Cynthia E. Griffin- | 2/20/2008, 5 p.m.
Sixty four years ago Weller Street Missionary Baptist Church was in the midst of one of the oldest African American communities in Los Angeles.
Today, however the demographics around the Boyle Heights church have changed tremendously leaving the religious institution, with its approximately 100 active members, a bit adrift. But if Rev. K.W. Tulloss is successful with his rejuvenation efforts, that stagnation will be nothing but a memory.
Tulloss, a community activist who has been involved in issues such as gaining justice for the death of toddler Suzie Pena and fighting to improve the academic offerings at Locke High School, became pastor of Weller Street in November.
"The church was searching for a pastor and because of my work around the community, the church came calling for me," explained Tulloss, who stepped in a senior pastor after the church had been without a leader for nearly 1 1/2 years.
"God allowed me to basically bring about a fresh wind, a fresh voice that can deal with the issue of building and re-establishing the church," added Tulloss, who said his work with the black and brown communities has given him the skills needed to help the church reach out to its neighbors.
"My main goal is to reestablish this ministry and make the church one that will make a difference in the community. This church will be a central location for those who are downtrodden, those who are heart broken, and those who are just in need. We want this church to bring about change in the community."
Among the programs Tulloss intends to bring to the church is the nonprofit foundation Making A Difference. "This foundation is designed to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged youth, college students and senior citizens through a program that focuses on teamwork, enhancing self esteem and developing life skills."
The pastor also intends to add a food program to the church which will operate monthly as well as on special holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Although the church is his newest platform, activism has been part of Tulloss' life since he was nine years old.
"I had the opportunity to walk with various pastors such as L.C. Carter, Dr. Charles Mims, Dr. John Lee, and Supervisor Kenneth Hahn as part of the Up with Hope, Down with Dope Campaign," added the pastor, whose other activities include working to prevent Disney from releasing Songs of the South, and rallying for families impacted by the downsizing of King Drew Hospital.
Weller Street will formally welcome Tulloss to the pulpit during an installation ceremony Feb. 29 at 7:15 p.m. and March 2 at 3:30 p.m. at the church, 129 S. Gless St., Los Angeles.
Reservations are required. Please call (323) 261-0949.