The Church for the Fellowship of all Peoples at 2041 Larkin Street in San Francisco. 

By Kerri Young

Located on 2041 Larkin Street near Broadmethod, The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples (likewise well-known as Fellowship Church) is considerable as the initially purposely interracial, interfaith congregation in the United States. Its co-founder was prominent Afrideserve to Amerideserve to minister Dr. Howard Thurguy (1899-1981).

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Thurmale was born and elevated in Daytona, Florida by his grandmommy, a former servant. He became an ordained Baptist minister in 1925. In 1929, in the time of his tenure as professor of faith and director of religious life at Morehome and Spelguy colleges in Atlanta, Georgia, Thurmale had the opportunity to examine at Haverford College through Quaker pacifist Rufus Jones. His time through Jones changed his life, and Thurman began his journey towards a approach that stressed an activism rooted in confidence and also maintained in tranquility. His thinking was honed by a 1935 pilgrimage to India through various other Afrihave the right to Americans to satisfy Mohandas Gandhi, who completed Thurman’s conversion to nonviolent social activism.


Howard Thurguy. Wartime tensions over fair housing, employment, and education and learning promoted enhanced political task and involvement by San Francisco’s Afrideserve to Amerideserve to spiritual and also political leaders, and Thurman and the Fellowship Church played an essential function in producing a bridge of expertise among the differed races, societies, and faiths in the city. Photo by BU Photography. 


The Fellowship Church of All Peoples on Mar. 24. 1949. The newscopy inscription via this photograph reads: “The inter-racial, inter denominationwide Fellowship of All Peoples Church is flanked by homes on Larkin-st in between Vallejo and Broadway. Forty percent of the congregation is created of minority groups. This structure is the church’s initially permanent residence in its five-year background.” San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

In 1944, Thurguy left his position as Dean of the Chapel at Howard College to co-uncovered The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco through Reverend Alfred G. Fisk. It was the initially congregation in the United States that motivated participation in its spiroutine life regardless of religious or ethnic background.

The church was started in the time of the elevation of World War II, a period of remarkable growth among the Babsence population in San Francisco. In “Footprints of a Dream,” Thurmale composed that in America in 1944, “Segregation of the races was component of the mores, and also the social behavior of the nation.” Fisk and also others were acutely conscious of the injustices watched about them, “and were glad to share in the simple yet dramatic witness of brotherhood practiced in common worship.” After Fisk got to out to Thurguy for a 2nd time in wishes of finding someone to lead their new community church, Thurman composed that “for the initially time tbelow was kindled in my mind the possibility that that this might be the possibility towards which my life had actually been moving….San Francisco with its differed nationalities, its affluent intercultural heritperiods — San Francisco was the appropriate facility.”

Inaugural services were organized on October 8, 1944, at the First Unitarian Church at 1187 Franklin Street, through the participation from a diverse set of San Francisco’s spiritual and political leaders.

A few years later, the congregation moved to its current residence on Larkin Street, right into a church structure that was initially constructed in 1907 as St. John’s German Evangelical Church.

Howard and also Sue Baily Thurman in 1953. When living in San Francisco, the Thurmans lived at 2660 California Street in the Western Addition. An necessary figure in her own appropriate, Sue Baily established a neighborhood San Francisco chapter of the National Council of Negro Womales. This civic company accomplished much for civil legal rights and women’s civil liberties under her directorship. Based on her success, Thurmale was consequently appointed to recurrent the United States at a UNESCO conference held in Paris in 1949.

The ideals through which Thurmale led the Fellowship Church were a crucial influence in the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. King regularly sought counsel from Thurguy, and also it is sassist that King carried Thurman’s many crucial book, Jesus and the Disinherited, while leading the 1955–56 Montgomery bus boycott. Publimelted in 1949, Thurmale gave an interpretation of the New Testimony gospels that lhelp the structure for a nonviolent civil legal rights activity. The book says that Jesus taught the oppressed a faith-based unconditional love that would empower them to survive in the face of oppression. A love rooted in the “deep river of faith,” composed Thurguy, would aid oppressed individuals overcome persecution. “It may twist and rotate, fall earlier on itself and also begin aobtain, stumble over an unlimited series of hindering rocks, however at last the river need to answer the contact to the sea.”


Thurman’s approach guides the Fellowship Church’s continuing mission this day. Under the pastorship of Dr. Dorsey Babsence and also Dr. Kathryn Benton, the Church holds worship solutions, forums, seminars, and also unique events, and spiritually prepares its neighborhood for social justice occupational. They welcome guest speakers from varied spiritual and also religious legacies. Church solutions are on organize throughout the Covid pandemic till additionally notice, however ministers are giving continuous reflections on the Church’s blog.

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Sources: Howard Thurmale, Jesus and the Disinherited. New York: Abigdon Press, 1949.; Christopher VerPlanck, SF Planning Department, Tim Kelley, & Al Williams, “African Amerihave the right to Citywide Historic Conmessage Statement Final Draft” (January 2016), 109-111. ; “Howard Thurguy,” This Far By Faith. PBS. WGBH and also ITVS. 2003; Rich Barlow, “Who Was Howard Thurman?”, BU Today, January 7, 2020,; Howard Thurman, Footprints of a Dream: The Story of the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2009) 29-30.

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