Rev. James A. Littles Sr. was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and was raised on the family farm in Piedmont, Missouri. It was here that his parents faithfully took him to church, and in 1955 he received the Holy Ghost. Within two years Bro. Littles received the call into ministry while attending church camp at the Westfalia, Missouri, campgrounds. He began his ministry as a Sunday School teacher and delivered his first sermon in children’s church.
During his junior year of high school, Bro. Littles’s family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and attended the church pastored by Bro. Harry Branding. This move was only temporary, as the family would return to Piedmont three months later. After graduating from Clearwater High School in Piedmont, Bro. Littles moved to St. Louis where he lived with his aunt and uncle, attending Bro. Branding’s church with them. In the spring of 1960 Bro. Branding invited Bro. Littles to obtain his UPCI ministers license.
In October of 1960 Bro. Littles married Eva Tucker. Together they began teaching Sunday School and working as youth leader with the church in Cahokia, Illinois. In 1966 they began their first role as pastor in Galatia, Illinois. Here they remained until 1968 when they returned to Columbia, Illinois, and in 1969 answered the call to leave the Missouri/Illinois area for New York.
Bro. Littles began his work in New York as assistant to Bro. S.R. Hamby in Albany, before relocating to Watertown, New York, in 1970 to plant the first of four home missions works in the upstate New York. Upon arriving in Watertown, New York, the church began with 1 member in addition to Bro. and Sis. Littles and their 3 sons. A year later Sis. Littles gave birth to their fourth son. Bro. Littles and his family remained in Watertown where the church grew, and he oversaw the construction of a new church building. Bro. Littles returned to Columbia, Illinois, in 1975. After leaving Watertown, New York, the church continued to grow and a new larger sanctuary has since been constructed on the property next door to the building constructed by Bro. Littles.
In 1976 Bro Littles returned to upstate New York, planting three new churches throughout the next 15 years. The first church plant after returning to New York was in Jamestown. While continuing this work, a daughter work was started 50 miles east in Olean, New York. Sunday services were busy during this time with morning Sunday School services in Jamestown, an afternoon service in Olean, followed by an evening service in Jamestown. In 1983 Bro. Stephen Beattie became the pastor of the church in Olean, New York and continues to pastor this thriving work. Bro. Littles remained in Jamestown until 1985 when God called him to plant another new work, this time in Plattsburgh, New York. After moving to Plattsburgh, New York, Bro. Littles’s son, Bro. James A. Littles Jr., remained in Jamestown as pastor.
In Plattsburgh, services began in the living room of the home rented by Bro. Littles. Bro. Littles soon built a new home for his family and services were held in the family room. More space was required for services so property was purchased, and a new building was constructed. Throughout his time in the New York district, Bro. Littles served as sectional youth director, sectional presbyter, district Sunday school director, district home missions director, and district secretary.
In 1991 God called Bro. Littles to return to the Missouri District and pastor his home church in Piedmont. During the years that Bro. Littles pastored in New York, the church in Piedmont, pastored by Bro. Pruitt, constructed a new church building on property donated to the church by Bro. Littles’s parents, Andrew and Myrl Littles. Bro. Littles pastored the church that sits on the very farm, less than quarter of a mile from the home in which he was raised. After serving as pastor and senior pastor of the church in Piedmont for 20 years, Bro. Littles retired in 2011 having also served the Missouri District on numerous committees, as Sectional Home Missions Director, and as Section 5 Presbyter. Bro. Littles’ grandson, Jason Littles, succeeded him as pastor of the Piedmont church.
Bro. and Sis. Littles have three sons who followed them in ministry: two serve in Apostolic higher education while the other serves as a pastoral assistant in local leadership, preaching, and teaching. Even casual observers can see the combined legacy of Bro. and Sis. Littles through the churches they founded, saints they pastored, and sons they raised.