Pastor Sonja Dawson Rev. Dr. Lonnie Dawson
By Cora Jackson-FossettSentinel Religion Editor
The vision of the late Rev. Dr. Lonnie Dawson to completely own the edifice of New Mount Calvary (NMC) Missionary Baptist Church is now a reality and the members are preparing to rejoice. On Sunday, June 5, at 3 p.m., Pastor Sonja Dawson and the NMC congregation will hold a Mortgage Burning Celebration at the church located at 402 East El Segundo Boulevard in Los Angeles.
"On this day, we will go forth in high praise and worship of God's grace and the fulfillment of Dr. Dawson's vision. We invite the community at-large to join us in celebrating this momentous and historic occasion," said Pastor Dawson.
"When we look back over the life of ‘the Mount,' we know this is a day that the Lord predestined, when the Spirit of the Lord moved upon the heart of our founder to go forth and establish a field of labor so that the Word of God may be spread," she said.
A dynamic preacher, evangelist and church-builder, Dr. Dawson was highly regarded for his legendary ministry of nearly 50 years and active involvement in community affairs. He received the vision of New Mount Calvary in 1961 and officially established the church two years later. With him from the beginning were his wife, Mrs. Mamie Dawson; his sister, Mrs. Mimmie Brooks; his brother, William Dawson; his mother-in-law, the late Mrs. Mamie Pate; his sister-in-law, Mrs. Dollie Dawson; and a fellow lodge brother, Garland Johnson.
Under his leadership, the church grew numerically and spiritually as well as launched more than 25 local auxiliaries and several international ministries. In addition, the NMC Sunday School averaged 450 and the congregation became actively involved in several outreach efforts for the community.
Dr. Dawson passed away last December 21; however, about a month before his passing, he announced his retirement and appointed his daughter as pastor-elect. Her selection was overwhelmingly affirmed and received by the membership, and in January 2011, hundreds of people witnessed her elevation to pastor of the 3,000-member church.
"For over 49 years, God has smiled on the New Mt. Calvary Church Family and blessed us exceedingly and abundantly," said Pastor Dawson. "As we prepare for this day, we solicit your prayers and request the participation of our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the greater L.A. area."
For information, call (310) 324-0644 or email
(Dawnesha K. Beaver and Dwight Brown contributed to this article)