Oscar Otis Owens, Jr. was born on an U.S. Army base in Neubruecke, Germany, from the union of Oscar Owens, Sr. and Olethia Dandy Owens of South Carolina, who were both educators. He was raised in Los Angeles, California, and received a diploma from Dorsey High School, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
While attending UCLA, Oscar became a born-again, Spirit-filled believer in Jesus Christ. Soon after his conversion, he joined the membership of the Second Baptist Church of Los Angeles, under the senior pastorate of the late Reverend Dr. Thomas Kilgore, Jr. While at Second Baptist Church, Oscar accepted his call to the ministry. He preached his first sermon on Wednesday, December 31, 1979, at a New Year’s Eve “Watch Night” service. As a staff member at Second Baptist for 12 years, Oscar served as the Youth Pastor, and held several church leadership positions on auxiliaries, boards, and organizations.
With the desire to further his education, and after the recommendations from Dr. Kilgore, Jr. and Dr. Henry Mitchell, Oscar applied and was accepted into the Master of Divinity program at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City, which is where he earned his M. Div. in 1984. His former professors include: Dr. Cornel West, the late Dr. James Cone, the late Dr. James Washington, and Dr. James Forbes. While in New York, the Reverend Dr. Calvin Butts requested that Oscar join the ministerial staff and serve as the Youth Pastor at Abyssinian Baptist Church under the senior pastorate of the late Reverend Dr. Samuel Proctor.
Upon his return to Los Angeles after graduation, Oscar began serving as an Associate Pastor and resumed his youth pastorate position at Second Baptist Church. In 1985, he was ordained by the American Baptist and Progressive National Baptist Conventions.
Additionally in 1985, Oscar became a fourth grade teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District and obtained a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from the California State University at Los Angeles in 1988. He served as an elementary school teacher for 7 years.
In 1989, he joined the membership of West Angeles Church, under the senior pastorate of Bishop Charles E. Blake. Then in 1992, he became an ordained Elder in the Church of God in Christ, and currently serves in good standing with the First Jurisdiction of Southern California. He has had the pleasure of serving at West Angeles in the following capacities: Community Liaison for Bishop Blake, Praise and Worship Leader, Praise and Worship Chaplain, and Prayer Ministry Coordinator.
Oscar is currently a full-time staff member of 28 years at West Angeles Church, and serves as the President of the West Angeles Bible College and the Director of Christian Education, under Bishop Charles Blake, Sr. - The Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ.
He earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Azusa Pacific in 2018, and has been a guest lecturer at Fuller Theological Seminary, Biola University, and an adjunct professor for Azusa Pacific Seminary, and Vanguard University.
Dr. Oscar Owens, Jr. is delighted to be married to the singer/songwriter, and Tony Award-nominated playwright, Lita Gaithers, and they reside in Windsor Hills, California.