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The current success enjoyed by People's Independent Church of Christ can be traced to the strong foundation established by early church leaders.
As the congregation prepares to observe its 98th Church Anniversary on Sunday, October 20, the contributions of former pastors will be fondly remembered.
“Thanks to the dedication and commitment of people such as the first pastor, the Rev. N.P. Greggs, along with laity like Brother J.H. Shackleford, Brother George A. Beavers and Brother F.H. Crumbly, People’s Independent Church of Christ was founded on October 3, 1915,” said Bishop Craig A. Worsham, senior pastor.
“Those men, along with 47 members of First A.M.E. Church, laid the groundwork, believing that God was with them and they were right. As a result, God has blessed us to give continuous service to South Los Angeles for all of these years.
“We welcome the community to join us as we celebrate God’s goodness and grace during three spirit-filled services,” he said.
Pastor Emeritus Charles E. Williams will bring the message at 8 a.m. Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, a community activist and candidate for the 54th State Assembly District, will speak at 11 a.m. Pastor Kevin Edwards of Rising Star Baptist Church in Bakersfield will preach at 4 p.m. Also, his choir and congregation will participate.
Recalling highlights in the church’s history, Bishop Worsham noted, “Under the pastorate of Rev. Clayton D. Russell, People’s Independent became the founding church of the Community Church Movement in the United States and the First Community Church of Los Angeles.
“Also, the church worked with developing businesses such as the Golden State Life Insurance Co. and the Liberty Building and Loan Company. During this period, businessmen such as William Nickerson and George Beavers were members.”
In the 1950s, Pastor Maurice Dawkins led the congregation in constructing Independent Square, a multi-million dollar, seven-story housing complex on Adams Boulevard and St. Andrews Place. People’s Independent Federal Credit Union also opened and still operates today.
The church moved to their current edifice in 1980 under the leadership of Bishop William A. Naylor. Less than five years after the relocation, the members celebrated the burning of the mortgage.
Currently, the church serves as the headquarters for the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) - L.A. Chapter and the Musicians in Action (MIA).
For information about the 98th Anniversary, call the church office at (323) 296-5776.