Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church

Below is the history of our great, historic church - Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church - in Los Angeles California. One of the largest churches in Los Angeles

The Era of Rev. Frederick D. Ferrell

1944 - 1982

Glancing back to October 24, 1944, in the home of the late Reverend and Mrs. James Garmon where the late Reverend John D. Gordon served as Moderator, thirty-eight persons, faithful pioneers, attended this meeting. They agreed upon the name of the Church, and the calling of a twenty-eight year old anointed man of God as its Pastor, the Reverend Douglas Ferrell. The thirty-eight charter members in attendance were the following:

Naamon Anderson

Louise Banner

Elizabeth Blackmon

Robert Blackmon

Louis Cathcart

Emma Elam

Charles Gantt

Rev. James Garmon

Ruth Garmon

Rev. Ennis Green

Vera Hubbard

Jennie Grimes

Carrie Hogan

Henry Hogan

Mary Jefferson

Ernestine Martin

Esther Nash

George Nash

Jeffie Nash

Mattie Page

Ruby Paige

Lemon Price

Mathilda Price

Deacon Samson

Esmeralda Smith

Irvin Smith

Myrtle Stoweres

Taylor Stoweres

Ernestine Wells

Lonnie Wells

Edna G. White

Laura White


Pastor Ferrell conducted Tabernacle’s first service on the first Sunday in November, 1944 in the Knights of Pythias Hall at 1767 East 103rd Street, Los Angeles. He informed his members that he had purchased the land at the corner of 114th Street and Central and stressed that it would be built the Lord’s way, with tithes, offering and much prayer.

In this first service, God, in His wisdom, added one hundred and ninety more persons, who joined in Christian fellowship with the original thirty-eight members. Services continued at this location for several months and appropriately enough, the first wedding was the joining of its Pastor and Miss Esther Nash, on June 10, 1945. This union was blessed with three children, namely: Frederick Douglas, Sheridan Robert, and Stephanie Camille.

Although the Lord blessed us to regularly pay our rent on the Hall, for the then exorbitant sum of $ 135.00 per month, we were given notice to move. God opened for us a tent door where we worshipped for ten or eleven months. It was in this tent that we were called upon to live up to our name, Tabernacle of “Faith”-for it rained many days and nights and we often went without ever losing hope.

Soon afterwards, Pastor Ferrell put into action his God-given talent for carpentry and design. For it was with his natural skills and the help of several members of Tabernacle, his father-in-law George Nash, Brother G.I. Tate, James Cox, George Campbell, Robert Young, and others, that the plans and actual construction of Tabernacle came into being. He worked all week long and on Sundays, and he preached with zeal and spiritual favor to feed his growing membership. He designed and built the sacrament tales, pulpit furniture, pews and chandeliers for the sanctuary. There was no mortgage, for we paid as the church was being constructed.

A powerful radio ministry went into the many homes and hospitals where many yearned for a word from God. The many who heard were drawn to the Tabernacle, and consequently became faithful members of an ever-growing Church.

In 1954, Pastor Ferrell organized the Tabernacle of Faith Federal Credit Union, offering Tabernacle families greater economic security through savings, loans and insurance. In 1956, Tabernacle expanded it borders into the foreign mission field, purchasing land and building a church in Jamaica, West Indies, where 456 souls came to Christ in its opening service.

Pastor Ferrell’s love and concerns for young people was exhibited in his founding of “Teen Age World.” He saw the need for the training of youth in order for them to take their rightful places in the political, economic and industrial world. The organization was based on what he called the “5-C Principle”-  CHRIST, CHARACTER, CAPABILITY, CAPITAL, AND COOPERATION. It was a program designed to prevent, rather than cure juvenile delinquency.

In 1962, Pastor Ferrell entered the political arena and unseated an incumbent who was a twenty-five year veteran of the California Legislature, becoming the first Black man elected to the California Assembly from the 55th Assembly District. He served in this office for two terms, voluntarily retiring from the office in December, 1966.

Pastor Ferrell touched and influenced so many, many lives during his leadership at the Tabernacle. The Church produced many fine young ministers and pastors. The pastors include the Reverend Aidsand Riggins, who received his call at age 13, who presently serves as the Executive Director of American Baptist Churches Mission in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania; the Reverend Percy Reitz Hill, who received his call to the ministry at age 16, pastor of Cochran Avenue Baptist Church, the Reverend Webster Lytle, Pastor of the Morning Star Baptist Church of Hickory, North Carolina; the late Reverend Larry Williams, pastor of Tabernacle of Grace Baptist Church of Los Angeles. The Reverend Xavier Carter, Pastor of Revived Faith Community Church of Los Angeles. And the Reverend Willie Hall, retired Pastor of Sunnyside Baptist Church of Los Angeles. These are just a few of our pastors who grew up and benefited from the love and teachings of Pastor Ferrell and Tabernacle’s congregation.

Pastor Ferrell was greatly supported during his 38 year Pastoral tenure by his wife and helpmate, Mrs. Ester Nash-Ferrell, a charter member. She stood by his side in tough and trying times, and she saw many of his dreams become realities. She sacrificed, freely and shared her means, talents, energy and enthusiastic support to all facets of the life to Tabernacle. She still remains with us as a loyal, faithful and dedicated member, who enjoys the respect and admiration of the entire Church family and all who come into her presence.

July 5, 1982 marked the end of the courageous and fruitful Ministry of the Reverend F. Douglas Ferrell. His greatness and largeness of spirit, coupled with great spiritual power, endeared him to his beloved Church family and to the Los Angeles Community, this State, this Nation. He was indeed a great “AMBASSADOR” for Christ, and shall forever be remembered as the Organizer, Under-Shepard, Pastor, Teacher, a chosen “MAN OF GOD.”





Just as the curtain closed on the first part of a rich and colorful history of this Church, it opened a new page, the “Pastoral Era” of the successor to Pastor Ferrell, Dr. Charles Mims, Jr. Revitalization, Community Based Programs, Evangelism, and a cadre of Outreach Ministries to serve the Watts Community and the Los Angeles Community at large, highlighted Pastor Mims tenure.

Pastor Mims came to Tabernacle academically and spiritually qualified to lead this Church to higher heights. He was a graduate of Simmons University in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Ecumenical Institute in Chicago. Pastor Mims had a strong background in the Ministry having Pastored Centennial Baptist and 28th Street Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Mims was installed as Pastor in November 1992. He wanted the world to see Jesus, and to Minister to the least of these. He continued an “Upward Spiritual Thrust,” inspired by his only predecessor, Rev. Ferrell, to serve this “present age.” The records indicate great membership growth during Pastor Mims years of service.

Consequently, the Monday night Bible Study Period became a main thrust for building a spiritual arm to prepare warriors to bring the helpless, the hopeless, the dispossessed into the “Sheepfold.” The membership increased in quantum leaps. Each week witnessing teams visited the residents of the surrounding projects, sharing the Word of God and ministering to the total needs, regardless of color, race, or creed. One of his key statements was that this is “NATION BUILDING TIME” and that no nation could thrive unless it had a strong spiritual foundation.

He continued and gave new direction to the brainchild of the late Pastor Ferrell, “The Watts World Revival.” The work of the Watts World Revival became a year long emphasis, with special programs funded by the government and private companies; the distribution of food items for Thanksgiving; and food, toys from time to time, took note of significant contributions of Pastor improve the quality of living within the Watts Community.

Pastor Mims put into fruition the dreams of his predecessor, Pastor Ferrell, to provide an educational facility within this Church where children of this area could receive a Christian –oriented education. Thus, the F. Douglas Ferrell Christian Academy was opened in September, 1982, with a qualified faculty, and it served this community for more than five years.

As God continued to direct the work and mission of Tabernacle, Pastor Mims was in the forefront, along with other Pastors of the community, in addressing gang problems and socio-economic issues which led to the Los Angeles riots. Because of his prominence in addressing these issues, he received local, state, and national recognition and contributed bi-weekly articles to the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. He authored and published his own biography, IF I MAKE MY BED IN HELL. This book was distributed nationwide.

During Pastor Mims Pastoral tenure, in an effort to augment the spiritual programs of the Church, a number of Deacons were ordained. More importantly, several persons answered the “Call to the Gospel Ministry” and moved on the Pastorate. One of God’s sons, answering this Call, namely the late Reverend Donald Hudson, pastured for many years in Indianapolis, Indiana. Also, answering the Call to the Gospel Ministry were the Reverend Dr. H. L. Hodge, currently serving as Pastor of New Kingdom Baptist Church of Los Angeles and The Reverend Kevin Palmer, who organized a Non-Denominational Church in Long Beach, California.

One of Pastor Mims crowning efforts was the massive refurbishing and renovation of this Church edifice. It was a physically draining undertaking, yet with the assistance and financial support, as well as the encouragement of a dedicated band of parishioners, the effort was completed. Pastor Mims and the Board of Trustees negotiated additional funding for the project from the Christian Community Credit Union, formerly known as the American Baptist Credit Union.

He was greatly supported during his Pastoral tenure by his dear wife, Mrs. Helen Mims, whom he regularly referred to as “The Wind Beneath My Wings.”

After a number of years of declining health, Pastor Charles Mims, Jr. answered the “CALL FROM LABOR TO REWARD, TO LIFE WITHOUT END” on Sunday, September 1, 1996.

FROM 1982-1996




1997 - 2015

As we move forward in the history of the Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church, The Reverend Reginald M. Leffall, III, moves to forefront. A distinguished preacher, educator, teacher, and Bible scholar, Dr. Leffall came to us initially as Interim Pastor the second Sunday in June, 1997, during a period of great challenges in the Church during the weeks and months, following the passing of Pastor Mims. Pastor Leffall came with a proven track record having served as Senior Pastor of the historic Saint Paul Baptist Church of this City until his retirement in December of 1994. Pastor Leffall immediately set out to restore stability, healing, and reconciliation in the Church. We thank and praise God today that Tabernacle is in relative peace. Pastor Leffall served as interim Pastor through February, 1999, at which time, due to strong desires of the vast majority of the congregation, he was asked to serve as Senior Pastor of Tabernacle of Faith. On February 13, 1999, Dr. Leffall was elected as the Under-Shepherd, only the third Pastor of this “Household of Faith,” The Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church. The Installation Service for the new Pastor was held on Sunday, April 18, 1999, and Tabernacle’s march continues to unfold:


  • The continuation of the “ONWARD AND UPWARD SPIRITUAL THRUST” inspired by the noble former Pastors, with a Ministry to serve this Present Age on a Godly march to the demand of the present age.
  • The addition of new members as Candidates for Baptism, by Christian Experience and by Restoration.
  • Partnership with Kedren, Inc. to house a State/Federal Headstart Program to serve the community surrounding Tabernacle and placement of a Bungalow on the vacant Church lots for the Kedren Headstart Program.
  • Upgrading of the Audio Sound System
  • Placement of Paintings of the formal Pastors
  • Interior and Exterior beautification projects
  • Renovation of Ferrell’s Chapel
  • Upgrading of the office equipment/computer system
  • Certification of Compliance related to the application of State and Federal Regulations for religious non-profit organizations
  • Seating a full Board of Trustees
  • Improved decision making processes
  • Installation of an Inter-Office Communication System
  • Retirement of the Building Fund Indebtedness
  • Ordination of the Reverend Warren Henderson and Reverend Mat Dunlap
  • Ordination of eleven (11) deacons
  • Purchase of the church van
  • Revision of the Church Bylaws
  • Reorganization of the General Missionary Society
  • Two site visits to May Pen, Jamaica, to the Tabernacle of Faith Church coupled with increased support to the Mission Church.
  • Complete renovation of kitchen and the purchase of commercial appliances
  • Opening of Church Library (Mae Dell Reed Memorial Library)
  • Implementation of Tabernacle’s School of Evangelism (first class graduated in August 2004.)
  • Installation of new lighting system in the main sanctuary
  • Created Church website ( ) - later shortened to
  • Retired in November of 2015 after 19 years of Shepherding our mighty "Household of Faith", here in the greater Watts Area.

On June 23, 2016 Dr. Reginald Mack Leffall, III passed away, leaving his loving wife Maye Helen Leffall to cherish his memory.


May the Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church stand in the years to come,
 as it has stood the past 71 years,
to a Savior who died that all men might live.

FROM 1997-2015



The Era Of Rev. John David Long

2017 - Present

We are delighted to announce that, after a long search, God has answered our prayers for a new pastor. Pastor Long has joined our church family as of June 7, 2017.

Rev. Long is a California native and served for 23 years as the Supervisory Pastor to the U S Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Prisons.

May God Bless the pastoral leadership of Rev. John David Long.



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