Cean James (Class of 2031, At Large) is the Senior Pastor of Salt & Light, an interdenominational, intergenerational congregation worshiping and working in Southwest Philadelphia and Mt. Airy. In 2005, Pastor James planted Grace Christian Fellowship (GCF) as a nondenominational church to serve the poorest, sickest, and least educated section of Philadelphia: Southwest Philadelphia. GCF united with the United Church of Christ in 2012 and also planted a satellite congregation in Mt. Airy, that same year.
In 2020, GCF merged with New Spirit Community Church to form Salt & Light. Even though the merger was finalized during the pandemic, Salt & Light has experienced exponential growth and is now a 1000+ -member congregation. Salt & Light is as a congregation of passionate worship, empowered leadership, warm hospitality, intergenerational ministries, and generous missionary work in the community and beyond.
Rev. James completed his undergraduate studies at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University with a BS in biology and received his Masters of Divinity from the Lutheran
Theological Seminary of Philadelphia. Pastor James has also done doctoral work at Lancaster Theological Seminary.
Pastor James also serves the wider church as the Associate Conference Minister of Congregational Development for the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference, UCC. Pastor James is the Director of the CityLights Network, a capacity-building nonprofit in Southwest Philadelphia. Pastor James is also a board member of United Lutheran Seminary, The Common Place, and Chestnut Hill Youth Sports Association.