New Hope is the first viable African American new church development in the Synod of Southern California and Hawaii in 50 years. It has grown from a core group of 20 in 2007 to nearly 90, receiving 21 new members in 2011. “What started as a vision for a successful African American church in our presbytery has become something more,” says Los Ranchos Executive Presbyter Steve Yamaguchi. “It is a mosaic of hope and fellowship in which diverse people from cities throughout Southern California come together in worship and mission, seeking to make a difference for Christ.”
New Hope’s organizing pastor Chineta Goodjoin is grateful for this award, and for what this partnership in Presbyterian mission means to her congregation. “It is a boost to the spirit and makes us all the more enthusiastic about living our vision to glorify God by uplifting all people.”
This vision is evident in New Hope’s various initiatives of mission and outreach. In its first two years the congregation established the Hope Alive benefit concert to subsidize a local school’s music program that had been eliminated.
Church members have also formed a Street Team ministry that goes door-to-door, giving small gifts of friendship, extending Christ’s love, and letting people know that they matter. Their Health and Wellness ministry has partnered with two local nonprofits (Hoag Memorial Hospital and The G.R.E.E.N. foundation) to offer free flu shots, quarterly blood pressure screening and mammograms to those without health insurance.
New Hope was selected for its work in furthering Presbyterian mission in its community by the Mission Development Resource Committee. The General Assembly Mission Council endorsed MDRC’s recommendation. Earlier this year, the GAMC selected the congregation as one of the 10 top racial ethnic and new immigrant churches in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Mission Program Grants is a ministry of Evangelism and Church Growth in the General Assembly Mission Council of the PC(USA). It provides grants that help establish new congregations and further presbyteries’ broader work in congregational transformation.