conference appointed Reverend Dr. Hamilton T. Boswell to Jones in 1947. Reverend Dr. and Mrs. (Eleanor) Boswell and family, (daughters, Jeri and Eleanor) came from Bowen Memorial Methodist Church, Los Angeles, California. The church membership increased greatly in 1947. This was the year Reverend Dr. Boswell began his exemplary ministry at Jones and his aggressive leadership in the San Francisco community. He served as the senior minister for 29 years until his retirement in 1976. He resided as Pastor Emeritus at Jones until his death on May 6, 2007.

In 1968 at the General Conference, the Methodist Episcopal Church became the United Methodist Church.

In 1972 after the death of Bishop Jones the Charge Conference changed the name of Jones to Jones Memorial United Methodist Church as a tribute to the honorable life of Bishop Robert E. Jones.

In July 1976, Reverend Dr. Booker T. Anderson, Jr. of Easter Hill United Methodist Church, Richmond, CA replaced Reverend Dr. Boswell. He served Jones Memorial and the San Francisco community until his untimely death on November 29, 1982.

In 1982, Dr. James McCray, Jr. was appointed as senior minister of Jones Memorial by the California Nevada Conference. Dr. McCray ended his tenure at Jones Memorial on March 2, 2008.

Reverend Phillip Lawson, a retired United Methodist Minister, was assigned by Bishop Beverly Shamana as Jones' interim senior minister on March 16, 2008.

In 2009, Reverend Staci Current was appointed as senior minister of Jones Memorial. Reverend Current, Jones' first female senior pastor, has served United Methodist Churches in the North Georgia Annual Conference, Pacific Northwest Annual Conference, and the California Nevada Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Immediately prior to her appointment to Jones, Pastor Staci served as senior minister of Shattuck Avenue United Methodist Church in Oakland, California from 2001 to 2009. Under her leadership, the membership of Shattuck grew, new ministries to the community were initiated, and the sanctuary that had been uninhabitable for nine years was retro-fitted, restored, and re-opened for worship. Reverend Current and her family, including the Reverend John D. Current, Sr. (pastor of Grace United Methodist Church) and their youngest son Leon "Leo" K. Current, began their ministry at Jones on July 1, 2009.

In 2015, Bishop Alfred Johnson was appointed as senior minister of Jones Memorial. Bishop Johnson was elected to the episcopacy in July, 1996, and assigned the New Jersey Area. As a bishop he was assigned to the General Council of Ministries, NEJ Urban Steering Committee and the Multi-Ethnic Center. He has been a frequent presenter and workshop leader in the areas of human relations, urban ministries, race relations, leadership and church planning. Bishop Johnson retired from the active episcopacy on September 1, 2004, and served as interim pastor of the Huntington-Cold Spring Harbor Church on Long Island, NY, from November 2004 June 30, 2005. In July 2005, Bishop Jeremiah Park asked him to work to strengthen the congregational ministries of the three United Methodist Churches of the Village section of New York City. Prior to being appointed to Jones, he served as senior pastor of Church of the Village in the West Village of New York, New York. Bishop Johnson and his wife, the Rev. Sherrie Dobbs Johnson, began their ministry at Jones on September 1, 2015.

The Black population in San Francisco soared from pre-war figures of less than 5,000 to over 10,000, as Blacks migrated from the South, to seek out war related employment in the shipyards and other industries. Blacks looking for spiritual guidance to navigate through issues such as relocation and discrimination turned to churches such as Jones Memorial, where they found a sense of community and united purpose. Jones Church established a number of social programs designed to address the needs of the congregation and the surrounding community.

The Jones United Methodist Credit Union was founded in 1952 as a response to red-lining, (offering credit with exorbitant interest rates) and other discriminatory practices against Blacks. The Credit Union began with $1,500 in assets, and was approved by the Federal Credit Union League on the basis of the good credit rating of a few members. Today, the credit union boasts assets of over $700,000, which are separate from the church’s operating budget.

The Jones Memorial Senior Homes were established in 1960 to provide inexpensive housing not only to Jones Memorial’s seniors, but to senior citizens at large in San Francisco. The home offers 184 units of senior housing at affordable rates.

Jones Memorial and Ridgeview United Methodist Churches merged July 1, 2001 to more effectively deliver ministry to the African American population and others of San Francisco. Ridgeview started as Ridge Point Church, a community effort directed toward Navy service personnel in the Bayview/Hunter’s Point area of San Francisco in 1943. It was chartered as a Methodist congregation in 1945.