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Outside The Walls: Church Is The People, Not The Building

​Posted Oct 10, 2016
By James Farr

Pasadena -  On Sunday morning I witnessed something that I haven’t seen since being a child. It was a sort of a flashback moment. Under the leadership of Pastor Lucious Smith, the congregation of Friendship Baptist Church took to the streets of Old Town Pasadena to pray for our city. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying other churches and Pastors aren't doing the same, but on a Sunday, not likely.  

Most churches are only concerned about their ministry on the inside. Before you say how dare I speak negatively about the church or Pastors, I'd offer this, I'm a second generation PK (Pastor’s Kid), so I know church folks, politics and business pretty well.  

With my family in tow, it felt more like a spiritual and cultural enrichment outing. YES, going to such a historical place under these circumstances can still be a teachable moment. To walk down the halls of the church, is to take a walk through the Black experience in Pasadena. My daughter’s eye’s lit up, when Adrienne Quickly McDaniels showed her a picture of Pastor Smith as a child with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Suddenly, Dr. King was no longer this abstract figure from the past. Later, she asked why would he (MLK) have come to Pasadena? I couldn't answer that question, but I assured her that if he came, it was for a good reason or cause and Pasadena has a rich history in African-American history in this country. 

As my wife and I eased her into the necessary consciousness she’ll need to develop into a strong and confident child, with privileges afforded to her by telling her sacrifices were made by those who came before her, that allow her to cry out #BlackLivesMatter today.  

I spoke with Pastor Smith just before the prayer walk started and asked him what prompted him to get outside of the walls. "This is not about comfort. It’s about shining a light on darkness,” Pastor Smith told the Pasadena Black Pages. “We’re responding to the needs of our community. The issues with Police violence and racism. Our leaders need prayer. We believe through prayer and action we are going to be the change we want to see.” 

Members split into groups and occupied corners greeting people and stopping to speak with God. As pedestrians and merchants alike looked on, some gathered closer as the spirit and presence of God was felt. I finally understand why the oldest standing Black church in Pasadena is the "Jewel of Old Town." After all, the name of the church is Friendship. 


Pastor Lucious Smith instructs his flock on how to proceed with the prayer for the city