The long and impactful life of the Rev. Dr. Whalen S. Jones has come to an end. Dr. Jones, the founder and pastor emeritus of Messiah Baptist Church, passed away on July 13. He was 107-years-old.
The homegoing service takes place on Saturday, July 23, at 11 a.m., at Messiah, 4500 West Adams Blvd., in Los Angeles. The Rev. Perry J. Jones is the senior pastor.
During his 79-year ministry, Dr. Jones led congregations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania before coming to Los Angeles. He also earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Eastern Baptist College and Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, respectively. Years later, he received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Eastern College and earned a Doctor of Ministry degree at California School of Theology.
Dr. Jones served 34 years as Messiah’s senior pastor before retiring in 1987; however, he remained active in the church. He regularly attended Sunday worship and for several years, he instructed the Teacher’s Bible Training Institute.
Fondly remembering his pastoral tenure, Dr. Jones noted in a 2013 Sentinel interview, “God permitted Messiah to grow and prosper in every way. How I thank God for allowing me to pastor a ‘Godly group’ of people.”
At his 106th birthday celebration hosted by Pastor Perry J. Jones and Messiah members last year, Dr. Jones said, “I feel fine that I have been blessed by God to see all of these years.” Also during the event, a representative of Council President Herb Wesson announced the Los Angeles City Council’s designation of the intersection of Adams and Wellington Road as “Doctor Whalen S. Jones Square.”
In addition to his extensive ministerial career, Dr. Jones cherished his enduring marriage to Margaret Young Jones, who passed in 2012. Their 67-year union resulted in the birth of six children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
His daughter, Melvina Jones, recalled, “Growing up with Mother and Dad, there’s never been any inconsistency between the way they are on Sunday and during the week. It’s been just a blessing. They were model parents.”
Expressing her feelings about Dr. Jones, Katie Webb said, “He’s been my rock for many years. God sent me to Messiah in 1965 and Dr. Jones married my husband and me at Messiah in 1967. He’s been everything to us.”
Pastor Frederick Howard of Southside Bethel Baptist Church added, “It has been a true pleasure to honor a man I have know the whole of my life, a man who participated in me being licensed to preach over 30 years ago. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”
For information about the service, call the Messiah church office at (323) 734-7920.