Bishop James Donald Carrington, the founding pastor and pastor emeritus of Friendship Baptist Church in Yorba Linda, passed away on Nov. 15. A celebration of his life was held at Friendship on Dec. 1.
Carrington was instrumental in establishing the first African American church in North Orange County in May 1964. Starting out with 22 charter members, Friendship grew over the years to a congregation exceeding 3,000.
“We pray you will join us and welcome your prayers as we mourn the loss of our beloved pastor emeritus, James Donald Carrington,” said Friendship Baptist Senior Pastor Kenneth C. Curry, Jr.
“He will be missed by his family, the Friendship Church Family, sons and daughters in the gospel preaching ministry, mentees he accumulated along the way, and various Christian ministries and organizations he served throughout his ministry career. He was God’s servant and a man for the people.”
Carrington was born on September 25, 1933 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1951 and faithfully served until 1954. On April 9, 1960, he married Doris Constance, who was a co-laborer in the ministry.
The story of James Donald Carrington and Friendship Baptist Church began in April 1964 when a group of women wanted to start a church in Fullerton, California. Penny Owens, a well-known community activist and Fullerton resident, held a meeting in her home and invited her pastor, the Rev. K.D. Friend, pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, to help establish a church in North Orange County.
Since women were not allowed to form Baptist churches at that time, the group met in their homes and they, along with the Rev. Friend, enlisted the support of men. The Rev. Friend called the Rev. Carrington, a young minister with Paradise Baptist Church, and introduced him to the group on April 22, 1964.
On May 20, 1964, Friendship was firmly established with 22 signed charter members and they named James Donald Carrington as the Pastor. Friendship Baptist Church was officially recognized on Jun 24, 1964 by the Providence Baptist Association and was named after Rev. Friend because he was instrumental in helping to establish the church. Between 1964 and 1987, Friendship had seven locations and at its peak, had more than 3,000 members.
Bishop Carrington leaves to cherish his memory and legacy his beloved wife of 58 years, the Rev. Doris Constance Carrington; two children, Darlene Denise Haynes and DeHaven Carrington; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, other relatives, and family friends.