West Side Missionary Baptist Church celebrated their 70th year church anniversary with an eventful service on Sunday, Sept. 15.
The event included Rev. Daniel Buford of Good Shepherd Baptist Church as the keynote speaker, Mayor Jean Quan, Councilmember Pat Kernighan, and a proclamation from Councilmember Lynette McElhaney.
Community partners Dr. Sandra Hernandez, CEO of The San Francisco Foundation, and Neill Sullivan of Sullivan Management and REO Homes, LLC, were also recognized.
In partnership with the City of Oakland and The San Francisco Foundation, West Side was instrumental in bringing a quality grocery store to West Oakland in 2001 with the Acorn Shopping Center, now the Jack London Gateway Center.
Reflecting on the church history and their impact in the community, Pastor Ken Chambers, Sr. honored their senior members for their commitment to the church.
“Our senior members are the backbone of this church,” he said.
“Part of the challenge for the church is to include the seniors, youth, and young adults together in ministry to reach
out and identify community issues that can be solved.”
In an effort to bridge that gap, the church started BEDROC (Building Equity Discipline and Respect for Our Community) 20 years ago offering job training, internships, and academic support for young people.
Vontino Alexander, a member of West Side, told his story during the event of how that support and opportunity helped him position himself for success.
The church looks forward to providing more opportunities for youth in West Oakland through the BEDROC organization, Chambers said.
“Your work together has brought us here. We’re beginning to take [the city] back, block by block,” said Mayor Quan speaking to clergy and others at the event.
“Thank you for your work but let’s take this home. We’ve almost reached the mountaintop.”
West Side Church is located at 732 Willow St. in Oakland.