Happy 70th Anniversary to Mt. Sinai

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  • Happy 70th Anniversary to Mt. Sinai
  • This weekend, the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church of Los Angeles celebrated 70 years of Christian witness and ministry.

    The Rev. J.D. Richardson organized Mt Sinai. He led the congregation for six years.

    The second pastor of Mt. Sinai was my father – Dr. H.B. Charles, Sr. He led the congregation for more than forty years. He was an outstanding preacher, charismatic leader, and passionate civil rights advocate.

    The congregation grew tremendously under my father’s leadership. It also experienced various ups-and-downs. Yet the congregation remained strong through various transitions.

    I was introduced to the Lord Jesus Christ during my father’s pastorate. I was converted, baptized, and discipled there. I was called to preach as a boy in Mt. Sinai. My ministry training and experience took place in and through MSMBC.

    My father died when I was sixteen. The church went through an eighteen-month search for a new pastor.

    I was not a part of this search process. I was a teenager, grieving his father’s death. I was a young preacher, in every sense of the word. And many determined that no one else named “Charles” would pastor the church.

    Yet as the process moved forward, I was convinced that I would be in full-time ministry as a result. I did not expect it to be at Mt. Sinai. A door was open in Detroit and another was opening in Long Beach. I fully expected that I would walk through one of these doors as soon as Mt. Sinai made a call.

    The Lord had different plans.

    Unexpectedly, the congregation called me to be its new pastor.

    As I began my pastorate, I was really only in charge of the pulpit on Sunday mornings. This was God’s wise providence. I needed time to grow. Likewise, this season taught me that prayer and the ministry of the word should be the pastor’s primary priorities.

    Several years into my work, conflict erupted. It was primarily over changes in Sunday school, along with other leadership transitions. The decisions I made were right. But they were still rookie moves.

    When conflict ensued, I did not fight back. The older men knew how to fight. I did not. I assumed they would win and I would be put out.

    The Lord had different plans.

    This extended season of conflict hindered the numerical growth of the church in some ways. But the church grew spiritually during this time. So did I. We made it through this season. And the Lord continued to bless the church.

    At a certain point, the leaders began to discuss a possible move. The church had been in the same site all of my life. But it was time to move.

    I thought it would take years for the congregation to agree to a move. But as soon as I brought it up, the congregation was in agreement.

    We found a new place. The auditorium was not as large. But it was more property and a new start. It was also an answer to prayer.

    We moved into our new facilities. Initially, we met in the fellowship hall, as the auditorium was remodeled.

    The Sunday before we were to move into our new auditorium, I preached in Jacksonville.

    When I returned, we celebrated our new home. I was so looking forward to the great things the Lord would do through our work in this new spot.

    The Lord had different plans.

    Three months later, I was moving to Jacksonville. In fact, the congregation’s 66th anniversary was also the end of my almost eighteen-year ministry to the church.

    A week later, the congregation called George Hurtt as its fourth pastor. George is a strong preacher, a visionary leader, and a strategic planner. And the church has grown tremendously under his leadership over these past four years.

    I am blessed to be a part of a wonderful congregation in Jacksonville. I hope and pray the Lord will grant me to finish my ministry at Shiloh, after decades of fruitful labor. But I still have deep roots in the Mt. Sinai Church.

    I am glad to hear the praise reports of how the Lord continues to work in and through this great congregation. And I pray their dreams are even greater than their memories.

    Happy birthday, Mt. Sinai!!!

    I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. – Philippians 1:3


    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.

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