Join the Fight to Save the Historic First Baptist Church of Venice
Join the fight to restore the historical First Baptist Church of Venice as a community space.
Join the Fight to Save Our Historic African-American Landmark
The First Baptist Church of Venice, CA
The First Baptist Church located at 685-687 Westminster Avenues is 109 years old and the first spiritual and social refuge space for African-Americans in Venice fleeing extreme racism dynamics in the South. The church which is part of the ceremonially dedicated corner called E.L. Holmes Square was purchased by families who put up their land trust to purchase the property back in 1910. Mind you this is 45 years after slavery was abolished and in time of racial covenants and KKK still highly active in political leadership in West Los Angeles.
This historical Church corner was fraudulently sold and is now under the danger of being reduced to a private home for millionaire Jay Penske. We are working to have the sale rescinded and the First Baptist Church property restored to its original function as an uplifting community space in the spirit of our Black ancestors who built it. In keeping of the spirit of the spiritual community gathering we continue to meet every Sunday at 1 PM. We come together in a good way for sharing vision and dialogue on restoring this historic landmark and building community.
Some Quick Facts
The First Baptist Church of Venice at what is called E.L. Holmes Square on the corners of 7th and Westminster Ave. has been a community spiritual space, refuge, and institution for over 108 years and that space.
The church’s original edifice was located across the street at 688 Westminster. The current edifice representing the church was built in 1968 at 685 Westminster. Again, both at E.L. Holmes Square on 7th/Westminster Ave.
In January 2017 the church property was fraudulently sold by pastor Horace Allen. January 2017 is also the last month the church was open to the public. The pastor then sold it to Jay Penske, son of automotive billionaire Roger Penske, and his wife, former supermodel Elaine Irwin.
Real estate broker Chris Quintal represented both the buyer and the seller in the transaction.
The sale of the church was done covertly. No public notice or real estate sign was put up on the property to notify the local community it was being sold.
In October 2017, the real estate sector dominated Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) unanimously voted to approve the Penske’s plans for “adaptive reuse” of the First Baptist Church property even though the sale is in legal dispute and pending verdict. Not one VNC member referenced the historical and spiritual significance of the church space. In fact, all we have received from them after their inconsiderate decision are belittling comments and lies from VNC Vice-president George Francisco and board Member Wil Hawkins.
Tell them Designate the First Baptist Church space as a landmark and No Mansionization in Oakwood in whatever terms you prefer.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Reference these numbers in the title. CASE N0#DIR-2017-1895-CDP-MEL CEQA NO#ENV-2017-1896-CE
Call Radio Station KJLH
Ask that Reverend Horace Allen’s show on Sundays at 6pm be taken off the air because is being sued by elder church members for an illegal sale of First Baptist Church of Venice. Case# BS159555 was filed in Stanley Mosk Superior Court. Please let KJLH (102.3) know that you do not support this charlatan minister.
Join Our Weekly Sunday Vigil
We meet every Sunday from 1pm-3pm at the First Baptist Church (685 Westminster Ave. Venice 90291) to bring attention to this important community issue to gather and organize in a spiritual way. All spirituality and worldviews welcomed to join us.
Sign The Petition!
Join Us at the August 15 Hearing,
Stop the Destruction of Venice! Please consider donating to the Lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles.