About West Angeles
West Angeles Church of God In Christ is a 24,000-member Pentecostal-Holiness Christian church, and a member of the Church of God in Christ denomination. COGIC’s Presiding Bishop, Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr., serves as Chief Shepherd of West Angeles. Its main place of worship, the West Angeles Cathedral, is located in the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles, California, a historic African American ethnic enclave.
West Angeles History: The Early Years
West Angeles COGIC was founded in 1943 by Elder Clarence E. Church. The first sanctuary was located in the heart of Los Angeles in a small store front on Vermont Avenue. A new and more permanent home was built at 3501West Adams Boulevard, which opened its doors in 1955.
After Elder Church passed away in 1968, the search for a new minister began. At that time, Elder Charles E. Blake, a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, had been serving in the ministry in San Diego under his father, the late Bishop J.A. Blake. He was appointed pastor of West Angeles in 1969.
Beginning with only a 50-member congregation, the dynamic leadership and ministry of Elder Charles E. Blake took form. The 1970’s brought a membership explosion, heralding the founding of the West Angeles Christian Academy. By 1981, a 1,000-seat sanctuary built to house the growing ministry rose from the former site of an old furniture store at 3045 Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles (now known as the North Campus; facade pictured above).
The rapidly growing membership brought equally explosive ministerial growth:
- Construction began on the Education Building, Crystal Room, and administrative offices in 1984.
- The West Angeles Christian Emporium opened in 1986.
- The West Angeles Bible College started its first classes in 1987 and in the same year, a full time Counseling Department was established.
By the 1990s, West Angeles was firmly rooted as an active congregation within the surrounding community. Established in early 1994, the West Angeles Community Development Corporation was created to expand the compassionate Christ-based outreach and neighborhood development ministries of the church, which had by then grown to a 15,000-member congregation. But as the number of Sunday morning services rose to four, with an additional Sunday evening service, Reverend Blake found that it was time, once again, to build.
Just two blocks away from the North Campus Sanctuary was the perfect location at Crenshaw and Exposition Boulevards. A beautiful new 5,000-seat sanctuary was built from steel, granite, travertine marble, multi-colored tile mosaics and stained glass, with an interior designed by First Lady Mae L. Blake. Dedicated in 1999, the new West Angeles Cathedral welcomed the late Bishop G.E. Patterson (then Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ) to deliver its first sermon on April 28, 2001, and has since become the cornerstone of the community.
The New Millennium and Beyond
The Lord fulfills His promise to West Angeles’ ministry as dozens of souls are brought into the Kingdom each week at the West Angeles Cathedral, the North Campus Sanctuary as well as its many outreach ministries. Under Bishop Blake’s leadership, the church has grown from 50 members to over 24,000. Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. – now Presiding Bishop of the Church of God In Christ – continues to serve as Head Pastor of West Angeles Church of God In Christ, while leading its vision firmly into the future. Plans are underway for new units of low-income and senior housing in the community, as well as the construction of the West Angeles Family Life Center, which expands the current Cathedral to include new, modern educational facilities, offices, and parking.
West Angeles Church of God In Christ, with its anointed Pastor, Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, its dynamic ministry, and its extensive outreach services which include television and radio broadcasts, is recognized as one of the most influential churches in America today, and serves as the model of visionary leadership into the future.