Join the Fight to Save the 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 Community Space

The First Baptist Church of Venice, CA

The First Baptist Church located at 685-687 Westminster Avenues is 108 years old and the first spiritual and social refuge space for African Americans fleeing extreme racism dynamics in the South. This historical spiritual community space was illegally sold and bought and is now under the danger of being reduced to a private home for Jay Penske.

We are fighting to have the sale rescinded and the First Baptist Church property restored to its original function as a community space. In keeping of the spirit of the church space we continue to gather every Sunday at 1 PM.  We gather in a good way for prayer, creativity, and community dialogue and building.

Venice, CA First Baptist Church History


Some Quick Facts

  • The First Baptist Church of Venice space has been a community spiritual space, refuge, and institution for over 108 years.
  • In 2000 the intersection of Westminster Ave & 7th Ave in Venice was designated as a permanent ceremonial location and named Bishop E.L. Holmes Square after the longtime pastor of the First Baptist Church of Venice.
  • The church property was illegally sold by pastor Horace Allen. The charlatan pastor then sold it to Jay Penske, son of automotive billionaire Roger Penske, and his wife.
  • The congregation filed a lawsuit against charlatan pastor Horace Allen for the illegal sale of the First Baptist Church. The lawsuit is still pending.
  • The sale of our historic community space was done covertly. No public notice or real estate sign was put up on the property to indicate it was being sold.
  • The community members have no recollection of vandalism ever happening to the church. But strangely enough, the provisional owners (Jay Penske) claimed the property was recently vandalized. The church building also happened to catch fire but to our understanding did not do any critical damage.
  • In October, the real estate sector and gentrifier 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 the VNC board after their inconsiderate decision are condescending and belittling comments and lies from one of its board members.
  • In August Councilman Mike Bonin promised to helps save the First Baptist Church of Venice. To date he has been silent and a no-show in keeping his word to help us.

FBCV – Appeal Hearing June 20th, 2018

Upcoming Events

june, 2018

20jun4:30 pm- 9:00 pmFirst Baptist Church Hearing at City PlanningAppeal Hearing for the First Baptist Church of Venice

24jun12:30 pm- 3:30 pmWeekly Sunday GatheringsSpiritual gathering and awareness strategizing to save the First Baptist Church. All are welcome.

Stop the Destruction of Venice!
Please consider donating to the Lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles.


What YOU Can Do to Help

E-mail City Planning

Tell them Designate the First Baptist Church space as a landmark and No Mansionization in Oakwood in whatever terms you prefer.

Reference these numbers in the title.
CASE N0#DIR-2017-1895-CDP-MEL
CEQA NO#ENV-2017-1896-CE


Contact Councilman Bonin

Contact Mike Bonin, tell him to [ilightbox id=”1″] keep his word [/ilightbox]  and continue on the path set by Ruth Galanter to designate First Baptist Church of Venice as a historical landmark. Respect Black History in Venice !


Call Radio Station KJLH

Ask that Reverend Horace Allen’s show on Sundays at 6pm be taken off the air because[ilightbox id=”0″] he is being sued by elder church members for an illegal sale of First Baptist Church of Venice.[/ilightbox] Case# BS159555 was filed in Stanley Mosk Superior Court. Please let KJLH (102.3) know that you do not support this charlatan minister.

Call 310-330-2200

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 and gather in a spiritual, prayerful way. All spirituality and worldviews welcome to join us.