2nd Baptist 100th Anniversary Celebrates with Sen. Warnock
By Dianne Anderson
These days, politics dominate just about every major front of the social landscape, but Pastor Ivan Pitts expects that his long-time friend, Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock will preach on much more pressing matters at his highly anticipated visit.
As part of the year-long milestone 100th anniversary of Second Baptist Church in Santa Ana, the spotlight will be on the pivotal role of the church in the community.
“I expect him to talk about in the sense that he is an apostle of love and justice in the same vein as Martin Luther King and other great people. I also think that it is an incredible blessing that he is going to grace our county with his presence when he is such a person in such great demand,” said Pastor Pitts, the church’s senior pastor.
On Sunday, April 16, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) is the featured guest at their celebration event that runs from 9:00-11:30 a.m., located at 4300 Westminster Ave. in Santa Ana.
With its 100th anniversary, the church has a lot to celebrate. In recent years, thousands of churches have closed their doors, Second Baptist has remained strong, not only keeping their own programs going, but giving hundreds of thousands of dollars in church tithes in support of other local programs that do good service in the community.
As the church continues its tribute to longevity, Pastor Pitts said they have hosted many distinguished guests from across the country to cheer on support and share in their history, including Reverend Dr. Lester Agyei McCorn, the 13th President of Clinton College in Rock Hill, SC.
“[They] have come out with us to celebrate this diversity and commitment to loving every nation, every generation and every situation. That’s what we’re about. We’re trying to bridge the gap between those on one side, and those on the other, whatever that means,” he said.
Sen. Warnock, reelected last year, is the first Black Georgia senator, and also the first Black Democrat to win the seat in the Southern U.S. He is the senior pastor of the historic Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta since 2005, where both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and King’s father have served as pastor.
“My excitement on a scale of 1-10 is 25,” said Pastor Pitts, whose friendship with Sen. Warnock goes back over 20 years, since graduate school.
He may not be delving into politics at the upcoming event, but he has been busy this year with several noteworthy bills. Among them, an insulin bill to cap medication at $35 a month has garnered broad support, and another bipartisan bill to push for full benefits for Coast Guard veterans.
Warnock is also leading a bipartisan effort on access to rural health care, and for years, he has pushed the USDA to help Black farmers suffering decades of discrimination to access debt relief. Last month, the USDA announced the next steps in providing financial assistance to borrowers who have faced discrimination.
“I’ve long said that farmers who’ve faced historic discrimination by USDA cannot be an afterthought,” said Sen. Rev. Warnock in a statement. “Today, I’m thinking of farmers in Georgia who’ve survived for decades without the federal support other farmers have enjoyed. I’m going to continue to hold USDA’s feet to the fire on the promises they’ve made, as well as elevate the voices of underrepresented farmers, ensuring they have a seat at the table.”
Even as the political divide is wide in the area where Sen. Warnock represents, Pitts said that his friend is recognized everywhere as a unifying force, despite the toughest of political landscapes.
“He’s a Black pastor who has won elections – really five elections, to serve in the position where he is now,” he said.
Pitts said that very few people in this day and age have been able to unite as skillfully as Pastor Warnock.
“His politics and his political positioning is reflective of his Christian values, who he is as a pastor. You can’t win a statewide election in the state of Georgia unless you are able to bridge gaps, or bring people together,” he said.
For more information, see https://sbc.family/