From left are Aundrae Russell, Rev. Judi Wortham Sauls, Rev. Kelvin Sauls and a deputy from the office of  Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove. (Ian Foxx photo)

The Rev. Kelvin Sauls and the Rev. Judi Wortham Sauls gathered with family, friends and community members before launching the next phase of their ministry.

The “Sending Forth” Community Celebration featured written commendations, verbal well wishes, delicious food and fancy dancing as people from all walks of life came out to salute the Sauls,’ who just completed a six-year tenure as the senior pastor and first lady of Holman United Methodist Church in the West Adams district of Los Angeles.

Going forward, the couple will remain in Los Angeles with the Rev. Judi joining the ministerial staff at First AME Church – Los Angeles. The Rev. Kelvin plans to unite with local organization on resolving key issues such as racial justice, economic equity, gender equality, homelessness, immigration and criminal justice reform.

The celebrants included Holman members along with U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, L.A. City Councilman Curren Price, and KJLH Radio broadcaster Aundrae Russell, who served as emcee.

“This is a very special event and something I wanted to be a part of. Pastor Sauls is near and dear to my heart and Holman Church is near and dear to my heart. My grandmother went there in the 1980s,” said Russell. “Pastor Sauls is our guy in the community and it’s not like he’s leaving. Now he’s going to be doing many more things in the community and on KJLH.”

Also offering salutes were the Rev. Zach Hoover, executive director of LA Voice, which is comprised of 55 congregations, the Rev. Eddie Anderson, LA Voice regional organizer and pastor of McCarty Memorial Church; and state Sen. Holly Mitchell, who sent a video tribute. In addition, representatives of the NAACP – L.A. Branch, The Links, Delta Sigma Theta, Black Alliance for Just Immigration and the Black Latinos Alliance shared acclamations.

Other participants were Judge Patti Titus, the Rev. Oliver Buie, singer Bene Oke, vocalist Greg Walker and the Jazz 4 The Soul Ensemble.

Sharing closing remarks, the Rev. Judi said, “Our hearts are filled with an abundance of gratitude for the privilege of accompanying so many on your encounter with God’s purpose and plan for your lives. I’m excited about what God is going to do. New things are waiting for at FAME as well as in the community for both of us.”

Expressing similar comments, the Rev. Kelvin said, “It is a joy to be here tonight with our community partners. Though we will have a change in location, our vocation will continue in alignment with a collective purpose reflected in an unequivocal commitment to the upliftment, empowerment and betterment of people, especially ‘the least of these.’ Peace be the journey!”