Our Founder

Rev. Rafe D. Kelley

Rev. Rafe D. Kelley


It all started when…

Rev. Rafe D. Kelley

Reverend Rafe David Kelley was born October 4, 1906
in Bishopville, South Carolina, son of the late Rafe D. 
Kelley, Sr. and Golden Kelley. On October 27, 1927, he was
united in marriage with Allien Hodges.

As an adult, Rev. Kelley accepted Jesus Christ as his
personal Savior and was converted in the St. John Colored
Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church in Winston-Salem, North
Carolina.  In 1938, he was called into the ministry and
served as Pastor of a CME Church in Kernallsville, North
Carolina.  It was here that God planted the seed for St. 
John Missionary Baptist Church.

In September of 1943, Rev. Kelley was sent by Bishop L. 
Russell to be the pastor of a CME Church in Cambridge, 
MA. He served as Pastor of this church for approximately one

In 1944, Rev. Kelley left the CME Church in Cambridge and
founded St. John’s Congregational Church located on Cabot
Street in Roxbury, MA. After three years, Rev. Kelley saw a
great need for a Bapist Church.  He was converted and
baptized into the Baptist faith and reorganized and renamed
St. John’s Congregational Church to ST. JOHN
, which it remains today.