Upon This Rock, I Will Build My Church
The organizational service for the Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church was hosted by Reverend A. H. Gaskins, Pastor and the Emmanuel Baptist Church on June 27, 1950. Rev. C. A. Capers served as moderator and Deacon P.J. Jackson as secretary for the inaugural service where Rev. Alzo William Lott was elected Pastor and Sister Tommye J. Moore was elected Church Clerk. The following names of charter members were submitted: Pastor Lott’s wife, Leola Lott, Tommye J. Moore, Fisher and Gladys Evans, Colden and Gladys Rolfe, and Chester and Ruth Stockton.
The first official church service was held in the home of Brother Fisher and Sister Gladys Evans on Sunday, July 2, 1950. The message for the day was taken from Mark 4: 21-25, and was titled, “We are the Light of the World.” Following the powerful message, the church officer’s roster was completed. Brother Colden Rolfe was named Treasurer and Sister Gladys Evans as Financial Secretary. The charter members pooled their resources to rent a building to house the new congregation. Greater Ebenezer’s first church building, formerly a dance hall, was located at 249 East Vernon Avenue in Los Angeles. In our new location, on July 11, 1950, Pastor Lott was given the “Charge” by Rev. Gaskins and the Emmanuel Baptist Church enabling us to move forward. In 1953, the “Greater Ebenezer” name was officially registered with the state of California. As a congregation, we worshipped and continued to prosper at the Vernon Avenue location for seven years.
Armed with collective faith, love and unity, we were able to purchase the church building located at 5300 Denker Ave for $90,000. On February 3, 1957, 32 cars along with members walking, marched from Vernon Avenue to our present Denker Avenue location. Greater Ebenezer has remained in this location and in September of 2009, the southeast corner of 53rd and Denker was renamed “Drake Square” in honor of our second pastor, Rev. Dr. Solomon L. Drake.
Rev. Alzo William Lott, our organizing pastor, was born in Runge, Texas in 1912. Pastor Lott was licensed and ordained at the West End Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas before moving to Los Angeles in 1946. In 1950, along with seven charter members, Rev. Lott organized the Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church. Pastor Lott served faithfully for 32 years until he transitioned to his eternal home in March 1982.
Rev. Solomon Louis Drake was born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1930. He joined Greater Ebenezer in 1962 and was licensed and ordained by Pastor Lott in 1968. Prior to joining GEMBCLA, Rev. Drake secured a place in history, as he and his brother Samuel, were the first African-American siblings to play in major league baseball in the 20th century, having played with the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies. On July 21, 1982, Rev. Solomon L. Drake was called as our second pastor to succeed Rev. Lott. Subsequently, the Good Fellowship Baptist Church, pastored by Rev. Drake voted to unite with the Greater Ebenezer family. On September 19, 1982, Rev. Drake was installed and for 34 years faithfully tended the flock.
2016 - Current
Rev. Drake officially retired as Pastor in June 2016, passing the mantle on to our current pastor, Rev. DeNon A. Porter. Rev. Porter joined GEMBCLA in 1992 and was licensed and ordained to preach the Gospel by Pastor Drake. Pastor Porter feels blessed to have had the awesome privilege of being taught and mentored for more than two decades by Rev. Drake, who continues to serve our congregation as Pastor Emeritus.
God has blessed our congregation with humble, God-exalting servants that provide innovative leadership and inspired expository preaching.