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Pastor Perry Jones, First Lady Pamela Jones, Pastor Emeritus Whalen Jones and the Messiah M.B. Church family celebrated their new debt-free status.
By Cora Jackson-FossettSentinel Religion Editor
Seventeen years of sacrifice and commitment resulted in celebration for members of Messiah Baptist Church as they made the final payment on their edifice at 4500 West Adams Boulevard in Los Angeles.
During a spirited worship on June 12, Pastor Perry J. Jones led the congregation in a symbolic mortgage burning ceremony with cheers and applause filling the sanctuary. Pastor Jones was joined by Rev. Dr. Whalen Jones, pastor emeritus; Mrs. Pamela Jones, first lady; Trustees, youth and several members instrumental in the effort.
"When Pastor Jones said, ‘We are going to pay this mortgage off,' the members were very, very grateful happy and everyone did as he asked us to do. Now, we are debt-free," said Mrs. Elizabeth Greenwood.
Toby Omotosho said, "I am honored to represent the children of Messiah, from the youngest to the young adults. We are thankful to the Lord for using the seasoned members to remove the burden of debt for our generation."
The joyous occasion also highlighted the 102nd birthday of Dr. Whalen Jones, the founding pastor who headed Messiah more than 30 years before retiring in 1989. Rev. Kenneth Flowers served as pastor prior to the appointment of Rev. Perry Jones in 1998.
"The original indebtedness occurred in 1994 during the massive earthquake in Los Angeles. We got it down, then decided to try to pay it off for Dr. Whalen Jones' birthday which was June 7," said Pastor Jones.
Acknowledging Dr. Jones ongoing contributions to the church, Pastor Jones said, "After being pastor for 34 years, Dr. Jones came back twice as interim pastor and continues to serve here at Messiah at 102 years of age." In fact, Dr. Jones delivered the sermon during the service, a powerful message entitled, ‘Finding Grace in Times of Need,' based on Hebrews 4:16.
As for future, Pastor Jones said the congregation will concentrate on its international outreach ministries. "We have a great presence in Africa. We have a church in Nigeria that also bears the name Messiah Baptist Church and we have a school that had 100 students when it opened, but now, with our help, they are approaching 3,000 children," he said. In addition, Messiah members funded the purchase of three water wells and donated more than 500 pairs of shoes through the church's ‘Souls to Soles' program directed by First Lady Jones.
"Haiti is another country we have begun assisting with the help of our member, Mrs. Katie Webb, who is active in Church Women United. We are collaborating with the organization to purchase items for a Haitian clinic to aid those impacted by the country's earthquake," said Pastor Jones.
Information about Messiah Baptist Church is available by calling (323) 734-7920 or emailing