A full house of churchgoers, community and faith leaders recently celebrated the bicentennial of Corinthian Baptist Church in Oakland with an anniversary event that honored the past and the present.
Guided by Pastor Chauncey Mathews, the event kicked off on Sunday, July 19 at 11 a.m. with a powerful message from Min. Portia McGee, and a celebration service at 3 p.m.
The 50th anniversary celebration was well attended by elected officials – Mayor Libby Schaaf, Oakland Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s communications manager, Tasion Kwamilele.
Also attending was Father Thomas Zaferes of the Ascension Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Oakland, Pastor Ken Chambers of West Side Missionary Baptist Church, and Pastor Fleming Henry of New St. Paul Missionary Church.
Young vocalist Brooklyn Fields performed a moving solo.
Congresswoman Lee gave congressional recognition of the church for its work in the community.
Located at 928 Castro St., Corinthian Baptist Church was founded in 1965 by the late Pastor Lee E. Mathews. It has continued to be a pillar in the Oakland community.
Reflecting on his father’s vision, Pastor Chauncey Mathews said the church would continue to keep that legacy going.
The sense of community and fellowship was felt throughout the event.
“This is the epitome of Oakland,” said Mayor Schaaf at the anniversary celebration.
The church building that stands today was originally built in 1912 for the Greek Orthodox Church, formerly called The Brush Street Church.
The celebration gave tribute to Mary Mousalima, a Greek Orthodox member, for her passion and commitment to save the church from being demolished in 1976.
With the help of Senator Nicholas Petris, Mary was successful in getting the church declared as a national landmark in 1977.
Corinthian has called the historical church home since 1982.