Continuing their long tradition, Pastor DeNon Porter and the members of Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church (GEMBC) held two appreciation services for the Rev. Solomon Drake, pastor emeritus, and Mrs. Isabelle Drake on September 18 and 25.
The salute recognized the Drakes’ enduring legacy as pastor and first lady of Greater Ebenezer for nearly 34 years. The theme was “Pastor Drake: Rooted in the Past…Growing Into the Future” based on Colossians 2:6-7.
Brother Martin and Sister Maricsa Evans co-chaired the memorable services, which featured Pastor Terry Brown and Liberty Baptist Church members and Pastor Larry Hooks II and the New Hope Baptist Church congregation as guests. Also, several GEMBC members, from teens and young adults to middle age and seniors, were program participants.
Offering remarks on the theme were Sis. Maran Pittman, 13-year-old Daniel Bernal, Jr., Bro. Michael Green, Bro. Kenyon and Sis. Lestina Price, and Deacon Erroll and Deaconess Theda Brown. The tribute speakers were Sis. Evans and Sis. Erica M. Swift.
Pastor Emeritus Drake, who retired from the pastoral ministry in June, has mentored and assisted clergy and lay during his decades-long career as well as introduced hundreds to Christ. During his tenure at GEMBC, he led the membership in expanding the edifice, purchasing additional properties, opening a pre-school, and establishing a state-of-the-art library. In addition, the portion of South Denker Avenue has been designated as ‘Pastor Drake Square’ by the City of Los Angeles.
Prior to his ministerial career, Dr. Drake made a significant mark in professional baseball as an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. Also, he and his brother, Sammy, were the first African American brothers to play in the major leagues.
Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church is located at 5300 S. Denker Avenue in Los Angeles. To learn more, call (323) 759-4996.