New Prospect Baptist Church (affectionately known as “The Old Ship of Zion”) had its humble beginning on October 10, 1953. It was organized by Rev. Raymond E. Nance (deceased) and was originally named New Prospect Mission, located at 5021 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA. In November 1953 the church was reorganized and recognized as a church by Rev. E. A. Anderson of the McCoy Memorial Baptist Church, Rev. Eugene Allen and G. Albert Miller. Rev. Raymond E. Nance served as Pastor, teacher and spiritual leader and the church was renamed New Prospect Baptist Church (in memory of his grandfather, the late Rev. James Nathan Nance, Pastor of the New Prospect Baptist Church in Arkansas). The first members of New Prospect were members of Pastor Nance’s immediate family and Rev. and Mrs. James and Odessa Long. Some of the original members are still with us today — Sister Sue Nance-Robins, and Brother Clyde Nance. In 1954, New Prospect relocated to 1370 East 41st Street, Los Angeles and remained there until 1956.
In August 1956 the Lara Li Wedding Chapel located at 10910 South Broadway, Los Angeles, California became available for sale. God blessed us to purchase it and 10910 South Broadway became our church home.
There was much work to be done and because of the members’ faith in God and a mind to work, God transformed the Wedding Chapel to a house of prayer and praise to His glory.
Over the years, “The Old Ship” has had many struggles and weathered some storms and through it all God brought us through. We have been abundantly blessed. We have celebrated in Mortgage Burning services, been blessed by God to expand our edifice through the purchase of additional property, installed central heating and air-conditioning units, chandeliers, carpet, remodel and renovate restrooms and our kitchen, and God continued to bless us.
On December 18, 2005, God called his servant, Dr. Raymond E. Nance, home to receive his crown of righteousness for a job well done. The members said good night to their leader and looked unto God through prayer, praise and worship for direction. The leadership and direction of the New Prospect Baptist Church was temporarily placed in the hands of the Chair of Deacons, Troy Brooks. The sun had set on the New Prospect Baptist Church as it had been known.
Thank God for the morning! On October 6, 2006, after much prayer and the prescribed procedure of election, the membership of the New Prospect Baptist Church elected Pastor E. L. Williams Jr., of the Southwest Institutional Baptist Church of Los Angeles to be their next leader and Pastor.
2007 – Present
Rev. Edwin Lawrence Williams, Jr. accepted his call to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in 1982 and was licensed by Pastor James E. Evans, (deceased), Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church, Los Angeles, CA. On May 8, 1983, he was ordained under the Baptist banner under the Pastorate of the late Rev. James Edward Evans. On Sunday, March 17, 1991, he was installed as Pastor of the Southwest Institutional Baptist Church, where he served faithfully for 16 years.
On Sunday, January 7, 2007, Pastor Williams preached his first sermon as Pastor-elect. Over 30 brothers and sisters came to the altar and united as members of our great church.
On Sunday, March 18 and 25, 2007, Rev. Williams was installed as Pastor of New Prospect Baptist Church. The services were officiated by Dr. Richard Stubbs, Pastor, Carver Missionary Baptist Church, Los Angeles, CA; and Dr. Major L. Jemison, Pastor, St. John Missionary Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, respectively. The pulpit was unveiled and Rev. Williams became the second Pastor to lead God sheep of this great church and serves faithfully. His call is divine, his conviction is direct, and his course is demonstrative.
On Sunday, October 14, 2007, the Dr. R. E. Nance Fellowship Center was dedicated in honor of the organizer and first Pastor of the New Prospect Baptist Church. There have been much needed aesthetical renovations and improvements to the interior and exterior of the church.
In 2009 aesthetic changes continued with a major renovation to the main sanctuary which was completed and on Sunday, May 3, 2009 rededicated to God. The work continued with a complete remodel of the Women’s restroom in the church lobby and 2011 new doors were hung in the vestibule area of the church.
Under Pastor Williams’ leadership we have been blessed to witness a revitalization of eupeptic Associate Ministers, Deacons; Deaconess; Mothers, Ushers; Youth; Health and Wellness; Pastor’s Aid; Media; Christian Education, Music and Sunday School ministries. We are pleased to announce that God has blessed us with growth, development and a new direction with our Youth and Young Adult Ministry; a Director of Resources, expansion, growth and exposure of our Music Ministry.
We are laboring together in love with Christ as our guide. We exist as a church by the grace of God for the purpose of evangelism, edification and exaltation of our Lord through our worship, words, and works. Our goal is to be the Peaceful Place where Prospectors Praise the Preeminent! Yes, we’ve come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord. Truly we’ve come a long way, and we’ve still got a long way to go. To God be the glory for the things He has done!