The History of Faithful Central Bible Church: “A Place Where People Learn to Live”
Faithful Central Bible Church has had the distinction of having only three pastors, each a pioneer in his own right. Dr. A. C. Capers founded Faithful Central in 1936 with a membership of 18 dedicated believers. After a small beginning in the Treadwell family living room, they moved to a hall on South Central Avenue. The faithfulness of the members and the central location became their hallmark, and thus the name Faithful Central Missionary Baptist Church was born. After two years, a site was purchased at Paloma Street, where members served and worshipped for the next 15 years.
Upon his retirement in 1953, Dr. Capers passed the pastoral mantle to Dr. W. L. Robinson, a dynamic teacher, pastor, counselor, and social activist. Under his leadership, the church continued to grow. In 1960, the Hoover Street location was purchased, and a child-care center and kindergarten were opened. By 1978, the church debt had been completely liquidated and the mortgage ceremonially burned.
After Dr. Robinson’s home going in 1980, Rev. Kenneth C. Ulmer was called to be this church’s third pastor in 1982. At that time, he was pastoring Macedonia Bible Baptist Church in San Pedro, a church he had founded just a few years earlier. Sensing God’s will for him to come to Faithful Central, Bishop Ulmer accepted the new pastorate position and brought his entire congregation with him. The church soon became known affectionately as “The Family of Faith.”
Although success is not measured solely in numbers, growth is an indication that an entity is indeed alive. With the combination of excellence in leadership and Bishop Ulmer’s dynamic teaching and preaching style, the church continued to explode. The Family of Faith grew to more than 400 members within a few short years, and by 1988, the church had doubled its membership with two and eventually three Sunday morning services.
By 1989, the Hoover Street location was bursting, and lines around the block pointed to the need for a larger church location. Services were moved to the 1,700-seat Washington High School for two years while details were finalized for the present campus location in Inglewood.
In anticipation of purchasing this property, The Family of Faith marched around its prospective Inglewood site six times in keeping with the biblical “ Jericho March.” Spirits fell when the property was sold to another buyer. But God was at work once again, testing the faithfulness of The Family of Faith. The new “owners” never occupied the building, and two years later, the property was once again on the market. This time, however, the price was cut from the original $5.2 million to $2.5 million, and the purchase was made. The “ Jericho March” was completed with a triumphant seventh time around the grounds in total silence with a shout at the end!
The new office building was acquired in 1993, along with several other properties. Within two weeks, both morning services in the 1,100-seat sanctuary, known as the Living Room, were filled to capacity. Two additional services were added, but sufficient parking and worship space continued to remain a challenge. To accommodate those who attended the 9 a.m. service, an off-site location was secured. For several months, The Family of Faith was known as one church in two locations. Two morning services and one evening service were held at the Living Room. The 9 a.m. service was held at the Proud Bird Conference Center.
By 1998, the church acquired yet another property – the Tabernacle – adjacent to the Trinity Building on Eucalyptus Avenue. The Tabernacle, a former warehouse, was converted into a 2,500-seat sanctuary. The construction of a multilevel parking structure was completed the following year to further accommodate the growing congregation.
The church made history in December of 2000 when it purchased the 17,500-seat Great Western Forum, the nation’s only African-American-owned entertainment venue of its kind, and the first of its kind to be owned by a faith-based organization. The Forum is situated on 29 acres at Manchester Blvd. and Prairie Avenue in the City of Inglewood.
Another historical moment occurred in 2000 when the name was officially changed to Faithful Central Bible Church. Called, committed, and commissioned to change lives, Faithful Central offers more than 75 ministries that serve the community. Just to highlight a few, it offers: Administration and Finance, Community Outreach, Counseling, Discipleship, and Economic Development. The heritage of our church includes three great pastors and leaders. And due to this, we have achieved international acclaim.
The Family of Faith is on a mission to impact neighborhoods, cities, and ultimately society as a whole with the incarnate love of Christ. We are building Champions for Divine Deployment!