At 102-years old, Pastor James A. Brooks still drives to church, preaches with power and dispenses love and wisdom to the members of St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles.
In appreciation, the congregation threw a gala birthday celebration on May 4 that attracted a huge crowd of well-wishers including Pastor Ricardo Bartlett of Greater Zion Baptist Church and other local clergy.
Reflecting on his 62-year ministry at St. John’s, Pastor Brooks said, “I have enjoyed it. I was a young man when I came here and this church has meant so much to my family and me. All of my children grew up here and were educated in this church.”
His 19-year-old granddaughter, Kyla Brooks, noted, “My grandfather is an amazing person. He’s one of those people you look up to and say, ‘Oh, I’m related to him!’ Everybody in my family is proud of him and his legacy.”
A native of Natchez, MS, Pastor Brooks came to Los Angeles in 1946 and over the years, he has been active in several religious and community organizations as well as a staunch supporter of local businesses.
“I love my pastor,” declared Virginia Stephens, a long-time member. “He is so caring and generous and a loving person. He’s always the same and has been the same since I joined this church as a teenager.”
Pastor Brooks credits God for his long life. “God has just blessed me, I don’t know why.”
As for those entering the pastoral ministry, he advised, “Pray to God that you loves the people and [that God will] help you to be a blessing to His people.
“Our people are good people, but they need God. A young pastor should love them and let them know about God.”
St. John Missionary Baptist Church is located at 936 West 49th Street in Los Angeles. For information, call (323) 752-0855.