Last Sunday, hundreds came out to say their last farewell to the late Dr. Audley James. In tributes that came from a number of his fellow pastors and moving testaments from his three children, the well-known pastor’s highly accomplished life was shared by all.
Civic and community representatives, fellow clergy, city councilors, provincial politicians, and members of parliament from Bahamas and Jamaica all came to bear witness to life of a man who touched many lives in many countries.
Dr. Audley James was born in Wakefield Trelawney, Jamaica on September 17, 1937, the third of nine children. He sang, played the piano, and began preaching at an early age. At 24 he was elected as the youngest deacon in history at the St. Annes Bay Baptist Church.
Dr. James immigrated to Canada at the age of 32 and set about preparing himself for what turned out to be a most successful and well-lived life. He graduated from Ryerson University with a degree in Environmental Health and worked for the Federal Government for approximately 12 years. But the church was always the place he wanted to be. He acquired a number of degrees in theology and divinity and served as the Chaplain of the Jamaica Diaspora Canada Foundation.
He retired from his post with the Canadian government and dedicated his life to full time ministry by founding the Revivaltime Tabernacle in 1980 with a congregation of 23 adults and 13 children at Bathurst Heights Secondary School. Five years later he broke ground at 4340 Dufferin Street to begin building RTT’s current location.
Revivaltime Tabernacle Worldwide Ministries is now a church complex of 36,000 sq. ft., which seats 1700. This complex was the first to be built in Ontario in 129 years by a predominantly Afro centric Christian fellowship.
In 1993 Dr. James built a housing complex for low income families in Mississauga called Hope Villa which consists of 43-3 bedroom townhouses. In 1996 he opened the 2nd location of Revivaltime in Pickering.
In 2002, Dr. James and his wife Rosenda established a historic Christian Academy (Adelfiha’s Christian Academy) for the purpose of providing Christian elementary education.
In May 2012 he travelled to Johannesburg South Africa as chair man of the Elders Council African Union 6th Region where he addressed the Pan African Parliament. As a result he was asked to sit on an advisory council along with Dr. Julius Garvey son of the Late Marcus Mosiah Garvey, a Jamaican Legend throughout all of Africa. In August, 2012 Dr. James was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award in Jamaica.
Until his passing Dr. James remained a major contributor to civic life in the Greater Toronto Region, and will be remembered for his active support of members of the Caribbean diaspora. He was rightly remembered as a bright light that touched all those with whom he came into contact.