Our Story

Our History

Under the leadership of Rev. O.E. Clark the church was led to reorganize in 1940. Rev. O.E. Clark became the first pastor from 1940-1942. Then from 1941-1945 the church began to grow under the leadership of Rev. J.S. Hines. Though Pastor Hines' tenure of leadership was short, a call was made to Rev. John Dawson Gordon to become the next pastor following the sudden death of Rev. Hines. Under the leadership of Rev. Gordon the church was able to purchase the new property at Burlington and Temple Avenues near Belmont Avenue. Rev. Gordon led the church from 1945 until his passing in 1951.

continuing ministry

Rev. John Friar

The mantle was passed on to Rev. John Friar in 1951. Under his extraordinary and capable leadership the church moved from the Belmont Avenue location to its present location at 9215 South Avalon Blvd. Under the progressive leadership of Rev. Friar, a Building called the "boathouse" adjacent to the main sanctuary was purchased to expand the needs of the church.  In 1966, the old sanctuary suffered severe fire damage and had to be demolished. Worship services were then conducted in the boathouse. The church was rebuilt and rededicated in 1968. Rev. Friar prior to his death had become a great admirer of the great Dr. Herman Gore, Sr. then pastor of the oldest African American Baptist Church in Long Beach, California. It was here that he befriended the present pastor and asked him to preach at the Belmont Avenue Baptist Church, especially on youth and other annual days observed by the church. After a lengthy illness, Rev. Friar made his transition on April 17, 1977. 

the next chapter

The Church after prayer and observation called; elected and installed Rev. Dr. Ronald Bridgette as its next pastor. During Rev. Friar's illness Rev. Dr. Bridgette had been serving as pastor interim, (1976-1977). The Holy Spirit began to lead Rev. Dr. Bridgette to financially purchase additional properties surrounding the fast growing congregation. Exponentially, the church membership multiplied and was edified. At that time the church grew from 25 members to over 1,500. From one deacon to 22 deacons, several choirs, and many services.

To God be all the glory and many thanks to parishioners and friends who have assisted in helping the church to burn three mortgages, ($300,000 and remodeling of the boathouse in 1994 costing $145,000), now known as the Friar Fellowship Hall. The church has purchased three additional lots for parking. At the present the church is debt free.

Rev. Dr. Ronald Bridgette

Ministry highlights:

  • Established the Joy - Benjamin Ministry India
  • Midnight Mission Outreach Los Angeles
  • Established Outreach Mission in Haiti
  • Established Outreach Evangelism Ministry in Nigeria
  • Organized the Friar Memorial Scholarship of the Belmont Avenue Baptist Church
  • Christmas Caroling with socks for two convalescent homes
  • Re-established the Vacation Bible School program
  • Re-established the work with the Home / Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention USA Inc.
  • Commissioned and established the Evangelism Ministry street witnessing, clothing giveaway and brown bag for shut-in members
  • Started the auxiliaries to send get-well and sympathy cards, it's the goer or sender concept
  • Youth outings, retreats, tutorials, workshops, prayer and counseling

You know Heavenly Father, the rest is history!

WE invite you to be a part of our story...

Join us every Sunday as we gather to worship together at 10:00am.