Dr. Emanuel Cleaver III

Dr. Emanuel Cleaver III is a dynamic clergyman whose diverse and vast influence stretches from the Kansas City, Missouri church he leads to the outline areas of West Africa. Dr. Cleaver’s expertise is rooted in his experience and the knowledge he acquired while working toward a Master of Divinity, which he received from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio.  Dr. Cleaver, the Senior Pastor of St. James United Methodist Church since 2009 leads in word and by example, urging the congregation to always be mindful of the church’s motto, “Connecting people with God in practical ways.” 


His messages and leadership have led to many changes and new programs under his tutelage. These include the formation of a weekly worship experience for seniors residing at nearby St. James Place. Under his leadership, St. James secured funding for and renovated the church kitchen. In 2019 the church completed the Emanuel Cleaver II Senior Living community that provides affordable independent living for those ages 55 and better. 

Dr. Cleaver, who received his doctor of ministry degree from St. Paul School of Theology, participated in a mission trip to West Africa, where he was a guest preacher at S.T. Nagbe United Methodist Church in Monrovia, Liberia. He also was among a group of Christians who visited Turkey to promote Christian and Muslim dialogue.

Dr. Cleaver was a participant in the Lewis Community Leadership Fellows program at Wesley Theological Seminary and a guest preacher and lecturer at seminaries and church organizations throughout the country. He’s a United Methodist denominational leader who was elected a delegate for the 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020 South Central Jurisdictional Conferences as well as the 2012, 2016, and 2020 General Conferences. In 2013, he received the John and Ruth Mount Alumni Award, which is Methodist Theological School’s highest honor for former students and specifically recognizes parish ministry.

The Philander Smith College graduate with a B.A. in political science, is a prolific reader and writer and has had several published works. These include a poem in “Unity Magazine,” an article about hip-hop culture in “Circuit Rider Magazine,” short essays about greatness, friendship, thanksgiving and disappointment in the “Wesley Study Bible” and several articles in “Ministry Matters.” He has published two books: “Pastor on Track: Reclaiming Our True Role” and “What Is The Bible And Who Is It For? A Book for Beginners, Skeptics, and Seekers.” Dr. Cleaver’s objective in life is to connect people with God.

Pastor Cleaver and his wife Sharon have three children: Emanuel IV, Isaac, and Alayna.

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