James Elliott was born in 1936 and grew up on three farms between rural Oswego, IL and rural Plainfield, IL where his family raised dairy cows, beef cattle, sheep, hogs, and chickens.
He graduated from Oswego, IL high school in May, 1953 and entered Aurora College (now University) in September 1953 with the goal of becoming a mechanical engineer. In 1955, he began to get the feeling that he was being “called” to become a pastor. As a result of this decision, James switched majors to begin preparing for the ministry.
James was united in marriage to his first wife, Lila, in 1957 and in 1959, he graduated with a B.A. degree in sociology plus a B.Th. degree in theology, with a minor in psychology and almost a minor in music. He then attended Evangelical Theological Seminary, Naperville, IL and received an M.Div. degree in 1961. During most of the time in seminary, he also served a small country church in northern Illinois. It was there that he was officially ordained as a pastor in the United Church of Christ.
From there, Pastor James was briefly a pastor of a second small town church in central Illinois and from there became Minister of Education/Minister of Youth in Chicago for two years. After that he served as pastor in Berwyn, IL (a Chicago suburb) for several years. Following that term of service, Pastor James moved back to central Illinois to pastor another rural congregation for 8 years.
He was then called to serve St. Paul’s UCC in Hermann, MO for over 28 years, officially retiring in 2008. At that time his wife, Lila, was in seriously declining health and passed away in August, 2009. They had been married for more than 51 years.
Pastor James was asked to become the part-time supply pastor for Immanuel UCC, New Franklin, MO in December, 2010 and the congregation asked me to stay on for an indefinite period, which was concluded in October, 2012. During that time, he met and was married to Sharon Meyer (a native of Kansas) in Immanuel UCC, New Franklin.
After a year without a pastoral assignment, St. Johns UCC Billingsville asked Pastor James to become the permanent supply pastor in November, 2013. Jim has served as a pastor for 59 years.
He and his first wife, Lila, are the parents of four children. They in turn became parents of 13 children. So far, their children have brought 8 children into this world.