Sun Village Digital History

Churches played an important role in building the Sun Village community. 

The First Missionary Baptist Church

In 1950, Pastor R.E. Edwards opened the First Missionary Baptist Church in Sun Village, on 100th Street East. The church was known as “The Tent” as its first incarnation was as a wooden structure with a tent canopy.

With few public spaces available for use in Sun Village, the First Missionary Baptist Church soon became host to many Sun Village community building events. For example, Sun Village’s 1958 Negro History Week included a day of education and activities at the First Missionary Baptist Church. Later that year, the Sun Village Women’s Club organized a graduation ceremony at the church for students who had graduated from Palmdale High School. 

Edwards led the church until 1965 when Bishop Henry Hearns, the son of a Mississippi sharecropper, came to the valley to work at Edwards Air Force Base. He eventually succeeded Edwards. Under Hearns, the church expanded, gaining an educational building. In 1975, it built a new sanctuary on the site of the original church (with its cornerstone intact). Today, with newer, larger buildings, it is known as the Living Stone Cathedral of Worship. 

Antelope Valley Church of God in Christ

Bishop G.L. Talley, an early and longtime civic leader in Sun Village, was born in Texarkana, Arkansas in 1918, moving to Los Angeles in 1939. After becoming a minister, he served in the war, and returned to become a barber. In 1951, he purchased land in Sun Village and moved there with his family. The Antelope Valley Press report on his life emphasized that Talley bought the land sight unseen, illustrating the distance involved in such a move, the difficulty of transit between the city and valley, and the risk that movers were willing to take. Talley founded the Antelope Valley Church of God in Christ in 1952. It too operated from a home in its first years, before a church was built and opened in 1956. Talley later served as the first president of the Sun Village Chamber of Commerce.

St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church

Also in 1956, Sun Village residents founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church (later called the St. John AME Church) in the home of Reverend and Mrs. X.C. Runyon.

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