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Friendship Pasadena Church Visit

By Blog Master
Posted: 06/23/2022

The meeting began with an introduction of the Reverend Lucious Smith, Senior Pastor of Pasadena Friendship Church, 80 West Dayton Street. Reverend Smith grew up in the church and has served in a pastoral role at the church for 39 years.

Reverend Smith began sharing historical information developed by Deacon Marcus Williams. The congregation was founded in 1893 and initially met in rented space. It was originally Friendship Baptist Church. When founded, the congregation included African Americans and some Mennonites. Upon the arrival of White Southerns in the city, there was the beginning of racial separation in churches in the city.

The current church building was erected in 1925 to "keep Blacks south of Colorado Blvd". In addition to contributions made by the congregation, white churches also made monetary contributions. During the 1950s and 60s, the church served as a location for speakers and events surrounding the Civil Rights movement. This included two visits by the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. Reverend Smith's father, Fletcher Smith, arranged for these visits. Mr. Smith was active in the local NAACP serving as president on two occasions. The church has an extensive photo archive and Reverend Smith shared a number of photos of these visits.

After the Northridge earthquake, the church building was condemned due to structural damage. One and half million dollars was raised to repair the church.

While the church has historically been affiliated with the Baptist church, it is open to the diverse members of the community.

Reverend Smith noted that there are many historical documents about the lives of the members of the African American community that while archived, have yet to be studied.  

He concluded by inviting the meeting participants to services which are Sundays at 10:00 AM PST. He also noted that the church has a YouTube site.

One of the striking takeaways from this presentation for me was the sense of racism being a virus that can attack a community and transform it much as the recent pandemic has altered our present day world.

A recording of this meeting is available at this link, Friendship Pasadena Church.

Due to the the Fourth of July holiday, there will be no July 1st meeting. The next meeting will be on the third Friday at Noon Pacific, which is July 15th, and will feature a presentation by Brian Biery. Brian is an adjunct professor at Pacific Oaks College and has given this presentation previously. The nature of the presentation is such that it varies each time that it is given, but it is a very engaging and informative review of what racism has been like in Pasadena.

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