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Continuing in Faith

For we live by faith

and not by sight. 

~2 Corinthians 5:7~

William S. Epps, Senior Pastor

Sunday, May 21, 2023

138th Anniversary of Second Baptist

(Celebration at Temple Baptist)


The apostle Paul articulates why he and others were continuing to spread the good news of Christ even though it would put their lives in danger by those who disbelieved what Paul and the apostles were sharing about the reality of what God has done for the world in Christ. Their faith preempted whatever they would experience to the contrary, as they were convicted to embrace what they experienced about the reality of the fulfillment of the purpose of God in the life of Christ Jesus. Thanks be to God for their firm faithfulness to perpetuate what they felt compelled to be and do to fulfill their allegiance, belief, commitment and loyalty to God for what the Lord had done for them in Christ.


What does it mean to walk/live by faith and not by sight? I’m glad you asked. 

It means to trust what the Lord made known in Christ. John 3:16 reminds us that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. The Lord has made it unequivocally clear that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself: For God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:19)


We walk and live by faith believing in the word and promises of God in Christ. 

“Faith” is described in Hebrews 11:1 as, “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” And Romans 10:17 tells us, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word God."


Consider what it means to live and walk by faith and not by sight.  

Monday, May 22, 2023

Everyone has faith. There is not a single individual who does not have faith of some kind whether it is in themselves, someone else, a belief system that shapes their attitude, behavior and thinking, or the systems by which we regulate our lives and operate as a society. The assumptions upon which we habitually act indicate the reality that we have faith. You demonstrate your faith when you buy a product (i.e. clothes,

car, food, merchandise, bonds, and stocks to name a few); you expect the purchase

will accomplish what you desire. You believe that, without the evidence of proof, it will fulfill the desire for which you acquired it. 


It is fascinating to me how we demonstrate we have trust in so many people we don’t know. If you fly on an airplane you have trust and confidence in people you don’t know (e.g. the pilot, co-pilot, the manufacture of the aircraft and all of those who created each part and assembled the plane, the ground crew, the cleaning crew, the maintenance crew, flight attendants). And that is the way it is throughout life. All of the assumptions upon which we habitually act show that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. 


Consider what it means that the assumptions on which you act each day

indicate that you have the capacity for faith

and that you demonstrate trust everyday of your life.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Life is a promissory pilgrimage. We live our lives between the promise of our potential and the possibility of our fulfillment. Somewhere in between where we are and where we want to be are challenges, circumstances and choices. Sometimes we seem to be standing still, marking time as it were without any progress. Other times we are side-stepping or backpedaling. Then there are times that we take a few steps forward. 


Faith is the motivation which propels us forward in choosing, deciding and embracing what we believe and what that belief will ultimately achieve.

The only way to know is to experience it for yourself. There is an old proverb that says, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating. You would have to try it to know whether it was good. 

O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the one who trusts in him. O fear the Lord, you his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. 

Psalm 34:8-10


F-A-I-T-H acrostic:

Forging Ahead Ingenuously Through Hindrances 

Consider what it means that faith is forging ahead

ingenuously through hindrances.  

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

It was on May 13, 1885, that the first African American Baptist Church in the city of angels was established. A few African Americans, driven by the passion to have their own church, formed this congregation. Born in protest with an unwillingness to accept racially segregated seating, this congregation of believers in Christ has come to celebrate 138 years of uninterrupted creative witness to the reality of the presence of the Lord in the city of Los Angeles, the nation, and the world.  

Consider the Accomplishments

The origin of this congregation chronicles noteworthy accomplishments. 

Ponder the commitment of the congregants, the dedication of their discipleship, the focus of their faith, the length of their love, and the practice of their piety.  


They were committed as a congregation. They were determined to succeed. They were filled with faith. They were possessed by a love of the Lord. They practiced their piety.  Property was purchased on Maple Street where a wood frame building was erected for worship. Later another structure was built on that same site. Later property was purchased at 14th and Paloma Streets and subsequently 24th and Griffith. They continued determined to maintain their existence against the odds. The economic, historical and political realities did not deter them. 


Imagine beginning in the later part of the 19th century with the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, 22 years after the end of the Civil War. Imagine surviving the whole of the 20th century with all of its challenges: discrimination; Jim Crow laws; the Great Depression; two world wars; Korean War; Brown vs Board of Education, resulting in legislation that integrated public education; Vietnam War; Civil rights advocacy resulting in the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965; the continuing challenge of promoting equality, justice and righteousness. Now in the 21st century we are still championing the cause of equality, liberty and justice for all, as we serve this present age our calling to fulfill.

We are continuing in faith with our allegiance, commitment and trust in the Lord. 


The current facility was designed by Paul Williams and is currently a historic site, and cultural landmark. Most recently the building has been listed with the National Register of Historic Places in Los Angeles. Who would have thought it?  


Consider what it means that whatever you accomplished is

because you believed what you could achieve. 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Consider Second’s Contributions


It is difficult but not impossible to attempt to measure the contribution that Second has made over its 138-year history. We can cite the seeds that have been sown as we attempt to measure the extent of the crop that has been grown. Facts point to what has been done at a moment in time. However, the rippling effects far outdistance the immediate impact leaving a lasting residue. 


138 years of sermons. Calculating one sermon a Sunday, that is 7,202 sermons;

accounting for the time since two services were offered, the total number would be approximately 12,896! Consider the celebration of life ceremonies, babies dedicated, baptisms, members who have joined, songs sung, prayers prayed, people helped, persons employed, etc. All those whose lives have been encouraged, directed and inspired by what has happened here!


According to thy name O God, so is thy praise to the ends of the earth. Thy right hand is full of righteousness.  Psalm 48:10

We reflect on who you are, and how you are, and where you are at work in our lives and the world.    

The gift of leadership through its pastors is one of the most significant contributions. 

The Founding Years credit four pastors with leadership that established and sustained a fledging congregation. 


S. C. Pierce (1885-1887) the founding pastor who established a congregation of believers who saw the necessity for this church, the first African American Baptist Church in the city of angels. 


C.H. Anderson (1887-1907) was instrumental in forming the Western Baptist State convention, and organizing other Baptist churches in 1888, connecting them with the Los Angeles Baptist Association. He was considered the Father of Negro Baptist


J. L. McCoy (1908-1915) liquidated all debt on the Maple Street property and burned the mortgage; began making plans to build a new church on newly acquired property at the corner of 14th and Paloma Streets. 


H. D. Prowd (1916-1920) served the congregation for four years until he left to serve as a missionary in South America.  


Dr. Thomas L. Griffith began the Building Years. He led the membership in erecting the current facility which stands to this day as a legacy to his leadership and vision. 

He believed in the future of the congregation and had the greatest of hopes for its possibilities. During his tenure, more than 2,000 persons united with the church.  


Dr. J. Raymond Henderson ushered in the Expanding Years. He liquidated the indebtedness and began to purchase property adjacent to and across from the church for what were to become the Henderson Community Center and the Velva Henderson Christian Education Building, in order to enlarge the services of the church to the broader community.


Dr. Thomas Kilgore, Jr. began the serving years. Most notable during his tenure was the designation of the congregation as a servant church. He gave himself to leadership in civic, civil, cultural and educational affairs of the city and the nation. Housing and feeding for the homeless were provided and low income housing for seniors and handicapped established during his tenure. 


Our legacy continues with the Challenging Years of the 21st centuryIt does not

yet appear what we shall be. We are on our way to inherit what is in store for us in the future with the assurance that “we are on our way to inherit the promise of God. 

Come with us and we will do you good, for the Lord has made wonderful promises to us. (James Calhoun and Pastor Epps). The best is yet to come. We believe that the best is yet to be, just you wait and see. We are preparing for our post pandemic and post structural damage repair as we continue to maintain and sustain our relevance and viability as a fellowship of faith.   

Consider what it means that you have benefited from those you

did not know, who went before you, who left you a

legacy of their faith to pass on to your posterity.  

Friday, May 26, 2023

Share Second’s Story


Tell your story. What a story it is! A story of assurance amid adversity; a story of

belief along with bewilderment; a story of comfort despite calamity, confidence in spite of crisis, courage in the midst of challenging circumstances, a story of faith regardless of frustration, a story of perseverance regardless of predicaments,

a story of triumph through trouble. What a story. You ought to be proud to tell it; 

Tell of the opposition that threatened to obliterate opportunities and how you have overcome. 

Hitherto has the Lord brought us. (I Samuel 7:12) 

If it had not been for the Lord on our side, where would we be. (Psalm 124) 

This the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)


Consider what it means that you share your story, which provides

the impetus for others to be inspired to foster their faith.  

Saturday, May 27, 2023



We’ve Come This Far by Faith,

Leaning On the Lord.

Trusting in His Holy Word. He’s Never Failed Us Yet.

Oh, Oh- Oh- Can’t Turn Around,

We’ve Come This Far by Faith.


Don’t Be Discouraged with Troubles In Your Life.

He’ll Bear Your Burdens

And Move All Discord and Strife


Just Remember the Good Things He Has Done.

Things That Seemed Impossible.

Oh, Praise Him for The Victories He Has Won.

He Has Won!


Just The Other Day I Heard a Man Say,

He Didn’t Believe In God Word.

But I Can Truly Say the Lord Will Make A Way.

Because He, He’s Never Failed Me Yet.


We’ve Come This Far by Faith,

Leaning On The Lord. / Trusting In His Holy Word. 

He’s Never Failed Us Yet. / Oh, Oh- Oh- Can’t Turn Around,

We’ve Come This Far by Faith. Oh, Oh- Oh- Can’t Turn Around,

We’ve Come This Far By, This Far By Faith!


Consider what it means that all the days of your life you

have achieved what you believe by faith

Second Baptist Church Los Angeles

2412 Griffith Ave

Los Angeles, CA 90011 

Phone: (213) 748-0318

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