Passionate about social activism and proclaiming a theology open and accessible to all, Edward L.Anderson is a third generation Pastor who serves the historic McCarty Memorial Christian Church located in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles. Previous to McCarty Memorial CC, Edward served as Assistant Minister at Burbank First Christian where he was affectionately known as Pastor Eddie.
Born to Priscilla and Reverend Ganus Anderson, military veteran and community mentor, Pastor Eddie was instilled with a heart for the people. His paternal grandfather, the late Honorable Reverend Willie Anderson Sr., was a civil rights activist, politician, and prophetic preacher in South Georgia and paved the way for Pastor Eddie to walk a life of integrity speaking truth to power. Calling out the injustice and working for justice, the scripture of calling for Pastor Eddie’s life has been Isaiah, Chapter 42, verses 1-7 which say in part, “I am the LORD. I have called you in righteous, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a Covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.”
Pastor Eddie is a passionate preacher who has been blessed to inspire those on the journey of faith from diverse backgrounds and across generations. In addition to Sunday sermons, Pastor Eddie has preached at camps, conferences, and revivals. His central message is the broken body of the sacred can be mended because God is calling each of us towards lives of creativity, liberation, and wholeness.
To this end, Pastor Eddie has constantly fought for the justice and wholeness of his fellow humanity through his various leadership positions and organizational involvement. He has worked with political campaigns, schools, and community development initiatives to motivate passions, organize strategy and navigate inequality. In graduate school, Pastor Eddie uplifted minority voices as President of the Pan-African Seminarians Association and as a representative on the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion. He has worked to improve the lines of dialogue between diverse racial and religious groups as the former Co-Chairperson of the Interreligious Council at Claremont School of Theology and currently as a co-organizer of Trust Talks LA, an organization which holds roundtable discussions between the LAPD and the community of Los Angeles concerning policing and policy issues in Downtown LA in an effort to bring forth collaborative solutions.
Pastor Eddie’s activism continues as Board Member of Eastmont Community Center, Crossroads, and Progressive Christians Uniting. Eastmont Community Center is a regional unit of the Disciples of Christ which helps the Latinx community of East L.A. gain access to citizenship and food security, helping over 10,000 individuals a year. Crossroads Inc, is a nonprofit in Claremont which provides housing, education, support, counseling, and employment training for women who have been incarcerated. As a board member of Progressive Christians Uniting, he engages people and communities to embody Jesus’ way of compassion and justice for our world.
Most importantly he looks forward to journeying with the vibrant and historic community of McCarty Memorial Christian Church as we embark upon a journey of remembering our past, re-imaging our future, and restoring our community while making religion as intelligent as science, as appealing as art, as vital as the day’s work, as intimate as home, and as inspiring as love.” Inviting all to the table of love and compassion that Jesus sets for us.
He holds degrees from Morehouse College and Claremont School of Theology, is a published author and blogger and serves on various regional committees including the Youth Immersion Ministry. Currently, he is Bethany Fellow and Preston Taylor Fellow and serves as a Co-Chair of the California Poor People's Campaign:A National Call for Moral Revival.
The church was built and paid for by Dr. and Mrs. Isaac A. McCarty, who had traveled widely in the United States and Europe "studying church architecture against the time when they were ready to further the Kingdom of God." The church was dedicated in May 1932 on the McCartys' 45th wedding anniversary. The Los Angeles Times reported that the church was "built and furnished at a cost of $250,000 on a $30,000 site." Dr. McCarty imported many of the interior features from Czechoslovakia. The Times called the church, designed by Thomas P. Barber and Paul Kingsbury, "one of the finest examples of pure Gothic architecture in America." The dedication ceremony was attended by Los Angeles Mayor John Porter and Charles C. Chapman. Dr. McCarty died two years later in May 1934, and his funeral was held at the church he built.
The founding pastor at McCarty was Dr. Bruce Brown, who served as the pastor until 1942 and died in 1957. Brown was succeeded by Dr. O. James Sowell, who was pastor from 1942 until 1952, when he left the church to become an evangelist. He was next followed by the Rev. James Clark Brown, who served as pastor for seven months from 1952 to 1953.
The Rev. Kring Allen was credited with successfully integrating the McCarty Church. Interviewed by the Los Angeles Times in 1967, Allen, who had been the pastor at McCarty since 1954, noted: "Our neighborhood is 85% Negro. So's our church, I would guess, although I don't know. You lose your color sense when you stop thinking about it. I lost mine." When Allen arrived, the church's membership had dropped to 370 members, down from 1,500 in the 1930s. McCarty Church in 1954 was a faltering congregation, plagued by urban problems in a "changing neighborhood." Allen brought plans that were considered "radical" at the time. He recalled, "I came with the understanding with my board here that this church was going to integrate or I wouldn't stay. ... When some of the board wanted to go in a segregated way, I said: 'I won't go that road, and if you go it, you go without me.' I spent most of the first six months in the public library, reading up on Negro history. ... We get brainwashed. We downgrade the Negro and upgrade the white. We fix our stereotypes. That's the trouble with most white people like me. I wrote a lot of churches asking for advice. The Riverside Church at New York ... told me to 'go slow, or you'll tear your church to pieces.' But I didn't want to go slow." Things were difficult at first, but Allen recalled that things started to gel when he took 70 parishioners, black and white, to a camp in the San Bernardino Mountains where they "housed together, worked together, studied together." They came back from the camp as "a completely integrated nucleus." He became an advocate for integration of churches, noting, "Integration is basic to the Gospel. ... The church is either going to pass through this fire, or the church has had it. There can be no more segregated churches. The whole movement of history is against it."
Divinity & Design
Divinity & Design
When Dr. McCarty came to our office two and one-half years ago he brought with him a series of church sketches which he, himself, had drawn as a result of his many study trips through England and the European continent. So great was the faith of this man that he had spent many years of travel to see the glorious creations of the Medieval Church Builders. To translate his dreams of a fitting memorial to the Glory of God and the good of mankind into actuality was the task set before us.
The fundamental idea underlying any church structure must be that of worship and service. To this and, the sciom of verticality, the ever upward rising pillars of tower and auditorium are dedicated. The buttress denotes strength and endurance of belief. The play of light through the windows is like the ever changing life.
The building is designed in a modified English Gothic Style of Architecture. It is entirely of fireproof construction, the exterior walls, floors and structural supports being entirely of reinforced concrete, while the roof trusses are of structural steel encased in staff work.
On the first floor is to be found the large auditorium which is reached through a spacious narthex. The sanctuary which is about seventy feet high to the apex of the ceiling, seats approximately one thousand people, inclusive of a small balcony and the choir section. The plan of the auditorium is of Cathedral type, with a wide nave and two vaulted side aisles which are separated by arcades from the nave.
Against the rear wall is the Baptistry which is separated from the auditorium by a delicately wrought wood screen, draped with beautiful velvet portiers. Underneath the rising choir space are the robing rooms and other facilities. To the right side of the choir space is a small chapel which is ideally suited for small intimate weddings and also for funerals. Over the chapel and with grilled openings into the auditorium is a generous organ space, while on the right hand side there is to be found a ladies parlor with a small kitchen.
The entire basement is occupied by a large assembly room which is at present divided into Sunday School classrooms, but which can be readily converted into a banquet hall and recreation room. It has a stage large enough for the presentation of Biblical plays and lectures. In connection with it is a fully equipped modern kitchen plant, and directly in its rear is the mechanical equipment plan containing the heating and ventilating apparatus which serves the entire building.
Of note are the auditorium crystal lighting fixtures which Dr. McCarty had especially designed in Czechoslovakia, and which, according to expert opinion, represents the finest lighting equipment of any church in the city. The auditorium windows with their delicate tracery show stained glass depicting Biblical scenes.
Over the altar is a circular glass panel which shows Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, while the imposing front window portrays Jesus blessing the multitude. The entire building, the glass and the lighting fixtures, were donated by Dr. and Mrs. Isaac McCarty, while the pews and pulpit furniture were furnished by the congregation.
The Foundation of our Faith
The Foundation of our Faith