By Linden Beckford Jr.
I recently had a chance to sit and talk with Pastor Chuck Singleton. It was a pleasure to speak with someone deeply rooted in the African-American experience. In today’s environment, it is difficult to find people who truly revere our black culture in North America.
Pastor Chuck Singleton was born in Tallulah, Louisiana. However, he and his family moved to Illinois when he was 1-years old. Pastor Singleton says that he felt called to Minister when he was 5-years-old.
He has been in California since the 1970’s. Upon moving to California, Singleton led First Baptist Church in Fontana on a new movement in 1981 when he declared that “God has called us to become Loveland.” This was led by the Holy Spirit after six years. Loveland opened its doors for the first time in the Spring of 1981 where over 500 believers gathered to worship at the beautiful new facility constructed at the corner of Sierra and Baseline Avenue.
Pastor Singleton agrees with me that the Black church has been demonized within the last 30 years. While there is some legitimate criticism, there some motivations that are very sinister! Back in the day, Pastor Singleton worked closely with Mrs. Jessie Turner. Mrs. Turner was a true bulwark in the community. According to Pastor Singleton, Mrs. Turner refused to take no for an answer and would get things done!
Pastor Singleton participated in the selection of the Jessie Turner Center after her passing. This Writer has a great deal of respect for the work that Pastor Singleton has done and continues to do. The fact that he is unapologetically Black and Christian is fantastic! This is a tradition of those who came before us.
The Afro Christian tradition/experience has never been an impediment. In fact, it has been the bridge over troubled waters. When one hears the song, “How I Got Over,” you understand why. Pastor Chuck Singleton has been a good Shepherd. He has been the practitioner of liberation theology. For us as a people, that will lead us to the promised land. We need to thank Pastor Singleton for still standing!