Unwavering faith in God comes naturally to the Rev. Dr. D. Najuma Smith Pollard. She is also a big believer in moving according to His timing.
That’s why she waited four years before she launched Word of Encouragement Community Church, which will hold its Inaugural Worship Service on Resurrection Sunday, April 20, at 9 a.m., at 1153 Valencia Street in Los Angeles. The Rev. Dr. Cecil ‘Chip’ Murray, Dr. Pollard’s father-in-ministry, will deliver a prayer covering.
“The new assignment has been a passion brewing in my heart since 2010. But, I was clear then that I needed to remain steadfast where I was and wait on the timing of the Lord,” said Dr. Pollard.
“Part of the 'waiting' process included going back to school to obtain my Doctor of Ministry degree. This was a priority for me to complete before the church launch.
“When I accepted my call to ministry in 1996, it was just the next level of service for me. And so, today, the church is just the next level of ministry for me,” she explained.
Word of Encouragement Community Church, a non-denominational ministry, will worship in a spacious edifice. Craig Taubman, the owner of the facility, offered the location to Dr. Pollard and her husband, Felix, who also serves as church’s music director.
“We are so excited for the unique opportunity provided by Craig. He believes in using the worship space as a place where people of all faiths and walks of life come together to celebrate Holy days, holidays, and the holy in the every day,” noted Dr. Pollard.
“On April 6, we joined him and other community leaders in their Downtown Seder! And, we look forward to working together on future programs and projects to positively impact the community.”
Connecting with the community encompasses Word of Encouragement’s mission to welcome the unchurched to worship and serve in kingdom building. Church ministries include Tuesday Morning Prayer at 6:30 a.m., and FaithBuilders Bible Study and Fellowship on Tuesdays at 7 p.m.
Dr. Pollard comes well prepared in spiritual leadership. After accepting the call to ministry under Dr. Murray when he was pastor at First A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles, she became youth pastor at Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. in Irvine led by the Rev. Mark Whitlock. Next, she served as pastor of A.K. Quinn A.M.E. Church in Moreno Valley and St. James A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles.
“In 2011, I stepped down from the senior pastor role to return to school and pursue my Doctorate of Ministry. During this time, I returned to Christ Our Redeemer to serve as pastor of Family Ministries,” she shared.
“I have had a blessed 17-year ministry journey and have completed my academic work, a Bachelors in Theology, an MBA and now my Doctorate from United Theological Seminary,” reflected Dr. Pollard.
“But the most important part of my life, outside of the calling to preach and lead, is my husband and our three sons Dorian, Dillon and Daniel, who are my greatest joy!”
To learn more about Word of Encouragement Community Church, call (323) 902-7079, email