Bishop Davis attended both the public and private schools of Alabama. Having received the call to ministry at age 12, he attended Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia where he earned the Bachelor of Science degree;
Master of Divinity degree from the Turner Theological Seminary and the Doctorate of Ministry degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
Bishop James L. Davis has preached and taught the good news of Jesus the Christ for over 40 years. After seeking the divine guidance of He who called him to higher service in Kingdom building campaigned for twenty-two months on his mantra – “I Showed Up for Work and God Blew My Mind”. On July 3, 2004, in Indianapolis, Indiana he showed up for an opportunity to serve and was elected and consecrated the 123rd Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church during its 47th Quadrennial General Conference.
Bishop James L. Davis currently serves as the servant prelate of the 9th Episcopal District which encompasses the entire state of Alabama. As the spiritual shepherd for the District, in the first six weeks of assignment (July 2008) Bishop Davis visited over 250 of the 275 churches throughout Alabama. On a mission to R.E.V.I.V.E. (Rekindling Eternal Vision, Inspiring Victory Everywhere) our responsibility as the service agents in our communities to those in need, he has developed an ABC – Back to Basic Christian Education program that is being taught every second Sunday by all A.M.E. churches statewide.
During the 2009 Founder’s Day Celebration the 9th Episcopal District dedicated it’s newly purchased and renovated District Headquarters located in the Downtown area of Birmingham, AL.
Bishop Davis is Chairman of the Board of Directors for Daniel Payne College, Birmingham, AL., Chairman of the Global Witness and Mission of the AME Church, and a member of the AME Re-Insurance Corporation, Ltd. Bishop Davis served as Chair of the Commission on the Development of the Continent of Africa.
Bishop Davis is a doer as well as a caring, insightful manager of human and material resources, which he utilizes effectively and efficiently to achieve desired outcomes. While serving his first assignment as presiding prelate in the 19th Episcopal District (Republic of South Africa) Bishop Davis’ vision of furthering the legacy of self-help and self-reliance led to accomplishing the following while living on the continent for four years (2004-2008):
- SOLOMON’S BOOK STORE: was established in 2006, to meet the enormous demand for all kinds of religious supplies throughout the 19th Episcopal District.
- H. B. SENATLE AME CENTER: Solicited tenants to occupy the over 75 percent vacant four (4) story building complex situated in the business district of Johannesburg. Now operates in the financial black, with an average expense of R 10,000.00 and a monthly income up to R 24,000.
- RICHARD ROBERT WRIGHT SCHOOL OF RELIGION: Secured the entire campus with a brick wall and 24 hour manpower security service-maximizing elimination of crime on campus. Renovated a state of the arts Administration Building that also serves as a means for generating outside income – by renting office space to South Africa’s Department of Housing.
- COUSIN-SENATLE CONVENTION RETREAT CENTER: Renovated at the sum of over 1 million rand the Convention Retreat Center is an up-to-date meeting space and guest quarters designed to provide comfortable lodgings that can sleep over 210 people; and has the capacity to serve meals to over 350 people. The building is named in honor of retired senior Bishop Philip R. Cousin, Sr. and in memory of the late Bishop Harold B. Senatle. Additionally, The Bonner Hall Building has been transformed into a modern place of worship.
- HOPE VILLAGE: By negotiating with squatters and sidewalk businesses to vacate the land owned by AME Church since 1911, a 5.1 million rand project which Phase I (10 of 50 housing complexes) is completed and its entire infrastructure today was paid for in cash with money that was raised in the United States of America. HOPE Village will provide housing for low-income families in the Evaton community.
Bishop Davis has pastored in Alabama and Georgia over his 40 year span of pastoral ministry. Prior to his election as a Bishop, he served as Senior Pastor of Big Bethel A. M. E. Church in Atlanta, Georgia for twelve years. As an innovator, builder, visionary and Spiritual leader, he is remembered for leading over 1200 souls to Christ and spearheading many dynamic programs and projects to better serve the people of the community. Among them are:
- The Big Bethel Village (an independent Living Facility for adults in Southwest Atlanta); a Youth Retreat and Recreation Center and Administrative Complex; Trinity House for homeless men; Big Bethel Credit Union; the Big Bethel Endowment Fund; and in partnership with another congregation built twelve (12) Habitat for Humanity Houses.
- The purchase of over 20 pieces of property for the expansion of the kingdom on earth.
- The development to construct, on the more than 20 pieces of property purchased, the oldest Black Community in Atlanta into what will be known as “Auburn Renaissance.”
Bishop Davis has many civic affiliations to his credit and has done much to improve the quality of life in the communities in which he has served.
Bishop Davis has traveled throughout the continental United States; and His travels outside the United States have taken him to the Dominican Republic; Hong Kong; Bermuda; Bahamas; England; Singapore; Spain; Malaysia; Germany; Brazil; Canada; West, East, and South Africa.
He is married to his partner in the ministry, the lovely Mother Arelis Beevers Davis. They are the very proud parents of Nicole Titiana (pursuing her doctorate degree) and Damarys Monique (teacher with the Atlanta Public Schools) and two grandsons-the love of his life-Patrick James and Ashton James Pass.