Rev. Lonnie Dawson (seated) is joined by Mrs. Mamie Dawson, Pastor Marvis Davis and Rev. Sonja Dawson.
By Cora Jackson-Fossett
Sentinel Religion Editor
More than 300 people came out to the Los Angeles Baptist Ministers Conferenceís (LABMC) salute to Rev. Dr. Lonnie Dawson, pastor emeritus and founder of New Mount Calvary Church in Los Angeles.
Rev. Dawson recently announced his retirement after nearly 50 years of service and in recognition of his outstanding service, Rev. Marvis Davis, LABMC President, presented him with Lifetime Achievement Award during a special program at Mount Moriah Baptist Church on December 6.
ìWe wanted to honor Dr. Dawson because he is an icon in the religious community as a leader, and pastor. He has also been involved with LABMC for more than 30 years and he spearheaded the city-wide Sunday School where literally thousands of people attend,î Rev. Frederick Howard, LABMC Vice-President and pastor of Southside Bethel Family of Purpose.
ìHis contributions to LABMC have been a great asset and we want Dr. Dawson to know that we appreciate him,î said Rev. Howard, who is also publisher of Raise the Praise newspaper.
Leading clergy from Los Angeles, Compton, and San Diego were in attendance including Rev. Dr. J. Benjamin Hardwick, president of the Western Baptist State Convention and pastor of Praises of Zion Baptist Church; Rev. Dr. Melvin Wade, pastor of Mount Moriah Baptist Church; and Rev. Dr. Jerome Fisher, pastor emeritus, and Rev. Michael Fisher, pastor of Greater Zion Church.
Also, scores of New Mount Calvary members were in the audience as well as Dr. Dawsonís wife, Mrs. Mamie Dawson, and family members. His daughter, Rev. Sonja Dawson, is pastor-elect of New Mount Calvary and daughter Sherri Williams is Minister of Music of the church. His granddaughter Lonnae Williams was also present.
In addition, Rev. Lonnie Dawson Williams, grandson, preached a powerful sermon entitled, ìI Think I Found a Witness,î taken from Hebrews 12:1-2. Rev. Williams is executive pastor of Kingdom Church in Newark, NJ.
Several commendations were also presented to Mrs. Mamie Dawson by various Ministersí Wives and Widows Associations. The presenters were Dr. Janie Holmes of New Haven, Conn.; Mrs. Judith Johnson of Inglewood, Sis. Barbara Watkins and Mrs. Billie Calvin of San Francisco, and Mrs. Mabel Griffin and Mrs. Irene Bryant of Los Angeles.
More congratulatory awards were given by Dr. Dorothy Martin, Rev. and Mrs. Willie E. Manley, Dr. Carroll and Lillie Broadfoot, and the New Mount Calvary congregation.
Dr. Dawson organized New Mount Calvary in 1967 with six people and now membership exceeds 3,000. Under his leadership, God has blessed the church to sponsor a Child Care Center and an Elementary and Middle School. In addition, Sunday School averages 450 and the congregation is active involved in several outreach ministries to the community.