2017 Keynote Speaker

Reverend Larry M. James

James is a graduate of Harding University (BA 1972), Harding School of Theology (MA 1973), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div. 1977), Tulane University (MA– American History 1986) and Perkins School of Theology at SMU (post graduate studies, James has been involved in developing and implementing holistic, justice-focused approaches to congregational and community service and outreach throughout his career. James’ popular book, The Wealth of the Poor: How Valuing Every Neighbor Restores Hope in Our Cities (ACU Press, 2013), provides a personal memoir and commentary on his approach to urban community development.
Reverend James, an Elder in full connection with the North Texas Conference of the UMC, serves as a mem-ber of the clergy staff at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas.

He also served as chair of former Mayor Tom Leppert’s Work Group on Housing, chair of Mayor Mike Rawlings’ Poverty Task Force and co-chair with Mayor Rawlings of Neighbor Up’s Collective Impact Leadership Council that directs targeted work in Southern Dallas as a part of the mayor’s GrowSouth initiative. Recently, DMagazine CEO named James one of the 500 most powerful business leaders in Dallas-Fort Worth.

CitySquare delivers compassion, education, medical care, legal services, technical training, youth and children’s ministry, affordable workforce housing, work force development and technology training initiatives, housing interventions for homeless persons and spiritual development to neighbors living in the tough inner city communities of East and South Dallas. In addition to Dallas, the work of CitySquare has expanded into Houston, Fort Worth, Waco, Kaufman and Austin, Texas, and most recently into Denver, Colorado.

James, a Richardson, Texas native, is married to the former Brenda Erwin. The couple has two grown daughters, Jennifer Toombs and Joanna Frazer and four grandchildren, Gracie Bea and Wyatt James Toombs and Owen James and Henry Folsom Frazer.

Since 1999, Larry and Brenda have lived in inner city East Dallas.