One of the highlights of this special afternoon service was when the congregation, led by Pastor Leo R. Thomas, recessed to the outside of the church where he held up the mortgage and declared the mortgage had been paid-in-full and the church was now debt free. Pastor Thomas then tossed the mortgage onto the fire and it was officially burned.
It was an exciting moment for everyone in attendance. Some of the congregants cried tears of joy, others shouted praises to God and all applauded as the fire burned and the smoke rose to the heavens.
This mortgage-burning journey began 24 years ago when the late Rev. Dr. Von W. Arterberry had a vision to tear down the old church structure and build a new edifice from the ground up. This ambitious project began with an historic ground breaking ceremony on April 18, 1999.
The final service in the old church was held on June 13, 1999. After a long two-year journey, the new church was finally completed and Mt. Sinai celebrated an impressive milestone with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 14, 2001.
Starting from humble beginnings, Mt. Sinai was officially organized and incorporated on October 14, 1924. There were eight charter members led by Brother William and Sister Mary Hathaway. The Hathaways purchased a tent and the first church service was held on a lot located on the corner of Third Street and Palos Verdes Street, less than one mile from the church’s present location.
Throughout its 98-year history, the church has been blessed with 11 pastors. From the first pastor, Rev. C.E. Bailey (1924-1926) who served a new and struggling church, to the current and 11th pastor, Rev. Thomas (2007-present) who continues to lead the church to a vibrant future.