EFC Southwest recognizes that our call to obey Christ is reflected in Inner City Ministries and its mission to the inner city of Long Beach.
In 1967, Fred and Mardella Newkirk moved to Long Beach and began to minister in an area that had become quite urban. The ministry was difficult, and support hard to find. Fred and Mardella considered other attractive ministry opportunities. God spoke to Fred through a Long Beach policeman who told him that he was needed in Long Beach. They stayed, and Inner City Ministries (ICM) was born, with Fred and Mardella coming under the care of the Mission Board. Fred is founder and director of Inner City Ministries, ministering to the poorest of poor, young gang men, drug addicts and broken families.
From the beginning, Fred developed strong relationships in the African-American community, reaching out to gangsters and anyone willing to listen to the good news of hope in Jesus Christ. Early on a connection was formed with other churches through Quaker Meadow Camp. The Inner City Ministries Quaker Meadow Camp has been an important ministry tool from the beginning, with many lives being changed forever as young people from the streets of South Los Angeles and Long Beach heard the call of Christ and responded in faith. Many Christian leaders for the Long Beach and surrounding communities began their life of faith at Quaker Meadow, including pastors, teachers, prison chaplains, and others who now serve Christ.
In recent years, a Sunday evening meal and worship service has been growing as God’s Word is being proclaimed to those in need of hope. The “Basement Church” meets on Sunday evenings. Many are homeless. Many are fighting various forms of addiction or mental illness. Others are just trying to survive in a despair-ridden inner city neighborhood. The Basement Church meets in the basement of Long Beach Friends Church. Several churches take turns providing a meal prior to the worship service on Sunday evenings. Often, the church providing dinner will also bring a worship team or prayer counselors.