Brookins Community A.M.E. Church started as a pilot program in April 1977 to be supported by the Southern California Conference for a period of two years. Bishop H. Hartford Brookins, then-presiding prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District, served as pastor with the assistance of Presiding Elders A.K. Quinn and A.A. Morgan. Under his leadership, the church grew to 41 members in two months.
The Rev. Dr. T. Larry Kirkland, Sr. was appointed the first pastor by Bishop Brookins and began his service on June 1, 1977. Prior to his appointment, the Rev. Dr. Kirkland was pastor of Turner A.M.E. Church in Greenwood, Mississippi. In his new assignment, he began the awesome task of growing the congregation and was also responsible for building a kitchen in the lower level, installing a choir loft, constructing the Pastor’s office and study, purchasing a baby grand piano, and developing a recording studio.
Among the early organizations he established were the Sunday School, Women’s Missionary Society, Young People’s Department, Lay Organization, Music Ministry, Tape Ministry, and other auxiliaries. During his 19-year tenure, Pastor Kirkland started other organizations to meet the needs of people including New Members Institute, Welcome Club, Couples Club, and several outreach ministries.
The main sanctuary was destroyed by fire in 1991 and Pastor Kirkland oversaw million-dollar renovation and seismic retrofitting project to restore and improve the building. In addition, the church purchased several surrounding properties including the Brookins Community Development Center on 48th Street and Gramercy Place.
In June 1996, the Rev. Dr. Kirkland was elected and consecrated as the 114th bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Bishop Vernon R. Byrd, then-presiding prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District, appointed the Rev. Dr. Frederick O. Murph as the second pastor of Brookins in October 1996. Among his accomplishments were leading the congregation in renovating the main church building, installing a state-of-the-art sound system in the main sanctuary and rehabilitating three church-owned properties. Also, he instituted a Sunday School class for young Black males, ages 10 to 13.
Bishop Theodore Larry Kirkland, Sr., First Pastor
Bishop Kirkland, then-presiding prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District, appointed the Rev. Joseph C. Nixon as the third pastor of Brookins in October 2008. During his tenure, the God Answers Prayer (GAP) Ministry was instituted, the Music Department added two new choirs, Children’s Church was implemented and a Tutoring Program formed to assist youth in math and science.
In November 2010, Bishop Kirkland appointed the Rev. Dr. C. Dennis Williams as the fourth pastor of Brookins. Dr. Williams energized members through increased emphasis on Christian education and spiritual growth as well as enlarged focus on children and youth. He also established the Women’s Ministry, a Men’s Ministry, the Brookins Praise Dancers, and the WMS Food Distribution on a monthly basis.
The Rev. Gregory Keith McLeod I was assigned by Bishop Kirkland as the fifth pastor of Brookins in October 2012. Pastor McLeod reestablished the Buds of Promise Children’s Choir and focused on strengthening ministries for youth and young adults.
In October 2015, the Southern California Conference approved a resolution to change the name of the church to Brookins-Kirkland Community AME Church. Also, the Rev. Dr. Mary S. Minor was appointed by Bishop Kirkland as the sixth and first woman pastor. (See ‘About Our Pastor’ to learn more about Dr. Minor).
Under Pastor Minor’s leadership, the church relocated to its current site at 3719 West Slauson Avenue in Los Angeles. In addition, she implemented the Youth Worship Service and the Senior Adults Ministry. Pastor Minor was reappointed to BKCAME in October 2017 by Bishop Clement W. Fugh.