LOS ANGELES - It's the end of an era for one of LA's biggest churches in the black community.
A big celebration is planned for Sunday as the senior pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood is stepping down.
Bishop Kenneth Ulmer will first give his final sermon Sunday morning after 40 years of service.
"I wanted to finish well and I wanted to be well when I finished," Ulmer said.
Asked, what do you enjoy most about being a pastor? He said "the people." Asked to sum up his overall message for the congregation, "what's coming is better than what has been."
Dr. Ulmer is from Illinois and got into ministry after a series of personal challenges. He has two doctoral degrees and has worked abroad extensively, including in South Africa. The First Lady who'd stand by his side through 40 years of ministry is Togetta Ulmer. He witnessed two riots in Los Angeles, the first in 1992. He navigated the congregation through the worst of COVID times, turning the church's vast production services into online only.
Faithful Central has a Hollywood storyline. The church used to own The Forum in Inglewood, saving the property from being turned into residential. He spoke fondly of all of the musical guests that had concerts at the entertainment venue in that era, Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, Prince. He says without their earlier ownership there would be no SoFi Stadium today.
Ulmer says the "church is about families." He says he'll continue to teach at Faithful Central Bible Church. He's been a professor at Biola University and Pepperdine and has authored several books.
Sunday night will follow with a celebration that is being billed as a Citywide Tribute Concert. It's being held at the 5000 seat West Angeles Church with LL Cool J, Bebe Winans, and Mayor Karen Bass taking part.