‘A great light has gone out’

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Frederick K.C. Price is remembered as a ‘lantern,’ ‘man of God’ ‘champion of justice’

By Darlene Donloe

Contributing Writer

SOUTH LOS ANGELES — Beneath a clear, sunny sky, hundreds gathered at the FaithDome March 6, to pay their final respects to, and celebrate the life and legacy of Frederick K.C. Price, the founder of Crenshaw Christian Center.

Apostle Price died Feb. 12, of complications from COVID-19. He was 89.

In what can only be described as a strange twist of fate and irreverent irony, the Crenshaw Christian Center has become a prominent fixture in the fight against COVID-19 by first opening its massive parking lot as a testing site and then later converting to a vaccination site.

One of Los Angeles’ most prominent religious leaders, Price was best known as a pioneering televangelist who launched his Ever Increasing Faith Ministries in 1978, which, at its height boasted 15 million weekly viewers.

He also is credited with founding one of the first Black mega-churches in the country.

In the ministry for more than 65 years, Price’s impact and influence on the Black church experience is immeasurable. He is acknowledged as being the first pastor to bypass wearing a traditional robe in a pulpit, opting instead to wear fine suits while walking through the congregation teaching from an open Bible in his hand, while encouraging worshippers to follow along.

The live-streamed, four-hour tribute was filled with taped messages from dignitaries, music and a family video that documented Price’s devotion to his family and his rise in the ministry.

Price was recognized and praised by city leaders, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, county Supervisor Janice Hahn, 10th District City Councilman Mark Ridley Thomas, 8th District City Councilman Marqueece Harris Dawson, City Council President Emeritus Herb J. Wesson Jr., Assemblyman Mike A. Gipson and LAPD Chief Michel R. Moore.

Waters called Price “a visionary” and a “gifted minister.”

“He set down in this community and he believed in this community,” Waters said. “This footprint that we have in this community is responsible for our survival. Had it not been for Apostle Price and his vision, and his love and his care of our people, I don’t know what would have happened to us out here.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti called Price “a lantern.”

“It feels like a great light has gone out,” Garcetti said in a video tribute. “He gave us a model to show us how to walk by faith and not by sight. We draw strength from his memory.”

Supervisor Hahn called Price “A revolutionary in his teaching. He was bold.”

Hahn remembered how 24 years earlier Crenshaw Christian Center hosted the funeral of her father, the late Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, at the FaithDome.

Hahn said the county Board of Supervisors adjourned a recent meeting in Price’s honor and that the family would be presented with a scroll at a later date.

“Our community and our nation mourn his loss,” Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas said in a statement read by Angela Evans, Price’s eldest daughter and president and CEO of the Crenshaw Christian Center.

“His charisma jumped off the television,” Wesson said. “He gave us the strength to live what I believe is a wonderful life.”

LAPD Moore called Price, “a champion of justice.”

Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was said to be one of Price’s favorite actors, said he had “fond memories of Fred.”

On Facebook, Price’s son, Frederick Price, the current pastor of the Crenshaw Christian Center, wrote an emotional epistle to his father.

“It’s appointed for man to die once, I know,” the younger Price wrote. “But that applies to everyone except you, right Daddy? Not my real life superhero. My Ironman without need of the armor. My Thor without need of the hammer. My Superman without need of the sun.

“Or at least you were supposed to go on your terms. Not like this. You didn’t sign up for Covid,” he wrote on Facebook.“ Okay, but you did code three times. You saw glory, didn’t you Daddy? Yeah, you did, and in that moment you said I’m staying, they’ll be fine. Oooh, it hurts to even think that, but I could never be so selfish to the point where I’d want you to stay here and be miserable.

“You deserve to rest from your labors and dwell with the God who loves you more than I ever could. Of course, I’ll miss the whole of you.”

Price is survived by his wife of 67 years, Betty Ruth Price, affectionately known as Dr. Betty, and four children: Angela, Cheryl, Stephanie and Fred Price, Jr. He also leaves 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Affectionately known as the Godfather of Faith, Price’s influence was felt worldwide. A host of his sons and daughters in the faith and ministerial colleagues paid tribute to the charismatic leader.

Price’s death was mourned by several high-profile clergy members including Apostle Beverly “BAM” Crawford, who presided over the service; Pastor Kenneth W. Hagin (Rhema Bible Church & President Kenneth Hagin Ministries – Oklahoma), Evangelist Jerry Savelle, (Jerry Savelle Ministries International), Pastor Phillip Goudeaux (Calvary Christian Center – Sacramento), Pastor Torrance Jacko (Embassy Church International – San Diego), and Terry Mize (Terry Mize Ministries – Oklahoma). Price was eulogized by Apostle Michael A. Freeman (Spirit of Faith Christian Center – Maryland).

Televangelist and Pastor Creflo A. Dollar of World Changers Church International in College Park, Georgia said of Price, “I stood on his shoulders.

I honor this man of faith, this mentor, this father, this illustration of true humility, this man of God.”

Evans also read a statement from Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. of West Angeles Church of God in Christ and the presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ, who was in attendance.

Evans described Blake as her father’s “very, very, very dear friend,” and referred to the religious leader as her “uncle Charles Blake,” who, along with his wife, Lady Mae, “often” went on double dates with Price and his wife, Betty.

“Apostle Frederick K. C. Price epitomized the full measure of faith in accordance with the scripture,” said Bishop Blake, who said he had been friends with Price for 50 years. “Millions have been impacted by his clear teaching accompanied by the evidence of his unshakable belief in the provisions of God. His life’s work has left an indelible mark on the body of Christ, globally, and we are all the better for having been on earth with Apostle Price.”

There was also a mournful outpouring from Crenshaw Christian Center members.

Fitness guru, Tae-Bo creator and church member Billy Blanks said Price “changed my life.”

“The Bible is the first book I read because of Dr. Price,” said Blanks.

Harold Johnson, a member of the congregation since 1995 and the church’s music assistant said, “the loss of Apostle Price is painful.”

“It’s really painful, but he did his best to prepare us for it through his teaching,” Johnson said. “My own father died in 1983. Apostle Price was my father from a distance.”

John Agbo, a member of the congregation for 32 years, said the loss of Apostle Price was “like losing one’s self.”

“He has put everything on us,” said Agbo. “It’s like we are ready to fly to share what he has given to us and pass it to the world. He’s a man of God who lived it and taught it.”

Price founded Crenshaw Christian Center in 1973 with 300 members. The church opened its $9 million facility in 1989. Today, its membership is at 28,000.

A prolific writer, Price authored more than 50 books touching on various subjects including faith, prosperity and healing.

Price also founded the Frederick K.C. Price III Christian Schools and the Ministry Training Institute. In 1990, he founded the Fellowship of Inner-City Word of Faith Ministries. He established Crenshaw Christian Center East in New York City in 2001.

On the way into the service at the 10,000-seat geodesic FaithDome, located on the old 32-acre Pepperdine campus, mourners drove past an aerial truck ladder salute raised by the L.A. Fire Department in honor of Price.

Battalion Chief Anthony Hardaway said the department acknowledged Price, “Out of respect for who he was.”

“Because of the relationship with the church and the family, we are honoring Pastor Price as a fallen firefighter,” Hardaway said.

Darlene Donloe is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers South Los Angeles. She can be reached at ddonloe@gmail.com

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