Members of Friendship with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr
ambitious building, which stands today as a monument to the heritage of Pasadena’s African-American citizens.
In 1996, Rev. Lucious W. Smith became the 16th Pastor of Friendship, and the Church embarked on a journey of physical and spiritual restoration. A complete renovation of the building has enabled the Church to provide our community with relevant, life changing ministries that seek to reach everyone. Our history has brought us thus far on our journey, and our future is the canvas upon which the Lord will paint His ultimate purpose. What once was an African American neighborhood has become the center of growth and economic promise in Pasadena, and Friendship Baptist Church remains at the center of it all. ‘The Jewel of Old Pasadena’ is the phrase which best describes what the Church now represents. Rare, beautiful and spiritually priceless: a testimony to those who have paved the way and to those who carry on for God’s Glory.
From a ground-breaking ceremony held in March of 1925, the Friendship Baptist Church has stood prominently for over 75 years as one of the visible landmark Churches in Pasadena. It is the first African-American related Cultural Landmark designated in Pasadena; recognized as a State of California landmark, and in 1978 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States of America
Being able to sit with Pastor Lucious Smith of Friendship Baptist Church is being able to take a class in Pasadena history. He is very knowledgeable about the city's unique history, because his church is housed in a historic building that was once the heart of Black-Pasadena. He is at a place in his life where he can understand the old and connect with the new in a time of promising social climate change in this country. What he possesses is unique in this age, because he is literally the man who can bridge the gap of reality when it comes to today's times compared past
times, because there seems to be an uprising in pride with African-Americans now and our history being preserved and told is poignant. Walking down the halls of the church will give you a history lesson that will surprise you, but make you proud to know you live in a city where so much greatness has taken place.
Friendship Baptist Church is one of the oldest congregations in the city of Pasadena, having been founded in September 1893. It was the first Negro Baptist Church in the city and for many years had the largest membership of any African-American Church. Throughout it’s history, the Church has played an important religious and civic role in Pasadena.
The Church grew and prospered under the leadership of several ministers until the 1920’s when Reverend W.H. Tillman led the members to acquire a new site and erect the present edifice. In January 1925, the Reverend W.D. Carter was called to lead the congregation spiritually and complete an