Another giant of faith left his earthly body with the passing of the Rev. Dr. Earl Alfred Pleasant on June 14. The founder and pastor emeritus of Greater New Bethel Baptist Church in Inglewood, Pleasant was 76-years-old.
A preacher of the Gospel for more than 40 years, Pleasant touched many lives and baptized more than 400 converts to Christ during his long ministry. To recognize his life, celebrations are planned for Thursday, June 27, where he will lie in state from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., followed by a memorial service, led by Pastor Rikki T. Farrell, Jr., at Greater New Bethel, 601 E. 99th St., in Inglewood.
Pastor Johnteris Tate and the members of Mount Moriah Baptist Church will host Pleasant’s homegoing service on Friday, June 28, in their edifice located at 4269 S. Figueroa St. in Los Angeles. The public viewing starts at 10 a.m., and the service begins at 11 a.m.
Pleasant’s kind and thoughtful character left a lasting impression on both clergy and laity. “What a wonderful preacher and liberal proclaimer of the Gospel,” said the Rev. Dr. Melvin Von Wade, Sr., a longtime friend and retired pastor of Mount Moriah.
“He had just started preaching when I came to Mount Moriah and I had the opportunity to watch him grow as a preacher and as a pastor. He was such a giving person,” he said.
Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church, defined Pleasant’s life as a lesson in “receiving and releasing the baton of blessings.”
Ulmer said, “Rev. Earl A. Pleasant exemplified the truth that God blesses us to bless others. He received the baton of a great legacy of godly leadership from his father, the late Dr. Earl A. Pleasant, and gave his life passing that baton of faithful leadership from the pulpit of Greater New Bethel with profound simplicity and simple profundity. He passed the baton of blessing to every life he touched.”
Narvelan Coleman, Greater New Bethel member for 43 years, expressed, “”My heart is rejoicing in the ascension of the soul of Dr. Earl Alfred Pleasant. He has attained that which he so passionately preached about for more than 40 years. He has finally won the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
A native of Los Angeles, Pleasant was born on April 20, 1943, to the Rev. Dr. Earl Amos Pleasant, the organizer of Mount Moriah; and Olga Mae Williams Pleasant. He accepted Christ at six-years-old and was baptized by his father.
After graduating from Los Angeles High School in 1961, Pleasant continued his education at Los Angeles Trade Tech College and Metropolitan Business College where he earned an Associates degree in business administration. He also completed courses at Biola College and Golden Gate Theological Seminary. Pleasant received his Doctor of Divinity degree from California Theological Seminary.
Pleasant served four years in the U.S. Air Force and was honorably discharged at the Ramey Air Force Base in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico in 1966. Accepting the call to preach in 1974, he was ordained in June 1975 and founded Greater New Bethel six months later.
Under his leadership, the congregation increased to more than 500 members, several ministries focused on youth, adults and community outreach were implemented, and the church purchased an educational building and parking facilities.
In addition, Pleasant held executive positions in several faith organizations including secretary-treasurer of the Fellowship Baptist District Association’s Evangelical Board and the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. (NBCA). Also, he served as NBCA second vice president and on the executive board of the Heritage Music Foundation.
Pleasant’s wife of 27 years, Joan Patricia Louise Pleasant; his daughter, Pauline; and his sister, Lydia Pleasant Muse, preceded him in death. His daughter, Joan P.L. Pleasant; sisters, Norma Pleasant Beard, Margaret Pleasant Douroux, Deborah Pleasant Lindsay, and Enez Pleasant Hunter; adopted brother, Quaford Coleman, and other relatives, friends and members will continue to treasure his life.
For more information, call Greater New Bethel Baptist Church at (310) 677-1663.