Community Center Being Launched by Huggins and St. Paul Baptist Church
By Tim Pompey
Bishop B.A. Huggins, in partnership with the St. Paul Baptist Church in south Oxnard, is launching a new ministry on 840 South “G” Street in Oxnard, called the Community Outreach Worship Center.
Located directly across the street from Community Center Park, Huggins personally purchased the park last January from its previous tenants, the Chinese Christian Church, which had moved its congregation to Camarillo.
“I purchased it as a secondary option,” said Huggins. “I initially wanted St. Paul Baptist Church to purchase it, but because we’re right smack dab in the middle of a building project, it would not have been prudent for us to take on another property, or to add something else to our financial profile or to our current building project on Statham Boulevard.”
Huggins felt that he could not pass on the opportunity to purchase the property, largely because of its ideal location and its potential for ministry. “I just felt that it was too much of a ministry opportunity to pass up, so what I decided to do is to go ahead and purchase it through my own personal ministry corporation—BA Huggins Evangelistic and Outreach Ministries.”
The center will be run in partnership with his current ministry at St. Paul Baptist Church and will be referred to as the St. Paul Baptist Church Annex. The plan is to move all of their current adult ministries to this site. It will include not only a regular worship service, but a food pantry, a recovery center, and an evangelistic outreach ministry.
Huggins said that so far the community reaction to the outreach center has been good. “We’ve already had very positive reactions from the neighbors, and we’ve gotten great support from people passing us by and wishing us well,” he said. “Neighbors have come over to help and contribute. It’s been very, very positive.”
Unlike some communities in cities like Ventura, who have reacted strongly against church ministries for the homeless in their neighborhoods, Huggins believes that the city of Oxnard has a more compassionate understanding of poverty and hunger. “Oxnard is a different animal than Ventura,” Huggins explained. “The people of Oxnard are so much more sensitive to the plight of the oppressed and poor. We don’t have those kinds of challenges because the people of Oxnard have a better sensitivity to the downtrodden and oppressed.”
Huggins believes strongly that, rather than forsaking poor neighborhoods, churches should be readily available in communities that are in desperate need of help. “Sometimes going where the people are can be much more effective than waiting for the people to come where you are,” he noted.
Huggins will host a Sunday worship service at 10:30 a.m. every week. He invites all those who are interested, regardless of their backgrounds, to come and worship. “Everyone is welcome,” he said. “We take in no members here. This is not a church, per say, this is a place of worship and you can come and worship, then leave and join whatever church you want to join.”
In addition, he would like to invite the community to make use of the center for small events such as weddings, funerals, and other important activities.
A ribbon cutting ceremony for the center was held on Sunday, April 13. A dedication ceremony will be held on Sunday, April 27, at 4:00 p.m. For information about the outreach center, call St. Paul Baptist Church at (805) 487-2015, or contact Huggins at (805) 297-5088.