Pastor Reginald and Lady Juanita Pope
By Cora Jackson-Fossett
Sentinel Religion Editor
The members of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church will celebrate three score and five years of ministry and community service on Sunday, March 25, with worship services at 8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The gala occasion will take place in the edifice located at 10905 South Compton Avenue in Los Angeles and Pastor Reginald A. Pope invites everyone throughout greater Los Angeles to attend.
“Join us for any of our services and you will be blessed as we rejoice in Bethel’s spiritual, physical, and psychological assistance to the community of Watts and surrounding communities for 65 years,” said the Rev. Dr. Pope.
Among the guests are Pastor J. Roy Morrison and the Jerusalem M.B. Church congregation. Also, several dignitaries are slated to participate.
Bethel originally began as a Bible Class in 1947, and shortly thereafter, the first real estate was purchased on Stockwell Street in Compton.
In 1957, the fellowship incorporated as Bethel Baptist Church of South Los Angeles and bought a new church home on 102nd and Beach Streets. Eight years later, they moved to their present location and burned the mortgage in 1990.
Dr. Pope, who came to Bethel in 1975, is only the fourth pastor in the church’s history. Under his leadership, the building was renovated, the sanctuary was enlarged, several outreach ministries were implemented and the highly respected School of Evangelism was established.
Actively involved in the Watts community, Dr. Pope received three mayoral appointments to the Community Development Advisory Committee and currently serves on the Watts Cinema and Education Advisory Council and as a consultant to the South L.A. Home Ownership Center. In addition, his image is enshrined in the Watts Walk of Fame Promenade of Prominence.
Sister Lillian Smith is Anniversary chair and Sister Willie B. Goins is chairperson emeritus. For information, call (323) 566-5286 or visit bethelsouthla.org.