As one of God’s chosen vessels, Rev. Dr. Lonnie Dawson challenged and changed the landscape of urban ministry in Los Angeles, CA with his passion for community and social development and his commitment to unifying the Body of Christ. A native of Goldsboro, North Carolina, Dr. Dawson is the founding Pastor and organizer of the New Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church of Los Angeles, CA where he faithfully served for forty seven years. Under his pastorate, the membership grew from its founding membership of six to over three thousand members.
A Visionary and Builder, God blessed him to lead the congregation into many building projects including the full phase development of the New Mt. Calvary Main Campus which includes the Lonnie Dawson Educational Building, a Child Care Center, an Elementary and Middle School (former), Youth Center, the New Mt. Calvary Recreation Park, and Dr. Dawson’s last building project, the Senior Life Center.
An Educator, Dr. Dawson was one of the most well-known leaders of Christian Education, and he established SUPER SUNDAY over 25 years ago. Dr. Dawson along with Rev. Thomas Kelly was the co-founders of the Sunday School Bible Institute. He also authored a section in the book “A Path to Church Growth: How to Grow a Sunday school in Your Church.” Under the motto, “Children Brought up in Sunday School Will Seldom Be Brought up in Court,” the New Mt. Calvary Sunday school department has invited change into the lives of many generations, one person at a time. The 2005 Church Growth Today Study/Outreach Magazine recognized and honored New Mount Calvary Baptist Church under the Pastoral Leadership of Dr. Lonnie Dawson as one of the fastest growing Churches in the United States. Presently, the Sunday school has an average attendance of 450 to 500 students each Sunday morning studying and sharing in the Word of God together.
A Leader, Dr. Dawson served as President of the Southern Area Clergy Council for ten years at which time they developed the slogan “Keeping It Good, In the Hood.” He has served as Chairman of the Foreign Mission Board and Assistant Dean of the Sunday school and Congress of Christian Education for the Pacific District Association; On the Executive Board of the Southern Baptist Convention; President of the Minister’s Fellowship of the Crescent Bay West Los Angeles Association and he also served as Co-Chairman of AACKA, an African American-Korean group of pastors. In addition, he has been recognized by many Community and Civic Leaders as well as recipient of many honors and awards including the “Quality of Life Award” by the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In May of 1999, Dr. Dawson was awarded a Doctor of Humanities Degree (Honorary) from Cohon University and Theological Seminary.
A Global Ambassador, He has traveled extensively on missionary journeys to West Africa, Jerusalem, Jamaica, Seoul, Korea, Germany and Haiti. He has led his congregation to build three wells in Haiti in addition to a road restoration project. The road was destroyed by a Hurricane in 2004. In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Dawson was instrumental in bringing together several clergy from the South Central Los Angeles area and sent five truckloads of clothing to the victims of the hurricane in New Orleans and Mississippi.
On December 21, 2010, God called our Founder from labor to reward. Yet, the legacy still continues through his wife Lady Emeritus Mamie P. Dawson. They have been married over fifty years and are the proud parents of two daughters – Ms. Sherri Williams, (an Elementary School Principal and Minister of Music of the New Mt. Calvary Baptist Church); and Rev. Sonja Dawson (Pastor of the New Mt. Calvary Baptist Church and an Attorney at Law); one grandson, Rev. Lonnell Williams, one granddaughter, Miss Lonnae Williams and the New Mt. Calvary Church Family.