Gordon was born on February 15, 1954 in Clarksdale,
MS., where he lived until he was three. His family moved
to Chicago, IL in 1958 and on to Mt. Vernon, IL in 1959.
During this time James Attended Thomas Edison Grade
School, Casey Junior High, and graduated for Mt. Vernon
Township High School in 1972.
his education at Rend Lake Junior College and Southern
Illinois University majoring in sociology. He served
two years in the U. S. Army (1976-1977), receiving an
honorable discharge and numerous others awards. This
period was a blessing, because while serving in the
military, James began his ministry. He was able to attend
the International Bible College in Wiesbaden, Germany,
which in included ministers from 30 countries. James
was ordained as a minister in 1980.
James Gordon worked for Southern IL University from
1982 until 1986; the year he founded Southtown Apostolic
Church and Youth Programs. Southtown has developed into
a base for Mt. Vernon residents, providing support,
assistance, and some direct services for 300 youth and
their families each month.
Gordon was among 200 ministers in the nation invited
to the White House’s first ever Faith-Based Conference
in Washington, D. C., in 2001. Reverend Gordon has received
appointments to various state-wide boards and commissions
by Governors James Thompson, Jim Edger, George Ryan,
and Rod Blagojevich’s transition team committee.
efforts of volunteers and community leaders, Southtown
has been able to generate over 11 million dollars in
programs and community improvements for the residents
of the south-side neighborhoods of Mt. Vernon, IL and
Jefferson County. Reverend James Gordon, through Southtown
Apostolic Church, Youth and Daycare Programs continues
to serve children and their families in Mt. Vernon with
positive youth development programs. In March of 2004,
after 10 years of prayer and planning, Southtown moved
into its newly built million dollar family center. The
new facility has allowed Southtown to expand its programs
and services to include onsite District #80 Schools
Pre-K classes, teleconferencing capacity, and business
Gordon along with his lovely wife, Shirley, of thirty-two
years is the proud parents of four beautiful children:
James Jr. (30 yrs), Chad (27 yrs), Steffen (25 yrs),
and Tiffany (24 yrs).
A few of
his volunteer activities: Mt. Vernon Minority Affairs
Committee, 1989-1996, Governor’s African American
Family Commission, 1994-present, Governor’s Advisory
Council Illinois Dept. DCFS, 1994-1999, Illinois Commerce
Commission Round Table, 1989-1996, Jefferson County
Branch NAACP, President, 1996-2003, Southern Illinois
Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, President, 1998-Present, Illinois
Council of Ar4ea Projects, 1998-Present, City of Mt.
Vernon Minority Affairs an Human Relations Commission,
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