Thursday, September 21, 2017
Year in Review – Looking Back on 2011
By Cora Jackson-Fossett (Religion Editor)
Published January 5, 2012

Rev. Dr. Billy Ingram
Rev. Dr. Billy Ingram, founder and pastor of Maranatha Community Church, passed away in March 2011.

By Cora Jackson-Fossett
Sentinel Religion Editor

Many significant events touched the lives of the faith-based community in the Los Angeles metropolitan area during the past year. Some of those news stories are highlighted below.


  • Rev. Sonja Dawson was installed as pastor of the New Mount Calvary M.B. Church following the passing of her father and church founder, Dr. Lonnie Dawson.
  • Two historic L.A. churches celebrated their founding. Pastor John J. Hunter and First A.M.E. members observed their 139th Anniversary while Pastor William S. Epps and Second Baptist Church members witnessed their 85th Anniversary.
  • Rev. Dr. Henry L. Masters united with several ministers to launch Deep River, an ecumenical magazine aimed at ‘saving souls, transforming lives, and building better communities.’



  • Bishop W. Todd Ervin and Church One members of Long Beach launched the ‘Swag But No Sag’ campaign to urge young men of all ethnicities to wear pants at waist level, not below.



  • The sudden passing of the Rev. Dr. Billy Ingram, founder and pastor of Maranatha Community Church, stunned the city. Thousands attended his homegoing service.
  • The Rev. Dr. Sherman A. Gordon was installed as pastor of the Family of Faith Christian Center in Carson.



  • More than 3,900 women attended the 11th Annual KJLH Women’s Health Forum. Recording artist Stevie Wonder, KJLH owner, and Karen Slade, general manager, headlined the free event.
  • Rev. Joseph Oloimooja was appointed pastor of Christ the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Leimert Park.



  • Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake and West Angeles Church of God in Christ hosted the 16th Annual World Missions Conference with Apostle Frederick K.C. Price and Missionary Dollie Milfort as keynote speakers.
  • Retired C.M.E. Senior Bishop Nathaniel Linsey passed away. He served 24 years as a C.M.E. bishop, including three years in L.A.
  • Pastor Gregory Sanders and The ROCK Christian Fellowship in Long Beach offered free laundry washes and dryers to the surrounding community.



  • Pastor Perry J. Jones and members of Messiah Baptist Church and Pastor Sonja Dawson and the New Mount Calvary M.B. Church congregation conducted mortgage-burning ceremonies.
  • Pastor Byron L. Smith and the Curry Temple C.M.E. family observed their 50th Church Anniversary.
  • Chief Apostle Dr. Robbie Horton, pastor and founder of Anointed Connection International Ministries, passed away.


Rev. Joseph and Mrs. Evelyn Curtiss
Rev. Joseph and Mrs. Evelyn Curtiss, owners of Word of Life Christian Bookstores


  • Rev. Joseph and Mrs. Evelyn Curtiss celebrated 50 years as owners of Word of Life Christian Bookstores. They are also founders and directors of United Gospel Outreach Ministries.
  • Bishop Leon Martin and the Love, Peace and Happiness Christian Fellowship Church dedicated a new edifice in Los Angeles.
  • Rev. Dr. Earl A. Pleasant retired after 35 years as pastor of Greater New Bethel Baptist Church in Inglewood.


  • Rev. Ron and Mrs. Aziza Wright, pastor and first lady of New Vision Church of Jesus Christ, were honored for 25 years of work in both the community and recovery movement.
  • The Rev. Dr. Richard Lamar Horton, senior minister of Park Hills Community Church, passed away.

Rev. Dr. Solomon and Lady Isabelle Drake
Rev. Dr. Solomon and Lady Isabelle Drake of Greater Ebenezer
Missionary Baptist Church


  • Pastor Solomon and First Lady Isabelle Drake celebrated their 29th Anniversary at Greater Ebenezer M.B. Church.
  • Dr. Ronnie Jones retired after 25 years as pastor of Los Angeles Third Church of Religious Science.
  • Pastor Milton M. Merriweather, legendary civil rights activist and founder of New Mount Pleasant M.B. Church in Inglewood, passed away.



  • Dr. Margaret Pleasant Douroux hosted the Heritage Music Foundation’s 26th Annual Gospel Music Conference in Los Angeles.
  • Pastor Mark Whitlock and the Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church congregation celebrated paying off their $3 million church mortgage in five years.
  • Dr. Paul M. Martin was named the first African American president of the 140-year-old American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley.



  • Gospel trailblazer Andraé Crouch received the first-ever Living Legend Award at the How Sweet the Sound (HSTS) National Finale held in Los Angeles.
  • The Church of Scientology opened a 28,000-square-foot community center in South Los Angeles.



  • Pastor James Jenkins and the Abundant Grace Bible Church family moved into their new edifice in Hawthorne.
  • Rev. Dr. J. Benjamin Hardwick and Rev. Tyrone Skinner hosted the Western Baptist State Convention’s Congress of Christian Education in Palm Desert.



Categories: Religion

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