Celebrating the Life of Rev. Dr. John Townsend

A Celebration of Life in honor of Rev. Dr. John Townsend, Pastor Emeritus

A special tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. John H. Townsend

Date: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15th AT 11:00 A.M.
(Sanctuary: During worship service)

On July 19, 2019, several hundred family members, friends and colleagues of the late Dr. John H. Townsend gathered at First Baptist Church of Redlands to celebrate his life (June 25, 1932 to July 11, 2019).  The First Baptist Church of Los Angeles family extends its deepest condolences to Mrs. Carol Townsend, daughters Alecia Townsend Kintner and Marcet Townsend Spahn, and extended family.

Dr. Townsend served as FBCLA’s Senior Minister from 1965 to 1997 after working here as an Assistant Minister.  At the memorial service, reflections were shared by the President of the University of Redlands and the President of the American Baptist Seminary is the West.  Former Associate Ministers who were mentored by Dr. Townsend paid tribute to his life and legacy, including:  Rev. Dr. Arlo Reichter, Rev. Dr. H. James Hopkins, Rev. Dr. Robert Wallace, Rev. Dr. Joe DeRoulhac, Rev. John Polite and Rev. Kenneth Kho.  Rev. Richard Rogers shared excerpts from a sermon authored by Dr. Townsend titled, “The Arms You Can’t Fall Through” and Sandy Rogers closed with a committal, “Deep Peace”, from an old Gaelic tune.

Over his lifetime, Dr. Townsend authored more than 1,375 sermons.  The family requested that donations be made in his memory to the American Baptist Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board / Heritage of Sharing Appeal, or to the University of Redlands Scholarship Fund.

It was a poignant gathering on a warm afternoon at the historic First Baptist Church of Redlands – filled with fond memories, joyful remembrances, and deep respect for a man who influenced the lives of generations.  An excerpt from Dr. Townsend’s final sermon at FBCLA in December 28, 1997:

“Endings and Beginnings …

“Now the transition time has come. There is every reason to believe that it will be a time filled with great expectations. God, who has been faithful in the past, will be faithful into the future.  And if there is poignancy in our goodbyes, it is well to remember that first there had to be ,hello.’

“Thank you, dear friends, for these great years. Thanks be to God for the length and breadth of them. As I now say goodbye, there is no better way than to say goodbye with Shalom!”

You are invited to join us for a special tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Townsend on Sunday, September 15, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary during the worship service.  We will launch First Baptist Church’s Homecoming celebrating its 145th anniversary.  Please mark your calendars and stay tune for more details.


Get to know Rev. Dr. John Townsend – View one of his sermons now – CLICK HERE


Any questions, call the Church Office:  (213) 384-2151