On Aug. 8-12, members and friends of the Southern California Conference’s University church in Los Angeles recognized the congregation’s 110th anniversary. “It was a time of celebration, beginning on Wednesday evening and concluding with a wonderful concert on Sabbath evening,” said Royal Harrison, Greater Los Angeles Region director. “There was powerful preaching, inspiring music, and testimonies from the past that reminded everyone of how good God has been to His people.”
On Sabbath, 450 attendees gathered for worship. The divine service featured a message from Israel Olaore, Glendale Adventist Academy principal. The weekend was filled with music by Inspiration, a University church reunion group and the church’s mass choir. Closing out the celebration, members enjoyed a family picnic on Sunday.
“The highlight of the event was when, after the vespers concert, the entire congregation held hands and sang ‘Side by Side,’” recalled Pastor Lawrence Dorsey Sr., senior pastor.
University is known as the “mother church” since the following churches sprang from its evangelistic efforts: 54th Street, Normandie, Ephesus, Compton, Smyrna, Berean, L.A. Central, and Miramonte. The Furlong church (the original name of the University church) was established on August 8, 1908, in Los Angeles with 28 believers, becoming “the first Black Seventh-day Adventist church west of Ohio.”
Dorsey recalls the church’s longstanding community focus, saying, “It has been a pioneer in bringing innovative self-help programs to our neighbors.” These programs include the Knowledge College, HVAC technician classes, and a food bank, among others.
“Though the church has gone through many changes and challenges, it continues to thrive and remain relevant in the community,” Harrison noted. “Under the present leadership of Pastor Lawrence Dorsey, Sr. and Pastor Donavan Childs, the church is continuing to grow and develop new ministries that, by God’s grace, will sustain them for another 100 years.”
Harrison expressed thanks to the faithful members of the church. “The members are the ones to be applauded and celebrated,” he observed. “It is their faithfulness, their commitment, their sacrifice, their devotion, their prayers, and their trust in God that have made the University church the church that it is today, so on behalf of the Greater Los Angeles Region and the Southern California Conference, we say with all of our hearts a sincere THANK YOU!”
There is no question that God’s Word has shaped the history of the University church. “Today, University’s diverse congregation continues to work, watch, and worship as we pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as we apply our theme for the 110th anniversary, ‘Working for His Soon Return,’ to our daily lives,” Dorsey said.