For more than five decades, West Angeles Church of God in Christ has grown and flourished under the leadership of Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. and First Lady Mae Blake. During their phenomenal tenure, West Angeles attained international acclaim for the ministry’s spiritual growth, community outreach programs, and economic development initiatives.
Now, after 53 years of heading one of the largest congregations in Los Angeles, Bishop and Lady Blake are stepping down as spiritual leaders and will pass the mantle to their son, current Co-pastor and Pastoral Designee Elder Charles Blake II, and his wife, Lady DeAndra Blake.
Announcing the leadership change on Sunday, Sept. 18, the Bishop said, “It has been our deepest honor and greatest joy to serve as Senior Pastor and First Lady of West Angeles Church for 53 years. After a long fulfilling journey filled with God’s love, His blessings and miracles too numerous to count, we have made the decision to retire from active pastoral ministry.”
However, Bishop Blake clarified that while he and Lady Mae were “stepping down from their positions of leadership,” they were “not stepping away from our church.” He added that they will remain active members of West Angeles and the Church of God in Christ denomination.
Speaking of his appointment, Blake II said, “I’ve spent many years learning from my father, Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., studying in universities and seminary, and in training in this ministry. I am honored and humbled to have my father’s blessing and counsel as I step into the role of Senior Pastor at West Angeles Church of God in Christ.
“I and my wife, Lady DeAndra, standing on the strong foundation that was laid by Bishop and Lady Mae, look forward to serving this congregation and our community. My prayer is that the members of West Angeles will continue to work as partners of the Gospel—a community of people, determined to use our God-given gifts, resources, individual efforts and our united strength to serve our families, our community, and the world at large. We want the world to be a better place because we, the people of West Angeles are here.”
Born and raised in the church, Elder Blake II possesses the experience and education to excel in his new role. Prior to being appointed co-pastor in Nov. 2021, he served 13 years as the Director of Community Relations at West Angeles and Assistant Pastor.
A graduate of Oral Robert University, he received his Master of Divinity degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center, which is also the alma mater of Bishop Blake. In addition, he graduated from the Harvard Leadership Institute and the Institute of Church Administration and Management.
Despite his stellar qualifications to serve as senior pastor, Blake II acknowledged that some people have reservations about his ability to lead and seek to compare his ministry to his father’s. Yet, he offered a thoughtful and humble response to those harboring such concerns.
“Some have said that I have some very big shoes to fill, but I’m not supposed to fill my father’s shoes. They are uniquely fitted to his feet. God gave Bishop Blake the shoes that he needed to walk in his time on his terrain, but now we are on different ground in a different age. God has given me the shoes that I need to walk the path through the terrain for this time. The work is great, but I believe the God will continue to guide and strengthen me, as I seek to serve Him and His people” he replied.
The members of West Angeles have planned several events, which will precede the Jurisdictional Ecclesiastical Installation Service of Pastor Designee Charles Blake II on Sunday, October 23. Officially called the “Honor and Celebration Weekend,” the events, all held at the West Angeles Cathedral, located at 3600 S. Crenshaw Blvd., in Los Angeles, are free and open to the public. Registration officially opens October 1st, 2022 and each attendee must register at WestA.org/Celebration to reserve a seat at the events they wish to attend.
The activities kick-off with the “Bishop Charles E. Blake Tribute Concert” on Friday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. The Brotherhood’s “A Morning with Bishop Blake and Pastor-Designee Charles Blake II” will be help the following day, Saturday, Oct. 22, at 8 a.m. The program, followed by a continental breakfast, will salute the life, ministry and legacy of Bishop Blake as well as welcome Pastoral Designee Blake II. On Saturday, Oct. 22, at 2 p.m., the West Angeles Women’s Affairs Organization will sponsor “An Afternoon with Lady Mae and Lady DeAndra,” which will include a worship service followed by afternoon tea.
The celebration continues on Sunday, Oct. 23, at 10 a.m. where the worship service will honor the legacy and service of Bishop Blake. At 4 p.m., the Installation Service, in which all who attend are asked to wear black attire, will be held followed by a reception on the Cathedral Plaza.
Inviting the public to participate in the weekend of events, Blake II said, “Thank you to the community for your years of love and support. Thank you continued prayers and care of this Cathedral. We hope that you will come and help us honor the awesome Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. and Lady Mae L. Blake for their years of service and example in the community, and that you will be a part of celebrating the future of West Angeles.”
To register for any or all of the “Honor and Celebration Weekend,” register on or after October 1st, 2022. Visit WestA.org/Celebration or call (323) 733-8300×1998 or (323) 840-2890.