Nearly 100 religious leaders joined President Thomas A. Parham for a California State University, Dominguez Hills’ (CSUDH) Clergy Breakfast on Nov. 6 to establish new bonds between the university and churches in the region.
The Clergy Breakfast is a tradition for CSUDH presidents. To build more personal relationships, this year’s gathering was smaller and more intimate, enabling Parham to interact with attendees in the University Library in a more relaxed setting.
The Clergy Breakfast showcased the diversity of church leaders in the South Bay and Los Angeles County, with the majority of attendees coming to campus from Gardena, Carson, Los Angeles, and Long Beach, as well as several from Torrance, Bellflower, Compton, and Lomita to meet President Parham.
Welcome remarks were provided by the emcee, Tersit Asrat, founder and president of the Hosanna Broadcasting Network. Bishop Juan Carlos Mendez, founder of Churches in Action, gave the opening prayer, and a blessing of the food was offered by Rev. Amelia Sivi Finau, who leads the United with Hope Methodist Church in Long Beach.
Pastor Ivan Pitts, who leads Second Baptist Church of Santa Ana where Parham attended services while living in Orange County, and Pastor Mark E. Whitlock, Christ Our Redeemer AME in Irvine, reflected on their relationships with the president when he worked at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).
Whitlock held services at UCI for many years, which grew from a few hundred to thousands of parishioners. He attributed much of the success of his church to President Parham’s kindness and generosity with campus space.
Pitts and Whitlock symbolically passed the baton to Bishop Jonathan Ferriol of the Pentecostal Missionary Church of Christ (4th Watch), who spoke on behalf of the South Bay, and City of Carson Councilman Pastor Jawane Hilton, who presides over the City on the Hill Church. Both places of worship are located in Carson.
Parham then shared his vision for the university with the audience, and provided ideas for the churches to better connect with the campus and interact with students through mentorships. He also talked about the university’s new building projects that are currently under construction or moving forward.
The Clergy Breakfast concluded with Parham fielding questions from the audience. Asrat closed the morning’s events with a prayer.