Rev. Michael Fisher, Rev. Dr. Marvis Davis, Rev. Dr. Jerome Fisher, and Rev. Dr. J. Benjamin Hardwick participated in the LABMC event. (photo by Frederick E. Howard)
By Cora Jackson-Fossett
Sentinel Religion Editor
The dynamic ministry and outstanding accomplishments of Rev. Dr. W. Jerome Fisher were recognized December 13 by the Los Angeles Baptist Ministers Conferenceís (LABMC).
Currently pastor emeritus of the Greater Zion Church Family, Dr. Fisher was the first African American to build a major church in Compton, then known as Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
ìDr. Fisher is a legend in his own right and I thank God for his leadership,î said Rev. Marvis Davis, LABMC President and pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church.
ìHe has been an inspiration in my life and in my ministry down through the years, through his preaching, as a pastor, and his gift of being an effective evangelist. Now to see him in his older years, he is still helpful and gives words of wisdom. I call it ëFisher-ology.íî
Recalling the events that led to building his church, Dr. Fisher said, ìI first came here during the exodus of our so-called white brother preachers. They left here, leaving their buildings vacant. I was young and angry and although I had an opportunity to buy, I decided to build a church myself. I wasnít going to take a building these people left for me. I have been having hand-me-downs since I was born, so I felt great building this church.
ìWhen I put the first shovel in the ground, I had $150 in the treasury and 13 members and half of them were children, so it was a challenge.î But Dr. Fisher stayed the course and over the years, his membership increased to thousands under his leadership.
In 2001, Dr. Fisherís son, Rev. Michael J. T. Fisher, joined him as co-pastor and four years later, became the pastor. Witnessing the salute to his father, Rev. Michael Fisher said, ìI think it just reflects how much my father has sown into a generation and is now able to reach back and sow into them. Itís wonderful.
ìAs for next generation of preachers and pastors, make sure you take note of the generation ahead of you. Learn from them; learn from their mistakes, what not to do. Stay humble and wait your turn wherever you are and serve there, more than a couple of months, and God can do the same thing for you,î he added.
(Rev. Frederick E. Howard contributed to this story.)