Rev. Dr. James B. Barnes Sr.

June 28, 1937 – April 13, 2018
Saint Louis, Missouri

On April 13, 2018 The Rev. Dr. James B. Barnes, beloved husband, father and pastor, died in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through Jesus Christ his Lord. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Barnes graduated with a B.A. from The City University of N. Y., an M. Div. from Union Theological Seminary in New York and a D. Min. from Eden Seminary in Webster Groves, MO. He married the former Eleanor M. McGarrity, and they have two children.

Dr. Barnes had a varied career, serving as a student chaplain and Y.M.C.A. executive in New York City before working as a campus chaplain for the Y.M.C.A. on the junior college campuses in St. Louis, MO. Later he became Director of Programming and Development for KETC, Channel 9 in St. Louis during the years when that station expanded to add such programs as THE LETTER PEOPLE, MONTY PYTHON, THE FRENCH CHEF WITH JULIA CHILD, MASTERPIECE THEATER and many other national public television shows.

He also served as pastor of Second Baptist Church in Richmond Heights, MO., Bethlehem United Church of Christ in Bridgeton, MO. and Good Shepherd United Church of Christ in St. Charles, MO. Believing in the efficacy of television as a medium for spreading the gospel, Dr. Barnes accepted a call to help The Rev. Larry Rice acquire, build and program KNLC, Channel 24, for New Life Evangelistic Center (NLEC) in St. Louis.

The Rev. Rice had a vision for a Christian television station that would provide wholesome family programming and that would also advocate for the homeless by telling their stories. He no longer wanted these forgotten members of our society to be the great invisible presence that they were in the 1970s when they were often referred to as bums, hobos, derelicts, or some other derisive epithet.

Dr. Barnes supported the goals that Rev. Rice had, and with the help of The Rev. Kenneth Klingerman, pastor of Salem Church in Florissant and a board member of KNLC, Dr. Barnes was able to become a Missionary in Media from Salem Church and in the early 1980s make the transition as a missionary to New Life Evangelistic Center. Since KNLC went on the air in 1982, the ministry added an additional seven low power television stations, fifteen AM and FM radio stations, and numerous free stores and homeless shelters in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Illinois.

For many years Dr. Barnes worked, managing the television ministry, training the homeless and others to help run the many radio and television stations acquired or built by NLEC in the Midwest. He also researched programming and helped train staff members in acquiring appropriate programs for a Christian station. Fundraising and participating in telethons to raise money to support the work of NLEC were also a large part of his job description.

In 2013 the Rev. Dr. Barnes fully retired from ministry. He is survived by his brother, Harold (Annette), wife, Eleanor, son, the Rev. James B. Barnes, Jr. (Patti), daughter, Jeanie Batchelor (James) and five grandchildren: Matthew (Koleen), Mollie, Aaron, Melissa and Brendan.

Visitation Friday at John L. Ziegenhein & Sons South County Chapel from 3pm to 8pm and on Saturday at Bethesda Evangelical Church from 9am until service time at 10am.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Evangelical Association (, New Life Evangelistic Association (NLEC) or The Alzheimers Association.

View the memorial page on the website of Ziegenhein Funeral Home.



April 20, 2018, Friday
03:00 pm – 08:00 pm
John L. Ziegenhein & Sons South County Chapel 
4830 Lemay Ferry Road St. Louis, Missouri (63129)

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April 21, 2018, Saturday
10:00 am – 11:00 am
Bethesda Evangelical Church 
85 Lemay Gardens Dr. St. Louis, Missouri 63125

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