At a ceremony that felt a lot like an emotional church service, city officials, community leaders and family members gathered in South L..A. on Monday to dedicate a meaningful intersection to a late pastor.
Dr. William Matthew Brent died in October 2012 and is now honored with a sign placed outside the Evening Star Missionary Baptist Church on the corner of 59th and Brentwood streets. Brent worked at the Evening Star Missionary Baptist Church from 1963 until he retired in 2006, and was recognized at today's ceremony for his contributions to the community as well as the church.
Councilwoman Jan Perry, who submitted a motion to the City Council for this remembrance, led the parking lot ceremony this morning.
"This is a special day to remember a very, very special man," she said.
Brent went from Assistant Pastor to Interim Pastor, and in 1965, became senior pastor.
Perry's motion summed up Brent's contributions: "As Pastor, he led the membership into becoming a learning, growing, and spiritual church. He started a second service, a Wednesday night prayer meeting, a bus ministry, day care center, counseling services, Golden Age Club for seniors, a radio broadcast, community food bank program, and a gang prevention and intervention program."
Also present at the ceremony was Brent's wife of more than 40 years, Mary Louise Matthews Brent. She had her children and grandchildren join her at the podium and thanked her late husband profusely for passing on his namesake to them.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas spoke as well, praising Brent for making the city a better place and for serving as a reminder of "more civil days." He said the pastor is "part of the history of Los Angeles," and an icon for a time when people had more respect for the church.
The ceremony closed with a prayer, followed by Brent's family pulling the cover off the dedicated sign.