History of Trinity2019-02-27T18:17:05+00:00


rev.-archie-williams-1stTrinity Baptist Church grew out of a Sunday School that began in June 1917 in Normandie Hall, then located at Normandie Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard, with fifteen children and three adults. The three adults were Mrs. Mary Porter, Mrs. Willa E. Williams, and Rev. Archie J. Williams. Rev. Williams was elected superintendent and served in this capacity until the church was formed five months later. Trinity was officially organized on the afternoon of Sunday, November 11, 1917. When Rev. Williams was asked to give the church a name, he decided on Trinity Missionary Baptist Church.

From 1920 to 1935, Trinity was nurtured by four pastors. The Reverend F. H. Davis 1920 – 1922, Reverend John A. Eldridge 1922 – 1926, Reverend W. H. Dickerson 1926 – 1932, and Reverend Arthur J. Johnson 1933 – 1935.


The Reverend F. H. Davis


Reverend John A. Eldridge


Reverend W. H. Dickerson

rev.-caston-6thIn January 1936, Dr. Jonathan Lyle Caston became the sixth pastor of Trinity Baptist Church. Under his dynamic leadership, the membership increased and soon outgrew its second home at 36th and Normandie. In 1945, ten lots were purchased at Jefferson and Cimarron Streets, and on Sunday April 4, 1948, ground was broken for a recreational building which was used as the Sanctuary until one could be built. Dr. Caston was a great minister, teacher, humanitarian, organizer, builder, and community leader. Along with Reverend Ernest Redd, who assisted him for 11 years, the congregation came to full maturity and a real identity as a family of God.

rev.-mason-7thIn 1959, Reverend Elliott James Mason Sr. joined Dr. Caston as his assistant. They worked closely together to teach and preach the gospel to an ever growing family. This was an exciting period for Trinity. Reverend Mason became the seventh pastor in 1962, and after the completion of the educational building, work was started on the sanctuary which was designed by Paul Williams, one of the countries’s leading Afro – American architects. On the first Sunday in January 1962, Dr. Caston, Pastor Emeritus, preached the first sermon in the new sanctuary. In that year over 400 new members united with the Trinity family.

Dr. Mason’s 23 years as pastor of Trinity are characterized by the acquisition of new properties and a strong effective administration. Pastor Mason’s greatest contribution was the spiritual development of Trinity. His years as pastor brought a powerful and strengthening period of “Spiritual Renewal” through prayer and fasting. Dr. Mason retired as pastor of Trinity on March 31, 1985.

rev---harshaw-8thIn 1985, Dr. Dumas A. Harshaw became the eighth pastor of Trinity Baptist Church. Under Reverend Harshaw, more outreach ministries were established, including a jail ministry and a hot lunch program. Trinity also acquired the former Security Pacific Bank building located at the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Arlington Ave.

The ministerial and administrative staffs grew as Dr. Harshaw brought in people committed to God’s ministry. With the strong foundation of Trinity’s predecessors, Dr. Harshaw continued through his Biblical teaching and spiritual nurturing to emphasize “renewal and spiritual growth”. Pastor Harshaw resigned February 28, 1993 to accept the position of Area Director for Africa for the American Baptist Churches International.

In March 1993, the Trinity church family elected Reverend Eugene H. Marzette, Sr. as its Interim Pastor. Reverend Marzette was committed to bringing God’s message to the people of Trinity, and under his pastorate the Children and Youth Stewardship Committee was organized. Reverend Marzette resigned in April 1995.

Reverend Ulysses McDonald was appointed as Minister in Charge of the Trinity Baptist Church May 1, 1995. Reverend McDonald has served on the ministerial staff of Trinity since 1949. He served as Minister of Christian Education and Minister of Business Administration under the pastorate of Dr. Mason. Under the leadership of Dr. Harshaw he was Minister of Pastoral Care and Director of the Senior Citizen’s Ministry. Reverend Mc Donald served as Minster in Charge until April 1996.

head-tunstillReverend Tunstill became the ninth pastor of Trinity Baptist Church on Easter Sunday 1996. He has launched the Army of God Campaign, a program of spiritual and financial growth. The spiritual aspect involves spiritual growth through prayer, fasting, and acts of service. The financial goals are a one million dollar endowment fund, the summer youth employment program, and special projects (monies for disaster relief and other special needs). He has established a time for children to participate in the altar prayer during the Sunday morning service. To foster closer ties between church members, the entire congregation is invited to the Friday Night Fellowship (a family night of fun and fellowship).

Trinity participates in the Annual Los Angeles Black Business Expo and Trade Show, and has its own Business Owners United Expo in the J. L. Caston Fellowship Center. Reverend Tunstill has formed a cheerleading squad for the Young Men’s Basketball Team and started a New Member Follow-Up Ministry. In 1998 Trinity purchased a new organ and hosted the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in a free concert for the community. The Southeast Symphony Orchestra held its first concert series in Trinity’s sanctuary as it began its 51st concert season.

Additionally, in 2005, Trinity Baptist Church held its 1st Annual Family & Friends Celebration, an event for Trinity Family Members and the Community.

We thank God for blessing and leading our church through the twentieth century and we continue to look to Him for spiritual guidance, for we know that it is only by His grace that Trinity will continue to prosper in the years to come.


Rev. Alvin Tunstill Jr.

Associate Ministers
Minister Timothy Harris
Rev. Dr. Charles Henderson
Rev. Adilifu Martin
Rev. Dr. Eugene Marzette, Sr.
Rev. Damon Mays
Rev. Alexander Warthen
Rev. Bruce Jackson
Min. Priscilla Ratcliff

Church Officers
John Teixeira, Treasurer
Sedrick Moore, Assistant Treasurer
Carl Jackson, Financial Secretary
Antoinette Johnson, Church Clerk

Board of Trustees
Mattie Gardette, Chairman

Board of Deacons
Earl Garrett, Chairman

Board of Deaconess
Pauline Singleton, Chairperson

Board of Christian Education
Rev. Dr. Eugene Marzette, Co-Chair
Clarice Johnson, Co-Chair

Board of Ushers
Rosa Howard, President

General Mission Society
Dr. R. Juanita Mays, President

Finance Committee
Michele Nelson, Chairperson

Church Office Staff
Cathy Mason-Cutliff, Church Office Manager
Beverly Evans, Receptionist
LaTonya Willis, Office Secretary I
Jessica Cunningham, Office Secretary II
Bruce Huff, Custodial Supervisor

Download the complete History of Trinity Baptist Church in PDF HERE.

(Note: This is the extended detailed version)