After 57 years of ministerial service at Figueroa Church of Christ (FCC), Dr. Calvin Bowers is retiring. However, he won’t be idle.
Now, his efforts will focus on training the next generation of preachers, teachers and church leaders through his Fellow Workers ministry.
But, before Dr. Bowers steps down, the FCC congregation will honor the renowned pastor, educator and author with a three-day celebration beginning Friday, March 7, at 7 p.m., in the FCC edifice located at 455 West 57th Street in Los Angeles. The service will feature music and presentations emphasizing Dr. Bowers as a missionary.
On Saturday, March 8, at 11 a.m., his role as a mentor will be saluted at a luncheon held at the Proud Bird Restaurant, 11020 Aviation Boulevard in Los Angeles. The ticket donation is $45.
Four events are planned for Sunday, March 8 as FCC members highlight Dr. Bowers’ role as a minister and pastor. At 9 a.m., Brother Benjamin Roberts of Eastland Church of Christ will teach Bible Study.
Brother Warren G. Blakney, Sr., of North Peoria Church of Christ will deliver the message at the 10 a.m. worship service. The closing celebration is set for 2 p.m., followed by the evening worship service at 5 p.m. Brother Samuel D. Bailey of Cedar Valley Church of Christ will preach.
Dr. Bowers has touched thousands of lives during his long, distinguished career. He recalled, “I started in the ministry when I was 14 and now I’m 81 years old. When I came [to Los Angeles] in 1957, I began working at the Figueroa Church of Christ.
“I was also a graduate student at Pepperdine University. I worked with youth and Christian Education. The Churches of Christ have a National Youth Conference. I became chairman and served in that capacity for 46 years. We carried children all over, probably 20+ states for youth conferences each year,” he said.
His daughter, Crystal Bowers-Guy, noted that Minister R.N. Hogan, Dr. Bowers’ predecessor at FCC, also had a great impact on her father’s ministry.
“Hogan began the work at Figueroa in the late 1930's and for years until his death in the 1990's, my father worked along his side until he became the minister in 1995,” said Bowers-Guy.
“The Hogan family was a very important piece to my father's success as a minister and to my family as a whole.”
As an educator, Dr. Bowers worked 35 years at Pepperdine University as the Dean of Ethnic Studies. His tenure included being chairman of the Black Student Union, where he developed a financial assistance program that helped 150 students. Pepperdine officials named Dr. Bowers ‘Professor Emeritus’ when he retired in 2004.
In addition to his busy career, Dr. Bowers said, “I’ve written two books. One is called ‘Realizing the California Dream’ and it is a survey history of the Black Churches of Christ in Los Angeles.”
Last year, he released ‘Ollie's Kids: A Family's Journey.’ “It's a book about family and I used my own family as a prototype," said Bowers in an interview with Sentinel writer, Brian Carter.
“Ollie was my mother - she had nine children, poor people in Tennessee, in society, hard work, treating other people right and religion. This is a book dedicated, not only to my mother, but all the women like her.”
According to his daughter, Dr. Bowers passed down his mother’s values to his own children. She observed, “My parents, ‘Doc’ and the late Mozell Bowers, instilled important principles in the lives of their children, to be a person of integrity and in order to succeed, one must have a relationship with God and a solid education.”
Dr. Bowers said he’s looking forward to the next phase of his life. “I would like to share what I have and what I’ve been blessed with. I see everything as God’s gift and we are stewards of God’s gifts.
“If God has given us special talents, then we are responsible to use those to move His cause forward.”
For information about Dr. Bowers’ retirement celebration, call (323) 753-2536.