Friendship Baptist Church is one of the oldest congregations in the city of Pasadena, having been founded in September 1893. It was the first Negro Baptist Church in the city and for many years had the largest membership of any African-American Church. Throughout it’s history, the Church has played an important religious and civic role in Pasadena.
The Church grew and prospered under the leadership of several ministers until the 1920’s when Reverend W.H. Tillman led the members to acquire a new site and erect the present edifice. In January 1925, the Reverend W.D. Carter was called to lead the congregation spiritually and complete an ambitious building, which stands today as a monument to the heritage of Pasadena’s African-American citizens.
In 1996, Rev. Lucious W. Smith became the 16th Pastor of Friendship, and the Church embarked on a journey of physical and spiritual restoration. A complete renovation of the building has enabled the Church to provide our community with relevant, life changing ministries that seek to reach everyone. Our history has brought us thus far on our journey, and our future is the canvas upon which the Lord will paint His ultimate purpose. What once was an African American neighborhood has become the center of growth and economic promise in Pasadena, and Friendship Baptist Church remains at the center of it all. ‘The Jewel of Old Pasadena’ is the phrase which best describes what the Church now represents. Rare, beautiful and spiritually priceless: a testimony to those who have paved the way and to those who carry on for God’s Glory.
From a ground-breaking ceremony held in March of 1925, the Friendship Baptist Church has stood prominently for over 75 years as one of the visible landmark Churches in Pasadena. It is the first African-American related Cultural Landmark designated in Pasadena; recognized as a State of California landmark, and in 1978 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States of America.