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YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg Honors Reverend Alfonso Woods with the 2020 YMCA Chester James Award




The YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg is pleased to announce the Reverend Alfonso Woods as the 2020 recipient of the Chester James Award. The award presentation will take place during the virtual YMCA Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast on November 10, 2020 at 8 am.

Every year, the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg recognizes an individual from the community who exemplifies the attributes of Reverend Chester James with the Chester James Award. Reverend James was an outstanding community activist who dedicated himself to improving the lives of our citizens and working hard to bridge the gap that once divided this community. As a human rights leader and friend to the YMCA, he will always be remembered and recognized as a shining example of morality and a strong person of character.

Like Reverend James, Reverend Woods lives his life according to a set of moral and ethical values exemplified with compassion, integrity, and optimism. Such a life is characterized by service beyond self. As such, Reverend Woods has worked in the church and community at large in some capacity for his entire life. He was ordained in the Baptist faith in 1998, served as a Ruling Elder and Commissioned Pastor in the Presbyterian Church, and currently serves as Senior Ministry Leader at Sharing The Glory Ministries in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is also the Godson of the late Chester and Bertha James.

“Anyone who knows Alfonso knows that he is someone who always does what is right, without regard to any personal gain or recognition,” said David W. Jezek, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg. “From a professional and personal perspective, his ties to Chester James are strong. In fact, it was Chester who entrusted Alfonso to care for his wife, Bertha, in his passing days. To entrust someone with that responsibility speaks volumes of the mutual respect that they shared with one another.”

“I am incredibly moved to receive the Chester James Award. Chester was my mentor and friend. To be recognized in the same league as him is one of the greatest honors of my life,” said Woods.

Since 2001, the annual YMCA Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast has offered an opportunity for all community members to gather and reflect on important issues, challenges and commonalities. This year, the YMCA will host and broadcast this community gathering of prayer and inspiration virtually. Registration is free and is available at

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