After more than 50 years, Presiding Bishop Emeritus Charles E. Blake Sr. and his “secret weapon,” wife Lady Mae Lawrence Blake, are officially passing the mantle to their successors at West Angeles Church of God in Christ.
Blake announced that he was stepping down during services at West Angeles Church on Sunday, September 18. That means Elder Charles Blake II and wife Lady DeAndra Blake are now the spiritual leaders of the California megachurch famously located on Crenshaw Boulevard. However, the installation ceremony is scheduled to take place in October.
“It has been our deepest honor and greatest joy to serve as Senior Pastor and First Lady of West Angeles Church for 53 years,” Blake Sr. reportedly told the congregation. “After a long fulfilling journey filled with God’s love, His blessings and miracles too numerous to count, we have made the decision to retire from active pastoral ministry.”
Blake II said having his 82-year-old father’s blessing made him feel both “honored and humbled” as he prepares to take the helm of the Pentecostal church.
“I and my wife, Lady DeAndra, standing on the strong foundation that was laid by Bishop and Lady Mae, look forward to serving this congregation and our community,” he added, reported the L.A. Focus Newspaper.
The elder Blake, who has been in ministry for 65 years, was officially installed as pastor of West Angeles Church in 1970. Since that time, the congregation has grown from 50 to over 25,000 members. Some of his most famous congregants and attendees include actor Denzel Washington, comedian Chris Tucker, and NBA legend Magic Johnson.
The L.A. Sentinel recently published an extensive article about Blake Sr.’s widely recognized achievements as well as his “unprecedented” tenure as the C.O.G.I.C.’s presiding bishop, which can be read at lasentinel.net.
West Angeles Church of God In Christ has planned a series of celebratory events marking the leadership transition and installation taking place in October.