Many significant events touched the lives of the faith-based community in the Los Angeles metropolitan area during the past year. Some of those news stories are highlighted below.
Thompson Wins Historic BMCLA Presidency
Leadership shifted on January 7 with the historic election of the Rev. Xavier L. Thompson as the youngest president ever of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Los Angeles and Vicinity (BMCLA).
“I want to congratulate Dr. Xavier Thompson on his successful run. I will continue to be a faithful servant of the Lord and a proud member of the Baptist Ministers Conference,” said the Rev. Dr. Marvis Davis, who led the prominent organization for the past six years.
President Thompson said, “We’ve proven today that Black Baptists can be powerbrokers when we coalesce around the same vision. The election was held today, but tomorrow the work begins.”
“God is still God and God works not only through the old, but also the young. So this can be a thing where we will see God work through both,” noted the Rev. Dr. Melvin V. Wade.
Kirkland Keeps Focus in Challenging Times
By February 2013, the A.M.E. Church had experienced pastoral changes, mismanagement allegations, and multiple lawsuits. Throughout the challenges, Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Sr., advocated courage to A.M.E. members.
“I’m convinced that blessings come through difficult situations. So, I tell people to focus on Christ, because He is actually our example,” said Bishop Kirkland, presiding prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church.
“The early church went through all kinds of persecution, but they became stronger because of persecution. It is my hope that even in the persecution, even in the allegations against some preachers, that our church will become stronger.”
His approach proved successful when he appointed the Rev. J. Edgar Boyd to replace the Rev. Dr. John Hunter as pastor of First A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles. The congregation embraced Pastor Boyd and began a course of stability to guide the rebuilding efforts.
Meanwhile, Dr. Hunter filed several lawsuits against the A.M.E. Church in civil courts and eventually resigned from the denomination. On December 4, the Los Angeles Superior Court dismissed one of the lawsuits based on a Supreme Court ruling that bars civil courts from interfering in a religious organization’s employment decisions regarding its ministers.
NMC Celebrates Dr. Lonnie Dawson Children’s Home
Pastor Sonja R. Dawson and New Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church (NMC) celebrated the grand opening of the Dr. Lonnie Dawson Home for Children in Gonaives, Haiti on April 28. The Home contains bedrooms, classrooms, kitchen area, and food pantry to support the spiritual, physical, and social needs of its residents.
“The Dr. Lonnie Dawson Home for Children is a celebration of his work in meeting the needs of people, both locally and internationally,” said Pastor Dawson, who led the NMC congregation in partnering with the Rev. Dr. Carol and Sister Lillie Broadfoot, Pastor Robert Compere, and the Love and Light Missions to build the home for 17 orphan children.
The facility was named in honor of the late Rev. Dr. Dawson, founder of New Mount Calvary. During his tenure as pastor, he traveled extensively on international missionary journeys and sponsored the building of three wells and a road restoration project in Haiti in 2004.
Wade Celebrates a Ministry ‘Favored By God’
The Rev. Dr. Melvin V. Wade, Sr., of Mount Moriah Baptist Church marked his 50th year of proclaiming the Word on September 8. Over five decades, God blessed him to meet church leaders, travel internationally, and preach around the country.
“Talk about favor! I’m amazed that the Lord would tap me for this kind of an assignment and then to favor me the way He has is just an awesome experience,” said Pastor Wade.
To kick-off 2014, Dr. Wade and Mount Moriah will hold the Annual Prayer Bowl on January 1, at 9 a.m., at 4269 South Figueroa Street in Los Angeles. Dr. Earl A. Pleasant, the founder of Mount Moriah, created the event more than 60 years ago.
Sermons will be delivered by Bishop L. Daniel Williams, Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Sr., Pastor Wayne Chaney, Jr., Bishop Andrew C. Turner II, Pastor Xavier L. Thompson, and Pastor Michael J. T. Fisher.
Crenshaw Christian Center Celebrates 40 Years of Faith
Crenshaw Christian Center (CCC) celebrated its 40th Anniversary on September 14. Founded four decades ago by Apostle Frederick K.C. Price, CCC is now a vibrant institution in Los Angeles and known throughout the world.
In 1973, Apostle Price organized the ministry in Inglewood with 300 members that eventually grew to 5,500. He reached more people via radio and the ‘Ever Increasing Faith’ international television broadcast.
CCC purchased the former Pepperdine University campus in 1981. The sanctuary was completed in 1989 and became the world renowned Faith Dome.
During his ministry, he established of Crenshaw Christian Center East in Manhattan, New York, founded a church in Africa, and launched a K – 12 Christian school. Today, his son, the Rev. Frederick Kenneth Price, continues the family legacy as the pastor of CCC.
‘Preachers of LA’ Debuted October 9
Before an episode even aired, the ‘Preachers of LA’ reality show drew lots of attention. Some people formed opinions from the TV trailers and social media ads.
A local minister said one clip that appeared to uphold wealth and another viewer noted, “I didn’t get the impression they were trying to win souls for Christ.”
But, according to cast member Minister Deitrick Haddon, “We hope that we bring new souls in the kingdom by our transparency and make church attractive again. Hopefully, once people see how imperfect we are, yet we are still able to be used by God, it will close the gap and make a connection,” he said.
Bishop Noel Jones added, “I think this show will help, without scandal, to put God back in His rightful place in the minds of people. At the end of the day, I want for God to be God, not God’s man, but God to be God.
“The truth is there is only one mediator between God and man and that’s Christ Jesus. I want people to have a healthy view of preachers so that when preachers make mistakes, they’re not slaughtered or destroyed.
“What the show will do will share with everybody who dares to watch that men of God and women of God are people just like everybody else,” said Bishop Jones.