The congregation at St. Mark A.M.E. Church reflects the diversity of South Los Angeles as African American, Latino and Caucasian members worship God in unity.
The church, located at 12923 South Avalon, has experienced steady growth under Pastor Rethis Murray, who was appointed in 2012 by Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Sr., to lead the parish.
“God is good. When I got here, we had just a few members and the church was going in a down direction. But God said, “Take care of whoever I send you,” and now we have over 200 members and it’s diverse as well,” said Pastor Murray.
“Also, we’re building on the young people. We have Hispanic, Whites and Blacks. I believe a church with young people is a church on the move. We are excited,” he exclaimed.
Accepting the call to the ministry more than 30 years ago, Pastor Murray first gained experience at Miracle Missionary Baptist Church, then served two decades with the Rev. Dr. Cecil ‘Chip’ Murray, former pastor of First A.M.E. in Los Angeles.
“To this day, Dr. Murray is still my mentor, he’s still my dad and I love him,” he said.
Pastor Murray also learned a lot from his mother, Vermetteya Royster, who is an original member of the Clara Ward Singers and worships at St. Mark A.M.E.
“I absolutely love the fact that my mother is here with me now,” said Pastor Murray.
As for the future, he predicted, “We’re tearing down the walls that separate us. It’s not about denomination. I love being A.M.E., but more than anything, I love being a child of the King.
“We’re not a big church, but our motto here is ‘Where Little Becomes Much Because We Place It in the Master’s Hands.’”