BRIEF HISTORY OF
PACIFIC DISTRICT MISSIONARY BAPTIST ASSOCIATION
The Baptist District Association was organized in 1932. There are no records to show the day or the month of this historical occasion. No one is quite certain who the founding fathers was the number or the names of their churches. It cannot be ascertained who was in charge during the period between 1932 and 1937; however it was recorded that a first quarterly board meeting was held in 1937 during the month of February at the Cornerstone Baptist Church, 1428 East 14th Street, Los Angeles, with the Reverend A.T. Hines, Moderator. The Theme was “Unity”, Psalm 133. The Sunday School Department was under the auspices of Bro. Barnett; the Baptist Training Union, Mrs. Anna Smith; and the Woman’s Convention, Mrs. Callie Malone. After this one meeting, from 1937 to 1939 there wasn’t any documented information. In 1939, the Association was reconstructed by the Reverends A. Moten, Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, and D.C. Austin, Pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church, respectively. The Theme was “Stewardship”. The Reverend R.B. Porter taught the Bible lesson.
Reverend A. Moten served as Moderator until the January Board meeting in 1943 which was held at the Cornerstone Baptist Church. The Theme was, “Our Need for Such a Time as This.” Following the resignation of Reverend Moten, the Reverend D.C. Austin who was the Vice-Moderator became the leader of this uphill climb, delivering his first annual message in the session held at the Israel Baptist Church July 13-16, 1943. Under his leadership, the Association came to the aide of many ministers and their churches throughout the City and State. He organized the Brotherhood, Junior Mission and Ushers auxiliaries and arranged for separate sessions for the Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress. Reverend Austin’s dynamic leadership influenced men like the Reverends G.L. Bedford, Pastor of Greater Olivet; A. Lively and Dr. B.O. Byrd, Pastors of New Hope; Coleman, church unknown; Porter, church unknown; E.A. Pleasant, Pastor of Mount Moriah; L.B. Brooks, Pastor of Evening Star; E. Moore, church unknown; R.M. Marshall, Pastor of Shiloh; E.D. Panes, Pastor of Greater First Baptist; A.W. Lott, Pastor of Greater Ebenezer; A.E. Williams, Pastor of Friendly Friendship; and Theo Mc Glover, Pastor of Freewill (all Missionary Baptist Churches) to become
Reverend McCraw served courageously, diligently and effectively as a moving spiritual force of Pacific District for 5 years. For at least two of those 5 years, he was without physical sight; but there was none with more spiritual insight, foresight and ability to use hindsight than this great courageous leader. Although he was elected for a 6th term, he thought it to be in the best interest of Pacific District to resign. Upon his resignation, he was immediately elected Moderator Emeritus.
Reverend R.R. Williams, Vice-Moderator, was elected Pacific’s 6th Moderator. Rev. Williams often showed signs of being frail and weak even before he took office. In fact, the day he was elected Moderator, he was unable to receive the gavel because of illness, though he had been there most of that day. After two short years, Reverend R.R. Williams passed away. He didn’t have the time or the energy to contribute very much to the Association. However, Reverend Williams was instrumental in implementing the initial step of “incorporation” of the Pacific District.
Reverend E. Boyd Esters, Vice-Moderator, became Pacific’s 7th Moderator. Reverend Esters led the Association with vim, vigor and vitality which propelled the body into a new era. He gave the District a plan and a purpose for persevering. Under his deliberate direction and leadership, the constitution and by-laws were revived; and the name of the Association was changed to Pacific District Missionary Baptist Association. He created new commissions, wrote and defined old and new job descriptions. Although the plans were presented and accepted, they were never implemented. Reverend Esters served faithfully and untiringly as did all the other moderators. But like all the rest, he fell prey to illness in his 6th year and gave up the mantle to the Vice-Moderator, the Reverend W.T. Snead, Sr.
Reverend Snead took the helm in 1986 as the 8th Moderator of the Association. The Annual Session was held at the Greater Cornerstone M.B.C., 5946 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, Reverend Wilbert Hudson, Pastor. Greater Cornerstone is known as the Mother or the Primary Church of the Association, the reason being it is centrally located and the most beloved and remembered late Moderator D.C. Austin was the pastor of this church.
(all Missionary Baptist Churches) to become members and yield their strength and resources to the Association. These men were great preachers and pastors who followed the strong leadership of Reverend D.C. Austin as he followed the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit of God.
Reverend Austin, a third grade scholar, victoriously led Pacific Baptist from 1943 to 1955 until the Lord called him home. He led the Association for 12 years and gave it its first constitution and by-laws. He was one of those moderators who mightily impressed the world for Christ. Many men of greater gifts, genius and higher education have made no such impression. Upon the demise of the late Reverend Austin, the Reverend H.D. Higdon was given the reigns of leadership. Reverend Higdon was a most humble servant of God, striving to carry out God’s will and to enlarge the work of the kingdom of God. The auxiliaries that were organized under the Late Moderator Austin were appointed presidents under the leadership of Reverend Higdon.
The first Presidents for the Departments of the Association were as follows:
Brotherhood – Deacon Ocie Williams
Junior Mission – Sis. Jessie Weaver Brown
Senior Mission – Sis. Callie Malone
Usher Board – Sis. Corine Bee
Sunday School and B.T. U. Congress – Pastor C.A. Hemphill, Harmony M.B.C.
Reverend Higdon served the Lord his God and the Association faithfully from 1956 to 1973 at which time, in the middle of his term, the Lord summoned him home. The term that Reverend Higdon had begun, the Reverend R.W. McCraw who was serving faithfully as Vice-Moderator completed. In the next Annual Session, Reverend McCraw became the 5th Moderator of the reconstructed Pacific District Baptist Association. Under the leadership of Reverend McCraw, two new auxiliaries were organized. These auxiliaries were named the Nurses Guild and the Matrons, Sis. Ottie Marie Johnson and Sis. Patricia Bochum was elected presidents respectively.
Reverend Snead, the new captain, stated that his primary objectives were to implement the good programs set into motion by his predecessors and to launch out into the deep (Luke 5:4). The session opened with approximately $2,000 and closed with approximately $5,000 after expenses and honorariums. The following Annual Session opened with approximately $18,000 and closed with an approximateincrease of 80% with the installation of officers and Winter Board meetings in between. No honorariums were given.
The Reverend Lovely Haynes, Pastor of the St. Mark M.B.C., was installed as the 9th Moderator on November 8, 2000, at the Greater Ebenezer M.B.C., Reverend Solomon L. Drake, Pastor. He served as Moderator for eight years; it was a journey which led us into some precious spiritual experiences and leadership challenges but through it all God sustained us. Someone may ask what success we accomplished, the fact that we are still together and doing Kingdom business in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ is success within itself. “Success is not measured by what one does but success is measured by what one does compared to what one could be doing.” The evidence of the success of Pacific District is realized in the fact that the mandate of Jesus is still being perpetuated by and through the Churches of the Association; we still have the, “Go ye…” mentality (Matthew 28:18-20).
On August 7, 2008, Reverend Rodney J. Howard, Sr. was installed as the 10th Moderator of the Association, at the St. Mark B.C., where Dr. Lovely Haynes is humbly serving God’s people.
On September 18, 2016, Reverend Harold L. Mitchell was installed as the 11th Moderator of the Association, at the True Gospel Missionary Baptist Church, under the leadership of Reverend Henry Ellis, serves as Pastor.
Submitted in part by: Dr. W.T. Snead, Sr., Moderator Emeritus