Brother Bryan in the late 1930s
Portrait of Brother Bryan in the late 1930s

Rev. James Alexander Bryan, or “Brother” Bryan as he was popularly known, was the pastor of Third Presbyterian Church from 1889 to his death in 1941. More than pastor to his relatively small church on the Southside of Birmingham, he was pastor to the entire city.

Though few alive today have had personal encounters with him, in his day, it would not have been uncommon to hear stories of him walking through the streets, in restaurants, and stores, breaking into prayer with those famous words, “Brother” or “Sister, let us pray!”

While Birmingham has largely forgotten this most important pastor, the city retains memories of his impact. There is, of course, his statue, now placed prominently in the busy intersection of Five Points South—it is a perpetually reminder of the grace of his prayers which hallowed the streets in his day. The church that he pastored for fifty years, Third Presbyterian, still remains a vibrant evangelical church on 22nd street 7th Avenue South. A park not far from where he lived and ministered bears his name: Brother Bryan Park, and perhaps most importantly is the legacy that he left in the founding of Brother Bryan Mission which continues grow and to minister to men in need of help, both spiritual and material.

In 1934, another Presbyterian minister from Virginia, Hunter Blakely, wrote a much-beloved biography of the man, opening the anointed ministry beyond the streets of Birmingham throughout the nation, and it remains available and accessible to this day. It is titled, Religion in Shoes.

This website is the result of years of research of the man and his ministry by Jake Hanson for a book he is writing called Marked By Love which will deal more fully on his ministry. Here are thousands of articles on or by Brother Bryan, as well as thousands of sermons he printed in local newspapers. Much of this information has been forgotten for 100 years, and it is offered in his honor and for your blessing.

The goal is also to publish all of Brother Bryan’s writings, and many, if not all, of his sermons in book form.

Sign up below for updates regarding this important work.


His Life and Ministry (more to come below)

Early Life




Call to Birmingham


Early Ministry


Southern Evangelist




Marriage and Family


Wedding and Funeral Ministry


Loving Cup


Nervous Breakdown


Holy Land


Brother Bryan Statue


Religion in Shoes


Radio and Newspaper Sermons


Late Ministry