Rev. James Bultema: Biography

James Bultema has lived with his family in the Republic of Turkey since 1990. For the first five years they lived in Istanbul, where, after completing language study, James served as first interim and then associate pastor of the historic Union Church of Istanbul for just under three years.

In 1996 he and his family moved to Antalya, Turkey’s fastest growing city, located on the Mediterranean coast. There he and his wife Renata founded the International Church of Antalya, which James has served ever since as pastor.

In 1997 James and Renata founded Olive Grove, an annual two-week growing gathering of mainly multi-cultural kids.

After three years of gathering in local hotels, the International Church needed a home of its own. Having been thwarted in trying to build or even rent a sanctuary, James led the congregation in founding the St. Paul Cultural Center, a multi-purpose community center that was established for the good of Antalya and the glory of God.

Not only does the center serve the society in a variety of beneficial ways, but it also houses the now-called St. Paul Union Church, the Turkish-Speaking Antalya Evangelical Church, and an emerging Russian-speaking fellowship. James also directs St. Paul Cultural Center development, leads tours of Turkey’s biblical sites, and is currently working on a PhD research project (through Leiden University) that will eventually yield the first historical analysis of the emerging Turkish Protestant Church.


James grew up in Muskegon, Michigan and attended Wheaton College, where he graduated in 1984 with a B.A. in Education. After teaching school for two years, he enrolled in Denver Seminary, where he graduated with honors in 1989 with a Master of Divinity degree. In 1990 he was ordained by the Berean Church of Muskegon, a church founded by his grandfather, and in 1993 he was ordained by the Presbyterian Church (USA).


James and Renata have three children: Kristoff, Anna-Kate, and Talya. They are all avid readers, skiers, hikers, swimmers, game players, and friend-makers.